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  • Outside the Beltway: Illegal Adventures in Babysitting

    The Associated Press reported on Tuesdayon a letter the Michigan Department of Human Services sent to suburban mom Lisa Snyder, warning her to stop watching her neighbors’ children while they waited in the mornings for the school bus. Apparently Snyder was kind enough to do this as a favor for a few of her friends who are working moms.

    Initial reports do not indicate whether the warning letter is backed by possible criminal penalties.

    What is certain, however, is that this is yet another example of overbroad laws that bureaucrats and prosecutors use against Americans who are doing nothing that should be considered illegal, much less criminal.

    Small-time entrepreneur and inventor Krister Evertson was arrested at gunpoint in Wasilla, Alaska, by SWAT-clad FBI agents. He had not known that he had to put a federally mandated sticker on his otherwise lawful UPS package.

    A few years back, sixty-three year-old grandmother Kay Leibrand was arrested by police at her California home of 30 years for failing to meet some Palo Alto bureaucrat’s view of how high her hedges should be. (This is not a joke.)

    George Norris, who was 66 years old at the time, had his house ransacked by agents of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (!) carrying firearms. A retiree, Norris’s home-based business was cultivating, importing, and selling orchids. He ended up serving almost two years in prison, finally getting free from federal supervision last December – at the age of 71 – for what amounts to paperwork violations.

    Both Krister Evertson and George Norris’s wife Kathy testified at a bipartisan hearing held by Chairman Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and Ranking Member Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) in July.

    To her credit, Michigan’s Governor Jennifer Granholm has quickly called for amendments to the law that her Department of Human Services used to threaten Lisa Snyder for not having registered as a daycare with the state. Hopefully this law will soon be changed.

    In the meantime, this overbroad Michigan law illustrates the thousands and thousands of state and federal laws that can be used to turn an average American’s normal, law-abiding existence into a Kafkaesque nightmare.

    In addition to their work passing laws that are actually needed, lawmakers at all levels need to diligently engage in the long, unglamorous work of eliminating bad laws – and making sure that the new laws they create are carefully drafted and cannot easily be used against the innocent.

    Posted in Legal [slideshow_deploy]

    15 Responses to Outside the Beltway: Illegal Adventures in Babysitting

    1. jlw, indiana says:

      ……….. but don't go after the illegal immigrants.

    2. LB, Lowell MI says:

      The reason the nice lady in Michigan initially got in trouble was because a neighbor turned her in after seeing this go on for several days. Who is this moron? They should stop cowering in the shadows and at least admit they were the one(s) who complained and got this decent woman in trouble.

    3. Greg Albuquerque, NM says:

      The issue here is THE POWER of these laws. They can be used sellectively to go after political enemies and or other "extremists". We need to force the elimination of such laws to ensure FREEDOM. We don't need laws telling how high a hedge can be, that we need to leash our dogs in the backs of pickup trucks, etc.

      Don't tread on me! (Sound historical?)

    4. Jeff, Rehoboth says:

      Governor Granholm, NOT GOOD ENOUGH. WRONG ANSWER.

      The right answer is adding common sense to law enforcement and the judiciary. You should fire the person responsible for sending the letter right now!! If that's the biggest fish that department needs to fry in your state, I've got news for you: They aren't adding any value and they can probably do with a few less people if this is all they have to do.

      I would also add that there is something that rubs me the wrong way about having to amend this law. It's as if what happened as a result of it was justified and lawful. Merely amending the words is not sufficient to address the violation of the over-reach itself.

      As Philip K. Howard points out in his book "The Death of Common Sense", we are becoming a nation of laws that are devoid of common sense. You're not going to be able to 'amend' every law as has been suggested above to account for every circumstance.

      Big Government is very dangerous. These are all great examples.

    5. Davod, Reston, VA says:

      The babysitting issue is an international problem. I recently read about two British policewomen who got into trouble. They went back to work after being on maternaty leave. They were taking turns at looking after each others baby (I suppose they were working different shifts).

      They were threatened with prosecution if they continued.

    6. Eric Potter, Nashvil says:

      This is called "statism", or the philosophy that the "state" or government always knows what it best for everyone. The "state" is extending its influence/control into all areas of life. Practically, this means that they want to tell you what to do and how to do it (regardless of what "it" is).

      America, Please awaken and respond with some signs of life before the chains of statism are too firm and binding.


      Eric Potter MD

      Tennessee Director for Parental Rights.Org

    7. Mike, Maryland says:

      As opposed to sending a letter to Snyder, why didn't someone simply visit the home to make a disposition on this complaint. I would also like to know if Snyder was being compensated for her service or was she simply being a GREAT neighbor.

    8. Dave Omaha says:

      In 2003 I having a riding lawnmover, would place my cockapoo on a long chain for 10 minutes a week in the chain linked yard. My wife did not want the dog inside and I had to leave the gate open while I moved the riding mower to the front yard.

      A neighbor called the sheriff, and I was warned I could not tie up my dog for 10 minutes a week while I mowed the grass.

      In the middle class neighborhood, the state brought in drug addicts whose child, threw a rock at a neightbor girl. The girl's face was streaming with blood, but the sheriff would not do anything because social services brought this woman and son into the neighborhood. The girls parents sold their home and moved.

      I think that the mis-use of 9-1-1 should stop and people who report crimes that are not felonies should be responsible for their actions. A busy-body, an irrate emotionally off balance neighbor should be responsible for their actions in the silly calls to 9-1-1. When I did report a burgler in the neighborhood, the sheriffs would not enter the neighborhood, but rather the thief finished his business and drove off while the sheriff did nothing. It would seem our law enforcement is hounding the responsible citizen, while illegals and criminals go their way. Lastly, I found if I did report a ligitimate crime in process, I was more at risk for being arrested for the crime, rather than the law enforcement handing the crime.

      Hence, now, if you report a burglery you have a greater chance of being arrested for the crime, as the law enforcement is not interested in finding the criminal, but rather the honest citizen that is calling about a real crime.

    9. Tim Az says:

      If I lived in that neighborhood there would be a block party in honor of the discussting piece of communist debris that turned her in to the State. Fortunately in my neighborhood we are not within shouting distance of each other. We occasionally do have parties on some holidays. Obviously there are different views among us but none of us tread on each other because of them. Sure we express opinions to each other concerning our differing ideologies. If you can't respect other peoples freedoms than you deserve a dose of ostracizing.

    10. Bobbie Jay says:

      The woman who turned this in should be arrested for stalking the other woman who was minding her own business, watching children for the safety of the children.

      What about the parents who were arrested because of developed pictures (at wal-mart)of their children in the bathtub? Here again, the perverted violator is obviously the Wal-Mart employee, and the members involved in the government run child abuse ctr. who took part in the arresting of. Unless the children were being violated in anyway, this is as petty as petty gets.

      AFV has some pretty questionable material with kids. But that's okayed by the government run, fcc.


    11. Bill, Forney, TX says:

      … This woman was merely watching kids for the period of time in the morning between when their parents had to leave for work and when the school bus arrived to pick up the kids. Sane people see no problems with this sort of community cooperation. Who cares if she got paid (or not) or if some of the parents returned the favor in kind by watching HER kids when she wished to go out. It is nobody's business but that of the parents involved. Period. . .

    12. Neal Risedorph, Jone says:

      Sounds like more lawyers looking for more business.

    13. Keith, Tokyo says:

      Right of assembly, plain and simple. Let's just say these kids are at Mrs. Snyder's house for whatever reason because they are her family's friends, which they undoubtedly are. We now have to start clocking how many hours our juvenile friends are in our homes each year or get busted? Should we get punch cards and a time clock? Ain't that America…NOT!

    14. Leon, Durango, CO says:

      I classify all of this as Liberal Fascism. It happened to me in 2001 when I saved some girls from being murdered by a bunch of little gangsters. It used to be that our right of self defense was held to be "inalienable." Well, dear hearts, Clinton put a bounty on handguns so that local governments would take guns off the streets. I used my pistol to save the life of a stabbing victim. With two warning shots I ran them of and rushed a 15 year old girl to the hospital. She had five stab wounds, three of them were fatal wounds. I was arrested at the hospital for discharge and get this, contributing to the delinquency of a minor (Yeah, like a dead girl could be delinquent after she was dead.) I saved her life, drove off the gang, defended a drive by shooting attempt and harmed no one.

      You would think Lakewood Colorado would appreciate that I stopped the murder of several young girls. NO! They prosecuted me harder than the gangsters. They ruined my life. Later on, the Colorado Electrical Board withheld my license, so that the Judge was countermanded in his punishment (2 years probation) by local government, as if they were empowered to increase my punishment. Don't kid yourself! The Liberal Fascists are here, now! And you are next.

      By the way, my 'victim' was found innocent of the charge fighting, thus not delinquent. I was found guilty despite the jury being told she was innocent. It seems Liberal Fascism requires the confusion of Judge, Jury and executioner. I figure the gang violated the law in 28 counts. The police and prosecutors violated the law in 128 counts. I followed the law in every detail. Go figure!

    15. Eddie says:

      There should be a law against being a snoopy neighbor rat.

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