Inspection- Lady Justice is a Lady of the Night
The Epstein case is so typical of our injustice system…
I almost chose a few more volatile words (starting with “p” and “s”) but it’s really not her fault. Baby Justice was born to a new nation already compromised: some residents were, at best, 3/5ths citizens, but citizens only to enable their master’s efforts to oppress them. Other residents were mostly destined to be outright exterminated. While some of us came in wanting to be good neighbors (a precious few), most of us came in as “this land is now OUR land” conquerors.
Take that, Woody Guthrie.
From the very start Lady Justice was pimped out: forced to spend her time on the corner in black lace, red shorts, heavy lipstick and mile high makeup. She was there to service the rich, the Brits, and when they were gone, non-slaves, non-natives, slave owners, the new gentry. After that more just the rich, the influential. Oh, attempts were made to dress her like some willing Barbie doll: give her an image upgraded from black lace, shorts… but we’ve never had that much success with that. We still drag her by the hair out to the corner of 42nd and force her to sell herself for the benefit of the powers that be.
Jeffery Epstein, Donald Trump, Alex Acosta, Bill Clinton, OJ… the list is long and I would push back on the last two a little, only in that attempts to get them were more successful and sometimes stupidly relentless: especially OJ. Seems double jeopardy isn’t double jeopardy as long as we re-label the attempt “civil.” As much as I believe some people probably deserve it (OJ), I have always felt the legal system in this nation should be overseen to the point that once the basic point behind litigation has been directed to criminal or civil that should be it. That’s not fair in all cases, but it’s more fair than having to live a life being hunted by whatever means. The justice system can be relentless, especially when the target isn’t influential, rich, well connected… or belonging to some unofficial inferior class.
Example: a while back Marissa Alexander had an abusive husband who threatened to kill her many times. He came into the house and started to come at her and the children. She had grabbed a gun and didn’t shoot him. She fired into a wall (other stories have her shooting into the ceiling.) to warn him off. SHE was prosecuted for endangering the children. (Really? Just her? Not him?) There was an attempt to use Stand Your Ground, but the odd dirty secret is attempts to use Stand Your Ground by blacks have pretty much zero success. Whites on the other hand have had a better chance because judges and attorneys will shift that to whatever necessary to get the perp a get out of prison card. Usually they already have a “get out of jail card” because our money-based system favors the rich, punishes the poor.
By the way, a black teen stalked in the dark by neighborhood watch guy named George who never identified himself certainly should have been considered a case of Trayvon standing his ground. Of course that seems to never have been seriously considered because, well, he was dead and couldn’t defend himself. Perhaps we need to add an advocate for the dead to our justice system?
Punishing the poor, those not well connected, those who are a member of a less class, has always been a part of pimping out Lady Justice. If not for high powered, highly paid, politically connected defenders, George Zimmerman would probably be on death row. While the question whether that would be right, or a step too far, is certainly something that would deserve a whole column, so is an advocate for the dead. In addition to an advocate for the dead, personally, I am in favor of a no pay to play justice system. EVERYONE gets a public defender and a public prosecutor. They are scored on a success rate scale. Every case gets prosecutors and defense with the same rating. Not a perfect system: no system could be, but better than what we have. The advocate for the dead could also have the job of making sure the class of the person isn’t skewing the case when death isn’t part of it, though a separate office might be a necessity.
The idea that ANY defendant can pay a certain amount of money and charges go away is the antithesis of a justice system, and certainly pimps out Lady Justice. The point should always be innocence or guilt, not how much one can pay. Yes it greases “the wheel of justice.” It’s also akin to pay for justice. Hence my analogy involving pimping out Lady Justice. I understand the system I ask for would be very expensive. But so is pimping out Lady Justice.
I have seen where prosecution is mild, even skipped, when one is well connected. I have seen where they go overboard charging because one is not. I almost never have seen a flip between these two standards of injustice. If we are to continue to claim we are a free nation then this must be fixed. I suspect it never will be.
Jeffrey Epstein and the rest are a symptom. They are not unusual. They are the standard. They shouldn’t be a surprise.
Outrage is hundreds of years overdue, and like outrage at our screwed up voting system, unfortunately temporary. We will rage about it for a short while, and then chase the next outrage.
The reason why we never fix our most fatal flaws as a supposedly ‘free’ nation.
Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 40 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks, and into the unseen cracks and crevasses, that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
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