Thursday, July 21, 2011

In A Country Near You?

   Perhaps this happened in a country near you.
  The judge had heard the case. The accused man’s locked gym-locker had been packed full of drugs. The accused had the only key.
   The organized crime lawyer had defended him well. But it was hard to overcome the naked and clear evidence.
   The judge said he would render his verdict the next day.
   That night, the judge received an untraceable text-message from a local throw-away phone. The message was simple: WATCH THE NEWS IN THE MORNING.
   The next morning the judge checked. Nothing too exceptional had happened locally, though the big story was a big arson-fire which was taking most of the attention. He did notice, however, a small, very interesting story from a very remote part of the country. A long-retired municipal judge and his wife had been extremely badly beaten and murdered during a home-invasion in their secure gated-community home. The police had absolutely no clues, suspects or motives.
   Later that morning, the judge delivered a not-guilty verdict in the organized crime drug-locker case. He said it was possible someone else had placed the drugs in the locker of the accused, thus leaving reasonable doubt as to the accused man’s guilt. He set the accused free.
   Could this happen in your country? Who would know?
   In another country, not too far away, a man found himself charged with a crime that society did not like very much. They especially liked a very harsh sentence on repeat offenders. This was the man’s second offense. The first time was 40 years earlier.
   The accused hired a good lawyer for $10,000 and pleaded not guilty. Through various manipulations, the lawyer delayed, postponed and rescheduled the trial for over two years. The trial had disappeared from the front of the public’s mind over that time period.
   Finally, on trial day, the defence lawyer announced to the judge that he and the prosecutor had reached a plea-deal that they thought the judge would find satisfactory.
   His client would plead guilty and accept a $1,000 fine. The prosecutor agreed. He said that since the accused had no previous record that that would be fair, particularly given the extended-age of the case. In his submission he said this would also spare the court a lengthy trial.
   His Honour also agreed and issued the $1,000 penalty, thus ending the case.
   The accused went home happy; though $11,000 poorer he had escaped lengthy jail-time. The fact that he was guilty of an earlier violation somehow had not found voice in the court.
   The judge went home happy too, knowing that there was a guilty-plea and a sentence, and a long-standing case was off the docket. He also noted that his bank account was $2,000 richer.
   The prosecutor was also pleased with a guilty plea and that the case was finally finished. He noticed his bank account was mysteriously plus $2,000 as well.
   Additionally, the defence attorney was very pleased that his client had gotten a good deal and that he was going home $6,000 wealthier for almost no work at all.
   Could this happen in a court near you? Would anybody know?

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