Recent events have me shaking my head at our legal system. We have a rogue prosecutor in the Duke Lacross case and we have the judge here in Panama City, Florida locking up the Girls Gone Wild guy for criminal contempt in a civil case.
I have serious issues regarding the Duke Case. People end up in position to gain a certain amount of celebrity by being players in such events...celebrity that can make or break political careers. I think trends such as this really became apparent during the O.J. trial and with the advent of Court TV. Recently, playing to the camera has become apparent in such cases as uh....what's her name?, that blond haired girl that passed away and the crying judge soap opera.
We place a high level of trust in our public officials to do the right thing. Holders of such offices are beset with temptation. Sometimes the prospect of personal gain can outweigh one's sense of honor. Toss in the variable effects of a media circus and instant fame and honor and justice seem to fly from the equation as attorneys and judges seem to play to the camera and the drama.
From my experience, justice is far from an exact science at the best of times. Our system was such a beautiful concept by our founding fathers, the concept seems to have been perverted by modern needs with rocket dockets, personal gain claims by defendants, overly filled prison systems, frivoulous law suits and instances of dishonor among some of the practitioners.
Somehow I think the system is in need of some fixing. I have issues with plea bargain justice for one. I realize the effectiveness of some of the techniques of plea bargains to solve some crimes and turn defendants against one another but I also feel that plea bargains are used to weed out weak cases without going to court. Weak cases in which innocent individuals might plead to a charge for fear of harsher consequences.
In the aforementioned Girl's Gone Wild case, I question what has happened there. It is my understanding that the defendant is wealthy and in judge's eye may be behaviorly challenged and may have demonstrated behavior issues in the courtroom. I understand that the judge ordered him to settle the case or go to jail. I am not sure that this is a lawful order. Is it not the judge's responsibility to settle the case if the parties cannot reach an agreement? Isn't that the reason you go to court? I feel that the judge should have perhaps fined this individual for misbehavior....I am not sure incarceration was a just remedy, not at least for a civil matter. It does seem to me to be another case of our justice system having run amuck.
I question another thing about this Girls Gone Wild Case. It was said that the settlement would be large enough that these girls would never have to worry about working again or working period. These were underaged girls filmed in sexual situations. I think it is alleged that they misrepresented their age to get filmed. Personally, I don't feel that they should be awarded or are entitled to a settlement for their actions. I kind of feel that punitive damages may be in order from Girl's Gone Wild but I am not sure that the girls should be entitled to the money as I feel that they are just as wrong if not more so than the GGW crew. Personally I would think justice may be served with a large monetary fine with the proceeds going to a charity or to help finance efforts to prevent or apprehend child pornographers.
Does anyone else have any thoughts on any of this?
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