The ancient Greeks and Romans had the crazy idea that a man accused of a crime should have the benefit of a public trial. During this ordeal the accusing party (the State) would have the burden of presenting facts, which might establish a crime. The Sword of God crowd would hold these base allegations sufficient to show the underlying criminal act. Our ancient ansestores had other ideas. To them the issue was important enough to warrant consideration by an assembly of impartial justices – a jury.
Of old the jury consisted of various members of the accused’s peers. These were his friends whom knew him well. Why were such pre-disposed men considered impartial, as they were friends of the accused? The idea was that, being men of honor, they would hear the evidence and weigh it in their minds fairly regardless of their relation to the suspect. The fact that they were friends of the accused served as a check against an illicit prosecution.
If “X” was charged with a baseless crime, the jury might collectively judge that, “yes, X is given to bouts of indiscretion, but he would never do something like this. Or, they might find that X, while am affable fellow, might be the sort who would commit such an act as alleged.
The system, while not perfect, worked well. In Rome, such trials were reserved for the upper classes – for men of privilege. Commoners were generally tried by magistrates in shorter, more informal settings. These lessor citizens, being of lessor importance, faced lower burdens of proof and lower levels of punishment. Fair if not. Members of the elite classes, given to higher responsibilities, were treated to high levels of justice. See the defense of Milo (a murder suspect), presented by one Marcus Tullius Cicero, one of the greatest lawyers of antiquity.
This theoretical approach to justice lived on after the 5th Century, being embodied in the Magna Carta, a core right of Englishmen. Thus, the right to a jury came to America.
Today this right is practically non-existent. In modern Amerika a jury trial, while nominally “of one’s peers” is one assured not by your peers. The fact is that very few criminal prosecutions end with a trial. Most of those end with a conviction (the vast majority). This is due to the overwhelming influence of the State and the extremely limited powers of the accused to resist such influence. Every effort is made to ensure that the jury does not, in nay way, know of the accused on a personal level. Further, only those enslaved to the power and suggestion of the accusing State are favored or empaneled. The system has been turned on its head.
Lately, several high-profile trials have made the news; these illustrate my point that there is no right to a fair trial in Amerika.
In 1989 Debra Milke was tried for the murder of her four-year-old son, Christopher. A jury (not of her peers) found her guilty – based solely on the unsupported testimony of a rogue police detective. Despite all indications of innocence the State’s chosen jury found Milke guilty. Thus, for several decades Milke lived in the daily terror of Arizona’s death row – dimmed to die for a crime she did not commit. The guilty parties averred she had nothing to do with the crime. This did not matter to the State until the matter was finally (thankfully) reviewed by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Arizona Supreme Court. See also: Arizona Supreme Court Won’t Allow Retrial of Debra Milke. The prosecutor is, naturally, frustrated by this untimely carriage of justice.
Milke was blessed by higher intervention. Too often the innocent in Amerika are executed for crimes they did not commit. A recent admission shows that the FBI and its crime lab have doomed at least a dozen innocents to death. You have probably never heard of these cases of injustice. So it goes.
Thus do the innocent, robbed of true justice, resort to filing pleadings in courts entitled, “F*ck this Court.” This one warrants reading and consideration.
Debra Milke faced execution because a heartless police officer lied under oath. The officer has since “taken the fifth” so as to avoid prosecution himself for his lies. The citizens of Arizona will pay millions of dollars to right this injustice.
A thousand miles away, in Boston, Dzhokhar Tsarnev has been found guilty of the Boston Marathon Bombings. His was one of the most bizarre trials I have ever heard of. See: Boston Marathon bombing trial: 18 jurors at a glance. The jury was selected based on their indifference toward the accused and their alliance with the state. Tsarnev was not allowed a defense. Rather, he, by way of his “counsel,” admitted guilt but relied on specious allegations of the undue influence of his older brother. His brother and other key witnesses were, conveniently, dead.
The case was tried backwards. The prosecutor first present victims of the bombing and their woeful statements – this usually comes after guilt has been established, during the penalty phase of the trial. Tsarnev’s counsel never even questioned these witnesses. The government then presented an unopposed fable of how Tsarnev constructed and utilized homemade bombs. Again, no challenge came from the “defense.” The lack of direct evidence was deafening.
Having admitted guilt and completely failing to challenge the government’s base allegations it was a given fact Tsarnev would be found guilty. They strategy (if any) of his counsel was that he would attempt to evade the death penalty by way of the supposed undue influence of his dead brother. Charming. Pathetic.
It is entirely likely that this young man played a part in the bombings. Thus, he deserves execution for his crimes. However, I have long suspected he was only a pawn in a false-flag operation designed to test America’s willingness to endure a police state (shelter in place, and all that). We will never know the truth here.
As a former criminal defense attorney I am well aware of the failings of the modern, American jury system of “justice.” Here follows the entire account of one of my trials in federal court, before a jury and bereft of justice. The names have been changed to protect the innocent, the guilty, and me. This story was originally designed for publication (never achieved) in a major news journal:
The Yellow Ribbon Myth: Amerikans Do Not Support The Troops, Nor Justice.
Do you “support the troops?” One sees countless bumper stickers proclaiming such support. I no longer believe the propaganda. When someone says, “I support the troops,” I hear, “I support the government.” This concept was made painfully obvious to me during a criminal trial last fall.
My client, “Donny’s” case, in a U.S. District Court, 2012:
I’m am calling my client “Donny” as I have not yet sought his permission to use his name; I also may be restrained from using certain facts due to Orders of Sealing/Impoundment.
Donny enlisted in the U.S. Army while in high school and completed basic training the summer before his senior year. Donny received an appointment to West Point though, after one year, he stopped his education and entered the Army as an enlisted man. He served with the 375th Ranger company in Afghanistan where he was forced to kill men, women, and children. The experience haunts him daily.
While in the field and during additional training he sustained major injuries, which necessitated his retirement on disability: I think his physical was 50%; his mental injuries (PTSD, psychosis, etc.) were 100%. During his tenure he rose to the rank of Sargent and was awarded so many medals and commendations that multiple forms DD-214 were necessary to list them all.
He received continuing physical and psychiatric treatment at the Augusta, GA VA hospital; they placed he on enough narcotics and psycho-tropic drugs to turn anyone into a zombie. His mental condition was initially rated as temporary. Throughout 2011 he pursued the status of “permanent and unemployable.” During this time he suffered marital and mental health-related troubles daily. Towards the end of his bureaucratic ordeal he made a phone call to the VA national “service” center.
During the (recorded) call he made statements which the VA took as terroristic threats – they alleged he said he was going to the regional VA office in Atlanta to kill the first 3,000 people he encountered using unspecified weaponry. My review of the call lead me to believe he was not sane during the call, that the government’s allegations were a wild, composite stretch of the words used, and that VA’s service isn’t. He was originally arrested on State charges. He was legally carrying a pistol at the time though the arrest was without incident. Damningly, his permanent status was approved the next day. He was released on bail only to be rearrested by the feds, charged with violating 18 USC 875, interstate terror threats (a 5-year maximum felony). Had he specified a “weapon of mass destruction” he would have faced 40 years in prison.
I was appointed as defense counsel and immediately moved for a psychiatric evaluation, thinking this would easily end the case. After several months I received a lengthy report from the MCC New York which exhaustively listed Donny’s chronic mental problems and concluded he was permanently psychotic. However, the good (government) doctor also stated he was obviously sane at the time of the call and competent to stand trial.
We elected to present the matter to a jury, figuring no twelve people could possibly convict a sick man for seeking help from the only source available. We were wrong. The government’s doctor explained the extent of Donny’s condition. The VA representative from the call stated she was not threatened by Donny’s language. The VA stated they did not take any defensive measures when faced with this 9/11 magnitude threat from a man they had trained to expertly kill other human beings. The VA storm-trooper in charge testified he lied under oath to the Grand Jury to obtain the indictment and that he, for no reason, held Donny’s elderly, disabled father at gunpoint AFTER the arrest. Despite all this the twelve morons returned a guilty verdict in less than half an hour. As an aside, at trial the government sandbagged me with thousands of pages of previously withheld discovery and they handed me the afore-referenced pistol LOADED in open court (I cleared it in disbelief).
Donny was sentenced to time served with the probationary condition that he continue his torture at the VA. When I walked into the hearing I was greeted by the AUSA and the VA goon who both suddenly agreed Donny was out of his mind during his “crime.” Donny accepted his sentence and declined both an appeal and a request for a Presidential pardon. I fear his condition will worsen, perhaps with morbid consequences. He is a delightful but pitiful and broken man. I was saddened and broken by this affair.
In modern Amerika Grand Juries, while supposedly independent in their deliberations, are little more than tools of State prosecutors. The defense is usually excluded entirely. The State has the free reign to present any “evidence” no matter how contrived.
The trial that follows (if any) is a showing of prosecutorial imagination and juridical ignorance. Less that 3% of defendants are acquitted under this system. The innocent are convicted and often executed. The lucky escape after years of torment. Life goes on and things are not likely to change any time soon.
I will, shortly, present an alternative, if primitive, alternative to this mad, fixed system of “justice.” Until then, be forewarned and prepared.
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