Really, I don't care much what Chris Brown says. He's not my man, never going to be my man, and any woman who considers making him her man can't say she wasn't aware of his violent nature and his attitude toward women. But, I am quite appalled by the multitude of defense lawyers who came forth and publicly stated that Chris Brown waited so long to fess up because telling the truth earlier would have damaged his defense. He might have gone to jail if he admitted his guilt.
Now, I know this is apparently how the criminal justice system presently functions in the United States. But, it sickens me. These attorneys are saying they are telling their clients to blatantly lie, commit perjury in my book, by saying they are not guilty when, in fact, they are. If that lawyer gets up in court and says, "My client is not guilty," when he knows damn well he is because he client has told him exactly what he has done, than that lawyer is committing perjury as well. Oh I know it's the way the game is legally played but legal doesn't make it right.
Whatever happened to the concept in this country that guilty people ought to man up and accept responsibility for their crimes? What happened to the idea that they should do their time because they deserve to do their time? The legal defense system was put in place to prevent innocent people from being railroaded by an overzealous government or to stop one group of people from persecuting an innocent person of another group just because they don't like their skin color, sex, lifestyle, or religion. The criminal justice system was not intended to provide the guilty with a thousand avenues to get off unpunished. The justice system is supposed to provide a responsible and fair way to punish the guilty and protect the innocent. It was not intended to pervert justice and exempt the Chris Browns of the world from doing time for a crime any fool with an IQ over 50 knows they committed.
So there we have Chris Brown caught red-handed and he says, "Not guilty."
ethical and moral concern about this? I don't care how many times lawyers and judges insist that pleading not guilty does not mean you are saying you are not guilty...the words are "Not guilty" and they mean "Not guilty." Why can't the court change the verbiage to "Request for trial"? Why do they insist on using specific words and then telling us to pretend they don't mean what they mean?
We give him a break and he gets a slap on the wrist. Now he says, "Guilty," but don't call me a big, fat liar just because I pleaded not guilty in court and then guilty a little later when I got my sweet deal" (paraphrased).
Telling the truth seems to now be a situational behavior, especially for defendants and their lawyers. Perjury is rampant so I guess lying to the court is no longer a crime. If lying to a court of law isn't a crime, how can lying to the public be a crime? Why should cheating in school be a crime? (It hardly is any more either). Why should lying to your constituents be a crime? (Bill did it; Mark did it). Why should lying to your mate be wrong? (Bill did it; Mark did it). Why should the truth matter at all? Maybe it doesn't any more.
I have read arguments for our bizarre system of pleading guilty or not guilty. The legal explanation is that pleading "not guilty" actually doesn't mean you are saying you are not guilty or that you are innocent; it simply means you are requesting a trial. For most of us who have had little experience inside a court and only have dealt with speeding tickets, we think that pleading guilty means we did do it and we will pay the fine, pleading not guilty means we think the cop was wrong, and pleading guilty with explanation means we understand that technically we committed the act but there was a valid and excusable reason why we did so (like running a red light because one is racing a heart attack victim to the emergency room). These three pleas are pretty clear and any honorable citizen shouldn't be saying "Not Guilty" just because he hopes the police officer won't make it to court that day so he can get out of the fine he deserves.
But, outside of traffic court, pleading guilty is hardly ever done because most criminals won't do so unless they get a good plea deal. Most people who plead not guilty are, in fact, guilty as hell. But, this doesn't matter because pleading not guilty is said to be a code phrase for "I want a trial and I want the court to prove me guilty."
What does this truly mean? The guilty get all the advantages and the innocent all the disadvantages. Here is how it works:
Guilty guy gets the option of pleading not guilty and going to trial or accepting a plea deal. The worst he can get is what he deserves (if found guilty in court) and the best he can get is to get off scot free (if the prosecution fails to provide enough evidence of his guilt or the defense can confuse the jury enough to let him off.) If guilty guy doesn't want to roll the dice in court, he can accept a plea deal and get less than he deserves.
The innocent guy, on the other hand is screwed. He can go to trial and be found guilty in spite of his innocence or he can accept a plea deal if he is too afraid of leaving his fate in the hands of an uneducated jury and get a lesser punishment for a crime he never committed (and a criminal record to boot).
And what of the matter of asking people to be liars? Is there not any
It is clear to me that honesty is not the policy of the court and obfuscating is acceptable.
I took my son to traffic court with me once to show him how our court system works. He sure got a lesson that day. I had gotten nailed in a very unfair speed trap. On a six lane road with no residential areas to the sides, I came down a steep hill. From where I turned onto the road I had seen no speed limits. Common sense would tell you the speed limit should be forty or fifty miles an hour. As I had just pulled onto the road out of a parking lot, I wasn't even going that fast. But as I came down the hill the car automatically picked up speed. Right at the bottom of the hill was the cop car with the radar. I was pulled over and charged with reckless driving, going fifty in a twenty-five mile zone! I was floored.
So, I went to court where I was going to plead guilty with explanation and protest what was clearly an unfair trap. When I arrived at the courthouse, there was a huge line of people; this county in Virginia - Arlington County - was known for its speed traps. We were told not to go into the courtroom but stay in the line. The line snaked into a side room where a table of district attorneys sat. Each person was to show the ticket to the lawyer and then he would make recommendations.
I stepped up to the attorney and presented the ticket. He laughed and said, "Yeah, that is the worst trap in the county! You can't get down to twenty-five on that hill unless you know beforehand the radar is at the bottom and you stand on your brake the whole way down." Then he offered me a plea deal. Plead guilty to going forty miles an hour, pay the lower fine, and I would not get points on my record.
"But I wasn't going forty," I told him. "I was going fifty. Are you telling me to lie to the court? Isn't that perjury?"
He became annoyed with me, rolling his eyes. "Take your pick, lady. Plead to forty or go piss off the judge."
I took my seat in the courtroom. I pissed off the judge. I got the higher fine and points.
What kind of court actually tells a citizen to commit perjury? An American court. Honest people get punished and Chris Brown goes on a holiday. Truth is mocked and lies are honored. This is a criminal justice system? It may be but it needs desperately to be fixed