SJW to get some justice (and she's not going to like it)

Kudos to the Riverside County (California) District Attorney's Office for bringing justice to a crime committed in the name of politics.  Prosecutors have limited resources and a lot of crimes to prioritize.  But political crime is a serious matter today.  And the incident leading to the charges has already had tremendous visibility on conservative media (if not the MSM – yet) and on social media, thanks to YouTube. 

 A cause célèbre may be brewing, and that's a good thing.

Jennifer Kabbany reports in The College Fix:

A UC Riverside student who stole a peer's Make America Great Again hat off his head and refused to give it back now faces steep legal consequences.

A criminal complaint provided to The College Fix by the Riverside County District Attorney's Office states that Edith Macias has been charged with one misdemeanor count of grand theft for the September 27 incident.

The next court date on the matter is slated for March, and the maximum penalty Macias faces if convicted as currently charged is one year in county jail, a spokesman for the DA's office told The Fix.

Macias's defense team (and I do not doubt that she will have access to high-powered leftist lawyers, gratis) faces a slight obstacle in that video of the incident, taken by the victim, has garnered millions of views on YouTube.  As briefly summarized by Kabbany, it shows:

Macias stormed into a student services office with the hat and declared: "UCR is letting people wear this [s---] on campus? Make American Great Again, really? There were lynchings and genocide and mass deportations. ... I [f------] hate this country. ... And I am not leaving. ... We need to get rid of all ya'll."

After [the victim] Vitale demanded his hat back she replied: "[F---] your freedom of speech boy, your freedom of speech is literally killing a lot of people out there, your hats like these that promote laws and legislation that literally kill and murder people of color," she continued.

For those who have not seen the appalling theft and verbal harassment, four minutes of it is embedded here:

The victim, Matthew Vitale, handled himself with poise and dignity throughout and waited until university officials failed to apply any discipline to Machias before filing a criminal complaint with authorities.  That complaint has now been acted upon by the D.A.

By stealing the hat directly off the person of her victim, Macias opened the door to serious charges.  There was talk of felony charges earlier, but instead, it has been classified as misdemeanor grand theft, which, so far as I know, usually is for the theft of particularly expensive items, not trucker hats.

Jonathan Turley writes on his blog:

Initially, the charge of "grand theft" seems excessive for a hat. This is a "wobbler" crime that can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor.  However, the provision below drops the $950 threshold value criteria when property is taken off a person's body:

CHAPTER 5. Larceny [484 – 502.9]

  ( Chapter 5 enacted 1872. )


Grand theft is theft committed in any of the following cases:

(a) When the money, labor, or real or personal property taken is of a value exceeding nine hundred fifty dollars ($950), except as provided in subdivision (b).

(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), grand theft is committed in any of the following cases:


(c) When the property is taken from the person of another.

(d) When the property taken is any of the following:

(1) An automobile.

(2) A firearm.

(Amended by Stats. 2013, Ch. 618, Sec. 7. Effective January 1, 2014.)

As a first offense, jail is rare as opposed to informal probation for up to three years.  Nevertheless, it is surprising to see a formal charge over a hat. Yet, the video has gone viral and prosecutors may have felt the need to deter such violent and intolerant conduct on campuses.

In my view, crime committed in the name of political causes is a graver offense than the underlying offense would be if done out of greed.  Political violence, unpunished or mildly punished, begets more political violence.  And once political violence becomes the norm, the consequences can be fatal to the stability of the polity and society.  There are people openly calling for revolution and arming themselves.  This is an existential threat to our democratic republic – the cause for which our armed forces have fought and died throughout our history.  

I suspect that if Macias is handed a sentence including more than a weekend of jail time, some will portray her as a martyr.  Let them.  I think that the more exposure the public has to Macias, the better.  Her comrades on the left, especially those on campus, need to follow the same rules everyone else does.

If she is convicted, I hope she is handed a stiff sentence but that the judge offers her an alternative: release with an ankle bracelet on the condition that she attend and receive a passing grade from a course on the history of the American Republic, civil liberties, and civil society.  If judges can make abusive spouses attend nonviolence training, why not a comparable course for democracy-abusers?  

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