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View Diary: Misinterpreting Legal Language is the REAL Racism (35 comments)

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  •  Thank you for pointing this out. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dharmafarmer, vox humana, Nulwee, gatorbot

    For the life of me, I have never been able to comprehend how a tennis shoe could be considered a "dangerous weapon". Seriously, I can inflict far greater damage on someone with my 1.5 inch fingernails than I could with a tennis shoe. Does that mean that my fingernails could be considered a "dangerous weapon" now?

    What really bothers me about our legal system is that (in my opinion), when you have two cases that are virtually identical, and the defendant in one is white and the defendant in the other is black (or any other minority), the white defendant in the majority of cases will get a lesser sentence than the minority defendant. To me, that is just plain, out and out wrong. Race, ethnicity, religion, or anything that does not pertain to the case should not even be an issue. If a person is found guilty of a crime, it shouldn't matter what race he/she may be. The sad thing is, that in many cases, it does.

    "Truth never damages a cause that is just."~~~Mohandas K. Gandhi

    by LynneK on Wed Oct 24, 2007 at 10:20:28 AM PDT

    •  You are not a prosecutor (0+ / 0-)

      What a lot of people don't realize is that it takes a certain type of lawyer to decide to become a prosecutor.

      Prosecutors are the people who want to make a career out of putting people in jail. While there are plenty of good prosecutors out there serving the public well, this legal specialty tends to attract the authoritarians. It tends to attract people who like to punish others.

      "I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat." - Will Rogers

      by wayward on Thu Oct 25, 2007 at 04:31:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not in my experience (0+ / 0-)

        I am a civil litigator, and have limited experience in the the criminal courts (Connecticut), but I've generally found the prosecutors here to be professional, ethical and compassionate in my experiences with them.  This ain't Mississippi or Texas, however.  

        •  Yeh but when there is a "Wrong'un" they tend to (0+ / 0-)

          really be wrong.  The Duke lacross case has given the rightwing nuts material for decades to come. NC remains the one state I would hate to be a defendant in, even more than TX (and this is after the Geter case in TX)

          •  This, I think, (0+ / 0-)

            is where the diarist has a valid point.  Prosecutors will bring to court those cases they perceive can be won - either on some basis in law or because they have reason to believe the judge or jury, whichever the case may be, will rule in their favor.  This is where the mores and interpretations of individuals come into play, I think.

            •  The Petersen case is another example (0+ / 0-)

              where I have watched the "Staircase" documentary several times and it seems to me that the prosecutors went so far overboard that an appeal would be automatically granted. Instead, he has exhausted his appeals.

              It was astounding to me, as an example, to have an alleged previous bad act (the alleged murder of the mother of his adopted children) to be introduced as evidence in his trial for the death of his wife. Even more incredible, when the first coroner had ruled the death accidental, the prosecutors had her body exhumed and their medical examiner could not state with certainty that she had been murdered. Then this supposition was presented to the jury.

              Or the elaborate theory about how he used the "firepoke" as the murder weapon and how he disposed of it, only to have the defense find the firepoke in the basement with no indication it had been moved in years.

              The final example was the prosecution's theory that Petersen had killed his wife because he was molesting their daughters and also alleged that he was the biological father of their adopted daughters.  After DNA blew that theory out of the water, the prosecution, without missing a beat, presented their next theory.

              Bottom line is that the defendant had a nonSouthern lawyer and he was caught supposedly making a date for himself online with a bisexual and that is why the jury convicted him, IMHO.    

        •  I think you misunderstand me. (0+ / 0-)

          Many prosecutors are good and quite professional. I mentioned that earlier. But they do make a career out of putting people in jail or otherwise punishing them. That is their job. It's a job that needs to be done and I am glad that they do it.

          The problem is that a job with this much power to punish can attract the authoritarian and sadistic type. And when you get a person with these tendencies, it is very, very frightening.

          For what it's worth, I live in South Carolina.

          "I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat." - Will Rogers

          by wayward on Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 03:59:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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