Prosecutors Gone Wild: How Many Wrongful Convictions Will the Public Stand for? … Even casual samplers of the media now come across colossal injustices and failures in the U.S. justice criminal system every two weeks or so. Yet these stories, everyone a heart-breaking recitation of how willful prosecution misconduct has ruined a life or a family, with no consequences at all to whoever has abused his great powers as a prosecutor, seem never to elicit any particular public response or gain any traction for review or reform. … Prosecutors have practically untrammeled discretion in deciding what to charge, how many counts to allege, and a very wide latitude in sentences sought. Grand juries are just a rubber stamp for prosecutors, and contrary to the spirit of the Fifth Amendment, provide absolutely no assurance against capricious prosecution. But complicity in or direct causation of the lengthy incarceration of falsely accused and convicted people, not to be confused with honest error and misplaced zeal, is a terribly serious offense and is so treated in every other serious jurisdiction except the U.S. – Huffington Post and elsewhere
Dominant Social Theme: Ignore former media mogul Conrad Black. He's been convicted of corporate corruption and his articles are just sour grapes.
Free-Market Analysis: Conrad Black, the former Canadian publisher of numerous prestigious mainstream newspapers, was apparently unjustly imprisoned for corporate corruption and as a result he has discovered the injustice of the current Western industrial-penitentiary complex.
He's writing about the increasingly insane paradigm of Western "justice" and, ironically, is one of only a few of his mainstream stature (diminished as it may be) to do so. He didn't previously, but his current travails have apparently concentrated his mind.
In a series of extraordinary articles, some of them apparently written from jail, the fallen media magnate makes significant points about how the system has strayed from justice – and not just in his case. We've always maintained that the Western "justice" meme was the most stubborn and would be perhaps the last to come under attack in this Internet era. Black is certainly engaging the battle.
It turns out that after numerous appeals, Black stands accused, perhaps, of embezzling some US$250,000 in corporate funds from the company he built and headed. For this, he has apparently paid some US$32 million in fines and seen the utter destruction of his media empire – or so we have read.
Black, it would seem, has a right to be bitter. But no matter what one thinks of Black – and for much of his career he was a kind of card-carrying socialist and social-climber of the most unbearable type – he has shown considerable courage in fighting his case and writing increasingly passionate articles even as he has joined the fight to prove his innocence.
In this case, what stimulates Black's pen is a case that occurred in Texas where an individual named Michael Morton was found guilty of murdering his wife and spent 25 years in jail before being released when it turned out that prosecutors had apparently withheld exculpatory DNA evidence.
"It is alleged," writes Black, "that [one prosecutor] withheld police notes that someone else committed the murder, did not provide the full police report, including evidence of activity on Mrs. Morton's credit card after Mr. Morton had been taken into custody; and that [he] advised his successor as prosecutor 'to oppose all of Mr. Morton's post-conviction motions for DNA testing.'"
The proximate cause of Morton's release was the Innocence Foundation, which has used DNA evidence to release numerous innocents in the past few years. For its troubles, it has been, Black points out, "harassed by prosecutors and threatened with charges of obstructing justice."
In this case, the tables have been turned. The Foundation and Morton's own counsel have asked for a "court of inquiry" to determine whether Morton's former prosecutors should be charged criminally for knowingly supporting a false conviction.
At first, Morton's prosecutors refused to comply with the subpoena; later one explained that "prosecutors are under a lot of pressure to convict." In fact, prosecutors in the US justice system receive extraordinary protection. They are rarely if ever exposed to the consequences of actions that ruin lives of the "guilty" and their families alike.
We haven't commented directly on prosecutorial malfeasance, preferring to comment on the larger illegitimacy of the US justice in particular. Its reliance on "precedent justice" will eventually, we have observed, turn the US into a country where half the population is in jail and the other half is employed in the capacity of prison guards. Black makes the following cogent comments:
The legal profession in the United States is a professional cartel where legislating lawyers and regulators produce thousands of new enforceable laws and regulations every year; judges, prosecutors, and private sector counsel lock arms to ensure that legal invoices, (which total almost 10 per cent of GDP – almost $1.4 trillion annually), are paid as a priority surpassed only by the claims of government.
Unlimited incidences of what other legally serious countries would consider frivolous or vexatious litigation clog the civil courts, and prosecutors enjoy a stacked evidentiary and procedural deck which gives them a success rate in prosecutions of over 90 per cent. (The corresponding figure in Canada is about 65 per cent, and only about 40 per cent of those receive custodial sentences.)
The United States has just five per cent of the world's population, 25 per cent of its incarcerated people, and 50 per cent of its lawyers. The U.S. Supreme Court is unvaryingly proud to try law and not fact, and is thus ostentatiously uninterested in a just result as such, in the unutterably irritating and desiccated way of people who profess indifference to the control they exercise over the fate of real people.
Black points out that recently the Supreme Court heard the case of John Thompson, "who spent 14 years on death row for a crime of which he was eventually exonerated, after a shocking sequence of prosecution acts of deceit." In spite of these revelations, the Supreme Court decided to provide what Black calls "absolute immunity for prosecutors from civil recourse for their actions."
Justice Thomas, for the court majority, explained that the "attorney (including a prosecutor) who violates his or her ethical (obligations) is subject to professional discipline, including sanctions, suspension, and disbarment." The justice knows what a fatuous bit of dissembling this is, as the legal cartel locks arms to assist its members to escape responsibility for all but the most egregious crimes.
Recently, we pointed out an incredible statistic – that one out of three individuals in the US would have some sort of experience with the US criminal justice system in their early 20s. To call what occurs in the US "civil society" at this point is almost beside the point. US citizens are, in a sense, simply harassed "perps" from the point of view of officialdom – or perhaps "perps" awaiting incarceration.
Black's view? That "the staggering 48 million people with a 'record' seem not to care. The media, in their lust to amplify the publication of crime and incite paranoia, have brain-washed from public memory the ragged bourgeois, constitutional, heirloom of the presumption of innocence."
Black concludes that "the law is a very spavined ass," and the sooner that something serious is done about it, "the better it will be for everyone." We concur with his conclusion but not his recommendation. Really, there is nothing to be done.
The system has been implemented with malice aforethought. When one-third of the US population (as Black points out) has a criminal record, the system is not merely broken, it has approached the stage of terminal authoritarianism, even totalitarianism. It survives only because of ignorance, fear … and money.
The money, of course, comes from the Anglosphere power elite that is determined to jam regulatory democracy into every nook and cranny of human discourse. Regulations, of course, are price-fixes and can never work as advertised, but that doesn't matter to their dishonest proponents who pretend that human action doesn't exist and that "laws" keep order and keep anarchy at bay.
The propaganda stream is immense and intense. Using its bought-and-paid-for media and pursuing an endless campaign of police TV programs, books and mainstream articles that demonize every kind of human commerce, these elites have indeed managed to turn much of the West – and especially America – into a kind of prison planet.
We've pointed out numerous times by now that the system is terminally dysfunctional. What kind of "justice" relies on a single operative (the state) to pass laws and regulations and then to prosecute, try and imprison those who contravene the increasingly Draconian laws that are being offered?
Western monopoly justice is inevitably going to fail, and probably sooner rather than later. As its contradictions and injustices add up during a time when the Internet itself is increasingly able to expose its savage dysfunction, the moral imperative that such justice relies upon slips away.
By now we have written extensively about alternatives. Just search the Internet for "private justice" and the "Daily Bell" for some of our articles. For tens of thousands of years, human society apparently managed to find a modicum of "justice" without a state-imposed monopoly system of justices and penitentiaries. Eventually, some of this system shall be reactivated.
We are long past believing that this scheme or that "reform" will somehow patch the system back together in a workable way. Whether one considers the economy, the political system or modern "justice," the end result of where we are headed is pure dysfunction.
Only when the system finally crumbles under the weight of its own insanity will the sensible remedies of yesterday offer themselves up for reapplication. But we have no doubt that as the Internet Reformation continues to progress (or if it does) that such an evolution shall eventually occur, at least partially. The current system is unsustainable.