Thursday, September 22, 2011

Guilty, Until Proven Innocent!

September 20, 2011
The story going around is that the “Feds” have come!  Well, that is the truth straight from the “coffee shop.”  Yeah, well, as the story goes the Feds are handing out tickets right and left at Florence, IL and other places for farmers not having DOT (Dept of Transportation) “numbers.”  The Feds cannot be involved unless there is some connection that has to do with “interstate and foreign commerce” (I&FC).  The Feds say, “The farmer might, or could reasonably suspect that his grain could be shipped out of Illinois therefore he comes under the definition of I&FC. 
Now if I sell my car to somebody and it travels across a state line, am I involved in I&FC?  Do I need a federal permit?  Do I need license from the Federal government to transact that deal because I should have suspected that it might cross the state line?  I don’t think so.  If I sell my coat at the yard sale and my old deer stand or my “you name it property” to an out of state hunter and he hauls it across the line, and I further “reasonably suspected” that it might be carried across the ‘line;’ do I need some kind of federal permit because I suspected that the purchaser might reasonably be expected to take the item across the state line?  I don’t think so.
My son, Carson, is quite the goose hunter.  Now if the federal game warden were to find in his possession one too many geese, the officer might have some evidence to prove that he had indeed exceeded the limit.  However to use the alleged DOT reasoning; if the officer were to see Carson had 4 rounds of ammo and the limit was 2 geese then officer could write Carson because he might or could be expected to shoot more than 2 geese, therefore he would write him a ticket for exceeding the limit.  It would then be up to Carson to try to prove that he would not have exceeded his limit on geese.  If he couldn’t prove that he would not have exceeded the limit then he would be guilty and have to pay the fine.
The truth is, our farmer’s grain might just as easily be used right here in Illinois.  Now according to Mrs. Helen Harmon, my American History teacher and my civics teacher Mr. Jim Sanderson, in the US of A a person is innocent until proven guilty.  So I suspect that if I am accused of intentionally and wantonly engaging in I&FC that the burden of proof should be on the Feds.  Perhaps someone could help me with my line of reasoning.  Maybe even the Feds who are running around allegedly terrorizing the farmers could explain how the burden of proof suddenly shifted from them to the farmer.
Shouldn’t the Feds have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that my grain crossed the line into I&FC commerce? 
It would appear to me based on an unusual thought process, common sense, that the farmer is selling his private property to someone else, and once that transaction is complete, the property now belongs to the purchaser, and the new owner assumes the responsibility for where the grain moves to from there.
One other argument that seems to be made is that the farmer might be guilty of intrastate commerce if he is involved in a share crop agreement.  This reasoning is faulty as well if you realize that the farmer has all care and custody of the crop.  This is just another form of rental agreement in which the landowner leases his land and paid based on production.  In other words if the crop makes 200 bushel the landowner gets half the proceeds as rent either in kind or in cash.  The landowner may be required to pay half the cost of some aspects of production as well.  Overall it is a rental agreement that is good for the farmer since he pays based on production and not a set rental fee.  In a good year both parties do well and in a bad year everyone shares the pain. 
This reminds me of the Declaration of Independence, wherein Thomas Jefferson is declaring the reasons leading to the revolution.  One of those reasons for separation is that King George “has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.”  Has anybody noticed “Swarms of Officers” here-‘abouts’ lately?  Can you say OSHA, IRS, DOT, DEA, FBI, IRS, BATFE, FMSCA, ASCS, how many pages do I need to fill?  "SAFETY WITHOUT LIBERTY IS TYRANNY."
This is a subject whose time has come.  If you would like to correspond with me on this contact me at:  Follow my blog at: or or leave a message at 217-285-2134. 
By Dan A. Mefford, D.C.

No comments:

Post a Comment