Posts Tagged ‘Judge’

It’s Not Over

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

Readers of this site are often treated to predictions of doom and gloom; reports of misdeeds and malfeasance; foreshadowing of despair and sorrow, but on this day, we ought to take a moment to quietly celebrate the fact that despite all the  treachery aligned against her, Justice still succeeds in America precisely because there are so many good and diligent people still among us.  George Zimmerman was acquitted Saturday night on all charges, and whatever we may individually think of the case and Mr. Zimmerman, for the jury to have arrived at a “not guilty” verdict speaks to the fact that despite all the wrenches thrown with malice into the gears of the ordinary legal process in this case, six average Americans were able to arrive at a verdict that went against every bias that might well have stymied Justice among folk of lesser character.  Threats of violence notwithstanding, outrageous statements by reporters and lawyers in media no more fruitful, these six jurors dared to decide the case on the basis of its merits.  They upheld the rule of law in the face of a myriad of reasons that might have stopped them, save only one: They took their duty as jurors seriously, and decided the case with the full measure of diligence it deserved.  This ought to tell us at least one thing about America that in our constant depression over the country’s state that we must not forget: It isn’t over yet.

Justice still prevails in America, and that ought to be reason enough to celebrate.  I do not intend here to gloat about the particular outcome, but instead hope to explain to you why this should give heart to every American of good will.  Even with the grim spectacle of Florida Attorney Angela Cory’s bizarre and hateful attempt to retry the case in the press, having lost it only moments before, justice did prevail.  I know this because had there been even a sliver of evidence to support the prosecutors’ case against George Zimmerman, he would have been found guilty because the pressure being placed on this jury by the entire media spectacle must have been obnoxious.  For them to return a “not guilty” can only mean that despite all the ploys of the prosecution, and the tampering of the judge, even with all the media attention on the courtroom, these six women sat down to deliberate the case and came out with a verdict that all the pressure in the world made into the most difficult of them, except that in the end, they could not adhere to anything but the law and the evidence.  It is a marvel in this age of politicizing everything. Whatever they may have felt about George Zimmerman at the conclusion of this show trial, they managed to see through it to justice.

Based on the testimony and evidence I had seen replayed or recounted in reports, it was difficult to imagine how they would convict him under the “reasonable doubt” standard. In my view, the case put on by prosecutors with respect to the evidence and the testimony of witnesses was largely exculpatory, irrespective of all the emotion the prosecutors poured into the mix in a shameless attempt at misdirection.  The fact that this had been a political trial instigated by political hacks insistent upon pandering did not overwhelm the good sense of the jurors and their ability to reasonably apply the law to the case laid out before them.  In this country, with the vast leftwing conspiracy of goons all agitating in one direction, these six jurors sent an unimpeachable message by their verdict that must serve as a searing reproach to all those who sought to tamper with the process: Justice still works in America.

It will be tempting to dismiss this instance in which justice had prevailed as an aberration, but the fact is that in most cases, in most places, at most times around the country, justice prevails when the stakes are high.  There will always be those infamous cases that prove the contrary thesis, but even at this late date, and perhaps more importantly because of this nation’s creeping devolution, it is all the more heartening to see the law more faithfully observed and measured by six ordinary Floridians than by five of nine Supreme Court justices.  Consider this while insisting that we cannot save the country.  Do you believe it will be saved by some grand stroke?  If America is to be saved, it will have been because ordinary Americans in cases big and small took a stand on the side of justice. Not “racial justice.” Not “environmental justice.”  Not “social justice.” Instead, plain, old-fashioned, uncorrupted, scales-and-sword with blind-fold Justice will be the thing that can save our nation.  It had been six ordinary women who were willing to wear the blind-folds and weigh with the scruples of saints and the fine precision of  jewelers, willing only to raise their sword if their measuring had demanded it.

I recognize that on this morning, there exists some sizable proportion of the American populace who remain unsatisfied with this result, but I beg them to accept it as a first step back toward the ideals that had been our American dream even when we have not always achieved it.  I also offer a cautionary note, because what this verdict means and should be understood to describe is a country in which it is still quite normal for ordinary citizens to rise to the occasion and mete out justice as the situation demands.  For those who would take their dissatisfaction violently into the streets, they should know that there will be courtrooms in their futures too, and with any luck, juries that will be equally diligent when sitting in judgment.

There are those who ask me how I can possess any glimmer of hope for this country, but I contend that the evidence is all around us, even if it isn’t writ large on television screens.  It has ever been the diligence and forthright character of ordinary Americans pressed by circumstance into civic duty who have given me such hope as I still possess, and on Saturday in Florida, six of them did not disappoint. America is not over.

What Qualifications May a State Place on the Receipt of Benefits?

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Drug Test? Who? Me?

This question comes up repeatedly, and in the context of the Florida law requiring drug testing for the recipients of public assistance, it’s become a point of controversy.  As I reported Monday, a Federal judge has temporarily suspended the Florida law pending further review.  My opinion on that judge’s competence aside, I wish to understand the nature of the mindset that leads a person to believe they have an entitlement to “benefits” or assistance from the public treasury without some reasonable expectation that they are waiving certain claims to privacy.  The Florida judge raised the 4th Amendment’s protections, but I submit to you that there is no 4th Amendment issue in play.

I simply don’t understand how people are able to concoct legal justifications that have no basis in fact or in law.  Here is the text of the 4th Amendment:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Obviously, it is the contention of the ACLU in this Florida case that the requirement for drug-testing to receive assistance constitutes a 4th Amendment violation of the right of the plaintiff to be secure in his person from unreasonable search.   This is a nonsensical claim, however.  This is not a qualified search, because the applicant is not being required to submit to the search(drug test.) He simply won’t get the “benefits” or assistance. End of story. Full stop. A search, to be covered under the 4th Amendment, must be a compulsory search.  Period.  What the Florida law requires in this case is that to complete your application for assistance, you must consent to the search(drug test.) You are not legally required to apply for “benefits” or assistance.  You can walk down the street to your church, or go ask your family for help, or any number of things, but it isn’t relevant to the issue at hand.

Case in point: The Federal Government requires employers to submit Social Security Numbers for verification of a person’s qualification to work in the United States on the basis of legal residency.  You are not required by law to furnish your social security number to a prospective employer, unless you want the job.  Some spiffy ACLU attorney could certainly go make that case, but I doubt that will happen, since it doesn’t fit the agenda of the communistic ACLU.

Of course, going back to the application for public assistance, I wonder why the ACLU doesn’t argue that there’s a Fourth Amendment issue in terms of other qualifications as well.  After all, the fourth amendment guarantees you the right to be free from search and seizures not only of your person and property, but also your effects.  Why does this matter?  In most jurisdictions, Florida included, applicants for assistance are required to furnish copies of their 1040’s, and to demonstrate their impoverished state by virtue of a lack of income.  To establish this lacking, they are required to furnish documentation that can be verified and qualified.

Why don’t they make the argument that the income verification requirement for assistance also subjects applicants to an unreasonable search?  No answer.  This sort of stupidity can be extended indefinitely, but the simplest form of an answer to all of this remains: This is not a fourth amendment issue by virtue of the fact that one’s application for assistance (or “benefits”) is entirely voluntary.  End of story. End of hunt. NEXT!

Please, by all means, feel free to explain to me how this is a Fourth Amendment issue once you include the fact that the application for assistance is voluntary.  If you can’t do that, you’re barking up the wrong tree, and I suggest that you and your ACLU pals go back to finding other unique ways in which to undermine both the letter and spirit of the Constitution.  This issue is resolved, irrespective of the legal meanderings of a dunderhead Federal judge.