Roger Roots

 

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Roger Roots is a nationally recognized attorney, criminologist, constitutional scholar and civil liberties activist.  He is active in libertarian politics, and in the promotion of a freer, fairer and more just world.  He is the author of more than two dozen noteworthy scholarly articles, and some of his research has been relied on by federal courts.   He is an advocate for the rights of the disenfranchised, the downtrodden and the politically estranged.

 

Roger Roots has recently published a book, The Conviction Factory: The Collapse of America’s Criminal Courts (2014), available on Amazon.com.

 

 

 

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As an attorney Roger Roots has worked on a variety of civil and criminal cases.  He is the only lawyer in the history of the U.S. 8th Circuit to ever overturn a conviction on venue grounds. United States v. Stanko, 528 F.3d 581, 584 (8th Cir. 2008).   Roots has also worked on litigation concerning America’s lost legacy of grand jury oversight, a topic he has studied and written about on numerous occasions.  Roots’ legal scholarship has been cited in the Harvard Law Review and the Yale Law Journal and been relied on by courts across the United States. (See, e.g., Baur v. Veneman, 352 F.3d 625 (2d Cir. 2003); United States v. Marcucci, 299 F.3d 1156, 1162 (9th Cir. 2002); United States v. Holmstrom, 246 F.Supp.2d 1101, 1110 (E.D.Wash. 2003)).

SAVING THE EXCLUSIONARY RULE 

Beginning around 2005, Roots began researching the origins of the Fourth Amendment Exclusionary Rule.  At the time, most judges and law professors claimed that the Founding Fathers did not intend for illegally-seized evidence to be excluded from criminal trial.  (The prevailing narrative among “conservative,” “originalist,” and “strict constructionist” constitutional scholars was that the Founders intended only that victims of lawless searches could merely sue the government in separate civil lawsuits.)  Roots has documented that the Framers of the Constitution almost certainly intended for the Fourth Amendment exclusionary rule.  Roots’ findings have been published in two law review articles, ” The Originalist Case For the Fourth Amendment Exclusionary Rule, 45 Gonzaga Law Review 1-66 (2009), and The Framers’ Fourth Amendment Exclusionary Rule: The Mounting Evidence, 15 Nevada Law Journal 42-76 (2014).

Prior to Roots’ research, the exclusionary rule hung by a thread, and various Supreme Court justices were openly counseling for the rule to be abolished.  Roots’ research has almost certainly saved the Fourth Amendment exclusionary rule for America’s future generations.

Roots may also be (partially) responsible for alterations in the filing deadlines outlined in the Federal Rules of Procedure.  In 2010, Roots authored an important article entitled “Unfair Rules of Procedure: Why Does the Government Get More Time?” (American Journal of Trial Advocacy 2010) on the topic of the lopsided time limits appearing throughout the Federal Rules of Civil, Criminal and Appellate Procedure.  Roots argued that the filing requirement disparities give an unfair advantage to the U.S. Justice Department in civil and criminal litigation, and that this advantage is compounded over time.  This advantage places the poor and minorities in an especially disadvantaged position.  Roots presented papers on the topic before the Law and Society Association national conference and the annual meeting of the American Society of Criminology.  he Judicial Conference of the United States

 

Dr. Roots is a member of the Board of Advisers of the Fully Informed Jury Association (www.FIJA.org), America’s oldest and largest educational organization solely dedicated to informing jurors and potential jurors of their absolute power to acquit criminal defendants in the interests of justice.  Roots was a featured speaker at the 2008 and 2016 Libertarian Party National Conventions.

 

Dr. Roots is a founding member of the Wall of Tolerance, co-founded by Rosa Parks, whose courageous stand against authoritarian government in 1955 showed millions of others how to resist government by simply saying no.

 

 

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Roger I. Roots

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Roger Roots

IMG_0069Roger I. Roots, J.D., Ph.D.

Roger I. Roots

Attorney At Law

113 Lake Drive East

Livingston, MT 59047

(406) 224-3105

rogerroots@msn.com

 

“My Client Is Liberty!”

 

Civil Rights, Federal Criminal Appeals, First Amendment, and Jury-Related Issues.

 

Licensed to practice in the State of Rhode Island and the U.S. First, Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Circuits.

Author of The Conviction Factory: The Collapse of America’s Criminal Courts (2014).

Never in American history has government had so much unchecked power to hurt people as it does now.  Few lawyers are prepared to challenge the modern governmental leviathan.  I view the struggle against government as a lawyer’s highest duty.

If the rule of law means anything, it means that the government must lose at least some major cases.  Yet the modern legal profession has mostly ceased being an obstacle to expansive and intrusive government.

Sadly, most Americans are left to fend for themselves when government targets them.  Friends, employers, and associates abandon them.  Even worse, most members of the modern legal profession view the state as a source of warmth and comfort, and most modern lawyers will never challenge the state.

I am reminded of the legacy of Lord Camden, the great libertarian judge who presided over the British Court of Common Pleas throughout the 1760s.  Lord Camden’s far-reaching decisions and opinions paved the way for American Founding Fathers to draft and enact the Fourth Amendment and to enshrine principles of free speech and the right to jury trial in the Constitution and laws of the United States.

The American Founding generation revered Lord Camden.  Camden, New Jersey, Camden Yards (where the Baltimore Orioles play baseball) and many other places were named for Lord Camden.

If a similar libertarian judge were to rise in the judiciary today, he would live forever.  Monuments would be built to honor him.  But there are no Lord Camdens on the benches of American courts today.  The vast majority of American judges fuel and empower expansive and intrusive government.

 

 

 

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