Saturday, August 02, 2008
I recently came across this interesting article describing how a group of black criminal defendants in Baltimore have begun using the “flesh and blood” defense in their trial. This defensive legal technique, too complicated to fully describe here, holds that when the federal government charges you with a crime, they are actually charging a “straw man” legal representation of yourself. If you assert your rights as a real flesh and blood man, the government can no longer hold you. Of course, this is all a bunch of horsesh*t, as the federal judge presiding over the case has told the accused many times. What is truly ironic here is that the flesh and blood defense was originally concocted by white supremacists in the 1960’s, as is based on the idea that the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution is invalid. If that is the case, according to the defendant’s arguments, the federal government has no right to charge them with crimes that did not occur on federal property. Apparently, white power prisoners in the Maryland prison system told some of their black counterparts about the theory. At that point, black prisoners began using the defense. As the judge in this case has pointed out, if the 14th Amendment is invalid, then the defendants may have no rights at all under the law, as that was the amendment that declared no person would be denied their legal rights on account of their race. Silly or not, the defendants’ arguments have appear to have had some effect. Rather than deal with all of the complications this defense would bring to the death penalty phase of a trial, prosecutors have decided not to seek the capital punishment, and are instead asking for sentences of life without parole.