Last week, one of the two men charged in Canada with conspiring to derail a passenger train questioned the authority of the Court to even try him. In so many words he said that the Canadian criminal code is imperfect and not a holy book so they have no authority to do anything against him.
This is the big Al Qaeda defense and fortunately it has been successful in fighting charges zero percent of the time.
Others have tried to avoid paying taxes stating that they disagree what their taxes are being used for, don't believe that taxes are constitutional or they have claimed sovereignty so there's no way that tax law could apply to them. These defenses also have never worked.
On a smaller scale, people call me all of the time hoping to get out of a traffic ticket because the officer put the wrong car color on the ticket or even the wrong time. I won't say that this never gets someone off a charge, but if that is what you are banking on then you are really rolling the dice. This is especially true if you have a more serious charge like a DUI, less so for a minor speeding ticket.
So do these defenses ever work?
Every now and then they do, but it's really not a loophole that gets people out of these cases, but the law itself. In other words, if the police illegally search your car, that's not a loophole, that's the constitution. Sure, occasionally someone discovers some ancient law that's on the books that can get a case dismissed, but as soon as that happens, the legislature creates a new law to close that loophole.
In the smaller picture, it's the job of a criminal attorney to try and find any potential defenses to your case, including improperly gathered evidence or some arcane law that will set you free.
But in the bigger picture, if you knowingly break a law and think that your way out of it is based on something clever you've thought of to out smart the system, you are being narcissistic and stupid. There is almost no "loophole" defense to a major crime that hasn't been thought of yet and every fool that tries to go that route gets hammered.
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