Today I came home to another personally delivered envelope from Mr. Marcus on behalf of the Census Bureau. It looks like it was placed in the second floor’s mailbox and they noticed it addressed to “Occupants of: APT 1.” The “APT 1″ written in pen. It was the same envelope Edward delivered the first time and that he failed to give me on when we had our face to face chat. It has the same US Census 2010 pamphlet as before [page 7 & 8] and the same general warning letter [page 3] but as you’d expect there are some differences. If you look at page 2 there is the Request for Appointment slip. On the one received today the top section is again blank, the Census Bureau Representative and Telephone number are the same but the remarks say:
I am following up on the survey you received in the mail and did not return. I have been to your home and you have refused to allow me to interview you either in person or on the phone. Title 13 of the US Code imposes Penalties for non response to this survey. It is a very brief interview you can do on the phone by calling me. If you do not reach me leave a phone number & a time to call back.
In addition there is a new page which reads:
Please cooperate in our survey which is helpful to determining the requirements of households in your area.
Every resident of the United States is obligated to participate in this survey and there are penalties involved for not co-operating.
The American Community Survey is conducted under the authority of Title 13, United States Code, Sections 141 and 193, and response is mandatory. According to Section 221, persons who do not respond shall be fined not more than $100. Title 18 U.S.C. Section 3571 and Section 3559, in effect amends Title 13 U.S.C. Section 221 by changing the fine for anyone over 18 years old who refuses or willfully neglects to complete the questionnaire or answer questions posed by census takers from a fine of not more than $100 to not more than $5,000. The U.S. Census Bureau may use this information only for statistical purposes. We can assure you that your confidentiality is protected. Title 13 requires the Census Bureau to keep all information about you and all other respondents strictly confidential. Any Census Bureau employee who violates these provisions is subject to a fine up to $250,000 or a prison sentence of up to five years, or both.
Tricksy they are. This is why the whole “ignorance of the law is no excuse” statement is absolutely ridiculous. They thugs in Washington DC obviously wanted to raise fines so instead of going through existing law and replacing values they go and add a new one that trumps the old values unless the law explicitly says it doesn’t. So this TITLE 18 > PART II > CHAPTER 227 > SUBCHAPTER C > § 3571 Sentence of fine reads:
(a) In General.- A defendant who has been found guilty of an offense may be sentenced to pay a fine.
(b) Fines for Individuals.- Except as provided in subsection (e) of this section, an individual who has been found guilty of an offense may be fined not more than the greatest of-
(1) the amount specified in the law setting forth the offense;
(2) the applicable amount under subsection (d) of this section;
(3) for a felony, not more than $250,000;
(4) for a misdemeanor resulting in death, not more than $250,000;
(5) for a Class A misdemeanor that does not result in death, not more than $100,000;
(6) for a Class B or C misdemeanor that does not result in death, not more than $5,000; or
(7) for an infraction, not more than $5,000.
(e) Special Rule for Lower Fine Specified in Substantive Provision.- If a law setting forth an offense specifies no fine or a fine that is lower than the fine otherwise applicable under this section and such law, by specific reference, exempts the offense from the applicability of the fine otherwise applicable under this section, the defendant may not be fined more than the amount specified in the law setting forth the offense.
According to Section 3559 since in Title 13, Section 221 there is no classifying letter grade and no imprisonment is authorized, refusal or willfully neglecting to complete the questionnaire is an infraction. According to Section 3571 as shown above an infraction can carry a fine of not more than $5,000.
So it appears that ol’ Ed is trying to intimidate me. I had told him prior I was well aware of the Census law and knew my fine was not more than $100. Well it seems my criminal code knowledge was lacking. Not that this changes anything. In a similar case where two individuals, Russell Kanning and David Ridley, had been issued a fine from the federal government for distribution of handbills and refused to pay the fine they were imprisoned for a period of time. Dave for 4 days I believe and I’ve not yet tracked down Russell’s length though I’ve sent Dave an email asking for the numbers and any info he feels is relevant. You can find his story here, here, here and here.
When any request for information, made by the Secretary or other authorized officer or employee of the Department of Commerce or bureau or agency thereof, is made by registered or certified mail or telegram, the return receipt therefor or other written receipt thereof shall be prima facie evidence of an official request in any prosecution under such section.
Does this mean that the hand delivered requests can not be prima facie evidence? Not that they need to worry as they sent me two booklets, a postcard and a letter which they likely have receipts for or could make up if need be.
Also interesting is I finally talked with the occupants of the other apartment in my building and found that they had been contacted by the Census Bureau separately and filled out theirs and returned it several weeks ago. They also informed me that they had been looking for me (our friend Edward Marcus I’m sure) but had forgotten to tell me. What are the odds that both apartment addresses would be chosen or are they just lazy?
I’ll provide a PDF of the new documents tomorrow.