Khodorkovsky exposes Putin’s Barbarism

The New York Times reports:

I wish I had enough space to reprint in its entirety Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky’s closing statement, as his latest sham trial in Russia came to an end earlier this week. I have never been so moved by the words of a businessman.

Not that Mr. Khodorkovsky is a businessman anymore. Once the most famous of the Russian oligarchs, he ran YukosOil, which under his leadership became the best-run, fastest-growing, most transparent company in the country — a gleaming symbol of hope for Russian industry. Mr. Khodorkovsky, however, has spent the last seven years in prison, much of that time in Siberia. Stripped of his company, which was sold off to politically connected insiders, Mr. Khodorkovsky and his business partner, Platon Lebedev, were convicted of trumped-up tax charges brought by prosecutors acting on behalf ofVladimir V. Putin, who had come to view Mr. Khodorkovsky as a threat.

Then, in 2007, with the prospect of parole on the horizon, the same prosecutors — with what appears to be the complicity of PricewaterhouseCoopers, Yukos’s longtime accounting firm — indicted the two men again, bringing a new round of Kafkaesque charges.

That trial ended on Tuesday. The verdict will most likely be announced in December, not that anyone doubts the outcome. Nor can anyone doubt Mr. Khodorkovsky’s status in Russia. He has become in the Putin era what Andrei Sakharov once was, a courageous dissident standing up to an authoritarian regime, a living, breathing rebuke to the absence of the rule of law.

With the courtroom packed with supporters, Mr. Khodorkovsky stood up in the glass cage that has kept him imprisoned even during the trial. He talked for about 15 minutes, barely mentioning the charges against him. Instead, he spoke profoundly about what his case meant for his country.

“What must be going through the minds of the entrepreneur, or the senior manager, or simply an ordinary educated, creative person, watching our trial, and knowing that its result is absolutely predictable?” he asked. “The obvious conclusion is chilling in its stark simplicity: it is that the siloviki can do anything,” he added, using the Russian slang for the powerful bureaucrats in Mr. Putin’s circle.

“Millions of eyes throughout Russia and the world are watching this trial,” he said. “They are watching with the hope that Russia will still become a country of freedom, and law is above the bureaucrat. Where supporting opposition parties is not a cause for reprisals. Where special services protect the people and the law, and not the bureaucracy from the people and the law. Where human rights no longer depend on the mood of the czar, good or evil.”

“I am not a perfect person, but I am a person with an idea,” he added. “For me, as for anybody, it is hard to live in jail, and I do not want to die there. But if I have to, I will. The things I believe in are worth dying for.”

“Your Honor!” he said, looking directly at the judge. “Much more than our two fates are in your hands. Here and now the fate of every citizen of our country is being decided.”

When he finished, the courtroom erupted. As the crowd yelled “Freedom,” the judge banged his gavel and declared the trial over. At which point, Russia’s most prominent political prisoner was handcuffed and led back to his jail cell.

There are tragedies within tragedies in the story of Mikhail Khodorkovsky. There is the personal tragedy, of course, of a man tried and convicted of crimes he never committed. There is the tragedy of the Russian political system, once on the verge of real democracy, now little more than an enrichment scheme for Kremlin officials, a mind-set that accelerated once Mr. Khodorkovsky was disposed of.

There is also the tragedy of Russian business. Did Mr. Khodorkovsky do his share of unseemly deals in becoming an oligarch? Almost surely; all the oligarchs did during the early 1990s, an era in Russia now called the Wild, Wild East. But by the late 1990s he had become determined to turn Yukos into a model company, one that would help lead the way toward a new entrepreneurial spirit in Russia.

“He was the most visionary of all the Russian oligarchs,” said William Browder, who runs the Hermitage Fund, and was once the largest portfolio manager in Russia. “He understood that the way to get the best valuation was to run the most transparent company.”

To that end, he brought in Western board members who understood the principles of good corporate governance. He hired foreigners to critical executive positions, unheard of in Russia. A big reason that Russian companies had low valuations was that investors simply didn’t believe their stated numbers — and had no idea how much of the company’s cash flow was diverted for graft. Mr. Khodorkovsky changed that perception at Yukos by working hand in glove with the company’s accountants in the Russian office of PricewaterhouseCoopers, who created an accounting structure that allowed Yukos to report earnings that met Western accounting standards, while satisfying the Russian tax authorities, no mean feat.

According to Bruce Misamore, an American who spent several years as the chief financial officer at Yukos, when Mr. Khodorkovsky was arrested in October 2003, he was in the process of selling a stake of the company to either Exxon Mobil or Chevron, both of which were eager to make an investment. He was also preparing to list Yukos on theNew York Stock Exchange. He was worth a reported $15 billion.

Mr. Khodorkovsky’s arrest — widely assumed to be the result of his willingness to back political parties opposed to Mr. Putin — was a critical moment in modern Russian history. Before his arrest, it was thought that wealth brought protection from arrest and imprisonment. Sending the richest man in the country to Siberia shattered that illusion. The other oligarchs either fled the country or began currying favor with the Kremlin, which often meant cutting officials in on deals.

The “takeover” of Yukos also emboldened Kremlin officials. In their grab for money and power, officials trampled over the rule of law. Thomas Firestone, a Justice Department lawyer working in the United States Embassy in Moscow, wrote a paper in 2008 titled “Criminal Corporate Raiding in Russia.”

“The illegal takeover of businesses,” he wrote, “differs greatly from U.S. hostile takeover practice in that it relies on criminal methods such as fraud, blackmail, obstruction of justice and actual and threatened physical violence.” Yukos, which had become one of the half-dozen largest oil companies in the world, was by far the biggest company ever brought down by the siloviki. But it was hardly the only one.

Take what happened to Mr. Browder, the fund manager. Frustrated by widespread corporate graft, he transformed himself into a shareholder activist, using forensic research and the press to expose corruption, and pushing companies to reform. A few years after Mr. Khodorkovsky was arrested, Mr. Browder was deported. The police then raided both his and his law firm’s offices, carting off thousands of documents, which they then used to forge and backdate fake contracts, creating a fictitious liability of $1 billion. Then the officials behind this scheme hired lawyers to “represent” Hermitage, who pleaded “guilty” in court.

In the coup de grâce, they then went to the tax authorities and requested a $230 million tax refund, the largest in Russian history, on the grounds that the fine had caused $1 billion in real profits to disappear. The tax refund was granted in 24 hours — no questions asked.

Meanwhile, Mr. Browder’s lawyers, who reported the crime, were hounded out of the country. All except one, Sergei Magnitsky, who refused to leave Russia and testified against the officials who had pulled off the scheme. Shortly thereafter, he was arrested and put in prison, where he became increasingly ill in the harsh conditions. Nearly a year ago, in need of an operation that the authorities refused to allow, he died. Thus is business now conducted in Russia.

Which brings me back to Mr. Khodorkovsky. The first time around, he and Mr. Lebedev were convicted of tax fraud, a standard ploy in Russia when prosecutors want to put away a businessman for no legitimate reason. This time around, the two men were accused of “embezzling” all of Yukos’s oil between 1998 and 2003, presumably to siphon off the profits for themselves. Part of their defense, however, was that Pricewaterhouse had audited Yukos’s books during those years, and the audits accounted for every drop of oil the company sold.

You can guess what happened next. Pricewaterhouse’s Russia offices were raided. A tax investigation — completely unrelated to Yukos, of course! — was opened. Pricewaterhouse executives were questioned and then questioned again, which is often a lead-up to arrest. And all the while, prosecutors pushed for the accounting firm to disavow 10 years’ worth of Yukos audits.

For several years, Pricewaterhouse held firm. But according to Mr. Khodorkovsky’s supporters, the pressure eventually became too much for the firm’s executives to bear. In June 2007, the accounting firm withdrew its support for the audits it had once conducted with such pride. Soon thereafter the prosecutors brought their case.

Pricewaterhouse adamantly insists that it did not fold under pressure. The prosecutors, the firm claims, uncovered “new information” that made it impossible for the company to stand by its audits. In a statement, the firm said that this information suggested “that Yukos’s former management may have made inaccurate representations to PwC during the course of PwC’s audits.” A spokesman told me the firm’s professional standards gave it no choice but to turn its back on its audits.

But Mr. Khodorkovsky’s lawyers have filed a brief in California (where a former key auditor on the Yukos account now lives) that makes it pretty clear that the “new information” was facts Pricewaterhouse had long known and had deemed immaterial. The former chairman of the Yukos Board of Directors Audit Committee, Jacques Kosciusko-Morizet, a respected French banker, testified at the trial that Pricewaterhouse partners he had spoken to expressed embarrassment at the auditor’s actions.

Mr. Browder, for his part, had once been a substantial investor in Yukos. When I asked him about the accounting firm’s actions, he said, “They should rot in hell for what they did to Khodorkovsky.”

A final note. On Thursday, I called the State Department to ask if the administration had done anything to protest the persecution of Mr. Khodorkovsky and Mr. Lebedev. Although I couldn’t get a definitive answer, it is clear that the United States government has done nothing publicly to protest the trial. Mr. Khodorkovsky appears to be low on the list of human rights priorities for the administration.

He shouldn’t be. It should make no difference that he was once rich and once an oligarch. What matters is that Mikhail Khodorkovsky is fighting for political freedom and the rule of law, putting his life on the line for ideals we claim to hold dear. “He has become a prisoner of conscience, and he deserves the sympathy and help of the world community,” said Elie Wiesel, the Nobel laureate.

Read Mr. Khodorkovsky’s statement. Excerpts are posted with this column on NYTimes.com, and elsewhere online. I don’t think you’ll disagree.

45 responses to “Khodorkovsky exposes Putin’s Barbarism

  1. boo hoo hoo i’m in prison for being a murdering oligarch. boo hoo hoo please america save me. please israel save me.

  2. The savage uncivilized pagan barbarians in the kremlin not only cull the Russian Intelligentsia – they slander them and spit on their graves!

    Magnitsky is rolling over in his grave because the savage uncivilized pagan barbarians in the kremlin will not let him Rest in Peace!

    Russia police: Lawyer who died in jail stole $230 millio

    Today at 15:18 | Associated Press

    MOSCOW(AP) — Russian police say a lawyer who was left to die in jail after exposing police corruption is a suspect in the theft of millions from the state.

    Read more:

    http://www.kyivpost.com/news/russia/detail/90001/#ixzz15NFHf9ZZ

  3. The savage uncivilized pagan barbarians in the kremlin not only cull the Russian Intelligentsia – they slander them and spit on their graves!

    Magnitsky is rolling over in his grave because the savage uncivilized pagan barbarians in the kremlin will not let him Rest in Peace!

    The Financial Times: Russia attempts to deflect fraud blame

    Today at 21:51

    Russia’s interior ministry, accused of complicity in a $230 million tax fraud, is trying to turn the tables on its accuser, who died in prison a year ago on Tuesday.

    The ministry said that Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer jailed by police after he accused them of complicity in the theft, was the mastermind behind the swindle. The attempt to deflect blame comes as the ministry faces unprecedented pressure. Newspapers and websites have published rumours that Rashid Nurgaliev, the minister, is being urged to step down over allegations of police corruption. Read the story here.

    Read more:

    http://www.kyivpost.com/news/russia/detail/90072/#ixzz15Nuout7V

  4. The savage uncivilized pagan barbarians in the kremlin not only cull the Russian Intelligentsia – they slander them and spit on their graves!

    Magnitsky is rolling over in his grave because the savage uncivilized pagan barbarians in the kremlin will not let him Rest in Peace!

    Russian police: Lawyer who died in jail implicated in fraud

    Today at 19:18 | Associated Press

    MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian lawyer who was left to die in jail after claiming that police stole $230 million might have taken the money himself, Russian authorities said Monday, citing new testimony. Supporters scoffed at the claim.

    Read more:

    http://www.kyivpost.com/news/russia/detail/90048/#ixzz15NvycwK3

  5. New York Times: In Russian justice, jury is something to work around
    Today at 07:32 | Ellen Barry MOSCOW — Iosif L. Nagle was watching a final curtain at his small theater company when he saw two young men waiting for him in the audience. They didn’t look like patrons of the arts — something about their faces marked them as law enforcement — and Mr. Nagle bundled up and followed them out into the cold.

    A few minutes later the three of them were talking over glasses of vodka. The subject was the jury that Mr. Nagle sat on, which, after four months of testimony, was leaning toward acquittal on some charges brought by the government.

    The visitors, showing him cards that identified them as security officers, said it would be awful if such a bunch of criminals went unpunished.

    Read more:

    http://www.kyivpost.com/news/russia/detail/90087/#ixzz15Qc6TG2A

    Juries were supposed to change Russia. Introduced amid a raft of liberal reforms in 1993, they shifted power away from the state structure and thrust it into the hands of citizens. Juries introduced real competition into Russia’s courts, granting acquittals in 15 to 20 percent of cases, compared with less than 1 percent in cases decided by judges.

    But the state has never been happy about leaving the fate of high-profile prosecutions in the hands of ordinary people.

    Some juries skeptical of a prosecution have been dismissed on the verge of important verdicts. When they vote to acquit, their verdicts are routinely overturned by higher courts, allowing prosecutors to try for a conviction before another jury. Lawmakers are continuously chipping away at what types of criminal offenses merit a jury trial.

    Meanwhile, the number of jury trials remains so small — around 600 a year out of a total of more than one million — that they vanish into a justice system that in some important ways has changed little since Soviet days.

    “Where money and politics are mixed up,” she said, “there is no justice.”

    Mr. Nagle was similarly outspoken. He complained that “in old age, I have become disappointed in the justice system,” and told a television news crew about being approached by law enforcement and asked to drop out.

    The experience left such a sour taste in his mouth, he said, that he tries not to dwell on it.

    “The law doesn’t work. People in power can do whatever they want with the law,” he said. “It is always unpleasant when some of your illusions are destroyed.”

    The only answer he has gotten is an indirect one.

    Since then, the jurors have kept quiet.

    As for the case against Mr. Izmestiev, it will most likely end with a verdict in a matter of weeks.

    This time the state is taking no chances. A spokesman for Russia’s general prosecutor, Yury Y. Chaika, would not respond to an inquiry from The Times on the matter, saying the case is still pending. But at a ceremony honoring investigators this fall, Mr. Chaika singled out the Izmestiev prosecution as a singular success.

    He has every reason to be confident.

    This spring, while the jurors were playing cards in the jury room, Russia’s Constitutional Court ruled that terrorism cases were too important to be trusted to ordinary citizens — they are, the court reasoned, too vulnerable to intimidation.

    So this time, the verdict will be decided by a panel of three judges.

    • I’ve seen this article in the NY Times this morning, and to me the most outrageous thing about it is that the jury acquittal can be (and often is) overturned on appeal. In other words, if the government decided in advance that an accused person is guilty, then no jury verdict can help. So much for fairness and justice. If Russia has blindly copied some Western idea, such as jury trial, it does not mean any real change has occurred.

      These barbarians don’t even have a notion of double jeopardy

  6. I think you need to reread the 7th amendment. And to check the percent of jury trials among the cases heard in the US (a little above 1%).

    And then, you need to know 70%+ of cases are settled via trivial blackmail: like, “plead guilty stealing that bike, beaner, and get 7 years, or we’ll put you behind bars for 10 in trial”.

    As to Russia, jurys settle about 30% of cases under their jurisdiction.

    Again, 1% in the US, the most criminal society in the world. 30% in Russia.

    • You see, that’s what distinguishes you from normal and decent Russians like Igor. You hatred of the West is so overwhelming that you try to prove that Russian “judicial” system is equal to (or even better than) that in the U.S. or in the West in general. Is that what you are trying to convey here? Well, if so, there is clear evidence to the contrary, and many many Russians say that the biggest problem of their society is injustice and unrestrained oppression by police and courts.

      Well, now let’s turn to your wise observations regarding the U.S. system. As an attorney and a member of the California State Bar for about 25 years, I was amused when I heard something new from you with respect to the Seventh Amendment.

      For you information, the Seventh Amendment is about a right to jury trial in certain civil cases. I tried close to a hundred civil cases to a jury over my career, so trust me I know everything there is to know about it. Seventh Amendment has nothing to do with criminal proceedings, and the Double Jeopardy Clause is spelled out in the Fifth Amendment, not Seventh. Every law student in the U.S. knows the difference, but I guess your instructors at the KGB academy did not teach that well, or maybe you missed that class. And yes, the prohibition of double jeopardy is a basic human and constitutional right. Too bad it’s unknown in Russia.

      Your characterization of pleas and settlements is just absurdly grotesque. You really have no idea what you are talking about. I can teach you about it if you care to learn. If not, fine, remain what you are

      • RV, I’m tired of talking to you.

        If your judicial system is better, than why you have the highest rate of incarcerated people – in the world?

        http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/54/US_incarceration_timeline-clean.svg

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_incarceration_rate#Incarceration_rates

        I mean, what does your superior judicial system does at all, if it prevents crimes worse than any other judicial system in the world?

        In Finland they have 10+ times less incarcerated per 100,000 population. Do you believe your judiciary system is still superior?

        Do you ever question yourself why at all Russian like me (taking into account all our recent history) may rightfully tell you “we in Russia have less criminals than you do”?

        • Oh Dtard, your justice system is a failure because criminals run your country.

          Things that would get you landed in prison in the US (like accepting bribes, murdering journalists, raping your wife etc) are a normal and accepted part of the foul barbaric culture that you are from.

          • Manfred Steifschwanz

            Yankee drivel
            Void and trivial

            For foul, barbaric culture — enjoy any of your vile TV channels, dunghead. Or ask the peoples of the world to what extent they appreciate “The Indispensable People”. Yankistan’s military expenditure for permanent wars worldwide speaks for itself, if not to a USian. Ergo: National socialism is outright incompatible with plain reason, let alone decency.

            LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS:

            Any thinking person would believe that the phrase “void and trival” applies to Russia, not the most powerful and wealthy nation on the planet, you ignorant jackass. Your psychotic braying only convinces people that the opposite of what you say is true. And that you are very, very jealous indeed.

        • Oh and let us not forget that incestual rape and cannibalism are not considered crimes in Russia.

          • Manfred Steifschwanz

            Shut your mouth, idiot. Looting other peoples’ natural resources creating misery, mayhem, despair, and want throughout the world by courtesy of US imperialism is just fine, supposedly.

            • Hmmm, well Russia does a fair amount of looting of other peoples natural resources, of course the Russians just exterminate the local indigenous population and then claim the land “has always been an inseparable part of (whore)mother Russia”

              Your hypocrisy is all to evident soft-on.

              • Andrew, name one country robbed by Russia. Name one.

                • Well lets see, there is the mountain of Manganese stolen from Georgia during the soviet period, then there is all the oil and gas that rightly belongs to the natives of Siberia (most of whom as a result of Russian brotherly friendship are now in danger of total extinction):

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indigenous_peoples_of_Siberia

                  • You’re pathetic fool.

                    “Stolen a mountain of marganese”:)

                    During the Soviet period, every year Georgians consumed way more per capita, than they produced. This meand Russians and Ukrainians actually gave their incomes to feed the ever-hungry, lazy, uneducated Georgians.

                    Russians built all the power plants, all factories, all roads you have (had before 1990). And, under Soviet rule, your own people wanted to live in Georgia, now after the 1990 they started to even central Georgian regions – 20% of your population fled, idiot.

                    All that Russians built was destroyed during the 20 years of your pathetic self-governance. Income falled dramatically – to 40USD per month for half of your labour force. You have a parliament with 2 deputies not directly controlled by Saakashvili.

                    To sum up, you are a corrupted, poverty-ridden, dictatorship-ruled black hole that even has not ever seen a peaceful transition of supreme power from one president to another during the last 20 years.

                    Now get away.

                    • LOL, we always here this drivel from Russian imperialist subhumans such as yourself, but we never see any evidence.

                      Of course expecting honesty from a Russian is like expecting the sun to rise in the west.

                      Funnily enough, the Georgians had the highest per capita number of university graduates in the USSR, and were over represented in medicine, engineering, and many other fields.

                      BTW, you also forget to mention that Russia suffered a far worse loss of population than Georgia over the last few years, and a similar precipitous drop in incomes over the same period, this without the benefit of Russian sponsored civil wars, a Russian economic blockade, etc etc etc.

                      Now the Georgian economy is growing very quickly, they have (unlike you sub simians) from their mistakes, and will be far better off than the average RuSSian.

                    • Oh and its very funny to hear an idiot like you accuse the Georgians of being corrupt.

                      Look at the world rankings on the Corruptions perception index:

                      No. 68 Georgia 3.8
                      No. 154 Russia 2.1

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corruption_Perceptions_Index

                      Then there are the freedom indexes:

                      Freedom House – Economic Freedom – Press Freedom – Democratic Rating

                      Georgia partly free mostly free noticeable problems hybrid regime

                      Russia not free mostly unfree very serious situation hybrid regime

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_freedom_indices

                      Note to you Dtard, Georgia is a much cleaner place than that toilet you call Russia.

        • I am still waiting for explanation why were you talking about Seventh Amendment. I was not discussing incarceration rates, etc. All was saying that normal countries provide guarantees against double jeopardy. Your country is not among them.

          If you really want to know, I even agree with you that our rates of incarceration are unacceptably high, but it has nothing to do with the judicial system which does not write laws. The main reason is too low tolerance of crime, and too severe drug laws. So?

          • Unacceptably high? Higher than that of Rwanda? It’s not “unacceptably high”, it’s a nightmare.

            And, btw, it also relates to the georgian idiot trying to disprove what I say above – under your control, incarceration rates in georgia raised five times under Saakashvili.

            @”The main reason is too low tolerance of crime, and too severe drug laws. So?” Like, in Europe, a region with absolutely comparable income per capita, they have “too soft” drug laws? Too high tolerance for crimes? Like, Europe is a more criminal region, compared to the US? Come on.

            @I am still waiting for explanation why were you talking about Seventh Amendment.

            Jury decisions may be appealed – and overruled – both in your country and mine. 7th provides for such possibility in civil causes. But even in criminal cases, jury’s aquittal decision may be overruled – in case they find the jury was bribed/ intimidated. Both in your country and mine.

            • Actually Europe does in general have very soft laws on drugs and prostitution.

              Most countries in western Europe, most notably Holland, treat possession of small amounts of narcotics for personal use as misdemeanors rather than serious crimes.

              The majority of the increase in prison population in Georgia comes from the government actually prosecuting people for demanding bribes, drug smuggling, and other crimes that were tolerated when Georgia was under Russian influence.

              You see, unlike yourself and your fellow corrupt ignorant racist and generally worthless fellow Russians, the Georgians want to build a society where rule of law and respect for human rights are central.

              Of course, expecting a Russian to understand this is a waste of time, so Dtard, just sit in the filth that is Russia and be happy.

              • @Georgians want to build a society where rule of law and respect for human rights are central

                Exactly, sunshine, that’s why they (now) have 10 times more incarcerated than an average European country.

                Andrew, you’re a pathetic idiot fooled by Imedi.

                • And you are a pathetic idiot fooled by RTV.

                  BTW meataxe, I am not Georgian, but I do find them to be far superior to Russians in every positive aspect of humanity.

                  And you can’t clean up the legacy of 200 years of Russian filth and corruption without incarcerating those who break laws.

                  BTW Dtard, here are the incarceration figures per 100,000:

                  1. United States of America 760
                  4. Russian Federation 588
                  11. Georgia 415
                  76. Spain 162
                  86. UK Scotland 153
                  87. UK England Wales 152
                  132. Netherlands 100
                  136. France 96
                  145. Germany 88

                  So Georgia is 2.56 times the rate of Spain, and 4.72 times the rate of Germany.

                  Not 10 times the average of Europe you idiot.

                  And once again, those being imprisoned are being done so under anti-corruption laws, something you Russian vermin could take a lesson from, except you would have to imprison over half your country.

                  Whereas in Russia you imprison anyone with a conscience, if you don’t just murder them first.

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_incarceration_rate

                  • From your post above:
                    11. Georgia 415

                    From the source you provide:
                    6 Georgia 528

                    You just don’t understand the level of dementia in your posts, don’t you?

                    Now here are some real numbers for you:
                    2009: #6 Georgia 528
                    2007: #26 Georgia 276
                    2003: #59 Georgia 148

                    You are doing it wrong, stupid.

            • In the United States, a jury verdict acquitting a defendant in a criminal case cannot be appealed by the prosecution and can NEVER BE OVERTURNED. Regardless of whether the jury followed the law, was bribed or intimidated or whatever else you can think of. Double jeopardy clause of the fifth amendment prevents this.

              Seventh amendment, again, just preserves a right yo jury trial in certain civil cases, as that right existed before Bill of Rights was adopted. It has nothing to do with appeals or criminal matters, etc.

              Don’t make things up and just listen when you don’t know anything about the subject.

              And yes, in Europe they don’t jail people for a lot of drug related offences, for which our policy is much more severe. I think we are wrong about that and should follow Europe by changing our policies too. Our jails are full of non-violent offenders (including drug possessors, petty thieves, parol violators, prostitutes, “three-strikers” etc.) that should be punished by methods other than imprisonment

              We also have very highly trained crime detection organizations, so perhaps they solve more crimes than in many other countries.

              • RV, the double jeopardy rule was rejected in several cases of intimidation/ fraud. E.g. People v. Aleman.

                7th explicitly states the jury’s decision for civil law cases may be overrun by another court according to the civil law.

                As to Europe, your words about drug-related crimes don’t explain anything – the gap between Europe and the US is too big. And they don’t explain why blacks go to jail 4 times more often, compared to white non-hispanics. And of course in Europe police does not solve less crimes than in the US.

                • I’ll explain once again: see, if you think you’ve got 700+ where Finns have got 30-something because of too much petty criminals, – people in jail on small terms won’t contribute much to the rate. Because the longer the term is, the more they add to the rate.

                  I.e. the US has not just 20 times more criminals per 100,000 population. Compared to Finns, the US punishes it’s population 20 times worse.

          • @the judicial system which does not write laws

            that was brilliant. tell this to any federal judge and see his reaction.

            • Federal judges do not write laws regarding what is or is not a criminally punishable offence.

              • Federal judges create precedents. Very well amounts to more than just writing laws in the US.

                • They don’t create precedents that would lead to increased number of prisoners. Please refrain from commenting on what you know nothing about

                  • They create precedents, RV. You told me “the judicial system […] does not write laws”.

                    In responce, I said exactly what I said, “Federal judges create precedents”, – and this was not about increased number of prisoners, but about j.s. directly influencing the law implementation.

                    Please refrain from commenting on my words before understanding what they mean.

                    • But Dtard, you lied when you said the Judges wrote laws.

                      They don’t. They are responsible for the implementation of the law, but not for writing it.

                    • @But Dtard, you lied when you said the Judges wrote laws.

                      Andrew, you’re an idiot.

                      I never said the US federal judges write laws.

  7. Stop lying Dimitry. You absolutely said the federal judges wrote laws. See you comment on 11/18 at 10:28 AM, when in response to my comment that the judicial system was not responsible for the incarceration rate because it does not write law, you gave this sarcastic response: “that was brilliant. tell this to any federal judge and see his reaction.” You own words, not Andrew’s or anybody else’s.

    Again, not only are you ignorant about these matters, you lie, lie and lie once more.

    • RV, I’m surprised you decided to move Andrew-like and try to catch me on some stupid phrase I never said. Let me assure you, I very well remember what I say, and I normally very well understand what and why I say.

      And I never said judges write laws. I said what they do in the US amounts to *more than writing laws*, setting law-implementation practice – and not, of course, that they *write* laws.

      I mean, don’t get too emotional, don’t get too Andrew-like, even if you dislike me. Reread this post in calm mood and you’ll see I never said such BS as “US judges write laws”.

      But let’s return to People v. Aleman instead – did they violate the double jeopardy there, or what was it?

      • Aleman is a well known case and they held that no jeopardy attached during the original trial. It had a lot to do with the fact the the original case was tried to bench, not jury. I think Aleman was wrongly decided, but whether it was or was not, the double jeopardy protection stands.

        I cannot really discuss this with you. It’s off the topic, and of course one needs to have legal training to understand all this

        • Cool. I never thought double jeopardy only relates to jury verdicts, or that law matters may only be understood by certified lawyers. But if you claim so, I won’t argue.

          Asd to on-topic, please just denounce your words about me lying by claiming judges write laws. That would be more than enough to let me know you’re not another Andrew.

          • Double jeopardy applies to both jury and bench trials, but Aleman was a unique case, an aberration of sorts, and it was held there that no jeopardy was attached in the first trial. Still, I think it was wrongly decided, which does happen.

            And yes, you are not in a position to understand that, at least, not fully, no offence meant. You don’t expect me, as a layman, to comment on how the kidney stone removal has to be done by a urological surgeon. Law is just as complex. To say nothing that you are foreigner. Even lawyers, if they are foreign ones, would have difficulties understanding that. You have to know how the society as a whole works, too.

            Well, and as for you request to withdraw my characterization of your words as a lie, fine. I withdraw that. But you did put in the following comment:

            @the judicial system which does not write laws

            that was brilliant. tell this to any federal judge and see his reaction.

            I give you the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps, you did not mean for this remark to come across the way it did.

            • My, of course I don’t think judges write laws – there’s no need to doubt or anything. I know who wrtites laws.

              As to “knowing how the society works” – most people criticising Russia here have got no clue even on how many people live now in Russia, not to say history and culture of the country. Still they do criticise the country.

              • I said one needs to know how the country works only in the context of one’s ability to understand legal system

                • RV, quite a theoretical question, and an off-topic.

                  What do you think, may one lie by not telling something? Or not showing something he/ she should have shown in a case this thing could be shown at all?

                  To explain, if a girl is married and doesn’t wear a ring some day specifically to not upset her non-married colledge friend, would this amount to a lie, to an deliberate disinformation?

                  • Yes, a deliberate concealment of some material facts, can be called a lie, depending on circumstances. In fact, it is a very common situation in civil (and often even criminal) fraud lawsuits. The term misrepresentation is also frequently used. Example. In a real estate transaction a seller knows of some material defect of the house, but skilfully hides it, and then sells the house. The buyer discovers is later. The value of the house plummets. The buyer has a cause of action for fraud and can sue, with many potential kinds of remedies available to him. A very very typical scenario.

                    But with that girl you mention, I don’t think it’s a lie. Or maybe it’s a “white lie.” She did not intend any harm, and no harm has in fact ensued because she did not wear her wedding ring. No harm, no consequences.

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