Thursday, October 8, 2009

Governments War on the Elderly Shows No Reprieve

After agents spent half a day ransacking Mrs Norris' longtime home in Spring,Texas, emptying file cabinets,pulling books off shelves,rifling through drawers and throwing the contents on the floor.

Kathy Norris, a 60-year old grandmother of eight demanded to know why? "You don't need to know.You can't know." she was told by officials as heavily armed federal agents subjected her home to a furious search..

Kathy and George Norris lived under the specter of a covert government investigation for almost six months before the government unsealed a secret indictment and revealed why the Fish and Wildlife Service had treated their family home as if it were a training base for suspected terrorists. Orchids.

By March 2004, federal prosecutors were well on their way to turning 66-year-old retiree George Norris into an inmate in a federal penitentiary - based on his home-based business of cultivating, importing and selling orchids.

Mr. Norris ended up spending almost two years in prison because he didn't have the proper paperwork for some of the many orchids he imported. The orchids were all legal - but Mr. Norris and the overseas shippers who had packaged the flowers had failed to properly navigate the many, often irrational, paperwork requirements the U.S. imposed when it implemented an arcane international treaty's new restrictions on trade in flowers and other flora.

Mr. Norris who is elderly,diabetic with coronorary complications,arthritis and Parkinson's disease served time in a federal penitentiary.

The Norrises' nightmare began with the search in October 2003. It didn't end until Mr. Norris was released from federal supervision in December 2008. His wife testified, however, that even after he came home, the man she had married was still gone. He was by then 71 years old. Unsurprisingly, serving two years as a federal convict - in addition to the years it took to defend unsuccessfully against the charges - had taken a severe toll on him mentally, emotionally and physically.

Story collaborated by the Washington Times.Com

Currently in the United States, 1 in every 31 adult persons is either in jail or prison or on parole or probation. That amounts to 7.3 million Americans and a cost that exceeds $68 billion annually. This figure does not include juveniles accountable to the U.S. correction system. According to Susan Urahn of the Pew Foundation, who commissioned the report, juveniles are a very small percentage of the overall correction system population, at less than 5 percent. The total number of U.S. citizens accountable to the American correction system is the highest in the world. It even exceeds the combined Soviet Union and China prison population during the height of their dominate Communist Regime

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