The course of justice, as conceived by Americans of the Enlightenment, went from evidence, to trial, to acquittal or punishment. By the end of the 19th century that conception of due process of law had become a fixture of American culture. But now, things have changed. Over time, our laws have mutated from prohibiting violations of individual rights to lists of arbitrary prohibitions of even completely harmless private behavior; from objective criteria to infinitely stretchable language; and in the last seven years into prohibitions based on nothing but faith-based fear of the exercise of those very rights, especially freedom of speech, that the founding fathers put at the top of their list of individual rights that the government was formed to protect. Punishment is now meted out even before there is any evidence of guilt, by means of official statements of spin, innuendo and outright lies designed to drive the designated victim of "law enforcement" to suicide, or at least a guilty plea that spares the government the trouble of presenting its case in court.
In the latest case, the victim was accused under an obscenity statute that, in the age before our current theocratic administration, most Americans thought would never be enforced again. Obscenity statues punish pure expression of thought. They do not involve in any way the protection of anyone against anything - certainly not against any conceivable violation of individual rights. The only function of these obscene laws is to protect "society" against the expression of ideas that our theocratic masters disapprove of. Yet the accusation of having had bad ideas in her head made the life of the accused woman into such hell that she pled guilty. To a charge that no honest judge could sustain after swearing to uphold the Constitution.
By punishing her first, the theocrats of DOJ have managed to avoid a test of the constitutionality of such laws. If the next President appoints more theocratic judges, as McCain has promised to do, such obscenity laws will never face an honest constitutional test. As Ayn Rand wrote, "not fire and brimstone but goo."