Why I think the law is completely arbitrary. [Long Read]

justitia-oarba-2

In spite of my last post cheering the sound decision made by Judge William McClain, I find the law (at least as it pertains to the United States, because I don’t know about other countries) to be a meaningless joke.

They are meaningless, and valueless.

“But J, without laws, we’d have no order… There’d be chaos in the streets”.

To a degree, yes, but let me explain myself a bit more.

I think some of the laws serve to keep us safe. For example, if there were no laws about murder, it wouldn’t be too great.

Other laws, exist to protect businesses and corporations.

Most importantly, laws are there to generate revenue for the state.  In a county close to me, DWI rates plummeted because of the inception of apps like Uber and Lyft. This did not make the town happy, they simply began enforcing another silly law (that escapes me now) to make up for the loss in revenue.

See? It was never about safety to begin with.

In any case, this is only a part of why I find the law to be a joke.

Now, let me disclaim this by saying I am not saying to disobey the law.  You do not want to find yourself in trouble with it. As foolish as it can be sometimes, the law is the law and you do not want to wind up in a cell, so please follow it.

That said, I was watching “The People v. OJ Simpson” on Netflix, which was a good series btw… In the show, lawyer Johnnie Cochran, who is black, appeals to a white southern Judge to get evidence for the case.  The judge harshly rejects Cochran, with the episode implying racial disdain.  Cochran’s partner, lawyer F. Lee Bailey, suggests Cochran let him do the talking since he is in the South and Bailey is a white man.

Okay.  It is clearly evident that courts have always had prejudice, bias, and all other factors affecting their decisions. However, as I watched this scene I thought, “why should it matter who asks the judge if their job is to uphold the law?” So a judge would potentially jeopardize a case ruling based on who asks him for the evidence?

Again, this is nothing new, and this is not something people are not already aware of, but it just goes to show how arbitrary it all is.  If the law is truly just, it shouldn’t matter if you went into the court room in a thousand dollar suit or in a cheap, ill-fitting, Wal-Mart suit.  Of course image matters, but the fact that your attire has an impact on how many years you will potentially serve (or not serve) is alarming.

Let’s give another example. While there are most definitely disparities in health care, if someone comes into the doctor’s office complaining about coughing or other flu-like symptoms, the doctor will prescribe them medicine, and the dosage will be dependent on their age, weight, and possibly gender (affordability aside).  Now, the fact that you walk into a courtroom and the judge and jury are evaluating your gender, your looks, your attire, your race, the “degree of your race” (darker blacks get harsher sentences than lighter ones), and various other things is ridiculous.

What if a judge sees a defendant that looks like his/her ex-spouse? This judge may possibly give a harsher sentence due to a factor that the defendant cannot control.

In 1991, Soon Ja Du murdered 15 year old African American Latasha Harlins in a similar fashion of many unarmed black shootings.  Due to such a nasty crime, the jury recommended the maximum of 16 years in prison.

Judge Joyce Karlin ignored the jury’s decision, took matters into her own hands, and gave Du a “slap on the wrist:… no prison time.

Was there a point of having a jury? Did the dishonorable Karlin already have her mind made the entire time?

Let’s go back to talking about my last post:

The fact that people were celebratory about the verdict, and in a lot of cases surprised, was due to that sentence not being the norm.  People being surprised that criminals were rightfully punished in an unfair society speaks volumes about the law.

We can go on and talk about injustices and double standards in the law all day long, I am just saying that I think it’s pointless and verdicts may often be on a whim.

I do not believe in “the law”.  I do my best to avoid serving anytime I receive a jury summons.  I am not saying I have all of the answers or know what the solution is, (perhaps have robots serving as judges) but the way it is running now… a bias, partial court system, defeats the entire purpose of “law”.

The law has a lot of objectives (generating money, feeding the prison industrial complex, population control), but “protecting citizens” I think is a small fraction of it.

-J

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