Friday, April 3, 2009

(In)Justice Department

Quote of the day:

“What’s happened over the last 10 years is that prosecutors have seemed to have forgotten that their main job is to see that justice is done and instead focused on winning the case at any cost,” said Michael Madigan, a former prosecutor and Washington criminal lawyer who represented one of the former KPMG partners. (Read more about the railroading of U.S. Alaskan Senator Ted Stevens)
Mr. Madigan needs to insert another 0, as in 100 years.

Our legal system has run amok. And the jury system, being "judged by our peers", is failing horribly to protect us. The conviction rate in the Federal system is over 95%! Considering how much the prosecutors over indict defendants, that is indeed a remarkable number.

I am guilty of actually having read the U.S. Constitution. It is a beautiful document - and completely inadequate in protecting citizens from prosecutorial over-reaching. The Framers simply could not contemplate the vast resources commanded by our "Justice" system versus how little in the way of resources that defendants have to defend themselves, not to mention the apparent inability of jurors raised on American Idol and People Magazine, hardly the citizen/farmer/legislator of the Framer's era, to think in abstract terms.

The ONLY WAY to fix this, to right this listing ship, is to CUT THE BUDGETS of these politically motivated and ambitious (Mike Nifong of the Duke "Rape" case, anyone?) prosecutors. Most folks don't know it, but the most famous Prosecutor of the past 30 years, Ruddy Giulliani, had EVERY SINGLE ONE of his convictions at trial for Wall Street white collar "crime" OVERTURNED on appeal.

How could this be? Simple. First, he indicted innocent people and our Grand Jury system failed miserably to protect these folks from indictment in the first place, and; the juries were only too happy to convict rich white guys of ANYTHING. After all, they are ALL criminals, right?

Hell of an impartial jury of your peers...

There was a period in the late 1970's and early 1980's when DNA was not available BUT the physical evidence was saved. 20 years later, nearly 1/3 of the defendants convicted of rape that filed an appeal based on the newly available DNA evidence had their convictions overturned based on the fact that their DNA did not match the "physical evidence" on the victim or at the scene. Most were convicted on eye witness testimony of the victim. Anybody out there think that maybe, just maybe, the police and prosecutors manipulated the victim and then destroyed the defendant's life? Of course, the prosecutors are immune from prosecution or civil liability for their wrong doing.

Some good things are going to come about with the restraints on government budgets - I hope. We cannot continue to fund silly social programs and mean spirited "justice".

Mentatt (at) yahoo (d0t) com


Anonymous said...

Absolutely! The police look around, pick the most likely suspect ( in their opinion ) and build a case. At that point, they stop looking at any evidence that might point elsewhere. It stinks. They look for convictions, not the guilty.

I was recently called to jury duty on a murder case. The defense lawyer took a look at my profile and then a look at me and said "That's exactly the kind of juror you don't want." because I'm an engineer. I was dismissed. I'd probably have been the defendant's best friend. Too bad.


Coal Guy

bureaucrat said...

Um, not exactly ...

Regarding the "conviction rate in the Federal system is 95%," that is because Federal prosecutors don't even bother taking a guy to Federal court unless it is a slam-dunk case.

The numbers say it all ...

The number of (U.S.) Federal agents (who start all investigations) in 1998 was 83,000. The number of Federal arrests in 1998 was 106,000. The average Federal agent makes 1-2 arrests PER YEAR. The rest of the time they are investigating cases, pretty much making sure they only refer to the U.S. attroneys air-tight cases. Of those 83,000 arrests, 78,000 were brought to trial (again, only the slam-dunk cases get tried). 90% are convicted and 71% get jail time (average 5 years).

There are only 158,000 people in Federal jails (half are probably non-violent drug convictions -- there's a problem right there). There are over a million people in ALL U.S. jails, (Federal, state, county, etc). I think your beef is with the state/county judges, cause they lock up a LOT more people than us Federales. :)

Concerning Nifong, he was an idiot. And also an aberration. "Nifong" tells us nothing.

Mike Whitney from says we should bring back Eliot Spitzer! He's a "john", that's true, but he sure kept Wall Street in line. He may have scared the hell out of the financial industry, but he kept people a lot more honest than failure Bush who prevented state enforcers from prosecuting the fat cats who got us into this depression in the first place. We want Eliot Spitzer!!

Greg T. Jeffers said...

Whitney is willing to use whatever means are necessary to achieve his political agenda - which pretty much defines everybody on the Left and nearly everyone on the Right (with the exception of us Libertarians).

Federal trial rules are much, much tougher on defendants than are state trial rules. States are just less competent.

And yes, for the most part, my beef is with the state and local guys... but as we just saw with Stevens... and the non violent drug inmates...

The system still leaves those found not guilty in financial ruin,and politically charged cases the system does not do what the Framer's had in mind WHATSOEVER.

Abraham said...

Dahlia Lithwick has an oped in Newsweek about the failures of eyewitness testimony.

When Our Eyes Deceive Us

Greg T. Jeffers said...


Thank you for your comment. I shall read it.

If I remember from Psych 101, the term is "Confabulation". WHen our mind puts things in places we expect or want them, or are manipulated or motivated into wanting.

Coal Guy:

It is far worse than that. When Law Enforcement comes upon exculpatory evidence they should not need to be forced to turn it over to the defense - why does the guy need a defense at this point?

oOOo said...

In 2004, geologist Colin Campbell (retired — Texaco, British Petroleum, Amoco) cautioned:

“Throughout history, people have had difficulty in distinguishing reality from illusion. Reality is what happens, whereas illusion is what we would like to happen. Wishful thinking is a well-worn expression. Momentum is still another element: we tend to assume that things keep moving in the same direction. The world now faces a discontinuity of historic proportions, as nature shows her hand by imposing a new energy reality. There are vested interests on all sides hoping somehow to evade the iron grip of oil depletion, or at least to put it off until after the next election or until they can develop some strategy for their personal or corporate survival. As the moment of truth approaches, so does the heat, the deceptions, the half-truth and the flat lies.

Found this comment at the end of this interesting article about there not being enough oil for the G20 package:

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