{Guest Post} Supernaturals and the Law

December 25, 2011 author post, Guest Post 1

Today I have a super fun guest post to go along with the book Atticus for the Undead by John Abramowitz.

OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
Supernaturals and the Law
By HOYT BOONE
            Surely by now every American is familiar with the Post Unveiling Tort Reform Act, also called “PUTRA”. (Read more about the law here.) I authored this bill in an attempt to update a body of criminal and civil laws which were written largely before the existence of mages, vampires, and other such creatures was widely known. In response, I have been compared to Hitler and Stalin, and accused of trying to roll back the basic freedoms of which Americans are rightly proud.
            For instance, Ellis Boyer, the district attorney in Austin, Texas, has accused me of launching an “all out assault” on the freedom of speech by proposing to make offensive spellcasting a crime. Since spellcasting requires only words, Mr. Boyer argues, we are effectively empowering the police to jail innocent citizens for what they say. He argues that this would open the floodgates for politically-motivated prosecutions and a new round of Salem Witch Trials.
            I would expect a lawyer of Mr. Boyer’s considerable talents to know better. Anyone who examines my voting record will find that I have been a stalwart defender of the First Amendment, and anyone who watches C-SPAN has seen me argue passionately against past attempts to curtail the rights it provides. (Ironically, some of those attempts were made by some of the very people who now call me a “fascist”.)
            To defend his absurd claim, Mr. Boyer cites the recent case of Austin high school student Sabrina Orr, who was charged with attempted offensive spellcasting after a classmate caught her in the school auditorium rehearsing lines from Macbeth. Boyer describes this case as “an example of the travesties of justice that could occur regularly if PUTRA becomes law,” and laments that his office “was forced to expend valuable time and resources prosecuting such a sham.”
            First of all, Mr. Boyer wasn’t “forced to expend valuable time and resources” doing anything. As the district attorney, he has near-total discretion over whether or not to prosecute a case. Had he instructed his office not to pursue Orr’s case, the charges against her would almost certainly have been dropped. In light of this face, one must wonder whether Mr. Boyer’s charges have less to do with his opposition to PUTRA and more to do with his own rumored plans to mount a Congressional campaign.
            Second of all, prosecuting offensive spellcasting is not a travesty. Rather, it is prudent, humane, and constitutional. The courts have always allowed for prosecutions of speech posing a “clear and present danger.” Is Mr. Boyer arguing that being turned into a frog or lit on fire does not constitute such a danger? There are commonly-known offensive spells to do both, and worse.
            Third, under my law, anyone accused of offensive spellcasting would have ample opportunity at their trials to prove that they are incapable of magic. Nothing in PUTRA affects the right of an accused person to a trial, and I have no intention of doing so.
            The unprecedented legal and social challenges posed by the existence of supernaturals deserve a vigorous and robust discussion. But this discussion is not well-served by those who distort the facts for political gain.
            Congress should pass PUTRA immediately, for the good of humans and paranormals.
Mr. Boone is a Congressman from Austin, Texas.

Summary of Atticus for the Undead

The novel is called Atticus for the Undead. It centers around an idealistic young attorney, Hunter Gamble, who works in a very special area of the practice — arcane defense. Twelve years ago, the world discovered through an event called The Unveiling that vampires, werewolves, zombies, and other creatures previously thought purely mythical were, in fact, real. This changed the fabric of American life in a number of ways, not least of which — they needed somebody to go to court for them! And so, with the help of shy-but-energetic research attorney Kirsten Harper, Hunter sets out to make the world a better place — one arcane client at a time. (Don’t call them supernaturals, it’s rude!) 
When a young zombie walks into Hunter’s office accused of murder (by brain-eating, of course), Hunter must navigate a complex web of political, legal, and cultural obstacles to secure the man’s freedom — if he can.

Michelle @ Book Briefs

One Response to “{Guest Post} Supernaturals and the Law”

  1. Lan

    I love this guest post! It’s hilarious. I’m a sucker from anything that’s remotely related to To Kill A Mockingbird too 🙂

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