The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Posts tagged ‘Eric Holder’

SOME THOUGHTS ON GRAND JURIES AND JUSTICE

The Grand Jury system comes to us from England where it was implemented by Henry II in 1166.  So named because there are more jurors than a normal panel of twelve (a petit jury), its proceedings are done in secret.  If we were previously unaware of how these juries deliberate, that has been dispelled with the notable reportage on the events in Ferguson, MO and New York City.

One of the king’s motivations in using this secretive jury was to be able to ramrod indictments against those whom the crown wanted to prosecute.  I won’t repeat the much used phrase which explains how easy it is for a prosecutor to get an indictment from such a jury for fear of offending our Muslim neighbors.  That in fact, particularly in the Ferguson case, no such indictment was handed down has caused many to question the reason that occurred.  It is at this point that the facts seem to separate from the emotions and some people choose to infer motivations from the actions of the District Attorneys who were involved in presenting the cases.

Surprisingly, one of the greatest claims by those who reject the St. Louis County Grand Jury’s decision is that the system does not provide transparency.  Well, that is certainly true – and the system is designed in just such a manner,  Attorneys for the Brown family are outraged and believe that an indictment should have been handed down and that a public trial should have been conducted.  In fact, they believe the District Attorney should not have bothered with a Grand Jury but moved directly to trial.  That would certainly provide greater transparency, but one has to wonder whether it would have resulted in a different conclusion.

The level of proof necessary to obtain an indictment from a Grand Jury is far lower than that to convict, “beyond a reasonable doubt.”  There have been witnesses, notably Dorian Johnson who initially made the claim that Michael Brown was running away with his hands raised when he was shot in the back by Officer Wilson – testimony that was disproven by the forensics.  Mr. Johnson also changed other parts of his story in subsequent interrogations.  A reasonable person, even without referring to his own personal run ins with the law, might question his veracity as a witness.

On the other hand, six African-American witnesses testified to the Grand Jury that Mr. Brown was charging toward Officer Wilson when the fatal shot was fired.  They further concurred that they heard the officer order him to stop on two occasions – orders which Brown ignored.  Obviously, there is a vast difference between these two accounts.

For the sake of argument, let’s assume that in the Brown case the DA had followed the advice of the Brown family attorneys and gone directly to trial.  Given the glaring conflict in witness testimony, there are two possibilities that the trial jury would return a guilty verdict beyond a reasonable doubt – “Slim” and “None.”  But the people of St. Louis County would have had to bear the expense of a trial, the cost of additional and ongoing law enforcement presence throughout that trial – and probably the same amount of damage by way of looting and burning because the only “fair” verdict that those who see themselves as being “Brown supporters” will accept is one of “guilty.”

All of this begs the fundamental question – should we be fearful of authority abusing its power over the citizenry?  That is a question that exceeds the particular of race. If we accept, for sake of argument, that people of certain races are “targeted” and we allow that to continue with impunity, then we open ourselves to the possibility of belonging to some particular group which will subsequently fall into disfavor and be equally subject to that sort of persecution.

This is far more dangerous than what we saw in Ferguson or New York because it is an endorsement that people should have the ability to pick and choose the laws they wish to observe and those they choose to ignore.  Sadly, that is precisely the path that both President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have been following during their time in office.  When lawlessness is endorsed in actions by those whose jobs are to ensure that we are truly a “nation of laws,” then they give tacit endorsement to others to be law breakers themselves.

Let the riots, lootings and burnings begin.  Perhaps that’s what’s written on the Christmas cards the White House is sending out this year.

HO, HO, HO!

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SELECTIVE JUSTICE

The mob that gathered last Saturday to voice their negative opinion of the George Zimmerman acquittal did get one thing right.  Whether or not one agrees with their premise that the basis for Mr. Zimmerman’s not guilty verdict was the result of a justice system that punishes minorities more harshly than it does whites, they are correct in saying that anytime anyone is either convicted or acquitted of a crime because of something extraneous to the facts of the case, there is an inequity which has prevailed – and all of us should protest against it.

Why should we protest such a miscarriage of justice – especially if we happen to like a particular verdict?  The answer is little more than “self-preservation”.  If we close our eyes to this sort of behavior in someone else’s case, who knows how long it will be before a corrupt political system finds reason to place us in the defendant’s box?

This administration, beginning with President Obama and continuing with Atty. Gen. Eric Holder have demonstrated a continuing pattern and practice of engaging in precisely such behavior – not only in violation of their oaths of office but to the general degradation of our legal system and ultimately to the detriment of every American.

It is hard, other than for political reasons, for me to understand the administration’s resistance to requiring people to provide proof of identity before they are allowed to vote.  When I write a check for groceries, the store wants to verify who I am.  (I don’t blame them).  When I call my gas or electric or telephone or cable TV provider to make an inquiry on the phone, they ask for the last four digits of my Social Security number and my DOB.  (I don’t blame them).

Why, then is it such a big deal that a person be required to prove that he is the person who he or she claims to be before being handed a ballot?  In fact, I believe that if we want to talk about discrimination in voting (as the Atty. General recently has regarding changes in the voting rules in a Texas county), I believe a strong case could be made about the disenfranchisement of legitimate voters by allowing people who do not have that right to vote in our elections.

There are only a few plausible explanations:

1)  The Administration is more concerned with getting people who support their agenda to vote them and their cronies into office than they are in upholding the Constitution;

2)  The Administration is terminally brain-dead and doesn’t have a clue that voting “irregularities” occur.  (If President Obama had lived his entire life in Alaska rather than a good portion of it in Chicago, there might be more believability in this);

3)  The Administration is vindictive and selective in its enforcement of the laws of the land;

4)  The Administration, having been called on by the mob to bring “Justice to Trayvon”, realizing there is no basis for their further pursuing this, need yet another distraction to show that they’re on the side of the “oppressed”;

5)   The Administration is just down right upset at the recent passage of tighter abortion regulations in Texas and is trying to appease one of its most faithful voting blocs.

That Atty. Gen. Holder’s new initiative comes in response to the recent Supreme Court decision to strike down key portions of the Voting Rights bill as being currently irrelevant is particularly disturbing.  There is a reason that the Founding Fathers ordered government divided into three equal parts.

Perhaps the president and the AG missed that semester in law school.

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AN OPEN LETTER TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Dear Attorney General Holder:

I have chosen to write this letter to you as a blog post rather than as a traditional letter as I expect that it is the quickest way for it to come to your attention.

I am calling on you to reject the cries of “outrage” which are stemming, primarily from some of the most extreme members of the American black community.  I read yesterday that Al Sharpton is staging “rallies” in 100 cities across America this coming Saturday to pressure you and the DOJ into bringing charges against George Zimmerman, now that he has been acquitted of the criminal complaint of murder.

As it is you and your department to whom we look to enforce all the laws of this country fairly and evenly, I believe that rather than honor these calls to revenge by prolonging this unfortunate tragedy, you do the right thing for the nation and offer Mr. Zimmerman and his entire family entry into something akin to the “Witness Protection Program” – which we might call the “Innocent Protection Program.”

Whether or not we agree with the findings and verdict of the Florida jury, it is what it is and Mr. Zimmerman is, under law, a man innocent of murdering Trayvon Martin.  Surely you know that better than I.

The basis for my making this suggestion is simple.  We have worked for countless years in this country to bring equality to the land.  We have created the EEOC to make sure that minorities were not the subject of discriminatory practices by employers.  We have given minorities preference in job placement and in university admissions in order to level the playing field for all Americans.  And it is consistent with those principles that we protect Mr. Zimmerman and his family because they are currently under threat by a racist lynch mob – and Mr. Zimmerman is a member of a minority group – to my knowledge the only one of his kind.  It apparently has been determined that he is a White Hispanic-American.

I realize that in holding this view, I am probably in the minority – but then I am used to that.  But I have tried to live my life in such a way that my views were formed not by what was currently popular but, rather by what is eternally truthful.

I am reminded of another person who held that view, a woman by the name of Rosa Parks, who stood her ground and refused to bend to a law that was mean-spirited in its birth and malicious in its enforcement.  I remember how her refusal to vacate a bus seat sparked a revolution toward fairness for all Americans of whatever color.

I hope that you remember her story and that like her, you do the right and moral thing, rather than the politically expedient one.

While I am not certain under which Federal statute you might base a decision to protect Mr. Zimmerman and his family, I am sure that there Is something on the books which would cover this situation.  Not being a lawyer I might suggest that if nothing else, you might look toward “The Endangered Species Act,” as a possibility.  But, of course, you would know best.

Like many of us who take a logical view of things, I appreciated the President’s statement after the jury had entered its verdict.  As we all know, he is a wonderful speaker.  I only wish his statement, rather than merely urging all Americans to be calm had been more forceful.

If he had something like, ‘America is a nation of laws.  The law tried Mr. Zimmerman and a jury of his peers found him to be innocent.  That is a verdict with which we may or may not agree but under our laws George Zimmerman is innocent and that’s the end of the conversation.  Move on, go about your business and put this behind you.”  Well, if he had said that, I probably wouldn’t be writing this letter and Al Sharpton would be out looking for a new issue to create.

Mr. Holder, you are an educated man – an example of what a person, irrespective of color can become if he is willing to work hard and do what is necessary to succeed.  So I ask that you set a personal example for the black community and do the morally correct thing for the Zimmerman family by placing them under the protection of the United States of America.

Thank you for taking your time to read this letter.  I look forward to your decision in this matter.

Sincerely,

juwannadoright

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