Friday, November 19, 2010

Mob Opinion Driven Justice Begats Injustice

I guess what keeps me shouting is that I don't hear anything but silence on important issues, except from the Mob. The Mob, it seems, even wants to run our courts. In this case, Ghailani, a terrorist, was convicted of conspiring in one or both of the two simultaneous 1998 American Embassy bombings in Tanzania and Nairobi, Africa. He was convicted in a Federal Court instead of a Military Commission. And, the Mob is upset, as this story, A Terrorist Gets What He Deserves -, says.

The fact is that a Federal Court has more laws that it can try a person for, such as criminal laws like hijacking, murder to a number of degrees, espionage, subversion, kidnapping, etc., while a Military Commission can only apply laws related to military law, such as treason on the battle field, hostile insurgency, military action against civilians, torture of war prisoners, etc. As a general rule, both the civilian court and military court should conduct court procedures the same. In one case, a civilian jury will decide guilt or innocence and perhaps punishment, and in the other a panel of three, five or seven military officers will act as a jury. In both cases, the intent is to base the trial and innocence or guilt on fact and evidence, not opinion or gut feeling or hyped media noise. In both cases, evidence obtained by coercion, such as by torture, is usually thrown out because there is no valid way of determining whether the evidence is the truth or not. Read the article. It cites other Military Commission cases in which evidence was tossed out because of the non-traditional manner in the way it was obtained, i.e., coercion.

So, why is the Mob upset. It is upset because Ghailani didn't get "the max." The jury did not convict on 284 counts. The jury convicted on only one count; conspiracy. I am much more pleased and assured that justice was served when I hear that a jury used discretion in its convictions than I am when I hear that a jury convicted on everything thrown at it or that a jury agreed totally with all the hype in media venting by some politician, such as Senator McConnell. McConnell wasn't on the jury. He didn't hear the facts and evidence and testimony. He knows nothing. He also, apparently, doesn't trust our legal system. Have to wonder why he is a Senator, one of a hundred that passes our laws.

Everyday we hear of cases where public opinion convicted a suspect and later we hear of scientific evidence, based on updated scientific forensic methods, that proves innocence. Everyday we hear that public opinion, prosecutors, courts and governors who will not acknowledge the new forensic evidence because of some gut-feeling based opinion. I wrote about a Texas case before Governor Perry was reelected in which new, advanced scientific evidence gave every indication that the suspect, Todd Willingham, was innocent. But, the whole town, Willingham's wife, and Governor Perry said, "he's a bad man," so Texas executed him.

I'm also reminded of the California conviction and death sentence of Scott Peterson for murdering his wife, Laci, and their unborn child. That case was plastered on every newscast for weeks and Nancy Grace prosecuted him on her show for no other reason than he was a liar. The trial was held in San Mateo, only twenty miles from my house, and I saw and heard every bit of evidence in the trial every day in minute detail with scurrilous convicting commentary. "He's a liar!" they yelled. "He's an adulterer!" they said. Well, he was all of that, and a foolish, hallucinating idiot to boot because he couldn't keep his mouth shut in spite of his attorney's advice and he concocted the tallest tales. But, a murderer? By the end of the trial, and after all of the evidence was paraded on every newscast, radio and television, the police admitted that there was not one iota of forensic evidence that actually showed that he murdered his wife. Not one drop of blood, not a sign of a fight, not a sign of dismembering his wife as she was found, not one timeline that indicated he might have done it. There was a lot of circumstantial "damning" evidence created by Scott himself, but the only forensic evidence was a single hair found on a pair of pliers in the family boat. His conviction was totally based on "theory." I have doubts to this day whether he really did it. After his trial, there was another pregnant woman found, dismembered as Laci was, in the Bay as Laci was. The second woman's murder never made the news like Laci's did. As far as I know, the second killer was never found, but it was eerily similar to Laci's murder.

I might have been able to justify in my mind that Scott Peterson killed his wife, but I'm not sure I could have been so convinced to vote to put him to death. I was really troubled by public display and mob behavior. Public opinion and Scott's behavior convicted him. But, in spite of Scott's behavior, it wouldn't surprise me if some day we learn through new evidence that he didn't do it.

When the Mob runs our courts, we can't trust our legal system. In fact, we can't trust anything.


1 comment:

A Voice of Sanity said...

"I have doubts to this day whether he really did it."

He didn't. After spending $11 million to 'get' him, the prosecutor admitted that the only real 'evidence' he had was a very weak coincidence that almost certainly wasn't a coincidence but a sure sign that someone else was the killer. In fact the state's own witnesses offered overwhelming evidence that Peterson was innocent. He was convicted by public outrage, whipped up by the media for profit and to avoid any real work on their part.