Tag Archives: Fifth Amendment

Cosby walks on a technicality

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

When word came out today that Bill Cosby’s sexual assault conviction had been overturned, my thoughts turned immediately to a sign I once saw way down yonder in the office of the Liberty County, Texas, district attorney.

It spoke to the desire to see a conviction “upheld on a technicality.”

Of course, that never happens. Technicalities usually result in situations such as what happened today.

Cosby is going home after serving two years of a sentence in which he was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman after giving her high-powered drugs. The technicality? The Pennsylvania Supreme Court said Cosby was denied due process because a prosecuting attorney had said there was insufficient evidence to bring the case to trial. That prosecutor left, was replaced by someone else, who then brought the case to a trial that produced a conviction for the still-disgraced former comic and film/TV icon.

Bill Cosby was denied his constitutional Fifth Amendment guarantee against self-incrimination, the court said in its 79-page opinion.

Bill Cosby Released From Prison After Sexual Assault Conviction Overturned (msn.com)

Two things about this case deserve brief mention.

One is that a conviction reversal involving someone with the kind of celebrity status as Bill Cosby has pushed most of the other grim news aside; the nation now is going to talk about Cosby rather than talking about other stuff, such as phony election theft and related matters.

The other thing is that Bill Cosby is — in many Americans’ eyes — still a convicted sexual assailant despite the court’s decision to overturn the conviction. to my way of thinking, the legal technicality that sprung Cosby loose from the slammer does not wipe away what a trial jury concluded.

How much will it cost, governor?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The individual who preceded Joe Biden as president of the United States used to proclaim that “Mexico is going to pay for the wall.”

It didn’t happen. It won’t happen. Not ever.

Now we have the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, declaring his intention to build a wall along the state’s lengthy border with Mexico. He isn’t making the same preposterous claim that the ex-POTUS did. However, we need some specifics on this matter if it manages to survive the expected challenges to whether it is even constitutional for a state to assume a federal responsibility.

Texas border wall may not be feasible, or even legal | The Texas Tribune

How much will it cost, Gov. Abbott?

You see, the U.S. Constitution requires in the Fifth Amendment that the government provide “just compensation” for any private property seized for public use. Texas’s share of public land comprises a tiny fraction of its total land mass along the border, which will require the state to pay a whole lot of money it takes from private ownership. So, we have that expense.

As for the rest of the price tag, which would be bound to skyrocket as the state grapples with ways to erect a secure border, well, we haven’t heard a word from Gov. Abbott on how much that might cost you and me.

The state’s economy happens to be performing quite well in the wake of this COVID pandemic. However, we shouldn’t be asked to spend an unspecified amount of money to seal off our southern border from “hordes of criminals” who, in my view, do not exist.

Does the president still think invoking Fifth means guilt?

Donald J. Trump was simply outraged during the 2016 presidential campaign about Hillary Clinton’s aides invoking their constitutional protection against self-incrimination.

Doing so, he said at the time, meant they likely were “guilty as hell” of committing a crime.


The issue had to do with Clinton’s e-mail controversy and other matters. Trump was running against Hillary for the presidency, which meant that such activity just made his case for him.

He is now the president. One of his former trusted aides, ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn, is invoking his Fifth Amendment rights. He has refused to answer a Senate Intelligence Committee subpoena. He has a lot of questions to answer about his relationship with the Russian government and whether he allegedly worked with the Russians to influence the 2016 election.

Flynn was fired 24 days into his new job.

Does the president still think Flynn’s decision to invoke the Fifth mean he is “guilty as hell” of a crime? Well, do you, Mr. President?

How did The Wall become our responsibility?

Hey, didn’t Donald John Trump vow, declare it a lead-pipe cinch that Mexico would pay for a “big, beautiful wall” along the border between that country and the United States of America?

Didn’t he say he would force Mexico to foot the bill because, after all, those criminals and terrorists were “flooding” the country through our southern neighbor?

He got into an immediate war of words with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto after taking office this past January. Why? Pena Nieto said “no way” would his country spend a nickel to pay for the wall.

Here we are, nearly 100 days into the Trump administration’s existence. The wall is now central to a domestic political dispute — in the United States. The federal government might shut down if Congress cannot come up with a plan to stick American taxpayers with the bill to build a wall that (a) won’t work and (b) will blow up the annual budget deficit.

What’s the cost of this boondoggle? $20 billion to $25 billion? For starters?

Congress and the president are squabbling over whether to approve one of those “continuing resolutions” that would fund the government for the short term. Meanwhile, that damn wall is still being negotiated between Republican congressional leaders and the Republican who now sits (once in a while) in the Oval Office.

If there is a more impractical, illogical and ill-conceived idea than building such a barrier between two ostensibly “friendly” nations, then someone will have tell me.

A huge portion of the U.S.-Mexico border happens to be along a mighty river — the Rio Grande — that separates Texas from Mexico. How in the name of civil engineering does the president build the wall along that border? How does the president propose to seize all that private land without adding to the already-enormous cost? The U.S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment requires “just compensation” for any “private land taken for public use.”

Well, why quibble over the small stuff?

The very notion of this wall becoming central to this political dispute simply illustrates yet another blind and thoughtless campaign promise the president cannot keep.

And if he made that promise knowing that he couldn’t fulfill it, isn’t that just another flat-out, bald-faced lie?