America’s Broken Criminal Justice System

Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger

200px-JMR-Memphis1While I’m not a lawyer, I do write for this legal blog by the invitation of its creator Jonathan Turley. I first arrived on the scene here many years ago because since the age of ten I have had been interested in the nature of the broad spectrum of civil rights issues faced by this country. My interest became an obsession at the age of ten. My parents, who were quite liberal, allowed me to stay up way past my bedtime to watch Ed Murrow bravely attack Sen. Joseph McCarthy for his Communist Witch Hunt, by documenting the anti-constitutional excesses he used to destroy people’s lives and careers. Months later they kept me home from school to watch the Army/McCarthy Hearings which directly led to McCarthy’s downfall. On our twelve inch, black and white TV I watched this famous scene:

“On June 9, 1954, the 30th day of the Army–McCarthy hearings, McCarthy accused Fred Fisher, one of the junior attorneys at Welch’s law firm, of associating while in law school with the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), a group which J. Edgar Hoover sought to have the U.S. Attorney General designate as a Communist front organization. Welch had privately discussed the matter with Fisher and the two agreed Fisher should withdraw from the hearings. Welch dismissed Fisher’s association with the NLG as a youthful indiscretion and attacked McCarthy for naming the young man before a nationwide television audience without prior warning or previous agreement to do so:

“Until this moment, Senator, I think I have never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness. Fred Fisher is a young man who went to the Harvard Law School and came into my firm and is starting what looks to be a brilliant career with us. Little did I dream you could be so reckless and so cruel as to do an injury to that lad. It is true he is still with Hale and Dorr. It is true that he will continue to be with Hale and Dorr. It is, I regret to say, equally true that I fear he shall always bear a scar needlessly inflicted by you. If it were in my power to forgive you for your reckless cruelty I would do so. I like to think I am a gentle man but your forgiveness will have to come from someone other than me.”

When McCarthy tried to renew his attack, Welch interrupted him:

“Senator, may we not drop this? We know he belonged to the Lawyers Guild. Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

McCarthy tried to ask Welch another question about Fisher, and Welch cut him off:

“Mr. McCarthy, I will not discuss this further with you. You have sat within six feet of me and could have asked me about Fred Fisher. You have seen fit to bring it out. And if there is a God in Heaven it will do neither you nor your cause any good. I will not discuss it further.”

The gallery erupted in applause.”

The drama of this distinguished lawyer chastising one of the most powerful men in the United States and silencing his cruelty was one of the defining moments of my life. It spurred a lifelong interest in the Constitution, the Law and the rights of the American People. Today, among other ills, I believe that our American Criminal Justice System is broken. Let me explain why I believe that.

While our Constitution allows us freedom of expression, thought and association, in the 40’s and 50’s  “Cold Warriors” began to institute witch hunts to root out those Left Wingers they deemed held radical political beliefs. People’s lives were destroyed because in their youth they had been part of various political groups that Congressional Committees deemed subversive. These actions tended to make citizens afraid to disagree with the “Cold War” excesses that were already beginning to give outrageous power to the Corporate Military/Industrial Complex. An analogous situation is arising to quiet those who espouse “internet freedom and openness” as illustrated by the Aaron Swartz suicide.

Rather than focus on that case, to which those two blogs and subsequent comments provide excellent insight, I would rather look at certain aspects of our legal system today that serve to destroy the notion of a Criminal Justice System that operates fairly towards each citizen and make that system into an instrument of oppression. There is in my opinion so many things wrong about American Criminal Jurisprudence that covering the entire range of “injustice” would require much larger space than this blog post provides. So I would like to touch on what I think are the highlights corrupting this system.

Unfairness of Representation

The truth is that a person charged with a crime in America today needs the means, or connections to have a good legal team. Wealth is a key decider of ones’ chances in a Criminal Trial and in the case of loss the harshness of the imposed penalty. The prosecution has the advantage of virtually unlimited funds and powers to make the legal battle, a “David and Goliath” situation, without David’s advantage of God on his side. Another component of this is that Prosecutors tend to press cases that they think they can win and also avoid to press charges in cases involving very wealthy and/or powerful people. Prosecutors have the advantage of Media publicity and a public that believes “where there’s smoke there’s fire”.

Indigent defendants are at a loss and despite the best efforts of the dedicated people who are Legal Aid Lawyers, the disparity in resources usually lead to defeat, despite exculpatory evidence. We also know that Black and Latino people make up the majority of those convicted and incarcerated in this country as I documented in this guest blog last year: . This unfairness goes beyond just affecting people who would be considered poor. The average middle-class American would be overwhelmed with the cost of mounting a defense to a criminal prosecution. I think that raising bail money alone for charges considered major would be a problem for a majority of Americans and even when found innocent the effects of the charges would take years, if ever, to end. An even-handed Criminal Justice System should give each defendant a fair chance to fight the charges against them. While we have been led to believe that our Criminal Justice System represents the model of  even-handed justice, yet this is not the case today in our country.

Under Funding of the Court System

To be considered to be a “fair” trial, a trial should a speedy trial. This is not the case and we see instance after instance of a trial taking many years between arrest, incarceration and verdict. While some might argue that this is caused by lawyers seeking delays, this answer is for the most part specious. Instead, these untoward delays are the result of under funding the court system which results in over crowding its dockets. From the Prosecution’s side, they will often delay trials to gain further evidence for their case. This ignores the idea that in arresting someone, there should be a presupposition that the evidence of guilt has already been obtained. The prosecution extends the length of the accused’s incarceration by making often outrageous bail requests (on “bail able” offenses) that go far beyond a defendant’s ability to pay. This skews the system against those without financial resources and also increases the Prosecution’s chances of getting a plea bargain leading to an admission of guilt and conviction.

“Plea Bargaining” an Insult to Justice

Due to the overcrowding and under funding of the Judicial System “plea bargains” arose to clear the dockets. In my opinion “plea bargaining” is a desecration of justice. It lead Prosecutions to “overcharge” as a means of threatening a defendant who would assert their innocence. In cases where there are multiple defendants, it allows one or more defendants to make a deal for their testimony against the others. The bargained for testimony is usually self serving to the witness and to the prosecution. Plea bargaining often leads to unequal results, sometimes even giving guilty defendants lesser sentences than their crime deserves. About 90% of criminal cases are “plea bargained” and thus the notion of trial by jury is fast becoming extinct. This was put so well in a paper by the Cato Institute titled “The Case Against Plea Bargaining”:

“Because any person who is accused of violating the criminal law can lose his liberty, and perhaps even his life depending on the offense and prescribed penalty, the Framers of the Constitution took pains to put explicit limits on the awesome powers of government. The Bill of Rights explicitly guarantees several safeguards to the accused, including the right to be informed of the charges, the right not to be compelled to incriminate oneself, the right to a speedy and public trial, the right to an impartial jury trial in the state and district where the offense allegedly took place, the right to cross-examine the state’s witnesses, the right to call witnesses on one’s own behalf, and the right to the assistance of counsel.

Justice Hugo Black once noted that, in America, the defendant “has an absolute, unqualified right to compel the State to investigate its own case, find its own witnesses, prove its own facts, and convince the jury through its own resources. Throughout the process, the defendant has a fundamental right to remain silent, in effect challenging the State at every point to ‘Prove it!’” By limiting the powers of the police and prosecutors, the Bill of Rights safeguards freedom. Given the Fifth Amendment’s prohibition of compelled self-incrimination and the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of impartial juries, one would think that the administration of criminal justice in America would be marked by adversarial trials — and yet, the opposite is true. Fewer than 10 percent of the criminal cases brought by the federal government each year are actually tried before juries with all of the accompanying procedural safeguards noted above. More than 90 percent of the criminal cases in America are never tried, much less proven, to juries. The overwhelming majority of individuals who are accused of crime forgo their constitutional rights and plead guilty.”

That this articulate attack on plea bargaining comes from the very conservative Cato Institutes illustrates that a fair court system is not a political notion, but one that goes beyond political divides. It is a basic Constitutional issue and one that has degraded our criminal justice system as this paper from Cato goes on to point out:

“The rarity of jury trials is not the result of criminals who come into court to relieve a guilty conscience or save taxpayers the costs of a trial. The truth is that government officials have deliberately engineered the system to assure that the jury trial system established by the Constitution is seldom used. And plea bargaining is the primary technique used by the government to bypass the institutional safeguards in trials. Plea bargaining consists of an agreement (formal or informal) between the defendant and the prosecutor. The prosecutor typically agrees to a reduced prison sentence in return for the defendant’s waiver of his constitutional right against self incrimination and his right to trial. As one critic has written,

“The leniency is payment to a defendant to induce him or her not to go to trial. The guilty plea or no contest plea is the quid pro quo for the concession; there is no other reason.”

 Plea bargaining unquestionably alleviates the workload of judges, prosecutors, and defense lawyers. But is it proper for a government that is constitutionally required to respect the right to trial by jury to use its charging and sentencing powers to pressure an individual to waive that right? There is no doubt that government officials deliberately use their power to pressure people who have been accused of crime, and who are presumed innocent, to confess their guilt and waive their right to a formal trial. We know this to be true because prosecutors freely admit that this is what they do.”

Political Nature of Judges

The appointment of Judges in this nation has always been one deeply intertwined with politics and with wealth. Thus often the most important cog in our political system, the person who is to ensure that each case is fairly adjudicated, are many times lacking in the skills and insight to do the job fairly. In those venues where Judges run for their offices, the most important factor is party endorsement. With the need for party endorsement comes the obligation to adhere to “unspoken rules”. In areas where judges are appointed, their appointment is usually beholden to the “powers that be” whether they represent political party, or local wealth. We know factually that there have been powerful efforts by the backers of ultra Conservative movements to have judges put into position that represent their political interests. I don’t believe it is a coincidence that our Constitutional protections have deteriorated severely in the last 50 or so years. While no one can really escape partisan feelings, we should be able to expect that a judge can rise above their own personal beliefs to administer the Law fairly. An expectation it seems to me has fallen far short of its mark in recent years and contributes to the breakdown of our Criminal Justice System.

Prosecution as a Career Stepping Stone  

In a system truly interested in justice the position of Prosecutor would be one of impartiality, with their actions based on the evidence and on the Law. Sadly, for most of American history this has not been the case. Many who become prosecutors do so because they understand that they could use their “record” in that office to advance their careers. Their conviction rate and their prosecuting noteworthy trials elevate their public fame. Many of today’s most prominent politicians began their legal careers as prosecutors and used their office to advance themselves. Rudy Giuliani parlayed his headline grabbing antics as a Federal Prosecutor into great wealth and a political career that made him a Presidential candidate. Yet most of the “convictions” that brought him fame and media attention were overturned at the appellate level. His grandstanding, such as the arrest of a young stockbroker accompanied by TV cameras ultimately resulted in the man’s acquittal, yet the impression of Giuliani as a “fighter for justice” remained in the people’s minds.

The other problem with the prosecutorial system is that people seeking to advance their public careers, either in politics, or in pursuit of wealth, are reluctant to target people with wealth and power. To build a career one must not make enemies of those people who you might need to call upon for aid and support in the future. I find it interesting that Bernie Madoff, who in essence stole from the rich and powerful is in prison for life, while the CEO’s of large financial institutions are not held liable for the frauds their company has admitted to and the result is that their firms are being fined trifling amounts in restitution for their admitted criminal activity.

The Ongoing Corruption of Law Enforcement

Despite what some here may believe to the contrary, I have a great deal of respect and empathy towards Law Enforcement Officers. Having worked in a large Municipal Bureaucracy for many years I can truly empathize with people who work for law enforcement bureaucracies, I believe that most people who go into law enforcement start out filled with idealism and the belief that the pursuit of justice is a noble cause. Far too many of those who made that idealistic choice have found themselves corrupted by both their fellow officers and by a politically influenced bureaucracy that robs them of their idealism. The training in many law enforcement agencies reinforces an “us vs. them” mentality, rather than putting emphasis on an officer’s duty to uphold our Constitution and our laws. There is also an undue influence of politics upon Law Enforcement Officer’s that comes down from the higher levels of the bureaucracy they represent. There is lately the increased militarization of LEO’s which leads to the notion that any orders from a “superior” are to be flowed to the letter.

There is a further factor, however, that I think leads to corruption of LEO’s. Historically in the United States Law enforcement meant the protection of the propertied class, or of White citizens against the “encroachments” of people of color and or ethnic immigrants. In the south this meant enforcement of “Jim Crow”, but is was not simply a Southern problem. Many city police departments had recruiting drives in Southern States to find officers who had gained experience enforcing “Jim Crow”. The Los Angeles PD and the Detroit PD were famous for this. In NYC the Irish immigrants went from a people disdained, to the position of prominence in a police force “controlling” the Blacks emigrating from the South, the next generation of ethnic immigrants and the Puerto Rican influx. The message disintegrating the ideals of many new police officers was merely the cynicism that arose as they saw what their “real duties” should be. Many, many refused to take part in this cynical view of enforcing the law and kept trying to fairly perform their duties, for some like Frank Serpico this almost led to his death as he was shot by a fellow officer to coverup a police run drug trafficking operation.

A third factor is that those officers who rise to the ranks of Detective and are thus the ones charged with investigating crime, are promoted into a dysfunctional system where expediency takes precedence over justice. Too often they are overloaded with “caseloads” that demand quick turnover, or they’ll see their career advancement possibilities diminished. The detective soon learns that their superiors are more interested in “clearing” cases, rather than pursuing justice. This leads even the best of detectives to have a narrow focus on who they suspect and pursue that doggedly even though other evidence might present itself.

Public Ignorance of our Criminal Justice System

While most people with some knowledge of our Criminal Justice System understand its purposes and its flaws, the general public is for the most part ignorant of the issues. While I’ve heard some elitists blame this on the level of intelligence of the general public, I don’t agree that most people lack the intelligence to understand what is at stake in our Criminal Justice System. I believe that much of the problem of the public’s lack of knowledge is twofold.

The first is that our public schools no longer spend the years of school teaching the nature of our Constitution and how our government works. My own education through high School was in public schools until graduation in the early 60’s. By the time I graduated I had a pretty complex understanding of our Constitution, of our governmental structures and of our legal system. I know though from the education of my daughters (they went to excellent public schools) that what had been so much a part of my own Civics (Social Studies) curriculum had been simplified to the point of becoming incomprehensible. The more detailed views of our Constitution and our legal system have been left to the collegiate level and unfortunately by then pre-judgments and lack of understanding a citizen’s constitutional protections have already become relatively entrenched and misconstrued.

The second basis of public ignorance of the criminal justice system comes from propaganda that sometimes is purposeful and sometimes is inadvertent. Almost 50% of our television shows are police procedurals, of various forms, which show crimes being solved and justice being handed out in the convenience of one hour, less commercial time. The portrayal is overly simplistic and creates a “good guy police/bad guy criminal” counterpoint. The overt propaganda we see on TV can be seen in the news conferences and press releases of police and prosecutors. Despite what jurors might swear to the judge, the majority of them are aware of the negative publicity regarding the defendant and have had “evidence” leaked to them via TV. By the time a defendant comes to trial in a well-publicized case many possible jurors have already made up their minds and their mindset is rigid. With these factors interacting with the views of the public, is there any cause to wonder that so much has been done to destroy our Constitutional safeguards, without widespread public protest?

These are my views of our Criminal Justice System today and to me it is “broken”. As I began this post detailing how the “McCarthy Years” shaped my outlook on criminal justice, it was done as an admission that my views today may be colored by my epiphanies back then, Since most readers of this blog are my juniors in years, without that direct experience/ remembrance of the “Cold War” excesses, perhaps you see it differently. Please express you own opinions and whether or not you see this with the same urgent mindset that I have? Also what do you think I have missed in addressing this problem?

Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger

78 thoughts on “America’s Broken Criminal Justice System”

  1. I agree w/ much said. However the caveat of “There are good prosecutors, teachers, cops, etc”. seems almost perfunctory here for the most part. The older I get I see people who take pride in being open minded and progressive are often the most intolerant. The left have their generalizations, the right have theirs. We ALL have some bias, it just means we must all be diligent in remembering that. I was taught that by a great philosophy professor.

    Stan the Man and Earl Weaver died yesterday. There is a great bio of Stan the Man. He was a great person. You folks here would be happy to know he campaigned for JFK w/ Angie Dickinson and James Michener. He became lifelong friends w/ both. The early black players all said Stan was one of the good guys. Stan came from a poor Polish family in western Pa. and never forgot who he was. The Man was a ballplayer and one of the top 5 hitters IMO. RIP

  2. Darren,
    You are right about the school bubble shooter story, but on that same page there is a link to a 13 year old Missouri girl whose mother was told should get a breast reduction in order to stop the bullying and sexual harassment against her! This is is in Missouri where the bible is king!

  3. bill,

    The legal profession is like water that changes volume and shape to fit the vessel. The issue with many laws is not so much they are nonsensical (although simpler is better), but that they are effectively taxation and ergo government profits. There are small towns all over this state (and many others) where the chief source of local government income is from tickets and fines.

  4. I’m not sure if any proposals were put on the table to reform our legal system, but one thing’s for sure: most of the laws could be wiped off the books – and that would result in a major benefit to society.

    E.G., only one traffic law is needed: Reckless Driving.
    E.G. Only one law is needed re: alcohol and other drugs: no victim, no crime.

    The legal profession profits from more laws, so that’s how it’s going to be.

  5. Another factor not talked about much is the post 2001 terrorism laws are now being used for conventional criminal justice totally bypassing constitutional due process. This is not a ratio of 90% legitimate terrorism cases versus 10% illegitimate cases but the reverse – almost zero real terrorism cases with 80-90% of the terrorism laws being used to bypass constitutional due process on conventional crimes or domestic spying where there is zero crime or terrorism in the equation.

    1. “So it’s not so black and white as to the villains.”


      I agree with the sentiments of your comment and did try to point that out in my post. The “system” itself is the corrupter in most cases, though the endemic corruption does attract to it some corrupt people.

      “This is not a ratio of 90% legitimate terrorism cases versus 10% illegitimate cases but the reverse – almost zero real terrorism cases with 80-90% of the terrorism laws being used to bypass constitutional due process on conventional crimes or domestic spying where there is zero crime or terrorism in the equation.”

      This is an important addition to the case I was making. There are a proliferation of laws passed to deal with an emergent horrid situation, that get turned from the purpose of their passage, to a general usage in the Criminal Justice System to the detriment of personal freedom. One such law that has bothered me for years is RICO, originally passed to gain convictions against organized crime, yet used for a variety of purposes its passage never argued for or intended.

  6. I don’t think most people understand that you can have well-meaning cops and prosecutors trying to protect the public that work in a corrupt system that produces genuinely evil outcomes for their targets – and many times they aren’t aware of the harm they are dishing out to citizens. So it’s not so black and white as to the villains.

  7. Speaking of broken systems. Here is an example of what happens when arbitrary punishments are allowed to be levied by the clueless and the paranoid. The below is the most asinine thing I have read so far this year.

    A Candidate for Terror Tots 4

    1. “The below is the most asinine thing I have read so far this year.”


      As a psychotherapist I am of course interested in the thinking behind people’s actions. This story is so bizarre that it is impossible for me to understand what motivated these school officials. My only conclusion based on the bare facts alone is that these people should not have jobs in education, period.

  8. Is it not time to revisit these flawed convictions? People were sentenced to decades and decades of prison, when DA’s decided to crack down on the politically popular fear of the moment. J Edgar’s COINTELLPRO regarded MLK, the Panthers and AIM as subversives, as terrorists, and many of these people languish in jail. Worse, some people, Fred Hampton, were murdered outright.

  9. Mike S.:
    Very thorough; very insightful; very accurate. And I appreciate the fact that you have not allowed your observations over many years to push you toward the sort of bitter cynicism that too frequently turns critics into cranks.

  10. Tiny spark, but way too late:

    SANTA ANA, Calif. — Two former Fullerton police officers must stand trial for the death of mentally ill homeless man Kelly Thomas.

    City News Service says an Orange County judge refused Friday to throw out charges of second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. He set a June trial for Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli.

    Another ex-officer, Joe Wolfe, has a pending hearing on a motion to dismiss a manslaughter charge.

    Related Content
    LINK: Follow @abc7newsbayarea on Twitter
    All three have pleaded not guilty to killing Thomas, a 37-year-old schizophrenic who was beaten, Tasered and pinned to the ground in a July 2011 confrontation with six officers.
    Video shows him screaming that he couldn’t breathe.

    He died days later from chest compression that cut off his oxygen. His death sparked protests, the recall of three City Council members and an FBI investigation.

    (Copyright ©2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


    The Aaron Swartz Memorial ceremony has now terminated. Hopefully soon to be available on the OnDemand service at DN.

    For me, it was deeply moving.
    He, as related by the speakers, each knowing him intimately in their own or multiple fora, was a model which many could see the best of themselves, and accept as a mentor or the guy who wasn’t smart, he just asked the right questions—as he honestly claimed that he was. Oh, he did enjoy being the center of attention, but never with the idea that it was his right due to his accomplishments or talents.

    To summarize it is to ignore the richness of his life, and all it amazingly encompassed. Each speaker struggled to maintain a composure which would allow them to relate their view of him.

    If you like myself, were not aware of his life, deeds, and ambitions for us all, through “hacking the world” as one said, to release us from our chains, to reclaim research from the control of the corporate world, to continue the fight for public access to public paid knowledge, and so many many other things; then take a chance by seeing the service.

    He was characterized in so many ways: realizing the need for everyone to have the means of driving their own “campaign” including the poor widow in India. As an applied sociologist as he once said. As a person who constantly sought for optimum ways, and ways to make optimizing the search for solutions through meta-analysis which could then yield methods which be applied over many fields, not just ONE field of study or development.

    How to continue his fight without him was the general closing thoughts of almost all. Some defiant as Siegel, or some humble as his partner, a distraught but thinking woman.


    Post Hoc thoughts which deepen the smoke blocking our view

    It is said he committed suicide in the face of losing his corrupted court battle, facing the termination effectively of the rest of his career, and a life as a marked felon.

    Some say he was murdered indirectly
    by our injustice system.

    On the basis of revelations of prior assassinations and his rising significance nationally and internationally by revealing our systems faults and deliberate fraud of us all, I must say as a realist that he mght well have been the victim of a planned suicide assault. By whom, guess?

    I can give suggestions as to arranging such a suicide based on practically no knowledge. But there are others here who can shed more light on that side, based on more knowledge than the little I know since 3 short anesthesia trips for arythmi conversion since October 2012.
    Any doc can confirm, and perhaps others.

    Just remember how quickly you can go under from the Michael Jackson drug, and recall that you can awake after 4-5 minutes, to find yourself hanging by your neck, a rope around it, struggling really to get free, but as such emulating the struggles of a real suicide who regrets too late his decision.

    Our system is grim. As we note every week here.

    As one speaker noted, we have become scared, our voices dampened when they should be raised. First MLK, and other voices have been silenced. When will another dare as Aaron did, Manning before him, Assange earlier still. Will anyone dare another time?

  12. Don’t forget also that it’s a set practice for judges to mete out draconian sentences to someone who had the audacity to demand a trial and then lost. That exercise of discriminatory excess punishment in the sentence is a mighty detractor against the exercise of one’s right to a trial.

    And, in the federal system for certain he will lose, because of the factors that you point out. The citizen-juror is conditioned to believe that the government prosecutors are sincere, honest, and industriously ethical. The jurors are conditioned against giving a fair and impartial consideration to the evidence. If the government wants it, then it must be true!

    Prosecutorial misconduct is a fact of life in the federal criminal justice system, where my own personal experience is centered. Witnesses are browbeaten into cooperating lest they be charged themselves. The deals, as you mention, are geared to obtain the targeted person’s conviction at any cost, even it it means not prosecuting those more responsible.

    At the cost of losing reasonable contact with objective reality, prosecutors often cloud the facts to their personal desires and expectations, and they inevitably succeed in imparting their view onto the judge and the jurors. As you say, money is supreme in getting a proper defense. Without that a defendant will lose.

    How can the public be educated to the existence of a critical problem like this? It seems that only personal experience on the wrong end of things will get a person and family members to realize how far the system has sunk. How can the public find the courage to give a damn enough to speak out against a governmental unit that aggressively uses power to punish any obstacles blocking its victories? How do we change a system that has the power to threaten our very freedom?

    Aaron Scwartz could not find the answer and, being principled enough to refuse being branded as a felon, he chose to exit the oppression. Not a decision we would agree with but understandable in the context of the overwhelming power applied to create fear and submission. The public knowledge resulting from that act may ironically create some much-needed public awareness about the problem.

  13. Civil rights. I have great respect for Mike Spindell and Jonathan Turley. However, it is entirely possible that they are beating a dead horse.

    I have been in court before. Who has the better lawyer? The dream team?

    West Allis, WI municipal court judge clearly implied that federal employees deserve more consideration than people who work at McDonald’s. Is that equal access to justice? You decide.

  14. Anybody remember the 60S? The race riots? What spawned them wasn’t one specific action it was a series of events that all of a sudden spilled over to mass acts of civil disobedience and riot. I shudder to think those days may come again. We are in the midst of a financial meltdown that was alleviated by pumping $ trillions into the banking system. The populace got mad and angry but did not bring pitch forks to the courthouse or bank and demand heads. Is there simmering anger in the populace that 5 years after the melt down bankers are richer and the poor are poorer? you bet.

    I believe you cannot predict when the pot will boil, but if we continue on our path of unequal justice, bailing out bankers and letting homeowners to fend for themselves, putting a pot user in jail for 10 years and giving a $10 million bonus to a banker, the pot will boil. Just think of the revolution in Iran in 1979-80. They finally had enough and one day a protest in front of the U.S. embassy that propped up the Shah turned into a violent event that captured the Embassy personnel in a 1 year confinement and turned Iran into the country it is today. So one day there will one too many bail outs to a connected person, one more banker that gets a $10 million bonus, and on the same day a person will loose their home, the next morning someone at a protest will bring a gun and it will be downhill from there. And our media elite will wonder why this all of a sudden happened.

    The day will come, the debt is due and will be paid. It will not be pretty.

  15. Thanks for all the time you put into this article, I enjoyed it very much. After practicing criminal law for 36 years, I agree with many of your observations. Thanks, Frank

  16. Initially wrong thread:

    “idealist7071, January 19, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    McCarthy commie hunt through hearings began in 1950 and ended in the Army hearings some years later.

    Excerpt from Wikipedia:
    After three largely undistinguished years in the Senate, McCarthy rose suddenly to national fame in February 1950 when he asserted in a speech that he had a list of “members of the Communist Party and members of a spy ring” who were employed in the State Department.[4] McCarthy was never able to prove his sensational charge.

    In succeeding years, McCarthy made additional accusations of Communist infiltration into the State Department, the administration of President Harry S. Truman, Voice of America, and the United States Army. He also used charges of communism, communist sympathies, or disloyalty to attack a number of politicians and other individuals inside and outside of government. With the highly publicized Army–McCarthy hearings of 1954, McCarthy’s support and popularity faded. On December 2, 1954, the Senate voted to censure Senator McCarthy by a vote of 67 to 22, making him one of the few senators ever to be disciplined in this fashion. McCarthy died in Bethesda Naval Hospital on May 2, 1957, at the age of 48. The official cause of death was acute hepatitis; it is widely accepted that this was caused, or at least exacerbated, by alcoholism.[5]”

    The effects generated by our Congress are sometimes revealed afterwards.
    My point is that they further corrupt our justice system with well-hidden laws.
    Which in turn are enforced in a corrupt fashion as detailed in the blog.”

  17. “If the jury finds that the act was one of self defense the state is mandated to pay all of the defendant’s legal expenses.”


    That seems to me to be an excellent and meritorious law.

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