Sunday, January 30, 2011

These should be rights, not crimes

In California and some other states, there are procedures for kids to attend public schools outside their home school districts. It is called public school choice, and it ought to be a constitutional right. Apparently it is a crime in Ohio:
An Akron woman was sentenced to 10 days in the Summit County Jail, placed on three years of probation and ordered to perform community service after being convicted of falsifying residency records so that her two children could attend Copley-Fairlawn schools. ...

After seven hours of deliberations, a jury convicted her late Saturday of two counts of tampering with records.

While her two girls were registered as living with her father in Copley Township within the Copley school district, prosecutors maintained that they actually were living with Williams-Bolar on Hartford Avenue in Akron, in subsidized housing provided by the Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority. ...

On the tampering conviction, Cosgrove gave Williams-Bolar the maximum prison sentence — five years — for each of the two charges, with the sentences to run concurrently.
I doubt that the jury was told that the mom could get ten years in prison for sending her kids to a better school.

Maybe the mom should be prosecuted for having two kids she cannot support, cutting their dad out of their lives, and living off welfare, but school choice should be a right, not a crime.

In nearly all states it is legal to record govt agents who are threatening your liberty. This ought to be a constitutional right also. But apparently it is a crime with a 5-year prison term in Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland:
Ms. Moore, whose trial is scheduled for Feb. 7 in Cook County Criminal Court, is accused of using her Blackberry to record two Internal Affairs investigators who spoke to her inside Police Headquarters while she filed a sexual harassment complaint last August against another police officer. Mr. Drew was charged with using a digital recorder to capture his Dec. 2, 2009, arrest for selling art without a permit on North State Street in the Loop. Mr. Drew said his trial date was April 4.

Both cases illustrate the increasingly busy and confusing intersection of technology and the law, public space and private.
No, this is not confusing. There are probably 100M Americans who have these devices and who see nothing wrong with recording cops.

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