Saturday, March 14, 2015

Things That Are Illegal Only When Poor People Do Them

If poor people stopped working, this country would come to a screeching halt.  Nothing that really needs to get done - the cooking, the cleaning, the caretaking, the cashiering - would happen, and that would keep anything else from getting done.

If rich people stopped working, nothing would change.  Because rich people don't work.  They just scheme new ways to steal all the money from working people.

Susie Madrak at Crooks and Liars:

Towns will do anything to harass homeless people now. This is one of the more egregious examples I've seen, taking place in Portland, Oregon:
This past July, a homeless Portland woman was charged with third-degree theft when she plugged her cellphone charger into an outlet on a sidewalk planter box in Old Town.
Cases in which people are charged with theft for plugging electronic devices into private outlets are uncommon, but defense attorneys say they’re another example of resources wasted for frivolous offenses.
In this case, the theft was first reported by Portland Patrol Inc., and two Portland police officers followed up to issue the woman and her co-defendant, a homeless man who was also charging his cellphone at the planter box outlet, citations to appear in court for third-degree theft of services — a Class C misdemeanor.
According to the Electrical Research Institute, it costs about 25 cents a year to charge the average mobile phone. If the phone in this scenario had gone from zero charge to full charge, the cost would have amounted to mere fractions of a penny.
“Jackie,” (who did not want her real name used), says she was shocked when four uniformed officers all agreed her actions warranted not only their response, but also charges and a court summons.
Jackie has never been convicted of a crime. If this charge led to a conviction, it would mean the difference between checking “no” or “yes” to questions about criminal history on a job or housing application.
Her attorney, Metropolitan Public Defender Stacy Du Clos, says Jackie’s main concern at the time was how this pending case might hurt her chances of getting a roof over her head – she’s homeless and on several waiting lists for affordable housing units.
Additionally, a theft charge is more likely to be associated with shoplifting or taking personal property, not plugging a charger into an electrical outlet. Jackie says the charge would give the wrong impression of what she had done, should someone see her record.
“It’s just my sense of right and wrong, and it just feels so damn wrong,” says Jackie.

"Jackie" has muscular dystrophy and is living on the street while waiting for a housing slot to open up. What a great country we are.

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