Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Post Constitutional Era! Part XVIII

Article 3 - The Judicial Branch
Section 3 - Treason


Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

The Congress shall have power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

Notes:

Attainder - A bill of attainder (also known as an act of attainder or writ of attainder or bill of pains and penalties) is an act of a legislature declaring a person or group of persons guilty of some crime and punishing them without privilege of a judicial trial. As with attainder resulting from the normal judicial process, the effect of such a bill is to nullify the targeted person’s civil rights, most notably the right to own property (and thus pass it on to heirs), the right to a title of nobility, and, in at least the original usage, the right to life itself. Bills of attainder were used in England between about 1300 and 1800 and resulted in the executions of a number of notable historical figures. However, the use of these bills eventually fell into disfavour due to the obvious potential for abuse and the violation of several legal principles, most importantly separation of powers, the right to due process, and the precept that a law should address a particular form of behaviour rather than a specific individual or group. For these reasons, bills of attainder are expressly banned by the United States Constitution as well as the constitutions of all 50 States. 
Corruption of Blood - Meaning that the attainted person was disqualified from inheriting or transmitting property, thus disinheriting his descendants The authors were also concerned that the person convicted of treason be the only one to suffer for the treasonous acts. The Constitution explicitly states that there may be no "corruption of blood," or that the children and relatives of the traitor not be considered traitorous simply by relation; the "no forfeiture" clause basically means that once the traitor dies, "payment" for the crime ends.

 

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