Sunday, March 11, 2007

Fait Accompli

I would truly like to believe that our judicial system has not completely collapsed. I write this because it is one of the branches of government that is established in our constitution, the document that I have taken an oath to support and defend. If we were to judge solely on the basis of the Lewis "Scooter" Libby trial, I think we should be seriously concerned about the fairness and equitability that can be expected from juries of our peers.

I wasn't so much surprised that Mr. Libby was found guilty, I hadn't really followed the trial and I surmised that there were any number of facts that could have come out during its conduct that could point to his incontrovertible guilt but I was stunned at what I saw in the post trial press conference. Not the press conference by the defense attorney or even the prosecuting attorney but rather a juror. Did you get that? A press conference from a juror.

Mr. Denis Collins, juror #9 was apparently so overwhelmed by his sense of civic duty and sympathy for those in the press (his own former profession), that he took it upon himself to explain in nauseating detail the deliberative process of the jury.

I use the word nauseating here because this was such blatant display of pandering to the public eye by someone so desperate for their 15 minutes that you half-expected him to be accompanied by his publicist and agent.

There was feigned sympathy, a stated vow of the entire jury's political ambivalence, and a step-by-step account of the deliberative process that was supposed to lend credibility to the findings. In the midst of all this it seems that only two things were forgotten; facts and the law.

Mr. Collins stated that there were some very good managerial types on the jury who broke the whole process down into building blocks so that in the end all they had to do was look at a monstrous pile of Post-it notes and say "Hey, there it is." Of course at the same time he mentioned that the categories they used in evaluating Mr. Libby's guilt or innocence were "motivation to lie", "motivation to tell the truth", "believability", and "state of mind".

I would hate to think that if I were to find myself in a similar situation as Mr.Libby, the only thing that could separate me from a federal penitentiary would be the ability of 12 people who don't know me to subjectively determine what my frame of mind was 3 1/2 years prior. Here's a radical idea Denis; how about deciding guilt or innocence by facts?

I also understand that during the deliberations, the jury sent a note to the judge asking if one of the charges against Mr. Libby was "lying to a reporter". Talk about "believability". I wonder which one of the "really good managerial types" on the jury asked that brilliant question or even allowed it to be asked. What confidence it must give the new convicted felon that he now knows that his fate was decided by people who, a) weren't absolutely crystal clear on the crimes he was charged with and, b) possessed a collective mental capacity that believed lying to a reporter is even a crime, let alone a felony to be tried in federal court.

The whole thing comes together though when you learn that in spite of the jury's stated political ambivalence, Mr. Collins provided a 7,500 word account of the entire deliberation process within hours exclusively to "The Huffington Post".

So in the end, we have really good apolitical managerial types building a mountain of Post-it notes, idiotic questions being asked of the judge, a person spending the entire deliberation writing memoirs for instant publication by a liberal columnist, Mr. Libby apparently headed for federal prison, and the rest of us wondering what has truly happened to justice in our nation as it is provided for by the constitution.


DW said...

Good stuff, there is so much junk reported as news and so much news left unreported, it takes all of us to unravel the cloth that obscures our vision. I never thought Libbey was guilty, I never thought Plame was covert, I really don't think any of us should be tried for the accuracy of our memories/timeline. I'd be in the slammer for sure.

Matt G said...

I haven't heard all of the evidence, but several jurors did. A judge did.

Why are we convinced that this conviction is a travesty of justice?

If Scooter outed a CIA agent out of political vindictiveness, he deserves a nice stay in the Greybar Hotel, same as if it were Hillary. That's the nice thing-- when the law is applied evenly. I can't speak to his guilt, other than that a jury and a judge have heard the evidence, and believe he's guilty. Also, that a journalist did some time trying to cover up her source on this issue.

Military Money said...

Sorry for the off-topic comment.

I created a blog to help military members with their finances (and I see you have a degree in Finance) and I was wondering if we could exchange links. Thanks.

Brandon J