Gut Rumbles

September 21, 2005

bad use of law

When the RICO act was passed in 1970, I didn't like the broad powers it granted government. I wondered how long it would take for government and smart lawyers to start abusing that power.

It didn't take long.

In the 1980's, however, civil lawyers noticed section 1964(c) of the RICO Act, which allows civil claims to be brought by any person injured in their business or property by reason of a RICO violation. Any person who succeeded in establishing a civil RICO claim would automatically receive judgment in the amount of three times their actual damages and would be awarded their costs and attorneys' fees. The financial windfall available under RICO inspired the creativity of lawyers across the nation, and by the late 1980's, RICO was a (if not the most) commonly asserted claim in federal court. Everyone was trying to depict civil claims, such as common law fraud, product defect, and breach of contract as criminal wrongdoing, which would in turn enable the filing of a civil RICO action.

Ask me again why I don't like the Homeland Security Act.

That's a long-winded lead-in to this post. This is where law becomes ridiculous to me. I totally agree with what the authorities are doing, but using the RICO Act as justification? Surely, they could have done better than that.

Well, you work with the tools you have. And if we don't find some way to tighten our borders, we're headed for dire straits.


How does it go? " When you have a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail."

The way I see it there is a use for lawyers, it's called bait.

Posted by: Gmac on September 22, 2005 06:59 AM

I don't like it either. It is a situation where one part of government acts as if they have beeb calf roped and pegged and another part of government is forced to act. I have long advocated going after those who hire illegals as the means for stopping illegal immigration. However, a small fine and a repremand wil not do much to persuade the employers to cease and desist. But when it starts costing them their businesses and a few yars in the slammer others should get the hint that it just ain't worth it. No jobs =no reason to cross the border to look for a job. Then maybe Mexico and the USA government can get serious about a legal guest worker program.

Posted by: GUYK on September 22, 2005 09:14 AM

I think you're right, Guy. How long will they keep allowing this to go on? 20 years ago when I was a waitress at a Greek restaurant, nearly all of the kitchen staff were illegal immigrants. They pretended not to know any english, they were rude, they constantly leered at the waitresses, and they would live 15-20 of them in a 1 bedroom apartment (and keep brining more in). Once in a while immigration would raid their apartments and the restaurant owners would lose almost all their kitchen help at once, but as far as I could tell it only bothered them until they could hire some more illegals to replace them.

Posted by: Jane on September 22, 2005 01:42 PM
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