Justice system or criminal system?

Guest CommentaryJune 18, 2013 

I've noticed, over the past several years, and it seems more rampant recently, that punishment does not always fit the crime. I've been appalled to read that someone murdered a person and might get 8-15 years ... it used to be life for taking a life. Yet someone, who embezzled money, will be sent to prison for anywhere from 25 years to life. Money has more value than life?

Often you hear where a case was dismissed and a criminal is set free because of a "technicality." What about the technicality done to the victim by the criminal whether it is robbery, rape, or murder? Pertinent information will be dismissed because of how it was obtained even though it is a known fact that the criminal did the act. A confession is deemed inadmissible because the "person of interest" was inadvertently not read his/her Miranda rights. What has happened to our Justice System? Weren't the laws established to protect the innocent?

Lately, it seems that the justice system has bent over backwards to protect the rights of the suspected criminals. Don't get me wrong, if the evidence is not there to prove guilt, then every effort should be made to prove the innocence. But many times, the guilt is known. And I would love to know the statistics of people wrongfully imprisoned, were they represented by a paid attorney or a public defender? And, were all the technicalities introduced on their behalf?

People often claim innocence due to having an unhappy childhood, alcoholic parents, harsh punishment, even incest. They are all horrendous but they do not excuse your actions once you become an adult. Our laws were written to protect the innocent and if you are a threat to society (sorry about your dysfunctional family) you need to be put away so that you are never a threat to anyone else and the victim should no longer have to live in fear of you.

I grew up with alcoholic parents and knew early-on that I did not want that type of life for myself or my family. Many evenings spent alone not knowing where my parents were. It definitely was not a happy childhood.

Even our political atmosphere has become soft. We used to shout patriotism by our actions and our words. Now statements are made that we might embarrass another country or another culture if we're too vocal, wear a flag pin, etc. We see on the news where citizens in other countries express their contempt for America by burning our flag, mutilating our countrymen. They express their true feelings about us Americans, but we are told that it's not "politically correct" to express our feelings of other countries and cultures.

I know, for a fact, that love of country is still openly expressed by many people in our Mountain Area and political truth, not falsehoods, should definitely be honored.

I love celebrating Memorial Day and the fourth of July, not just for the family gathering and fun times, but also flying the flag and giving honor to veterans who have fought and died for our freedoms. Freedoms that, I personally feel, are slowly being eradicated. Not just freedom of speech but freedom of religion and, I'm sure, others not so noticeable.

If we went to live in another country, we would be expected to observe their laws. Other cultures come to this country and want our laws changed to benefit their way of life, religion and crimes.

I am truly frightened, a feeling I never thought I would have in this country. This fear among our countrymen has increased with the talk of getting guns off the street. Are there people who truly believe that the criminals will give up their artillery? It would be all the honest ones who would be unable to defend themselves and the criminals would know they have nothing to fear.

I have lost all faith in our elected officials. They are not making laws and passing legislation for the benefit of their constituents but for their own benefit. I've even seen that here in the mountains. It must be extremely disheartening for a lawman (police or sheriff) to arrest a criminal, collect the needed evidence, only to have the case dismissed on a technicality.

But, innocence based on a technicality? I ask you, are we living under a justice system or a criminal system? May God bless America. "I know, for a fact, that love of country is still openly expressed by many people in our Mountain Area and political truth, not falsehoods, should definitely be honored." — Shirley Lamb

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