Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Justice system under threat of mob-style "political correctness."

Contrary to what you often hear, the American justice system is not broken. Before you think that I'm an apologist for our courts, read on:

I often jokingly refer to myself as an “anarchist criminal defense lawyer.” I make this jest because unlike many lawyers who practice criminal law casually, I am an aggressive criminal defense lawyer and I use any tactic that is legal and ethical to win for my clients, no matter who I piss off.

I do this because the more aggressively the lawyer fights for his client, the more the justice system actually works. The legal system in the United States is designed to be an adversarial system – accent on the adversarial. The harder the attorneys fight, the more they use the rules of procedure, the more they exploit the “technicalities,” the more they demand the courts uphold the letter of the law, the more there is justice.

Many people don’t believe this, including lawyers. My experience has been that the lawyers who bitch the most about how “unfair” the system is are those lawyers who coast through their cases and think they will get a good result for their client by being a “good ol’ boy,” or by virtue of their popularity with judges and other lawyers.

It is this legal half-assery that is making the system veer wildly from true justice to what many perceive as miscarriages of justice. 

That's not all. When people who aren't lawyers see this legal half-assery, they assume it applies to the entire system.

Consider that in today’s political climate the justice system is now hotly debated among people of all political stripes. The right and left howl perpetually about some injustice fomented by the courts. Judges who don’t rule the way a certain voting bloc wants are decried as unjust and the mob gets ready to storm the Bastille and string the offending judge up by the neck. I am not kidding. The judge who handed down the legally correct sentence in the Stanford University "rape" case received death threats for merely following the law – the very thing we expect him to do. Why did I put quotes around the word "rape?" Read the actual case and you'll see why.

I remember seeing the tidal wave of abuse heaped upon the judge, the courts, the system, the lawyers, the parties when that case made the press. The media – which never gets a legal story right no matter how they try – ginned up a controversy for ratings and the public ate it like cats devour catnip. The end result was a “movement” to unseat the judge.  Others wanted to simply kill him.

These reactions are terrifying, because they threaten your freedom. That's what I said. You're freedom. Why? Because next time you might be the Frankenstein monster the mob wants to lynch. It’s that simple.

Mob mentality is never a good thing. Whether that mob is in the streets of Ferguson, Mo. -- attacking and looting local businesses because they don’t like the result of a case  -- or a wild-eyed mob of internet activists, both do considerable damage to society.

The justice system is supposed to a co-equal branch of our government. You have the legislative branch which makes the laws. You have the executive branch which enforces the law. You have the independent courts which make sure the other two don’t tramp down your constitutional right to be free.

So, when a mob attacks the justice system for merely following the law, it’s a threat to our freedom because no society can survive if a mob of howling dogs decides who lives or dies.

A couple of days ago I was reading a Facebook site for a left-wing group called “Democracy Now.” There was a story on their page of a rape case in which a defendant was given a three year sentence for a “rape.” No details were given. The howling mob of left-wing Democracy Now supporters exploded into a rage. It was, in their minds, an injustice, another example of how women are disposable. And it was proof our justice system is irretrievably broken.

I read the post and thought there was so little information that it was impossible to tell what had actually happened.

Then I did something unusual. I commented on it. I said, “As a lawyer for more than two decades, I encourage you to stop second-guessing the court system on these cases. You didn't hear the evidence. You don't know all of the nuances.” I explained that the media never gets the legal case right, that there are complex rules and laws which must be followed and it’s never as simple as a media story wants to make it. In short, you can't package a 1,000 page legal transcript into one 14" news story.

I was then attacked from all sides. The lefties on Democracy Now told me I had no right to comment because I’d never been raped. The righties said I was a dirty defense lawyer and the lefties agreed. I was assailed as a racist white Southerner. I was accused of being an apologist for men. I was accused of supporting rape as a socially accepted part of a male-dominated culture.

I was called a liar because I am a criminal defense lawyer. I was repeatedly called a racist who only defends rich white people. I was accused of “lawyer mansplaining, even more heinous and unusable.” I was accused of promoting “white pride.”

Many of the people posting on the site wanted “justice,” by that they meant only one result – the person accused is found guilty and then killed. It was only justice when the accused was convicted. It was only justice when revenge was extracted. The rules of our system meant nothing. The rules of evidence meant nothing. A fast-track guilty verdict was all that was acceptable.

Many said justice would only be served when the accused went to prison to be raped by black inmates. Wait! I thought they said I was the racist! 

One person said judges who follow the law “encourage others to rape. This is a sick country!” Another person said he was “ashamed to be Caucasian” when he heard such verdicts. Another person said “our ‘justice system’ in this country is now non-existent.” Another implied all white people are rich and are rapists. He then said, “These judges, and (sic) well as these fucking rapists need lynching.”

Another said that if there is not enough evidence to convict the police should “just make up shit.”

The lesbian feminists and the right wingers apparently hate penises.“He needs to be castrated,” another intoned, “along with his lawyer and the judges that set him free.” Still another favored cutting the accused’s penis off as punishment.

One poster who was appalled at the alleged rape of the victim supported raping the accused. Another posited that the accused should be stoned to death. Many felt the accused should be killed because “he will do it again.” Are we ISIS? Stoning?

These attitudes are terrifying because they speak to a black and white mentality that I seriously can’t believe still exists in the world, much less in the supposedly educasted United States of America. The lefty feminists who banded with the right wing extremists, the Jesus freaks and the moralists all appeared to be advocating for a mindet found in wahabi-Islam and the freaked out Calvinism of old. 

Justice by mob rule. 

If this mentality isn’t aggressively challenged, we will see the end of all fairness in our courts -- and in our society. Aw hell, we won’t even need courts! Just a rope and tree.

And that’s always worked so well, right?

(Required by Alabama Law: No representation is made that the quality of legal services to be performed is greater than other lawyers.)

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