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The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted by the UN in 1948
as a response to the Nazi holocaust and to set a standard by which the human rights
activities of all nations, rich and poor alike, are to be measured.
as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every
individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive
by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive
measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created
equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain
unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the
pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments
are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the
consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of
Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of
Government, laying its foundation on such principles and
organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall deem most
likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."
The Drug War has created Draconian prison sentences and asset forfeitures that are
disproportionate to the offense. Federal mandatory minimum sentences put first-time,
nonviolent, low-level drug offenders in prison for five, 10, 20 years or even life, without
parole - often for longer terms than violent criminals convicted of murder, rape or robbery,
felons who are eligible for parole. Urine testing without probable cause is an insidious
example of degrading treatment that has become a familiar routine in American schools and
the corporate work place.
hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the
determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal
charge against him."
The Constitution guarantees a jury trial, both in criminal cases (Sixth Amendment) and in common law civil suits involving a value over $20 (Seventh Amendment).
Sentencing guidelines and mandatory minimum penalty laws tie judges hands when it comes
to dispensing justice. Physical evidence is replaced with exaggerated estimates. In a group
offense, each person is liable for the whole amount instead of their actual level of
involvement. Back room plea bargaining has replaced public hearings. Furthermore, under
federal civil asset forfeiture law, a person's entire life savings can be seized, without a prior
hearing, and without even being charged with a crime. If the property has a value of less than
$500,000 it can be forfeited administratively, without any judicial proceedings unless the
owner posts a cost bond. Even if he pays the cost bond, the owner can still be deprived of the right to a jury trial through summary judgment, if the judge is not satisfied with the amount of proof he submits on paper. Since most judges have come up the ranks as hard-nosed
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