I have to admit, before this month, I had never heard the phrase “trite law.” Someone in Canada emailed me about what happened in court and when he asked if the prosecutor had presented evidence proving his claim the constitution applied to him just because he’s physically in Canada, the judge responded with:
It’s trite law.
No reference to any facts, nothing about a competent witness, he just shrugged it off as “trite law.” So I looked it up, this is what I found:
a) Things that are obvious; laws that are common knowledge. It is trite law that His Majesty’s subjects are free if they can make their own arrangements so that their cases may fall outside the scope of the taxing Acts.b) 31, October 2006. Trite law is law that, if you do not know it, you should. It is like saying that two and two is four. For example, there is a presumption of innocence in Scotland. That is trite law—something that everybody knows.”
It’s clear that this is, at best, being misapplied. At worst, the judge is covering for the prosecutor’s burden of proof, a felony known as obstruction of justice. It’s also an obvious logical fallacy.
First, it’s misapplication same as when prosecutors pull this crap in the United States. Trite law is about laws and what they say/prohibit. It’s the “ignorance of the law is no excuse” line. Trite law would be the constitution is the supreme law, the authority for statutes/acts and regulations.
It is not about the practical application of the constitution as I’ve already covered in detail. It’s just the existence of a particular law. It is a law, section 139 of the Canadian Criminal Code, to obstruct justice, that is trite law. You should already know obstructing justice is wrong and a crime.
Did the judge who made the remark that evidence the constitution applies is “trite law”, violate section 139? That is not trite law as that is not theoretical, it requires evidence to prove he violated section 139.
Second, the judge did cover the prosecutor’s burden of proof. Practical application requires evidence, especially here as it’s an essential element of the charge. The is no wrongdoing without the constitution applying, it’s only wrong because men and women called “government” said so, or mala prohibita law.
The prosecutor bears the burden of proof. Even if something evidentiary is claimed to be obvious, that does not relieve them of their burden. While 2+2=4, if challenged can be proven to be true. It may be obvious to many that George W. Bush is a war criminal, but that does not relieve us of our burden of proof. We still need evidence of wrong doing, just as the prosecutor does that this judge covered for so brazenly.
What about flipping things around on them?
Marc: Excuse me Sir, but your constitution and laws do not apply, that is trite law.
Judge: Brilliant analysis young man!
Marc: No, no my good man, your constitution does not apply to me just because I’m physically in Canada, that is trite law, you should know that.
Judge: I don’t, and I don’t think that relieves you of your burden of proof either way.
Marc: That’s “of no moment.”
Last, it’s a logical fallacy to insist something is true because everybody knows it. It’s Argumentum ad populum, or appeal to popularity.
Everyone knows lawyers are dishonest crooks is a good example we should use if confronted with this crap. With an IRS agent who tried this crap with me, I said, “Oh, and everyone knows all Sicilians are in the mafia, I’m Sicilian, so I must be in the mafia.” She dropped her appeal to popularity real fast.
If you’re confronted by this “trite law” crap, you know how to respond. Like everything else, it’s just a lame attempt to cover their lack of evidence, to divert your attention away. So you object and ask if the judge is conflating an issue of law with an issue of fact to relieve the prosecution of their burden of proof. I like this better:
Objection, are you really making an appeal to popularity on behalf of the prosecution?
Forcing people to pay you means never having to have evidence and a rational basis for your claims. Don’t let these snarky remarks intimidate you in or out of court, or divert your attention away from the foundation of the prosecutor’s claims, it establishes the relevance of everything else.
If there’s no evidence proving their rules apply to you just because you’re physically in Canada (or wherever), then what they say is not relevant.
Just this morning I spoke with a county attorney in Texas. She agreed that if you’re physically in Texas, then the constitution applies. I asked her if she had any proof and all she could do is repeat, “Because you’re here.” I know, how does that prove your constitution applies to me? Her response was to claim she was not the one to answer the question and she really wanted to end the call. While she did not hang up, I didn’t get to ask her: But the cops who arrest peaceful people for you to prosecute are?
This professional litigator with a doctorate degree could not answer the question. I was referred to her by a county commissioner, also a Dr., who insisted the county attorney was the one to speak to because the county commissioner would not prove their rules applied.
Trite law, what a joke. It was nothing more than: it’s obvious to us that since we are “government” and have the prison system, that we don’t have to prove anything to the plebs.