Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Truth, Justice and the American Way

Over the past 5 years, Bob and Mary Schindler have been given an in-depth course in the workings of the American judicial system. I don't know how much they have retained, but the rest of us should be paying very close attention. In the end, the lesson is very simple: truth and justice are completely irrelevant.

The Schindlers' appeals have been routinely denied for one and only one reason: the trial judge did not make any egregious errors in procedure. Once a trial judge renders a decision, the case is essentially closed. Facts, evidence, and arguments will not even be considered by another court. The apparent assumption is that a trial judge will never make a bad decision. Having read Judge Greer's decision, I can confidently state that this assumption is incorrect. Read it for yourself. If you can get through all the errors in language, see if you can pick out the underlying flaws in logic and leaps of faith in this document (link fro Abstract Appeal). It's frightening.

Anyone who has had the privilege of serving on a jury (I have sat on 3 so far), can attest that trials are not about searching for truth or seeing that justice is done. A trial is basically a game to see which lawyer or team of lawyers is better. Truth? The jury decides what the truth is based on whatever limited testimony and evidence they are allowed to hear and see. Justice? There are no shades of gray. Guilty or not guilty. That's it. Guilty verdicts often lead to absurdly harsh sentences because of strict sentencing guidelines. Judges who try to use common sense and compassion and refer some lawbreakers to treatment instead of prison are castigated for being "soft on crime".

If you ever expect to get justice in a courtroom, you have a rude awakening coming. Our legal system is a joke and an absurdity. How else could a person be awarded millions of dollars in damages because they didn't expect their coffee to be hot? How else could Michael Schiavo be awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars because he could no longer have sex with his wife? What, his girlfriend wasn't enough for him? Was he ordered to use this money to pay hookers to provide these services for him?

Gah! This whole business has me so upset I can't think straight.


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