With Liberty and Justice for None
Newcastle — Justice indeed; from whence cometh that fantasy? How about our highest court? Few would deny that it has come up with some real howlers in the last few years. “Corporations are people too!” Well that certainly helps with open and honest elections. Do we really need to reaffirm that “Might makes Right!” Even the Supreme Court upholds this illogic. It’s pathetic.
Unless I somehow missed it, not a single ranking executive from our esteemed financial houses has been prosecuted and punished for their subprime mortgage shenanigans that contributed so handsomely to the Great Recession. And the leading culprits? “Too big to fail!” Another convenient injustice. I see that Bank of America has mea culpa’d to a federal fine of $16.65 billion (no executives will face charges). Heavenly Days! Where do they get that sort of money? From the feds, of course; it’s a revolving door. There certainly can’t be enough people dumb enough to keep savings accounts that pay at most about 1 percent interest (and then only outfits like nerdwallet) and so provide the banks funding. As I’ve recommended before, “Buy their stock!” You can’t beat these crooks, so you might as well join them. BAC stock leapt up 4% on the recent bad news. I jumped on BAC three years ago and my holding is up 130%.
Oh well; $16.65 billion is chicken feed to BAC. An article in the New York Times reports that adding this pittance to its other legal bills related to mortgage issues will raise the total legal cost to $70 billion. Oof! In a recent blog (“Eyesore”) I promised that if some barrister would give me the rules for erecting monuments on public property “I would promise to suspend, temporarily, my hectoring of that profession.” Nobody responded; time’s up; kill all the lawyers. I digress.
It’s not only the big dogs who get away with too much. The justice system is completely constipated. Witness the backlog for hearings related to the influx of illegal young immigrants crossing the Rio Grande. Just one, if an extreme, example. Our legal system is far too complicated. Almost nobody gets appropriately convicted. In reviewing our local paper, The Lincoln County News, on TV each week I see, time and again, that plea bargaining, more often than not by recidivists, reduces the punishment to a slap on the wrist, and then the perp is out to strike again. Two examples from this week:
A Waldoboro attorney made a deal such that a domestic violence assault charge (class B crime; up to ten years and $20000) was dismissed provided he plead guilty to disorderly conduct and violation of condition of release (seeing the woman he assaulted). Should he comply with the further stipulation that he refrain from new criminal conduct, he would be exonerated for a $500 fine. Astonishingly, the day after the plea went through the jackass repeated his assault. Even more amazingly, the alleged victim, with a swollen and bloody lip, denied that he hit her but “was trying to pry her mouth apart and put his fist in it.” (This article provides some quite amusing anecdotes.) So what should we do with the bloke? The paper supposes that he might suffer six months incarceration and a $1000 fine. I suggest we deport him to Damascus. I think he’d fit in there, and we don’t need another lawyer.
A Whitefield man was sentenced to thirty days in jail after a felony assault charge (up to 30 years and $50000) for choking and slashing his then girlfriend was dismissed. Class A, class B, and class C charges were dismissed after the recidivist entered an “Alford” plea of guilt to class D and class E offenses. (Did I say something about too complicated?) And just what the hell is an “Alford” plea? According to uslegal.com, “An Alford plea allows defendant to plead guilty even while unable or unwilling to admit guilt.” Eh? “In an Alford Plea, the criminal defendant does not admit the act, but admits that the prosecution could likely prove the charge.” Well, golly Mr. Dillon, doesn’t that mean he is guilty?
So what can be done to abrogate the apparent lack of justice in this country or world? Are all the candid videos helping? They don’t appear to be. “Smoking gun” doesn’t work anymore. Perhaps all one can do is live a clean life and set a good example. Maybe evolution will weed out the worst of us.