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Justice Delayed...

The main focus of the Tea Party movement is on the legislative branch of the federal government. It wants to roll back the power and spending of the federal government to more reasonable, sustainable levels.

We could use a similar movement to take on the legal system.

In the Tucson shooting, there is tremendous evidence against the shooter. Countless witnesses, including those who captured him at the scene -- almost literally red-handed. Tons of physical evidence that he planned the whole thing out. Hell, there are even several videos of the shooting that apparently show clearly that he was the gunman, it was utterly unprevoked, and in no way an accident. In brief, one of the clearest, simplest, open-and-shut cases imaginable.

So, naturally, legal experts say it could take years to settle.

OK, I'll grant one aspect of the delays. There are going to be two cases against the shooter -- the federal case and the state case. The shooter's primary focus was the assassination of Congresswoman Giffords, and three other federal employees were killed. In those situations, the federal government takes precedence.

But three other people were killed, and a dozen more wounded. They weren't federal employees, so the responsibility of rendering justice for them lies on the state of Arizona.

But there's no reason why the two sets of authorities can't work things out. In many other cases of multiple jurisdictions, the two sides have come to terms. In some cases, one side will defer its prosecution. In some cases, they will defer their prosecution ring indefinitely, leaving the charges hanging over the head of the accused until the other side has concluded its process -- trial, conviction, and sentence.

That makes a certain amount of sense. If the feds, say, win a conviction and get a death sentence -- or even a life sentence -- then there really is no point in the state trying the suspect. And should the guy manage to beat the federal charges, then the state can step in and press its case.

But apart from that, what the hell is the delay? What is there to settle? What is there to discover?

There is no rational reason for more than a couple of months of delay. And when something this irrational develops, especially in the legal system, then there's only one inescapable conclusion. No ordinary people could be bogging up the system. No crazy person is causing the slowdown. Hell, no cabal of lunatics could cook this up. No, to wreak this kind of havoc takes the highly-trained minds of lawyers.

Lawyers who have hijacked and taken over the legal system for their own benefit, to keep the ordinary citizens shut out and dependent on lawyers for their needs. Lawyers who have so needlessly complicated the legal system that a case like the Tucson shooter could -- and probably will -- take years to settle.

That just ain't right.

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Comments (21)

I wonder how much of the de... (Below threshold)
wolfwalker:

I wonder how much of the delay is due entirely to the scheduling issue. Every hearing, every procedure has to be scheduled, and court dockets are drawn up months in advance. This rat-boy will spend much more time just sitting in its cell waiting than it will either in court or in preparation for court sessions.

As long as the lawyers domi... (Below threshold)
Don L:

As long as the lawyers dominate the congress and government, they'll have free rein to control most everything...particularly the money. With the success they've had in capturing other's money, it is a near miracle that Obama didn't propose doubling the law profession as the number one stimulus.

(I confess to having had one offspring in that sorrid profession -she since has changed-phew!)

FWIW, it also violates Loug... (Below threshold)
Jody:

FWIW, it also violates Loughner's right to a speedy trial. (6th amendment) He probably doesn't care, but those who stand accused but are innocent...

Jay Tea:In a case ... (Below threshold)
James H:

Jay Tea:

In a case like this, there's actually very little pecuniary gain for the lawyers at all. There's just not that much money in defending a guy with very little cash to his name, and a lawyer with those kinds of talents would be better off working for OJ Simpson circa 1994 than Jared Loughner. Any money Loughner's lawyers make will be pennies compared to what they would be making in a profitable practice.

But off the top of my head, here are a few questions:

Where should the trial be held? The incident took place in Arizona, and Lougher's attorney argued successfully that holding the trial in Arizona, under judges who worked with one of the victims, would be prejudicial to her client. The federal trial has been moved to California.

Was Loughner sane? This is a tricker question than it might seem. Clearly something was not right in his head. But the vital question is not "was he crazy?" but rather "did he meet the legal definition of crazy?"

What should Loughner's sentence be, if he is found sane and guilty? Life in prison without parole? Or death? The latter is a grave decision and requires a jury.

Did Loughner have any accomplices? Granted, nobody was there with him, but it may take time to thoroughly investigate and make sure others did not help him and to ensure that nobody can be charged as an accessory to this crime.

Aside from these, another factor is the sheer number of cases before the federal courts. all of these cases will need to be adjudicated. appealed, and so forth, and that is going to take time.

James, it was purely for yo... (Below threshold)

James, it was purely for you that I skipped the Shakespeare quote.

I disagree with the pecuniary incentive. In addition to the increased name recognition (look how the shooter got his lawyer -- her past clients), the delays translate into billable hours. And SOMEONE will be paying for his defense -- probably us.

Location? I say keep it in Arizona. Bring in a judge, hell, bring in a jury, but don't make the victims and witnesses travel hundreds of miles for this.

As for the sentencing complications... that has no bearing on when the trial starts. And the investigation should NOT take years. If he had accomplices, delaying his trial should not effect that investigation. Hell, it could speed it up, as it would give the shooter incentive to rat them out.

J.

This person should have bee... (Below threshold)
John:

This person should have been carried away in a body bag. Now he will cost the taxpayers a boat load of money for trails, incarseration.

He is a great argument for less restricktive gun laws.

Gun control is being able to hit your target

Many lawyers taking high pr... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

Many lawyers taking high profile cases with liitle monetary benefit are not looking for the immediate monetary gain, but looking to future gains from the name recognition. Ego plays a role too, albeit not a large role for most. Yet, the notoriety is priceless to some.

For years now I have mainta... (Below threshold)
jim m:

For years now I have maintained that we have a legal system and not a justice system. I see nothing today to change my opinion.

That was Trials ... (Below threshold)
John:

That was Trials

Jay Tea,Sometimes yo... (Below threshold)
Grace:

Jay Tea,
Sometimes you have the ability to get right to the heart of a problem that most people have become so used to they no longer see it as a problem.

Just as with the old adage of the frog and boiling water, this complex legal system we have has evolved over decades of little steps. Steps that will take decades to undo, if there is ever the will to do the work.

Read about Victorian murder... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

Read about Victorian murder trials, such as those of the Great Defender, Edward Marshall-Hall. (He was called that because he won some cases, but probably well less than half.)

A typical timeline might be (see, e.g., Crippen): murder committed in March, suspect arrested in June, trial in August, conviction after a three or four day trial, appeal (one day) in October, hanged in November. End of problem.

And those were for cases that weren't so open and shut as Loughner's.

In essence, if you committed murder, you threw your life away. Your life was forfeit. Not in a few decades, but in a few months.

The impact on the murder rate is not hard to guess.

"But apart from that, what ... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"But apart from that, what the hell is the delay? What is there to settle? What is there to discover?"

Lawyers refer to it as "billable hours".

Rodney King - being indigent - got a court appointed attorney. After the case was over, the lawyer submitted his bill. In one instance, 1 1/2 hours was for attending a movie with Rodney (babysitting) - at a cost of $500/hr. The judge said 'nice try'.

As to capital punishment, the entire system is screwed. Mandatory deadlines are passed with no repercussions. Cases drag for years. Average time from conviction-multiple appeals-execution is 23 to 25 years. Lawyers, with the cooperation of the judicial system have pretty much put an end to 'death sentences'.

Remember the Manson gang members sentenced to death? Rose Bird (Jerry Brown appointee) overturned the death sentence in Kalifornia - changing the sentence to 'life in prison'. Yet every seven years, those bastards now get a "parole hearing".

That's pretty good. From "sentenced to death" to getting parole hearings.

And lawyers wonder why they 'get no respect'.

If there were any justice L... (Below threshold)
914:

If there were any justice Loughner would have died at the scene.

How long did it take a Fede... (Below threshold)
Gmac:

How long did it take a Federal jury system to convict and sentence Timothy McVay? Also not QUITE so obviously connected as this gomer but still culpable for the atrocity he committed.

April 19, 1995 to June 11, 2001

I suspect it will be about the same time frame although the final outcome on the death sentence may be up in the air due to the insanity question the lawyers are going to thrash.

I still believe he's batshit crazy but rationally culpable for his actions, IE functionally sane.

It is so simple.1.... (Below threshold)
JDL:

It is so simple.

1.Play the video to the jury

2.Plan the execution date 1 month after the jury decides the violent menace to society should be removed from this earth.

The whole notion that he is mentally unstable and should not be put to death, is not justice.

The Arizona shooter (I do not think his name should be publicized for his satisfaction) proved he knew right from wrong and planned everything in advance.

When someone can plan ahead as much as he did, for the sole purpose of making a political point, all because someone did not agree with his own beliefs, shows he knew right from wrong.

Any society that can't get ... (Below threshold)
f1guyus:

Any society that can't get something so clear cut as this case done in 6 weeks maximum has a pretty poor excuse for a justice system.

I heard one report that the... (Below threshold)
a, moral:

I heard one report that there were two hundred federal agents on this case. Why? No evidence of a conspiracy found. An open and shut case. How many millions are going to be wasted for this grandstanding?

It does seem a pity that so... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

It does seem a pity that so much painstaking effort is being spent on ensuring that no stone is unturned after the crime, while nearly everyone looked the other way when something could have been done to prevent the crime. I'd really prefer the reverse.

"...while nearly everyone l... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"...while nearly everyone looked the other way when something could have been done to prevent the crime."

Yeah. Just like with Cho, EVERYONE knew he was crazy. And NO ONE did a damned thing about it.

Oh- forgot - they did - It's the fault of Palin, Hannity, O'Reilly, Limbaugh, the Tea Party.......

Isn't it rather ridiculous ... (Below threshold)
KeithK:

Isn't it rather ridiculous that there is a federal case here? The guy committed murder in the State of Arizona. The state of Arizona is more than capable of trying him and should have jurisdiction. The fact that some of the victims are federal officers or employees doesn't change this.

Maybe this kind of thing was relevant in the south in the 50s and 60s (if that's where such laws came from) but now it's just another sign of the feds authority creep.

I can't recall where I saw ... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

I can't recall where I saw it, but I think I saw that more than 250 FBI agents are working on the Loughner crime.

250 FBI agents to investigate a crime that occurred on video and where the obviously insane criminal is already in custody before the first FBI agent got a page.

Unbelievable. Well, if one actually pays attention to what PR hogs the FBI are, quite believable.




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