Below is a DRAFT
Federal “Justice” Shutdown Program
Vancouver WA USA
March 18, 2018
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATION
STARTUP EXPENSES AND CAPITALIZATION
REFINING THE PLAN
This is not an ordinary Business Plan, because this will be far from an ordinary “business”. There are no ordinary “customers”, nor “suppliers”, nor a “market”. Nevertheless, there is a powerful motivation for the public to see this plan attempted, and succeed.
The purpose of this “business” is political and ideological: It is intended to stop the Federal Justice System from prosecuting and convicting the current figure of about 77,000 defendants per year, 75% of whom are being charged with 'victimless crimes', such as drugs, money laundering, illegal gun possession, illegal re-entry to America, and drop this number to around 5,000 per year.
Those 77,000 defendants are convicted with only about 2,500 trials: This can occur only because defendants are forced to accept plea agreements, by threat of much longer sentences should they not cooperate. Once the number of Defendants that the Federal Government can prosecute is dropped to about 5,000 per year, it will be forced to negotiate the end of prosecution of victimless crimes.
Libertarians believe that 'victimless crimes' should not be prosecuted. A 'victimless crime' is one in which there isn't an obvious and identifiable 'victim', a person harmed by the crime. About 75% of the defendants yearly prosecuted in the Federal Criminal Justice System are prosecuted for 'victimless crimes': Primarily illegal drugs (“controlled substances”), money-laundering, illegal gun possession, and illegal re-entry. (Immigration offenses.)
While some people would say that 'drug crimes' have victims, the drug users themselves, this is in a special category as the 'victims' are almost always willing: They voluntarily buy, sell, trade, and use the various drugs involved. Further, to a very large extent, harm caused by illegal drugs is actually caused by their illegality, not their inherent chemical characteristics. If every currently-illegal drug was made, instead, by respected and competent commercial pharmaceutical companies, those drugs would be very pure and of well-defined dosage. “Overdoses” as are currently known would be difficult or impossible to have.
But in addition to those 75% of defendants charged for 'victimless crimes', there are many other people of the remaining 25% who probably wouldn't be charged with any crime if, for example, currently-illegal drugs were no longer illegal: Theft, robbery, or assault to finance an otherwise-expensive drug habit. If, for instance, a person has a $500/day cocaine addiction, that is a major problem. If the cost of that cocaine was only $5, because it is legal and not illegal, he might still have the medical problems, but he no longer needs to commit the crimes necessary to raise that $500/day. So, potentially much more than 75% of the crimes currently prosecuted would no longer exist, or be prosecuted.
If that 75% of victimless crimes were no longer prosecuted, 75% of about 77,000, or about 57,750, the Federal system would conceivably be able to shift its attention to crimes that actually do have victims.
The number of people currently in Federal prison is about 184,000. If over time, this were reduced to about 14,000, that would be a reduction in 170,000 prisoners. (For reference, the number of Federal prisoners in 1980 was approximately 10,000).
For the taxed public, this should result in a reduction in prison expenses of currently (184,000-14,000) = 170,000 prisoners multiplied by $40,000 in costs per prisoner per year, or a savings of about $6.8 billion per year, all because the Federal prison population will gradually drop. This will also result in the extreme reduction of expenses of investigation, prosecution, and conviction of about 72,000 persons per year, in an amount approximately $10 billion per year. Total savings, therefore, will be about $16.8 billion per year.
For the defendants' themselves, the elimination of 95% of the Federal criminal prosecutions done yearly solves their problems, obviously.
GOAL FOR THE BUSINESS:
We anticipate that well within one (1) year, the number of people prosecuted and convicted per year will drop to approximately 5,000, from the current 77,000 per year. Therefore, the Federal Government will be hard-pressed to try and convict 1/15th of the current number of defendants. Prisons will have to close, because while many prisoners will reach their “must release” dates, there will be very few new prisoners replacing them.
At some point, and probably no more than one year after the first mailing campaign starts, the Federal Government will have no choice but to enter into negotiation with the Company: The Company will demand:
That there will be no more charging and convictions based on 'victimless crimes'. So, 75% of the existing prosecutions will disappear.
All then-current prisoners will be pardoned of any 'victimless crime', and the full credit for their time-served will applied to any 'victim-type crimes' which sentence(s) they may currently be serving. This can be anticipated to almost instantly reduce the number of the Federal prison population to around 10,000-15,000, which will result in the immediate and permanent closure of 90%+ of all existing Federal prisons.
Henceforth, all defendants must be given enforcible plea agreements, but if they refuse to accept them, on conviction these defendants may not be given a sentence greater than 10% or 6 months greater than the terms of the agreement. This will stop the current practice of extorting “guilty” pleas, by the threat of far longer sentences.
PROPOSED TARGET MARKET
This Business Plan does not have a conventional “market”. It has a target of interested people, of about 77,000 newly-charged defendants per year, but they don't directly purchase a “product” or a “service”. If anything, they are requested to provide a service to the Company: Such defendants are offered a deal. If they refuse to plead “guilty”, and demand a jury trial, and if they eventually receive that trial, after that trial they will be given a payment, regardless of the outcome of the case. Initially, and currently, I anticipate that the amount of that payment will be set at $3,000, but that value might be increased (or decreased) in the future.
This Business, by necessity, has an interested group of donors, people who want to see the political and social change which will be engendered by the operation of this business. These Donors want to see the Federal Government no longer able to charge, indict, try, and convict around 77,000 defendants per year, and ideally would like to see that number reduced to a far smaller value, perhaps 5,000 per year.
These Donors may have many reasons to support the Company's operations. These reasons don't have to be consistent, or even compatible.
Due to the odd nature of this 'business', it does not have any direct 'competition.' Nobody, to our knowledge, is currently offering this kind of “product” or “service”. Moreover, if a similar such organization were to be formed, doing essentially the same thing, such an organization would not be seen as being in 'competition': Rather, it would more likely be seen as an ally, rather than a competitor: The other organization might offer the same, or a different payment, perhaps with somewhat different terms, but defendants would be able to receive both such offers simultaneously. These defendants would not have to “choose” between these two reward systems: They would expect to receive both such rewards simultaneously, and there would be nothing wrong with them doing so.
I, Jim Bell (James Dalton Bell) have a history of managing a small business, from 1982 through 1992. (“SemiDisk Systems, Inc”).
FINANCIAL OUTLOOK FOR THE BUSINESS
Ironically, one goal of this Business can be seen as to put itself out of business. The ongoing costs will be readily calculated: The cost for the rewards is based on the number of jury trials that the Federal Government can be expected to be able to put on. Currently, that number is about 2,500 per year, and I anticipate that it would be difficult for them to increase this value to beyond 4,000 per year. Putting on a “trial” requires a courtroom, of course, but it also needs prosecutors, investigators, and witnesses must be coralled.
The cost to the Busines for each defendant is based on the amount of the reward, which we currently estimate will be $3,000 per defendant. So, we currently estimate the cost of the rewards to be about 4,000 trials per year, multiplied by $3,000 per defendants, or around $12 million/year.
We currently see the overhead of the business to be based on a salary per worker of initially $50,000 per year, for about 6 workers, or $300,000 per year rate. However, once the publicity begins, the added risk to the workers justifies an increase in salary to $100,000/year, also for about 6 workers.
After the publicity starts, we anticipate paying the workers on a sliding scale, based on how successful they happen to be as a group. The measurement of their success is based on the rate of new indictments: If the number of new defendants remains at 77,000 per year, this could be labelled as “no success yet”, and the salaries will remain at $100,000/year.
We define “Full success” as a reduction in newly indicted defendants to a rate of 10,000 per year, or about 830 per month. When that occurs, the salary of the employees will be $200,000, but linearly set. Between these two points should be drawn straight-line scale. “Half-success” could be defined as a number of new indicts of ((77,000 + 10,000)/2), or 43,500 per year, and would merit a salary midway between $100K and $200K, or $150,000/year.
Further linear increases in salary as the number of new indicted defendants dips below 10,000 per year will be possible.
Other overhead and computer services would likely cost $10,000 per month. So, the total expected overhead, including accounting, legal, office expenses, and salaries, should come to about $200K x 6, plus $10,000, or about $1.32 million per year.
Thus, the total costs including the rewards will be about 4,000 trials per year multipled by $3,000 per defendant, or $12 million, plus an overhead of $1.32 million per year, or a grand total of $13.32 million per year.
The purpose of the Company is to raise money from Donors, and offer an amount to all newly-charged Federal criminal defendants, initially set to be $3,000, if the defendant refuses to plead guilty, in fact pleads not guilty, and demands a jury trial, and receives said jury trial. Currently 77,000 people are charged in the Federal criminal system, per year, and nearly that number are convicted, despite only putting on about 2,500 jury trials per year. If the defendants could be convinced to all demand a jury trial, we anticipate that the vast majority of those 77,000 people could not be tried nor convicted, and would have to be freed. Ultimately, the number of new defendants charged would have to drop commensurate with the number of trials which can be put on, which might be as much as 5,000.
It is anticipated that the cost of this function will be calculatable, as a product of the amount of the reward per defendant, initially about $3,000, multiplied by the number of jury trials that the Federal Government will be able to put on per year. Currently that number of trials is 2,500, but we anticipate that number could increase to 3,500-5,000 per year.
It is conceivable that a larger reward will be necessary than $3,000. The Business should be aware of the possibility that the reward might have to be raised to $5,000.
This could be described as a form of real-world “Denial of Service Attack”. The goal is to encourage defendants to demand their civil rights to a jury trial, and thus overload the Federal Criminal “Justice” System, to make it far harder to convict people of violation of Federal Criminal law, especially victimless crimes. Eventually, the Federal criminal system will be forced by negotiations to eliminate all prosecutions of victimless crimes, and will have to shift its attention to crimes with real victims.
2. Company philosophy and vision
The philosophy is to be essentially libertarian, based on the non-initiation of force and fraud (NIOFP; NAP (non-initiation of agression principle.)) espoused by libertarians. The purpose of the company is to make it difficult or impossible for the controlling government to charge and convict people for violation of non-victim crimes. Such a charge and conviction is itself a violation of the NIOFP.
3. Company goals:
The approximate number of Federal criminal defendants convicted is about 77,000 per year. One major goal is to reduce that number to well under 10,000 per year, and ideally to 5,000 per year. Over the long term, this should result in a number of incarcerated Federal prisons being lowered from the current 184,000 to perhaps 14,000. This reduction in prison population could occur slowly, as people left prison at a rate much higher than those coming in. Alternatively, the Government could be required to immediately pardon all those previously convicted, of any victimless crime, and credit all prior time served to any victim-type crimes that they might be convicted of.
Even after the company's operation starts, “plea bargaining” will probably still exist, but on far better terms (to the defendants) than is currently practiced. One reason is that unlike today, when perhaps 99% of the people charged get convicted, the new environment will allow far fewer charged defendants to be convicted.
4. Target Market:
Due to the very unusual nature of this business organization, it is difficult to assign terms like “market”, “customers”, “suppliers”, etc. There are, however, perhaps 77,000 people per year (new Federal criminal defendants) who will be offered the service/product of approximately $3,000, if they refuse to plead guilty to criminal charges, and who demand and ultimately receive a jury trial.
There are, also, potentially thousands or even millions of people who want to see the Federal Government no longer being able to charge and convict people for victimless crimes. Millions of citizens do not want to be taxed to pay for the incarceration of people who are only 'guilty' of victimless crimes. This group could also be seen as a “market”: The people who want to see the current practic of charging and convicting people for victimless crimes cease.
If the number of people incarcerated by the Federal system drops from 184,000 to about 14,000, this should result in a prison savings of about $6.8 billion per year. Billions more will be saved in the form of salaries of “Department of Justice”, “FBI”, and other organizations., perhaps $10 billion more.
It is difficult to say what the “Industry” is. It might be labelled as “criminal justice”, or “legal services”, or “legal defense”.
6. Legal Structure.
This will be structured as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. Donors can and will be anonymous, if they choose to be.
PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
This Company will offer, fundamentally, one “product” or “service”: A payment to all new Federal criminal defendants who refuse to plead guilty to a crime, and who demand a jury trial, and who receive that trial. Although, it could also be described that offering this service will ultimately engender a political change that libertarians desire. THAT might be described as an additional or alternative “product” or “service”.
The Problem that this “Product” or “Service” solves:
To a libertarian, this Problem is obvious. Large numbers of people become Federal criminal defendants, currently 77,000 per year, and they are convicted at a rate of about 76,000 per year, yet while only about 2,500 actual jury trials are put on. About 75% of these defendants are charged with victimless crimes, which arguably aren't really “crimes” at all: See 'Malum Prohibitum', as opposed to 'Malum in Se'. To a libertarian, the inherent unfairness of arresting, charging, trying, convicting, and incarcerating a person “guilty” only of a victimless-crime is obvious.
Further, it is very likely that the Federal system could direct its attention to many other victim-type crime, if it didn't currently charge and convict based on victimless crimes.
The excess cost to house these convicted prisoners is probably about $6.8 billion greater than it should be, which ought to be concerning to all American taxpayers, even if they do not call themselves “libertarians”. In addition, the budget for the Department of Justice includes about $14 billion, of which perhaps $10 billion is probably directed at the enforcement of victimless-crime laws. Thus, there could be a savings of perhaps $6.8+$10 billion, or nearly $17 billion per year.
If the cost of this project is about $12 million per year, calculated by $3,000 payment multiplied by perhaps 3,500 trials, plus an overhead of $1.5 million, then the savings per dollar expended is: $17 billion divided by $12 million, or 1,417 dollars of savings for each $1 expended. Seen this way, this is highly economical.
How to Price the Product or Service?
This, of course, is not a conventional “product” nor “service”. The closest thing would be to declare the payment, initially set to $3,000, to be the “price”, and the “service” is by the defendant, who agrees to demand a jury trial and goes on to receive it. This payment to the defendants, $3,000, has been estimated somewhat arbitrarily, but not unrealistically. However, this figure can be changed in the future, albeit with some degree of warning to the defendants themselves. If it is discovered that this offer is insufficient to get a sufficiently large number of people to agree to plead not guilty and demand a trial, this number can be increased.
A wealthy defendant won't be attracted by what to him seems a small payment. This value must be large enough to attract the attention of a large fraction of the defendants, but at the same time it must be affordable to the Company. The government will likely be able to put on 3,500-5,000 jury trials, so a payment of $3,000 will cost it a range of about $10.5-15 million, plus about 10% overhead. A payment as high as $5,000 per defendant will probably be more than sufficient to get nearly all of them to demand a jury trial.
This payment is not intended to 'reward' the defendant for committing a crime. Rather, it is to compensate him for accepting an extra risk, the risk that he might get a slightly higher sentence if he refuses to plead not-guilty. However, the extra risk isn't much: Based on current statistics, a charged Federal defendant probably has a 99% chance of being convicted. Realistically, therefore, these defendants realistically expect to be convicted. They will soon be made aware that for many and in fact most of them, their greatest chance at freedom is to refuse to accept any plea deal, demand a jury trial, and hope that they will be among the 95% which the government cannot convict, if all of them demand a jury trial.
The average Federal sentence could be calculated by the current prison population, 184,000 prisoners, divided by about 76,000 new convicts each year, or about 2.42 years. While some well-publicized defendants are wealthy, probably the vast majority are not. We can calculate that a payment of $3,000, divided by 2.42 year sentence, amounts to a payment of: $1,240 per year, or a bit more than $102 per month. This is an amount of money they can spend at the Commissary, the prison grocery store.
It is for this reason that we think that an initial payment setting of $3,000 would be sufficent to induce a very large percentage of current federal defendants to plead not-guilty and demand a jury trial. But there is no reason to offer substantially more than is eventually found to be necessary to force the number of convictions to be around 5,000 or so.
How will we market this product/service?
There will be two forms of “marketing” necessary: It will be necessary to identify and locate the Federal defendants, who must be informed that if they refuse to plead guilty, and demand a jury trial, and receive that jury trial, they will be given a payment, initially set to $3,000, after sentencing.
The data identifying the names and addresses of such defendants can be found on two government websites, the first called PACER.GOV, and the second BOP.GOV. The first, PACER, can be “scraped” (using a computer program to access a website which is normally accessed by a human) to reveal all new criminal defendants' full names. The second, BOP.GOV, can be similarly accessed to find the mailing addresses of these defendants.
We have already found an organization which can perform the first automated access; and the second is apparently much simpler. We have received an estimate that to obtain the addresses of the first 40,000 names (the previous 6 months of defendants) will cost about $5,000, and subsequent months of data will cost about $500 per month. Accessing the addresses, via BOP.GOV, will presumably be much simpler and cheaper.
Once the names and a addresses are available, they will need to be printed out onto mailing envelopes, each of which will be stuffed with as many as five (5) copies of a Greeting Letter, which will inform the recipient defendant of the project and what they need to do to obtain the $3000 award. These letters will be stamped (or pre-printed) and mailed by an attorney: A mailing from an attorney to a prisoner must be opened in the recipient prisoner's presence, so it cannot be easily waylaid.
The purpose of the multiple copies of the Greeting Letter in the envelope is to allow these Defendants, if they are housed together, to quickly and easily provide copies to other Defendants who we may not have identified and mailed to yet.
How will we “market” the cost of this operation?
It will be necessary to obtain donations necessary to finance both the reward system, plus about a 10% overhead. Initially, we propose contacting the local/state Libertarian Party apparatus, perhaps in Oregon and Washington, and proposing this as an official or unofficial libertarian project. It has the prospect of being a highly pro-libertarian project, ideally eliminating the arrest, charging, and conviction of people for victimless crimes.
Within the last few days, President Trump actually speculated that the death penalty be given for drug crimes, somewhat analogous to the treatment Philipine President Duterte has been doing. This proposal should be considered especially outrageous. Even for people who might, nominally, have no problem with the death penalty for certain crimes, the idea of killing people merely for selling drugs will likely enrage much of the population.
Why should this be a Project of the Libertarian Party?
Libertarian parties have been formed at least as early as 1972, and have promoted positions of individual freedom. Such parties have run candidates in national, state, and local political races, but have only rarely have they been elected, at least not in “partisan” races. We feel that the blame can be attributed to something called “Duverger's Law”, see the Wikipedia article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duverger%27s_law
Duverger's law explains that for “first past the post” plurality elections, third-parties tend to be excluded. As stated in the Wikipedia article:
“With discovery attributed to Duverger, he observed the effect and recorded it in several papers published in the 1950s and 1960s. In the course of further research, other political scientists began calling the effect a "law" or principle. Duverger's law suggests a nexus or synthesis between a party system and an electoral system: a proportional representation (PR) system creates the electoral conditions necessary to foster party development while a plurality system marginalizes many smaller political parties, resulting in what is known as a two-party system.
In political science, Duverger's law is a principle which asserts that plurality rule elections structured within single-member districts tends to favor a two-party system. This is one of two hypotheses proposed by Duverger, the second stating that "the double ballot majority system and proportional representation tend to multipartism”
As applied to America, which has been ruled by the Democrat and Republican parties since 1860, third parties simply aren't welcome. Indeed, Duverger's Law is so powerful that it took the advent of the issue of slavery and the Civil War to destroy the previous “Whig” party and replace it with the Republican party.
It is unlikely that America's Founding Fathers were aware of the principle of Duverger's Law. Indeed, it is unlikely that they intended the involvement of “political parties”. But the way they designed the Federal structure virtually mandated the formation and operation of those political parties.
Applying Duverger's law, it can be argued that a challenger third-party can't really accomplish anything useful until it obtains support at least equal to that of the second-most-powerful political party. Put simply, it is unrealistic to believe that the Libertarian party can force any substantial conventional change until it has come close to defeating at least one of the pre-existing political parties, either the Republican or the Democrat.
This Federal Justice Shutdown Project has been designed by a founder (Jim Bell), a lifetime libertarian who first realized he was a libertarian in about 1975. Bell recognizes that in order for the Libertarian party, and libertarians themselves, to actually accomplish something, it will have to first do it by engaging in an activity that it need not receive “permission” to do, from as much as a 51% of the population to at least a plurality.
It should be apparent that to “defeat” the Federal Government using this technique, it will only be necessary to raise a relatively minimal amount, perhaps between $12-16 million dollars per year. Is this a lot? Well, if we assume that only 1% of the adult population claims to be libertarian, this is about 2.5 million people. If the cost was spread over this population, it would cost between $4.5-6.5 per libertarian/year to raise $12-16 million dollars.
Other Donors? A list of high-worth individuals.
Charlie Shrem, Bitcoin billionaire? Victimized by the Federal Government in 2014.
Kim Dotcom. (Yes, that's his name!) Current worth possibly $300 million, under threat of extradition from New Zealand, due to his Megaupload website. With only 4% of his assets, he could fund this project for a year.
Fans of Julian Assange and Edward Snowden. These people are under the threat of prosecution. A donor would help reduce the probability of such a prosecution by swamping the system with Defendants who insist on jury trials.
Users, operators, and owners of the current version of Silk Road, the “dark markets” most famous for selling illegal drugs and other shady services. If they reserve 1% of $1 billion/year in gross revenue, or $10 million/year, this would fund the Federal Justice Shutdown Project for about 1 year. A typical vendor or user of these kinds of services wants to ensure that he cannot eventually be prosecuted. A very effective way to do this is to overload the Federal prosecution system to make it very difficult to prosecute these victimless crimes.
Various billionaires: Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg, Peter Thiel, Elon Musk, the Winklevoss twins. George Soros. Charles Koch, David Koch. Carlos Slim Helu. Larry Ellison, Barnard Arnault, Amancio Ortega, Michael Bloomberg, Sergey Brin, Jim Walton, S. Robson Walton, Alice Walton
All of these donations could be made anonymous and untraceable, eliminating the possibility of political or social “feedback” against the donors.
Keep in mind that these people, although they are probably of very different political philosophies, in no way have to agree with “us”, or each other, to donate to this project. The only thing they will be interested in is if they want to shut down the Federal Criminal “Justice” System. It is quite possible that many, and perhaps most of these potential donors really hate the current practices, but up until now they have not been aware of anything they could economically do to help shut it down, or feared some sort of payback if they interfered “too much”.
The initial cost of making a US Mail mailing to about 40,000 defendants will be about $50,000. (estimated as the number of defendants indicted over the previous 6 months.) Subsequent months' mailings will probably start out at the usual rate of 77,000/12 months, or about 5,500 per month, but as this operation takes effect and the Feds get swamped, their ability to prosecute will dramatically reduce, and they will probably reduce their indictments to about 1,000 per month. This will cost about $1000/month, or less.
This project will also create and make a mailing, probably by email, of Press Releases, to websites, magazines, newspapers, and other organizations that will publicize this project. We anticipate that the one-time cost of this will be $5,000.
Proposed Location of Business:
This business is not expected to have a walk-in location, because it does not need this. We anticipate that there will be about 6 employees, all of whom can work out of their own residences.
[end of current draft of Business Plan]