Quick question

I was looking at my previous post when I had to ask myself a question.  Why do we, as Americans, settle for a “justice” system that will lock away (and sometimes execute) innocent people on sometimes very flimsy evidence and questionable testimony while people who are obviously guilty pretty much walk free?

Justice or Just Us

A record 149 people were exonerated in 2015 bringing the total to 1730 exonerated since 1989.

I came across this article last week, and I think it’s something that should be front and center for this presidential election campaign season.  Unfortunately, it’s not.

Exonerations hit record in U.S. as wrongful convictions become a ‘regular’ problem via Yahoo News Digest

https://www.yahoo.com/digest/20160203/exonerations-hit-record-wrongful-convictions-become-regular-problem-00106496

Get the app and the day’s need-to-know news. https://yho.com/newsdigestall

I know the justice system isn’t perfect, and it hasn’t been applied perfectly in the past.  Sometimes, I wonder if these “few” exonerations are simply just the ones that are easy to prove.  No innocent person should be forced to serve time for a crime they didn’t commit.  At the same time, a guilty person shouldn’t be free to roam the streets.

I’ve long thought that the justice system is not the arbiter of innocence or guilt.  It’s simply the arbiter of who can best prove their case.  There are times when it’s quite easy to prove innocence in today’s time.  You can use DNA, video evidence, or other things to prove a person didn’t commit a crime.  Things were not always that easy.  Those things that can prove innocence can also easily prove guilt.

I’m sure people wonder why minorities have distrust for law enforcement and the legal system, and when you can average exonerating a person every 2.5 days within a year, it’s not hard to understand.  It’s not just minorities that get screwed over by the system either.  If you can’t afford a good lawyer, your chances are not going to be good of defending yourself in court.  It doesn’t matter whether you’re Black or White when you don’t have the green to help your case.

The “Making a Murderer” documentary has put this back in the spotlight for a minute.  I haven’t followed the case of Steven Avery or watched the documentary, but I see nothing wrong with reviewing cases where there may be evidence to prove someone’s innocence.  Given that some of the exonerated from last year were on death row, it may be a lifesaver to some people if their cases are reviewed.

The one thing I would like to see happen on top of the exonerations is a review of those responsible for locking up innocent people.  If it’s found that the prosecutors, or even law enforcement, have broken the law or knowingly set up a person they knew was innocent, they should have to face some type of review of their work themselves.  If they have a pattern of abuse like that, then they should face the repercussions of their actions and be punished accordingly.

The veracity of our justice system depends on the honesty and integrity of the entire process.  If the honesty and integrity is in question, then so is the system of justice.  Without the honesty and integrity, there is no justice.

Let’s talk Constitution

Let’s talk about our founding document for a minute, you know, that four page, 7,591 word document that some like to claim to defend under certain circumstances.

We currently have a group of armed individuals occupying a federal building in Oregon under that claim of defending the Constitutional rights of people.  Whether it is armed individuals, Oath Keepers, or Three Percenters, there have been numerous people and/or groups trying to claim the mantle of being the “Defender of the Constitution”.  The problem with that in my view is that the Constitution does not need defending.  These groups actually prove the Constitution is working perfectly fine as it stands.

There’s no government conspiracy to confiscate guns or squelch free speech.  If that were the case, then the Oregon occupation would have already been squashed with extreme prejudice to avoid any copycats.  Instead, the government basically let them do as they wish and only now is the FBI working with local authorities to find an end to the situation.

If these groups or individuals were serious about protecting the Constitution, where were they when John Crawford III was shot and killed by the police while holding an airsoft rifle in an open carry state?  When are they going to put out a statement on the killing of Tamir Rice in that same open carry state?

See, that’s the thing about protecting the Constitution.  If you’re going to do for one, then do for all.  If you can’t do for all, then let someone else handle the workload.  America isn’t just White and male.  America isn’t just Christian either.  The protected rights of one is the protected rights of all.  If you can’t see or agree to that, then the problem with the Constitution lies between your two ears and not with the government.

Just something to ponder while we see how things play out in Oregon…

Definitions of Terrorism in the U.S. Code--FBI

Definitions of Terrorism in the U.S. Code–FBI

This could be considered an act of domestic terrorism as it is defined in U.S. Code.  I seriously doubt we’ll ever see it classified as such, and I wouldn’t argue if it were not.  We do have the protected right to free speech and to petition the government.  I’d suggest that people watch themselves to avoid crossing the line of free speech and getting into threatening or intimidating behavior.  The latter is not protected by the Constitution.

Who didn’t see this one coming

From the New York Daily News:

An arrest warrant has been issued for Ethan Couch, the Texas teen involved in the infamous “affluenza” DUI crash.

Couch, who prompted outrage after receiving no more than probation following a deadly drunken driving accident two years ago that killed four people, missed a meeting with his probation officer earlier this month, according to KVUE.com.

Now, lawyers for Couch, 19, have confirmed police have been ordered to detain the teenager after authorities were unable to reach either him or his mother.

A kid who got let off punishment for killing four people because his “affluenza” kept him from having any sense of responsibility is now lacking responsibility in checking in with his probation officer.  Why not give ALL kids the same opportunity then, including the ones that have the sense of responsibility to serve out their terms in jail, probation, or whatever is meted out?  Are we not all one and the same?

America’s Biggest Companies React To SCOTUS’ Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

These are tributes from companies from all walks of life paying tribute to the SCOTUS decision on same sex marriage today.

As someone with friends and family who are in committed same sex relationships, I tip my hat to these companies today. Even as some people see it as sin, that is their right as we all have the freedom to exercise our religious beliefs. It’s all a part of the give and take of living in America.

Click “view original” to see the list of companies and their tributes.

Consumerist

(Jeff Kubina) (Jeff Kubina)

While it might not seem like there’s a direct link to same sex marriage and our country’s biggest businesses, even before the Supreme Court of the United States ruled today that marriage is a constitutional right for any American, many major companies came out in support of same-sex marriage, saying those rights help them do business better. Today, some of those companies — and more — spoke out in celebration of the landmark ruling.

American Airlines: “We’re on board. Diversity strengthens us all & today we celebrate #MarriageEquality & the landmark #SCOTUS decision.”

Google/YouTube: “The United States took a step in the right direction today. https://goo.gl/yxnoHz #ProudToLove”

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