Thursday, July 21, 2011

ALL RISE

From Judy to Joe Brown, Mathis to Wapner judges, have now become as popular as movie stars. We have this infatuation with watching the judicial process at work, as long as we’re not involved. Shows like “The Practice” and “Boston Legal” hooked us on the idea that we could all be lawyers, throw in a few hours of “Court T.V.” and we’re good to go.

The obvious flaw with this is, no we’re not. The legal system is much more complex than the run down on behavior and manhood that ol’ Joe Brown delivers in 15 minutes, and we want it to be. Recently all over the news has been the trial of Casey Anthony. A woman accused of killing her own 2 year old daughter. With everyone expecting her to fry, she was found not guilty and received a slap on the wrist for lying to police officers.

The nation went crazy screaming for justice, sorry but justice was served. I’m not a hater, and I give credit where it is due. Casey Anthony orchestrated a well thought out intricate plan of lies and false information leading the trail to a question mark. She built up such a creative web of deceit that no one could honestly say beyond a reasonable doubt that she indeed did murder her child in the way she was being accused. End of discussion.

Now she’s receiving death threats from irate Americans who want their pound of flesh, in the name of her daughter. A similar cry for justice came after the BART officer who shot a handcuffed and detained Oscar Grant in the back was let off with a slap on the wrist as well. Even though the city accepted fault and paid Grant’s family for his wrongful death, his accuser is a free man. The people of Oakland responded with a riot, with the chants of “No justice for Oscar” ringing through the streets.

Here’s my issue, our legal system isn’t perfect, but if we want “justice” then we as a people need to be consistent. Don’t send death threats to an acquitted Casey Anthony and send champagne to an also acquitted OJ. We want the book thrown at the school teacher who allegedly touches under aged girls yet we ran out to get the new R Kelly album while he was facing charges for the same thing. It’s our screams of hypocrisy that drown out our cries for justice.

Truth be told, we don’t want a fair and just system. We don’t want our celebrities going to jail because we don’t want our favorite shows cancelled, or our team to miss the playoffs. We make excuses and exceptions all of the time. Justice is blind…blinded by Grammy’s, platinum plaques, and blockbuster sales receipts. We have historically looked the other way; domestic violence, drugs, molestation, rape, and murder can all be “explained”. If the star is big enough, we don’t need justice…only justification.

When high profile people get off, it’s supposed to always be about money, sometimes it’s true but sometimes it’s just one of those opportunities to see where we need to make changes in our legal system. We have a lot of people in our law enforcement and judicial offices that are just plain incompetent. Most acquittals aren’t because of a phenomenal defense team, it’s usually because of a mistake made by the prosecution. Lack of following up, misplaced or tampered with evidence and lack luster investigations are why most defendants are sleeping in their own beds at night. In the words of Judge Judy, “…they don’t keep me here because I’m pretty, they keep me here because I’m smart.” Some folks need to do their homework.

I am in no way saying that justice was served in either the Casey Anthony or Oscar Grant case, nor do I feel like it was served with Britney Spears, Lindsey Lohan, Paris Hilton, R Kelly, Mel Gibson, Robert Downey Jr, etc… With such a flimsy and somewhat band wagon riding approach to the law, how can we as a people get mad at any verdict?

I think a little “Judge Joe Brown Justice” is needed; holding people accountable regardless of their profession or last name. There will always be those cases that slip through the cracks, but we can definitely reduce that number. Eliminating this made up class system and treating people as equals in life is the only way it will ever be corrected in the court room…if justice is what we really want.

Our judicial system is truly the “People’s Court”, sadly it is just as wavering as we are as a people. These verdicts are simply benchmarks of the things we need to overcome. As long as we promote crime without punishment for some, we can’t get mad when it happens for others…ironically because that’s fair…that’s justice.

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