Category: News & Opinion (General) Topic: Constitution & Civil Liberties
Synopsis: the courts were rigged to fill jails and that justice was not on the agenda
Source: Lew Rockwell
Published: March 26, 2008 Author: Joseph Potter
For Education and Discussion Only. Not for Commercial Use.
In the Pursuit of Justice, Do We Need Trials?
The US is the world’s greatest prison state; of that there can be little debate.
By any method of counting we incarcerate more of our citizens than any other country in the world. Even China has fewer total prisoners than the US, and China’s per capita rate is also much smaller than the US rate. Yes my friends, even China has less criminals in jail than we do. Surprised?
Paul Craig Roberts once wrote that the principles that make our law a shield of protection for the citizens, and not a weapon of tyranny in the hands of prosecutors, are called "the Rights of Englishmen." The Rights of Englishmen were listed by Mr. Roberts as: due process, the attorney-client privilege, equality before the law, the right to confront adverse witnesses, and the prohibitions against attacking a person through his property, bills of attainder, self-incrimination, retroactive law, and crimes without intent. He claimed these rights are the bedrock of our legal system.
Let us look at due process; what is it? The Constitution guarantees that the government cannot take away a person's basic right to life, liberty or property, without due process of law. I suppose one could say that "due process" is basic fairness. You could say that due process means that the state must prove its case in a manner that is just and moral in a court of law while respecting the other rights as outlined above. In our system we expect that the truth will come out in the court trail of the accused, and we believe that everyone accused will have their day in court. At least, that is our hope.
I invited a criminal defense attorney to speak to a class of 8th grade students in a private school a few years ago. He was a parent of one of the children and after he was done he recommended another parent who was also a defense attorney to speak; and I gave that other attorney equal time.
The talks by both men were simply amazing. They both eventually got to the fact that over 97 percent of the cases in our town are settled by plea bargain. Both had stories of men who pleaded guilty to avoid trail even though they were innocent. These stories would immediately get the attention of the children, "why would someone say they were guilty when they were not"?
The answer has to do with the awesome power of the prosecutor's office and the idea of piling criminal counts on top of other criminal counts until any matter could net one untold years in jail. We were told by both attorneys that for centuries on end criminal charges were not arbitrary. We in America would charge a horse thief with theft, but not with conspiracy to steal horses, willful evasion of taxes on stolen horses, cruelty to animals and diminishing the civil rights of horse owners; but this is no longer true.
The prosecutor's office is also funded by the taxpayer and can spend untold fortunes on "expert witnesses" that are paid to testify in court to whatever the prosecutor's theory is in the matter. The prosecutor can also offer time off or immunity to convicted criminals if they will testify against the defendant in the case. The criminals will often say whatever is necessary to help their own situation and the truth or justice has nothing to do with it.
We were told that it is a fiction that the government will not retaliate against you if you demand your constitutional right to a jury trail in a criminal case. That was the most shocking statement of the day to my young charges.
The class and I were left with the distinct impression that the courts were rigged to fill jails and that justice was not on the agenda. When one of the children asked, "how is that fair?"; the answer was that the fair came to town in October and was at the fairgrounds on west Highway 50. This seems to be a well-known joke among lawyers, but it was a real comedown for the children and myself.
We were left with the idea that our system is founded on the idea that only in a proper court case tried by a jury of our peers could justice even have a chance of prevailing. The famous rights of Englishmen identified by Mr. Roberts are without meaning as long as there is no trial. That means in my town there is no justice in at least 97 percent of the cases. No wonder the jails are full. As long as we circumvent the court trail by jury with the plea bargain there will be no justice in America for the accused, be he innocent or guilty.
Do we really not care that justice is arbitrary in our country? I know I care; but what can be done? I suppose for now we try to inform our fellow citizens and hope that they see that an injustice in any one case is an injustice for everyone.
"The US prison population has increased approximately 500 percent in the last 30 years, and continues to grow. The 2006 increase was the largest one-year jump in the last six years. The per capita incarceration rate has also increased steadily, from 684 per 100,000 residents in 2000 to 751 per 100,000 in 2006.
The new BJS figures also show sharp racial disparities in US incarceration rates, with black men incarcerated at a rate 6.2 times higher than white men. Nearly 8 percent of all black men ages 30 to 34 in the United States were incarcerated as sentenced prisoners at the end of 2006." (Human Rights Watch)
Due Process of Law is a phrase with a self explained, self evident definition - but that has been perverted by Attorneys and Judges.
It is a PROCESS that is governed by LAW to give what is DUE.
The Defendant is DUE the PROTECTION of the LAW by a PROCESS where the Government Attorneys, and the Jury, and the Judge, MUST comply with the LAW.
But it has become a process where Government Attorneys and Judges flagrantly violate the law with ABSOLUTE impunity called ABSOLUTE IMMUNITY.
Absolute Immunity for Government Actors is a TITLE OF NOBILITY prohibited by our Constitution.
Absolute / Sovereign Immunity for the Artificial Person known as Government, or known as Official, deprives the people (as individuals / defendants) of Inherent & Inalienable Rights. It deprives PEOPLE of the intent that PEOPLE have the sovereignty previously vested in a King. Rather than one King held accountable by the Law; our system has devolved to where every person living off the public dole, given the title of cop, prosecutor, or Judge, is a King - free to do whatever they choose without any limitation or restraint of law. It is worse than a Monarchy. It is known as Totalitarian Authoritarianism. A system of justice that previously existed in the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. Now established in our US of A.
Juries were in the Soviet Uniont and in Nazi Germany. But here, as there & then, They have been reduced to nothing more than window dressing for a show trial. Judges & Prosecutors make up the law as they go along. Jury Charges are, in criminal trials, a JOKE. Questions the Jury blindly follows. Questions designed to lead to a conclusion already established by the Judge & Prosecutor. Questions only an Defense Attorney of a price very few can afford has any say in.
If Jury Trials were not simply SHOW TRIALS - Each Jury would be given a copy of the entire penal code, before the trial even starts, to guide them in deliberations. With instructions that they may NOT violate the law that protects the defendant, but MAY nullify laws that violate inherent & inalienable, or Constitutionally secured Rights of the Individual.--Informed Citizens