Monday, November 27, 2006

Desperation Is the Mother of Stupid Arguments

Just in case you were worried that people were running out of ludicrous justifications for gay marriage, here's the latest one, courtesy of Lambda Legal: so that ill-gotten assets of gay couples can be confiscated.

Alphonso David, a staff attorney for the gay legal advocacy group Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund, said that if Kopper and Dodson were married, the Enron funds that now belong to Dodson would be considered jointly owned by the two men under the marriage laws of most states.

“It’s ironic that some of the same people who are opposed to legal recognition of marriage between same-sex couples are upset that this couple gets to keep about $9 million in stolen funds,” David said. “This highlights the point that people don’t always think about the obligations as well as the rights that go with marriage.”

David said that if Kopper and Dodson were married, the Enron funds that now belong to Dodson would be considered jointly owned by the two men under the marriage laws of most states.

What this makes obvious is that Lambda lawyers are chosen more for their devotion to leftist causes than they are for their legal knowledge or assessment capabilities.

It is technically correct that, had the two men been married, the government would have a viable claim to some of their assets that were held jointly. However, it is also true that the government would not necessarily have had claim to those that were in Dodson's name only -- and worse, both Kopper and Dodson could have invoked spousal privilege to avoid testifying against (and thus implicating) each other.

However, as any good investigator can tell you, it is not uncommon for criminals to attempt to hide ill-gotten gains by putting them in the name of a girlfriend, lover, or other unrelated third party. This can be quite often difficult to discover, but when it is, the response is swift and painful -- both by the IRS and by any creditors, including those filing lawsuits, both of whom can call on various legal strictures to freeze and capture assets, especially in regards to criminal activity.

Thus, the logic: if it had chosen to prosecute Dodson on criminal charges, the Federal government would have run up against a considerable wall, since it would have had to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Dodson's likely claim of being an innocent bystander was incorrect, and that he was in fact well-aware of both the maneuvers of Enron that were enriching him and was actively participating in them -- very difficult to prove of a non-employee.

Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly, filing charges against Dodson would have effectively blocked (thanks to double jeopardy) any possibility of the IRS filing tax evasion charges. Given that the Feds have, in addition to Dodson's own 1040s, Kopper's sworn testimony in court as to where the money came from, where it went, and who got it, the word "slam dunk" is not adequate to describe how easily that can be accomplished.

To wrap things up, consider the gazillion civil lawsuits that have likely already been filed -- and which, like the OJ case, will demonstrate that, while there may not be enough evidence to send you to prison, there is more than enough to drain you dry financially.

Thus, despite them not being married, Dodson and Kopper aren't retiring to the Caymans any time soon on that $9 mil -- and the chance is good that, not only will Dodson eventually end up in prison, but that a significant portion of the cash they stole will be returned to the people who lost it.

In short, we don't need gay marriage to punish gay criminals. But we do need organizations like Lambda who deliberately or ignorantly spread misinformation of this sort to shut the h*ll up.

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