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Old November 14, 2017, 01:03 PM   #1
ShootistPRS
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for those who know the rules of law:

What is the legal definition of an unlawful act?
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Old November 14, 2017, 01:16 PM   #2
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShootistPRS
What is the legal definition of an unlawful act?
Well you really don't have to be someone "who knows the rules of law." You just have to do what a lawyer would do -- look it up.

I did, and here are a couple of definitions:
  1. The Law Dictionary:
    Quote:
    the term used for an act that is contrary to or violates a law that exist.....
  2. Your Dictionary:
    Quote:
    Behavior that is not authorized by law; commission of or participation in an activity that violates criminal or civil law.
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Old November 14, 2017, 01:18 PM   #3
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A “crime” is an act committed or omitted in violation of a written statute forbidding or commanding it, and upon conviction carries a punishment
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Old November 14, 2017, 02:03 PM   #4
ShootistPRS
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When congress passes a law that contradicts the constitution isn't that an unlawful act?
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Old November 14, 2017, 03:29 PM   #5
zukiphile
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Quote:
When congress passes a law that contradicts the constitution isn't that an unlawful act?
Is it a pizza as soon as you put it into the oven, or only when it comes out? /Kramer

An act of congress is going to be treated as lawful until you find a judge to grant an injunction (an order suspending the operation while the dispute is pending) or a judge to rule it unlawful.
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Old November 14, 2017, 04:27 PM   #6
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShootistPRS
When congress passes a law that contradicts the constitution isn't that an unlawful act?
I knew that's where you were going with this.

You're making a sort of error very common with laypersons when looking at the law. You're trying to build the entire legal universe from one definition.

So you know the definition of "unlawful act." So what? That doesn't tell you anything about why or how a particular act might be unlawful. Nor does it tell you anything about what elements or attributes of an act might make a difference as to whether or not the act is lawful (e. g., intent, knowledge, etc.). Nor does it tell you anything about the consequences of an act being unlawful.

For example, not every act which might not be in conformity with an applicable legal principle imposes a penalty on whomever committed it. Some legal consequences might not include legal liability.

Also, the subject raises issues of legislative immunity, discussed in this thread, and judicial immunity, discussed in this thread.
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Old November 15, 2017, 02:30 AM   #7
JohnKSa
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Quote:
For example, not every act which might not be in conformity with an applicable legal principle imposes a penalty on whomever committed it. Some legal consequences might not include legal liability.
Here are a couple examples of this from TX firearm related law.

When a law enforcement officer asks for ID from license holder who is carrying, by law, the license holder must present not only whatever ID that was requested, but also the handgun license. Government Code, Sec. 411.205. However, there is no penalty for failing to do so.

On the other side of the equation, employers (with a few exceptions) may not prevent an employee from having a legally possessed gun and/or ammunition in their privately owned, locked vehicle, even if it is parked on company property. Labor Code, Sec. 52.061. However, there is no prescribed penalty for companies who have policies which are not lawful.
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Old November 16, 2017, 08:24 AM   #8
Hal
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Quote:
What is the legal definition of an unlawful act?
Don't sweat it....

Your lawyer will be able to explain why what you did got you in trouble and how best to remedy the situation or "make it go away".

In Ohio anyhow, there's nothing you can do at the apprehension level about legal/lawful/unlawful...

If a cop says you under arrest for being bald, or ugly or old, you just go along with him.
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Old November 17, 2017, 03:17 PM   #9
ShootistPRS
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I understand that congress and judges are immune from prosecution for the decisions they make. Congress turns a bill into a law and the lawyers and judges have to act on the law and the circumstances surrounding the breach of that law. Judges rarely act to question the law, they just judge whether the law was broken.
In that respect it is up to the citizen to decide the lawfulness of his action and be ready to take the legal process on for a decision of lawful actions to an unlawful act. That thought process is what kept a felon who used a gun in self defense from being prosecuted for possession of a firearm. It was decided that he had a right to defend himself. There was no prosecution for possession.
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Old November 17, 2017, 05:04 PM   #10
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShootistPRS
...Judges rarely act to question the law, they just judge whether the law was broken. ....
That's such a gross oversimplification as to be essentially meaningless.

The legal system is about resolving disputes. Law, including constitutions, statutes, regulations, and decisions of courts of appeal are tools judges use to decide outcomes.

During the course of proceedings in court to resolve a matter, various questions can arise which will involve a judge having to decide various questions based on the judge's conclusions about what various "laws" mean and how they apply to the particular subject in the particular context.

So there are laws about how proceedings are conducted -- rules of jurisdiction, of procedure and of evidence. And there are substantive rules relating to the ultimate question before the court.

At various time in the course of the proceedings the judge will need to decide various questions as a matter of law and raised by the parties, for example: was the action brought in the correct court; is there actually a justiciable controversy; does the court have jurisdiction over all necessary parties; was evidence properly obtained; is a law material to the subject matter valid; etc. Finally, the process will lead to a conclusion, for example: the defendant was negligent in the operation of his car and owes the plaintiff $100,000; or all matters related to the administration of the estate are concluded and the executor may now distribute the property according to the will; or the defendant is guilty of murder and will go to prison; or the law under which the defendant was charged is invalid and he goes free.

And by the way, a trial is all about resolving disputes of fact.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShootistPRS
....That thought process is what kept a felon who used a gun in self defense from being prosecuted for possession of a firearm. It was decided that he had a right to defend himself. There was no prosecution for possession.
Really? How do you know? Can you cite the case and provide documentation about what actually happened, how it happened and why?

It is conceivable that a prohibited person taking transient possession of a gun for justified self defense under exigent circumstances might not be prosecuted. There can be a variety of reasons for such a result.

There's a legal principle sometimes referred to as the "doctrine of necessity." That basically says that a violation of the law may be excused when the action contrary to law is necessary to save human life.

There's also prosecutorial discretion. A prosecutor might decide not to pursue a criminal charge under some circumstances.

On the other hand, there was the case of Bernie Goetz. He was charged with assault for shooting the guys trying to rob him and also for having possession of a gun illegally. He was acquitted on the assault charges but went to prison for the weapons violation.
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