CAPITOL RIOTS - Will We Finally Stop Coddling Criminal Protesters?
Civil Torts Actions May Be More Effective Deterrent Than Criminal Law
Perhaps, in looking for people to blame for yesterday's outrage, we should remember Pogo's famous explanation, "we have met the enemy and he is us," says Banzhaf.
He notes that for many years governmental leaders, including police chiefs and mayors especially, have been willing to tolerate if not even directly encourage criminal behavior on behalf of a cause - both left-leaning and right-leaning - especially if they found it to be a sympathetic one.
That's why Professor Banzhaf suggests that when protesters cross the line and engage in activities which clearly constitute crimes, the victims bring civil torts actions - or using the phrase he popularized, "Sue The Bastards" - where the burden of proof is much less than in a criminal case, and the process is controlled by the victims and their attorneys, not public officials subject to pressure.
Banzhaf, a staunch defender of the First Amendment, has long advocated civil [tort] law suits against those who go beyond lawful protest and engage in criminal conduct, and especially those who deliberately harm completely innocent third parties as a way of deterring such criminal conduct, especially in situations where police threats of arrest and possible prosecution, and widespread condemnation of looting and arson, simply have not worked.
Banzhaf, famous for developing novel winning law suits - including over $12 million from McDonald's over its french fries, and against Spiro Agnew to recover the money he took in bribes - has been called "a Driving Force Behind the Lawsuits That Have Cost Tobacco Companies Billions of Dollars," "The Law Professor Who Masterminded Litigation Against the Tobacco Industry," and an "Entrepreneur of Litigation, [and] a Trial Lawyer's Trial Lawyer."