November 30, 2014

Of Justice And Ham Sandwiches

From the National Review:
As Ferguson burned this week, the law books got a workout. Suddenly, grand-jury procedure was all the rage. Commentators better known for parroting the bromide that a prosecutor can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich went berserk when the sandwich on offer was a white cop and the grand jury refused to bite.
Our criminal justice system is predicated upon the premises that a defendant is assumed innocent until proven guilty and the burden of that proof falls upon the State. Sometimes this galls us in prosecutions of particularly heinous or egregious crimes or when the defendant in question has multiple previous convictions. In the former we say, "hang him!" and in the latter we insist,"off with him, enough is enough!". These are angry responses but they are honest in that, for the most part, they are fueled by Righteous Indignation. And nothing gets America' s dander up like Righteous Indignation. Ask the Japanese.

So then, our legal system stands (hopefully) betwixt and between the crime and the exercise of Indignation. If not, Indignation usually manifests itself in the form of an angry mob, a sturdy tree branch and a length of rope. Some assembly for these component is required, but the instructions are simple; even the most ignorant can figure it out easily. When required, men with guns and badges are employed to interrupt the assembly process.

From the same article, Andrew C. McCarthy of the National Review made this point:
Darren Wilson was a white cop and Michael Brown was a black teenager killed in a violent confrontation with Wilson. Therefore, Brown was the victim of a cold-blooded, racially motivated murder, Q.E.D. That is the myth, and it will be served — don’t bother us with the facts.

Once you’ve got that, none of the rest matters. In fact, at the hands of the left-leaning punditocracy, the rest was pure Alinsky: a coopting of language — in this instance, the argot of grand-jury procedure — to reason back to the ordained conclusion that “justice” demanded Wilson’s indictment for murder. And, of course, his ultimate conviction.
The mission of our nation's race pimps and community organizers is to manufacture Righteous Indignation in order to manipulate the criminal justice system. The object is two fold: encourage violent, lawless elements to become even more so and to dishearten law abiding citizens, to remove their confidence and trust in government. While they failed to corrupt the grand jury process, they certainly created an atmosphere of distrust and violence and precipitated an economic catastrophe.

Compare the actions of St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch who pursued the truth in the Michael Brown shooting with that of Michael Nifong, the Durham County District Attorney who pursued political expediency in the prosecution of the Duke University lacrosse players in 2006.

As a result of his reckless disregard of truth seeking, Nifong was removed from office and disbarred. The disgraced prosecutor admitted that the punishment was appropriate.
"We are in unanimous agreement that there is no discipline short of disbarment that would be appropiate in this case," said F. Lane Williamson, the committee's chairman.

Before the panel announced its punishment, Nifong said he believed disbarment would be appropriate and that he planned to waive all rights to appeal the findings of the bar panel, his attorney David Freedman said in court Saturday afternoon.

"He hopes that in light of his accepting his punishment it will restore some of the confidence in the criminal justice system," Freedman said. "You have some semblance of relief when this is all over, regardless of the outcome."
Just how bad was the prosecution of the three Duke lacrosse players? Read what the Duke University College of Law has to say:
The Duke lacrosse case was a disaster—a caricature. The case, which involved false rape charges against three Duke University lacrosse players, began with gang rape allegations by an exotic dancer at a team party in March 2006 and ended with the declaration of their innocence in April 2007 and the disbarment of Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong in June of that year. Often a full examination of the facts of a notorious case reveals that events were ambiguous and the reality is not as bad as early reports suggested. This case does not fit that pattern; it gets worse on inspection. At the end of a five-day disciplinary hearing, Lane Williamson, chair of the North Carolina State Bar’s hearing panel, called the case a “fiasco” and reiterated the term, giving assurance that it was “not too strong a word.” He was clearly right, and could well have added adjectives.

[...]The Duke lacrosse case is extraordinary both in the clarity of its facts and in the violation of the prosecutor’s fundamental duty to do justice.
This is a good read on how bad the system can get. Nifong treated the system as his personal ham sandwich. Bob McCullough treated the system for what it is - the reflection of a community's investment in justice.

Confidence in the system is what the battle is about. Not only confidence in the criminal justice system, but confidence in a responsive, responsible government.

I can only hope that the new Republican majority realizes this and acts accordingly.


Fredd said...

Unfortunately, the new Republican majority still consists mostly of old school Republicans.

They will disregard everything that got them those gavels. They always do. We are slowly watering down and diluting the concentration of old school corruption, however, and we'll see how this batch of Republican soup tastes...

LL said...

A responsible federal government needs to accept the limitations placed on it by the Constitution and allow the States to govern. If you don't do that you simply end up with unmanageable debt and incompetence. Add Barack or Hillary to the mix and the wheels are completely off the trolly.

Doom said...

I argue that the decision to adjourn a grand jury was bordering on criminal just with the facts they absolutely had at the time. We shouldn't be cowing to terrorists, certainly not the justice system. It was a political witch hunt, but one that was becoming likely to bite them in the ass, so they backed off.

As for Republicans... I honestly think this is their last chance, if Dems aren't fairing well either. Perhaps it is time for new parties. Getting politicians that not only listen, but have a fear of the righteous indignation that has grown drastically is the trick. For too many, it really is just business. That's a mistake, when government encroaches on the natural state of men to be free, especially men who know freedom.

I see fear in some of their eyes, politicians. But so far it is just fear for their political career. Unless it becomes more, I don't think they will take things seriously enough. We'll see.

Euripides said...

The furor over Ferguson is a natural result of leftist propaganda that places political correctness above the law. I'm not expecting much to come from the new Republican Congress since they still have Obama to deal with, who will veto every bill and excoriate the Congress as "obstuctionist" for not caving in to his every demand.

WoFat said...

All blacks aren't racists. It just looks that way on TV.

Doom said...


Talk is easy. I wouldn't bet my life on your supposition. You may do as you please, of course.