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  •  as I said above (0+ / 0-)

    It is possible to knowingly be in a protected area, but not be there willingly.

    If police or federal agents shove, corral, or otherwise kettle protestors in to an area that is off limits, it could be argued that they are there knowingly, but not willingly.

    However, grain of salt, I have no experience in the legal field, and this is just an armchair lawyering on my part.

    •  No, because that would be an absurd (4+ / 0-)

      consequence if you interpreted it that way.  Courts do not interpret laws in ways that lead to absurd consequences.  

      Read this again:

      (1) knowingly enters or remains in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority to do so;
      If federal agents force you into an area, you haven't "knowingly entered" -- you have been forced into.  If federal agents prevent you from leaving, you haven't "knowingly remained," you have been detained.  To say federal agents can force you to commit a crime is an absurd consequence.  I can't imagine a criminal conviction under this statute if federal agents forced you into a restricted area and forced you to remain there.

      Now, if you knowingly enter into the area (that can be proven if, for example, you jump a barricade), then you've violated the statute with that act alone (the statute requires knowingly entering OR knowingly remaining, not necessarily both) and they don't have to let you leave because you've already violated the statute.  Or, if you didn't "knowingly" go into the area (like if it wasn't clearly marked, and there were not barricades) and they tell you to leave, and you don't, THEN all bets are off -- you've violated the statute. They don't have to give you a second chance.  You don't have a right to stay and argue with them.  If you don't immediately leave upon being told, you've violated the statute and they can detain you for that.  

      Not would your interpretation of this statute lead to what the law calls "absurd consequences," but the first thing any law student learns in criminal law is that, in order for ANY crime to be committed, there has to be what the law calls "mens rea"  -- a "guilty mind."  In simple terms, you can't be convicted of a crime if you literally were forced into it.  

      •  I'm not so sure about this. (0+ / 0-)
        Courts do not interpret laws in ways that lead to absurd consequences.  
        Citizens United seems pretty absurd to me, and plenty of other people.
      •  How about if a crowd does not allow you to leave (1+ / 0-)
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        Fiddlegirl

        In a real-life protest (not taking place in Hypothetica) a person's presence within a protest group might or might not mean they were part of the protest.

        Their exit from that location may also be hindered, delayed or prevented by the circumstances including the size and reaction of the crowd or the herding techniques being used by law enforcement.  

        And the burden of proving that an individual has met the standards of knowledge and itent being on the goverment gives protection both to individuals.

        Lowering the requisite standard for intent or knowledge exposes individuals to greater risk and gives greater power to the authorities both to prosecute and pre-emptively intimidate.  

        In a small but clear way, this bill lowers that standard for a conviction under this law.

        In black and white hypotheticals, the fine distinctions between 'willingly' and 'knowingly' may not matter.

        Which is possibly why you often use those hypotheticals.

        In the gray zones where knowledge, intent and actions are more difficult to categorize and prove, the differences between those standards (which you pretend do not exist but that the Supreme Court has repeatedly held to exist) come into play.

        And the gray zones will not be populated by those attempting to assassinate the President by jumping over a fence or barricade guarded by Secret Service agents.

        It will more likely be populated by protestors who may be close to, on or across some line or boundary where their actions, knowledge and intent will become the difference between their excercise of free speech and facing a term in prison.  

        The time has come to put the "Occ" in "DemOCCracy". Support (or create) the "Occupy" movement near you. Ordinary Citizens Count in this extraordinary Democcracy.

        by Into The Woods on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 12:53:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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