Friday, August 11, 2006

Don't make a Federal case of it

That's what blogger Josh Wolf is telling the Federal government. Josh is a video blogger, and during one of his outings with a camera (at the July 2005 San Francisco G8 summit meeting) the Feds think he may have captured images of someone setting fire to a San Francisco PD police car. They're asking for Josh's unedited tapes of the event, and he's refused, citing California's journalistic shield law.

The Feds claim that since the police car was paid for, in part, by Federal money, they can make this a Federal case. Josh thinks this has more to do with the politics of those accused (anarchists) than the fact a police car got burned.

Now I want you to think about that very carefully. If this is upheld, it means that the Feds can step into any prosecution in which the crime was committed against (and I think by logical extention, on) property that was paid for, in any part, with Federal money.

Consider this--all governments, from the state level down to the smallest town council, sanitary district and fire district, suck off the Federal tit to a greater or lesser extent. (Yes, that is how I feel about it. Get over it.) I suspect we would all be amazed and hopefully shocked if we knew the extent Federal money figures in the financing of government at all levels.

Let's carry this to its (il)logical endpoint. The Freeholder, who is quite often critical of his government, gets a speeding ticket on the Interstate, and it turns into a Federal prosecution. Far-fetched? Sure, for right now. But as we've all too often come to see, the way out gets way too close to home very quickly these days.

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