There’s much talk of reforming the criminal justice system: libertarian-ish GOP presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul is making the unfairness of sentences that have a disparate impact on minorities a major theme of his campaign, which is all to the good.
• But what about a system that has a disparate impact on the innocent?
I’ll bet you didn’t know you can be prosecuted on charges of aiding and abetting “terrorism” for having the wrong books in your library.
Yes, it’s true, as Marcus Dwayne Robertson of Florida found out. Arrested for gun possession and tax evasion – two victimless crimes in the libertarian law book – prosecutors sought to slap him with “terrorism” charges, based on his possession of certain apparently forbidden books.
With 10,000 e-books on Robertson’s computer, prosecutors homed in on 20 or so that not only failed to meet their strict literary standards but also – they claimed – connected him in some vague way to terrorist organizations. Robertson, known as Abu Taubah, is an Islamic scholar, and there was never any evidence introduced that showed the validity of such a connection. It was just a gratuitous effort to keep him in jail and throw away the key. But this