“Spiritual Corruption”: Chávez Jails Judge Who Granted Bail To Banker

Hugo Chávez continues his assault on political and legal protections in Venezuela. In a move that has been denounced internationally, including by Amnesty International, Chávez demanded the arrest of Judge María Lourdes Afiuni after she granted bail to an accused banker. He is demanding 30 years in prison even though his prosecutors could find no bribe (as he originally alleged on the radio). Instead, they found “spiritual corruption” and threw her in jail with many convicts that she previously incarcerated.

Afiuni’s life is in obvious danger in the Los Teques women’s jail. Various Human Rights groups have denounced the arrest as one more example of the growing authoritarian rule in Venezuela.

Afiuni’s health is poor and many fear that she could die in prison. Many judges have been horrified at the loss of their independence and the obvious threat to anyone disagreeing with Chávez.
Supreme Court justice Blanca Rosa Mármol de León stated “before there was a lot of fear on the bench but now there’s panic. In 35 years in the judicial system I’ve never seen judicial power so submissive.”

I continue to be baffled with some in the United States continue to make excuses for Chávez, who has shown himself to be a petty dictator and a committed enemy to civil liberties. Obviously, there are many who Chávez would consider “spiritually corrupted” in his distorted view of society and the law. The attack on the independence of the judiciary was an inevitable step for Chávez in his consolidation of authoritarian powers.

Source: Guardian

Jonathan Turley

29 thoughts on ““Spiritual Corruption”: Chávez Jails Judge Who Granted Bail To Banker”

  1. “…as one more example of the growing authoritarian rule in Venezuela.”

    now that is an understatement.

  2. Brian,

    You are mistaking “determinism” (which is key for both the adversarial process and the scientific method, specifically causal determinism) and “predeterminism”, which you may even be mistaking for “predestination”, “necessitarianism” or “fatalism”. Even if you fall on to the side of incompatibilism regarding free will, Sam Harris has made brilliant arguments for the necessity of legalism if free will is an illusion.

  3. RE: mespo727272, January 19, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    I agree rather well with Jefferson, and I further observe that the adversarial system of law and justice as it now exists in these United States of America is of “monkish ignorance and superstition” which has not bound me.


    Someone did something they could have done differently.

    To me, that is a Super-Stupefying Super-Superstition, which has not stupefied me because I have a decently working Superstition Detector. Oh. My Stupefaction Detector is also working very decently.

    For my Ph.D. thing, I asked three little questions:
    1. Ever make mistakes?
    2. Ever make a mistake you shouldn’t have made?
    3. Ever make a mistake you could have avoided?

    Ninety-eight percent of the about-3000 people I have asked those three questions have answered, “Yes,” to all three.

    In answering, “Yes,” to the second question, people tell me that they do not know what a mistake is. Such folks have traumatic damage to the their declarative brain process.

    In answering, “Yes,” to the third question, people tell me that they do not understand how a mistake happens. Such folks have traumatic damage to their procedural brain process.

    Answer, “No,” to the second and third questions, and you may be free of one form of psychosis.

    Answer, “Yes,” to both the second and third question, and both your declarative brain function and your declarative brain function are harboring psychosis. Neurologist Robert Scaer has named this form of psychosis, “time-corrupted learning.”

  4. Here’s what TJ, the ancient Romans, and most discerning folks really think about religion:

    May it be to the world, what I believe it will be, (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all,) the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government. All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God.

    -Thomas Jefferson, letter to Roger C. Weightman, June 24, 1826 (in the last letter he penned)

  5. Tootles,

    Already did it once using the supreme law of the land: the Constitution.

    You can have any belief you want. You are not free to force it or its dogma upon others by power of law. If ethical, secular law happens to coincide with your religious belief? Lucky you. But if it doesn’t, say concerning abortion or discrimination? Too damn bad. If you can’t make an ethical secular argument for a law, it’s Constitutionally inappropriate. You’ll just have to deal with the fact that secular means not overtly or specifically religious in the context of Constitutional law. If you want laws based on religion? I suggest moving to Saudi Arabia or perhaps building a time machine so you can enjoy the Inquisition first hand. Otherwise? You out of luck in America according to the Constitution.

    By the way, not typing “enlarge” in all caps for your quote? In no way diminishes that fact that is exactly what Jefferson meant when he said, “I am for freedom of religion, & against all maneuvres to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another.” Again, you can have any belief you want. You are not free to force it or its dogma upon others by power of law.

    Cherry pick all you want.

    The 1st, 10th, and 14th Amendment as well as the Supremacy Clause act to keep you from empowering religious dogma as law at both the state and Federal level no matter what your religion happens to be. This is not a Christian nation no matter your wishful thinking. There are Christians here. And Jews. And Muslims. And Hindus. And Buddhists. None of which are allowed to put their dogma into law any more than you are.

  6. BIL:

    Please, show me where in the Constitution religious people are not allowed to advocate for laws which agree with their faith? (please cite the exact words so I can look up the original intent).

    When you prove that what you say is true, I will grant that I am forcing religion on a secular government. Hell is going to have to freeze over first, of course. (this might be an advantage to you)

    I ask you this request because I know you cannot do it, and it will be fun to see you attempt to prove what is not true, since you are such a self-appointed expert on truth.

    What you have done is invented a fiction, a story, or myth about religious people and what they can or cannot do in the political arena, and you are attempting to pass it off as fact.

    “[N]o man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that ALL MEN shall be free to profess, and by ARGUMENT TO MAINTAIN, THEIR OPINIONS IN MATTERS OF RELIGION, AND THAT THE SAME SHALL IN NO WISE DIMINISH, enlarge, or AFFECT THEIR CIVIL CAPACITIES.” (my emphasis)

    Thomas Jefferson

    “I never will, by any word or act, bow to the shrine of intolerance, OR ADMIT A RIGHT TO INQUIRY into the religious opinions of others.” Jefferson

    “The proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages to which, in common with his fellow citizens, he has a natural right.” TJ

  7. Tootles,

    Anyone who thinks they can force their religion upon a secular government – even if they are willing to use weasel words to do so – is a theocrat.

    Try to backpeddle all you want.

    It’s funnier than Hell.

    And “I don’t care about you enough to hate you.”?

    Learn to read. One of the meanings of the word “care” is “regard coming from desire or esteem”. Since I neither desire you nor hold you in esteem, but especially intellectual esteem? That simply means you don’t register as important enough to merit hatred – which requires actual work just like love does. Not that I hate those I care about. Your ridiculous ideas merit the same hatred and scorn all bad ideas and fabrications merit. Because they do.

    You are a simple creature.

  8. BIL:

    Okay, in post about logic or reason and how bad I am at it, you tell me the only people you might hate are the ones you care about.

    Then by all means, please, PLEASE don’t care about me.

    And the reason it is called “faith” is because it employs “faith”.
    I realize this is tricky, but you might get it someday.

    If I was a theocrat, and you told the truth, I would want my pastor to be president and force you to worship my God.

    But I’m not a theocrat and you are not telling the truth.

  9. No, Tootles.

    The difference is that you use faith based rationalization and mistake it for logic and reason. You couldn’t find logic if it was where you store your head and you had an extra set of hands to help you.

    And I could give a rat’s ass if you think I’m cruel to you or not.

    You’re a theocrat – the only thing lower politically than a fascist.

    Godlessness? What part of “I don’t believe in your fairy tale” doesn’t compute? I want no part of your God who thinks that division and discrimination are acceptable. And I also want you to keep your God out of our government as required by the Constitution.

    Hate you?

    I don’t care about you enough to hate you.

    Hate your retrograde ideas?

    You bet. Like I hate all purposeful stupidity.

    But if you think what you employ is logic?

    The Big Sky Daddy isn’t the only thing you’re deluding yourself about.

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