Lou Dobbs Smarter Than SCOTUS Conservatives — Or He Just Doesn’t Understand the Law
Remember Monday’s Supreme Court decision that logically pointed out that it doesn’t make sense to convict someone for “identity theft” if the worker using a fake social security number to get a job didn’t know that it actually belonged to someone? He could be convicted of other things, as was Ignacio Flores-Figheroa, the subject of the Supreme Court case. But identity theft? No, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously, with even the court’s conservative wing in agreement, he can’t be found guilty because he didn’t have the necessary intent to commit the crime.
Well, CNN anchor Lou Dobbs is indignant.
“Do you feel better knowing that it’s legal for an illegal alien to steal your identity if he or she doesn’t know it’s yours?” he asked his audience Monday night.
Surprise – 97 percent of Dobbs’ viewers responded that no, they did not feel better knowing that.
Never mind that Figheroa was convicted of entering the U.S. illegally, and for misusing immigration documents — all of which he did intentionally do. Also, his conviction would have also been upheld for identity theft if he’d known that the fake documents reflected any existing person’s identity – he didn’t have to know whose.
Here’s how Justice Samuel Alito – no flaming liberal – explained the problem with the contrary position, which Dobbs apparently supports:
Under that [the government’s] interpretation, if a defendant uses a made-up Social Security number without having any reason to know whether it belongs to a real person, the defendant’s liability under §1028A(a)(1) depends on chance: If it turns out that the number belongs to a real person, two years will be added to the defendant’s sentence, but if the defendant is lucky and the number does not belong to another person, the statute is not violated.
In other words, conviction would depend on luck rather than criminal intent — which is, after all, an element of the crime.
Lucky for Dobbs it’s not a crime to intentionally mislead your television audience.