Archive for the ‘Justice’ Category

By Mark Esposito, Weekend Blogger

Can religious beliefs actually retard our intuitions for justice and fairness? Research seems to suggest it might well. The Christian religion has imbued Western thought with the fundamental belief that God presides over a just world – one where sin is punished and rightly-held beliefs and actions are rewarded. We see this attitude in every aspect of human interaction. Today, in some sparkling sports stadium an earnest athlete is bound to thank his deity of choice for the good fortunes that befell his team or his game changing performance. By extension, the loser ( a value loaded word if ever there was one) will decry his lack of luck. From the Book of Job to Pinocchio and Cinderella, this belief in what some psychologists call “immanent justice” or “The Just Word Hypothesis” seeks to explain our plight and our success. It also hardens our attitudes about the poor, victims of crimes and those folks either buoyed or sunk by pure chance.

The Book of Job gets us into the mindset. A saintly man if ever there was one as the Bible itself acknowledges, God allows Satan to test Job with all manner of suffering to determine his worthiness. Stripped of his wealth, prestige and power, Job then loses his children and ultimately his health and vigor. Still, Job endures and never ever curses his fate – or his God. He does consult his friends for some inkling as to the cause of his travails. Their answer, which comes like a thunderclap is: “Behold,” one of them declares, “God will not cast away an innocent man, neither will he uphold evildoers” (Job 8:20). Classic “Blame the Victim” mentality from this coterie of advisers.

Puzzled but resolute, Job however concludes that despite his worldly righteousness, he can never know divine justice and according to the story prostrates himself silent before his Master’s “Just World.’ For that, he is rewarded with the resumption of his wealth and status. He even replaces his children with seven new ones. The clear message to the world however is the same: God handles the world’s justice and we are powerless to exact our own except on only the most superficial level.

Jesus himself gets in on the act in the New Testament. Addressing the multitude in the Sermon on the Mount, he has two distinct things to say about justice and our expectations of it: Blessed are…..those who hunger and thirst for righteousness: for they will be filled. (Matt. 5:6) and Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 5:10). In modern speak, “Don’t worry God will handle it in his own way and, if you let him do so, you’ll get the whole enchilada. The pearly gates, the mansions, those singing and harp-playing cherubim … you, my faithful believer, get it all.”

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Submitted by Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

jailLast night I had a situation that I found to be quite disappointing. Just after seven o’clock in the evening, I thought I would have dinner at a restaurant on the other side of town and drove over there to dine out. Along the way, I needed to merge onto a major interstate freeway in the metro area having four lanes and busy traffic. As I drove along in the outside lane, it was after dark at the time, I saw a man walking along the hard shoulder of the roadway. I worried that a drunk might veer off the travelled portion and hit him so I pulled over to offer him a ride. Thus began a conversation that really shows how we can often allow people to be put at risk because the county does not want to offer them a modicum of accommodation.

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department of treasury

Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw) Weekend Contributor

I have written in the past about our large financial institutions and their uncanny ability to break the law and escape any criminal penalties at the corporate or personal level.  If the Department of Justice had actually indicted a Bank of America official and procured a criminal conviction, that Bank of America official could have assisted the corporate office in their no-bid contract to handle all of the federal prison systems inmate financial services and email services.

“A few blocks north, however, at the New York Metropolitan Correctional Center, there exists a market that Bank of America has locked down, literally. For the 790 federal prisoners incarcerated at MCC, Bank of America controls the provision of money transfers, e-messaging and some telephone services.

The bank’s monopoly extends across the federal Bureau of Prisons system—121 institutions housing 214,365 inmates. Since 2000, Bank of America has collected at least $76.3 million for its work on the program.” Readersupportednews  That would be $76.3 Million dollars in the Bank of America coffers without any need or worry about having to compete for this latest sweetheart deal.  (more…)

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zimmermantrayon-martin-picture1When the Obama Administration sent in a team to investigate civil rights violations in the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin, some of us expressed doubt over the basis for such a charge as well as the timing of the federal move into the case. Indeed, I was highly skeptical of how the case was charged and prosecuted. Now the Washington Post is reporting that, after two years of investigation, Justice officials do not believe that they have sufficient evidence to bring federal charges.

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b>Submitted by Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Stacey Dean Rambold

Stacey Dean Rambold

We previously reported HERE and HERE what many believe to be a grave miscarriage of justice where Montana School Teacher Stacey Dean Rambold was sentenced to Fifteen Years in prison with all but thirty one days suspended after being convicted of the child rape of a fourteen year old student. The victim later committed suicide.

After a public outcry and pressure placed upon the former judge and the prosecutor’s office Judge Randal Spaulding resentenced Rambold, this time to 15 years in prison, with five years of suspended, according to a prosecutor in the case. The court remanded Rambold to custody. He will receive credit for time served under his original sentence.

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Submitted by Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Radovan Karadžić in 1995

Radovan Karadžić in 1995

Prosecutors before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague are expected to present closing arguments in the years long trial of Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadžić for eleven counts of war crimes, including genocide charges for his involvement in the massacres of Bosnian Muslims and Ethnic Croats during his reign as the President of the Republika Srpska in the Bosnian war that was waged in the aftermath of the breakup of Yugoslavia.

Karadžić was a fugitive from justice from 1996 until his arrest in Belgrade in 2008 where shortly thereafter he was extradited to The Netherlands pending charges before the ICTY. He was preceded in trial by Slobodan Milošević, the former President of Serbia but who died prior to the conclusion of his trial. General Ratko Mladić, a Bosnian Serb military official, is also standing before the ICTY for events during the Srebrenica Massacre.

The prosecution expects that if most of the charges result in convictions, Karadžić likely will remain imprisoned for life.

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Submitted by Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Stewart Parnell

Stewart Parnell

In what promises to be a sign of holding executives liable for their involvement in putting poisonous products into the food supply a Federal Jury convicted former Peanut Corporation of America owner Stewart Parnell of Conspiracy, Obstruction of Justice, Wire Fraud, and other crimes relating to a nationwide outbreak of salmonella that sickened over seven hundred individuals in forty three states and likely killed nine. Federal investigators in 2009 traced tainted peanut butter supplied by Parnell’s business to several producers who then packaged it into peanut butter containing foods according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The seven week trial, the culmination of a five year ordeal, has perhaps in measure brought closure and justice for those suffering damages from executives who knowingly and intentionally conspired to endanger so many.

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