When we turn on the TV and watch Law and Order, or any of its other spin-offs, we are all treated to this display of legal action where they always seem to be aiming to get the guy and somehow get the job done most of the time by grasping at straws until everything makes sense. It’s a win for the good guys, and in the rare cases where an innocent person is prosecuted, things seem to work out so that everyone ends up happy.
The fiction in the show does well to describe what hardships exist in our legal system, but it does an even better job at attempting to display how our legal system should work. It should make every attempt to get the bad guy and make sure justice is served. It should make every attempt at uncovering the whole truth before presenting the case before the judge. It should make the attempt at discerning whether the defendant is actually guilty, or if he or she is innocent.
How often those actions are omitted.
We are treated to the spectacle of ‘law’ in this country similar to public hearings during the Salem Witch Trials, only without the dunking booth and a bit less fervor. There have been a few noteworthy cases that clearly show certain DA’s office’s prosecution playing political games and playing the crowd, while looking at their moral and ethical fiber and stuffing them into a dark drawer while they go out and attempt to bring ‘justice’ to the offender.
The boys from Duke’s lacrosse team were all harmed by the actions of one such prosecutor. The team had a season canceled, and many had their lives put on hold while the case played out. Then came information that the prosecution willingly omitted evidence that would have weakened their case by showing the innocence of players, as well as withholding information that must be shared with the defendants. All because the DA was elected on the basis of fighting for civil rights and equal prosecution in the courts.
So instead of equally trying to prosecute the whites and blacks that were caught in the act and guilty, the judge singled out a group of affluent white boys to try and make a statement, and guilt be damned.
Then, there again, is the Kobe Bryant fiasco in Colorado, with his accuser being well known for her feminine wiles and getting a taste of the town at a dinner table made of pillows and sheets. She was an up and up gold digger looking to cash in on her score with basketball’s hottest closer. Even when DNA evidence in her rape kit showed her not only to have slept with Bryant, but another man hours later, or when she changed her story about as often as a traffic light switches colors, the prosecution scrambled to ‘protect this victim’ by not taking a look at the evidence in hand and saying they didn’t have a case.
The only reason these cases went as far as they did was because the targets of both were either public figures or represented a political goal. Politics and law should never, ever be mixed together. Sheriff’s, DA’s, and other elected officials within the legal system should not be allowed to cater to a crowd and play the games politicians do, because often those political aspirations go far beyond any commitment to do what is right.