Monday, February 9, 2009

Fair Play

When of the things I've always loved about the United States was it's sense of fair play on issues of justice. But some things that have happened in the past 20-30 years have made me wonder about the direction our country is going. With the advent of the War on Drugs, some of our precious freedoms were lost and there was hardly an out cry. When someones money and property can be confiscated by the government on the mere suspicion of drug use or trafficking, something is terribly wrong. In far too many cases, these people are not even charged with any crimes.

California voted in the 3 strikes you're out law in which those criminals with prior convictions had to serve mandatory sentences if they had two prior convictions. This was not justice and I believe it has since been rescinded.

I'm currently reading John Adams by David McCullough. John Adams was the lawyer for the British soldiers arrested for their part in the Boston Massacre. When asked why, he stated "The reason is because it's of more importance to the community, that innocence should be protected, than it is, that guilt should be punished".

The Supreme Court recently ruled on a case which may and can lead to the erosion of more precious rights. We are a country that seeks fair play even for those charged with crimes. We provide money for lawyers to those who cannot afford them. Defendants do not have to testify against themselves. Those charged are considered innocent until proven guilty.

There have been trends to erode these time honored traits of American justice. I do not like it when someone is freed on a technicality. However, like Adams, I believe that innocence should be protected than guilt be punished. When a case is thrown out because of a technicality, it protects all of us from a court system that could all to soon become grossly unfair if those safeguards are loosened the least bit.

I want the safeguards in place. I want our court system to be a place of justice and one that adheres to fair play.

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