January 13, 2005

Is Justice About Innocence or Procedure

Here’s a wild one for you. What do Andrea Yates, the mother who drowned her five children in a bathtub have in common with Saddam Hussein? Give up? They both have lawyers who honestly believe true justice is not about guilt or innocence but about fairness in procedure.

Okay, I understand the concern and while there MAY be a connection between fairness in legal procedure and justice there isn’t necessarily a connection. Let me explain. When I look at justice in the Bible it pertains to the guilt or innocence of an individual concerning something they have done or failed to do. They either did it, or didn’t. At the end of the day, the concern is about right and wrong not how it is determined.

Don’t misunderstand me; depraved people—that is who we are—need a procedural system to encourage that real justice is determined. But the penultimate concern must always be on the issue of was a wrong committed; not how was it determined that a wrong was committed.

In the case of Andrea Yates there is no dispute about her guilt—she admitted to killing her children. And in the case of Saddam Hussein, there is no doubt about his murderous crimes. But when lawyers overturn Yates guilty verdict on a technicality and an Anti-American lawyer like Ramsey Clark joins the Butcher of Baghdad’s defense team that is a perversion of justice and an insult to the very idea for the be all and end all is not an accurate conclusion of guilt or innocence but rather procedure. At that point, the tail is wagging the dog, the forest is lost through the trees, and the nose has been cut off to spite the face.

A mother murdered her five children—end of story. The fact that some expert gave some kind of phony story about an episode from Law and Order does not change the outcome of her guilt. And though Saddam Hussein supposedly “deserves” a fair trial, I would take exception to that-- there is no question about his guilt or innocence so questions of procedure are moot in my book.

Well, God knows, and the day is coming when justice, true justice, unadulterated justice will be meted out and when that day comes, there won’t be any lawyers crying foul because someone’s “rights” weren’t read to them. I both long for, and shudder to think about that day.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had a similar discussion with a friend of mine once. He said "why do you think they are called 'courts of law' and not 'courts of justice'". That pretty much sums it up, at least here on this Earth. It does give me comfort to know that we do have real justice through faith in Christ.

4:59 PM  
Blogger Pastor Bill said...

"Courts of Law" vs. "Courts of Justice" I LIKE it! Thanks!

6:56 AM  
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

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4:57 AM  

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