Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Legal confusion

That is the problem today. Legal confusion over whether your actions are legal or illegal. With the government in Washington passing laws left and right the number of laws we live under keep growing, and growing. With that comes the worry that an activity one day may become a felony the next. With the old "ignorance of the law is no excuse" more and more people find themselves looking down the barrel of a handgun.

So into this confusion and chaos falls a whole group of people. Even town board members were involved in this heinous criminal activity.
Several Palmer Lake residents say Tuesday night's gambling bust at Guadala Jarra restaurant was poorly handled and unnecessary.

Restaurant owner Jeff Hulsmann faces felony and misdemeanor charges for allegedly hosting gambling activity in a licensed liquor establishment and on suspicion of professional gambling, has hired an attorney. He maintains his innocence.

Town board member Trish Flake, who was served a misdemeanor summons for suspicion of professional gambling, said none of the 24 people arrested during the police raid thought they were engaged in illegal activity. They were among 81 members of a poker club playing at the restaurant that night.

"It was broad daylight right by the front door," she said. "I think what hasn't been reported is the aggressiveness of it. They came in with guns drawn, lasers trained on people's heads. They swarmed in screaming, "Put your hands over your face and don't move." I don't think I've ever been that frightened in my life."

Palmer Lake Police Chief Dale Smith defended the tactics: "It's standard habit and practice for these kinds of situations."
Guns pointed at heads is not a good way to "serve and protect" in my view.

So here is where it gets into the legal flood aspect. The raid was carried out by officers from the Colorado Springs Metro Vice, Narcotics and Intelligence Unit. Now Palmer Lake is a small 2000 person town where everyone knows everyone. So why did the Colorado springs vice get involved?
"Why in the world didn't our police chief go down there months ago and say, "Jeff, this doesn't look like the right thing here. Why don't you knock it off?" he said. "We're a small town. Everybody knows everybody."

Smith said he's often warned people they were breaking the law instead of arresting them. But this was a different matter.

"Normally, we don't give warnings for felonies," he said, adding he abandoned the small-town approach because the case was complex.

"We were uncertain whether it was legal or not," he said. "That's why we referred it to state liquor enforcement."
I like how he says that. "we don't give warnings for felonies" but then he admits he did not even know if it was a crime. But with modern laws damn near everything is a felony.

If the police are not even sure if it is a crime then the laws are horribly written and simply bad. Everyday you have laws being passed, and then there are the regulations. They are not even voted on in most cases. Government agencies help establish regulations that have full force of law behind them.

Oh by the way. The major crime seemed to be the 10 or 15 dollars they put up at the beginning of the night for the winners pot. What hardened criminals Colorado produces. The evil "10-15 dollar gang"

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