Archive for August 5th, 2004

In a Courtroom, Who is Human?

The judge says to a repeat felon, “Willy, you have been before me five times.” Willy knows the judge, his defense attorney knows the judge even better.

How about the prosecutor? He knows Willy, he works with the judge and the defense attorney all the time. He is trying to get something on his record to get him or his boss reelected.

What looks good? Well, a ninety percent conviction rate looks good. All the prosecutor needs to do is get Willy convicted of something. And he has very little time to do it. He needs to clear the docket. The judge needs to clear the docket. The defense attorney is in a hurry if Willy is pro bono and can’t pay him. If Willy is pro bono he wants a quick deal, too.

But if the defendant has money the defense attorney is the one person in the court who has time. He will appeal until Judgment Day. So he can make a deal with the prosecutor that gets another conviction on the record and gets Willy back on the streets as soon as possible so the judge can say, “Willy you have been before me six times.”

So what about the “members of he public” Willy may have killed and the ones he terrorizes?

They are “members of the public.” They are not human.

A person who is wrongfully executed is a Victim of the System. The hundred “members of the public” who are innocent and get killed today by the Willys are not considered human by the judge. His job is Justice, and he believes it. To the judge, it is Willy who is human, not the people who pay his salary.

So you have just spent one clock minute seeing how American Justice works. That’s all the time you’ve got. You’ve got other things to think about. The prosecutor knows that. The judge knows that. The entire legal system is based on the assumption that Willy and his defense attorney have all the time in the world, while “members of the public” have one minute.

That is why, to a judge, you are not human.

Woody Allen said, “Ninety percent of life is showing up.” Willy shows up. The judge shows up. The prosecutor shows up as little as he can. He’s a busy man. “Members of the public” have thirty seconds to listen to a television sound bite where the guy running for Attorney General says he got ninety percent convictions.

That’s why, to the legal system, you are not human.

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