We've got far too many hung juries and not enough hung defendants.
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Lord Galen
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Marci Hamilton Thinks She's God
By: Anonymous
June 26, 2005

[ Note: This is a damn good Guest Rant. It was submitted anonymously via the submission form with no name or contact info. I would very much like for whoever wrote this to e-mail me so that I can give proper credit. Also, since I can't be sure that it was actually the author that submitted this, if you're the author and don't want this here let me know... although that would suck since this rant rocks! --Galen ]

This is meant to be read in conjunction with Marci Hamilton’s 16 June column on CNN’s website entitled Give laws strength to take down child molesters

Marci begins:

Evidence at Michael Jackson’s trial strongly indicated that he is a child molester. There was testimony that he plied children with liquor, showed them pornography, and invited them into his bed--all behaviors typical of a molester.

She opens her next paragraph with the statement, “Yet, the jury did not convict Jackson...” in a manner which clearly suggests that our friend Marci does not approve.

Fortunately, Marci is a columnist and not a journalist. This is an important distinction: a journalist must make an attempt to stick to the facts. A journalist, for example, could say, “Unidentified sources claim that George W. Bush is really a thirteen-year-old Korean girl.” A columnist, on the other hand, can just say, “George W. Bush is really a thirteen-year-old Korean girl.” After all, it's not journalism; it’s an opinion column.

So, when an individual who was not in the jury box watching the evidence as it was presented and has no authority or legal responsibility for reaching conclusions based on that evidence, claims, “Evidence strongly indicates...” despite the fact that the jury--you know, those people who actually had the rightfully appointed job of deciding what the evidence indicated--held a different opinion, clearly we must consider that we are in the presence of an individual superior to a jury of your peers. We do not need juries. We do not need trials, or judges, or evidence, or a justice system. We have Marci. She’ll tell us all the “behaviors typical of a molester.”

Marci knows that Michael Jackson was guilty. She hedges it in weasel words but her implication is clearly one of disappointed for what she can tell us was a miscarriage of justice: “[W]hile nothing can be done now about the Jackson verdict, much can still be done about child abuse in general.” What a shame, that nothing can be done. (Apparently, she’s ignorant of Mr. Jackson’s ongoing vulnerability to a civil suit, which is odd because later in her column she turns out to be a staunch defender of seeking civil redress when the criminal justice system fails to see things Marci’s way.) She claims here, and in the title of her column, that the current legal system is inadequate to “take down child molesters.” This is a startling thing for someone who is supposedly a legal columnist to say: surely she is not unaware that child molestation is currently against the law everywhere. This is what we must understand from the article: when she says the law isn’t strong enough to take down child molesters, she does not mean that there is no law to take down actual child molesters, defined as people who are violating the laws and molesting children. She means that the law isn't strong enough to take down child molesters according to Marci--that is, those people whom she decides, in spite of evidence, indictments, testimony, judges, juries and counsel, must be child molesters. In other words, Marci is upset because she does not have the final word in the U.S. criminal justice system.

So, what does our friend Marci recommend? What is her “solution” to this horrid inability to ignore evidence, ignore verdicts, ignore the law and simply convict the people to whom she points? Well, she has several suggestions we should consider.

The first is that we should ban statues of limitations. “[N]o perpetrator of such a heinous crime should ever be permitted to feel he is safe from prosecution or liability,” she avers. After all, sometimes it can take years to convince someone who believes he was never harmed that he was in fact traumatized. It requires a concerted effort to twist someone’s memories enough that he accuses someone that, a few years prior, he knew did nothing to him. The fact of the matter is, our entire justice system was always designed with the idea that a mere accusation is not enough; there must be evidence. And, with the exception of a few thoroughly discredited “recovered memory experts” (at least one of whom is effectively banned from ever appearing in a courtroom again), it is fairly established that the passage of time only makes memories less, not more, reliable. The statute of limitations was not designed to allow “perpetrators of heinous crimes” to feel safe; it was designed to protect citizens from being harrassed eternally over issues for which there is no reasonable way to go beyond a reasonable doubt. Why even bother a jury with a case in which every sentence of testimony is going to begin, “Well, it was a long time ago, but I seem to recall...”?

But remember, Marci isn’t worried about the vulnerability of the evidence. She doesn’t need to be, because she already knows. She will tell us what the evidence strongly indicates, and frankly, the jury’s opinion on the matter will only get in her way.

Marci’s second suggestion is that, in cases where pursuing a criminal solution is not possible (due to the inability to apply statute of limitations changes retroactively), the issue should be moved to civil court. This is the “faux double jeopardy” recommendation which confused me as to how she couldn’t be aware that there were still recourses available against Mr. Jackson: she indicates quite clearly that California already exempts civil claims from statues of limitations. But we’ll write that off as an understandable oversight on her part; after all, being omniscient can take its toll on anyone. She says:

Otherwise, heinous perpetrators not only will continue to walk free, they will continue to suffer no punishment whatsoever. Worse, the truth will remain hidden, and victims will not have the psychologically freeing experience of having their claims vindicated through presentation in a neutral forum. Private settlements are simply inadequate for these victims; they need the legal system to stand behind them as they search for some measure of justice and closure.

Marci here joins the large numbers of the divinely inspires who are aware that the U.S. court system exists to vindicate the victims. “Justice and closure” doesn’t mean examining the evidence, weighing the claims, hearing prosecution and defense in an effort to glean the actual truth, whatever that might be. Justice is not about finding guilt or innocence based on the evidence examined by a constitutionally guaranteed jury of your peers. Justice is about vindicating victims: rather, those individuals whom Marci has decided a priori are victims before one shred of evidence has been examined.

Perhaps you, my gentle readers, are thinking that I extrapolate too much. After all, here I am indicating that Ms. Marci Hamilton wants to be the judge and the jury. She does not, like many other attorneys, want to work in the legal system; she wants to be the legal system. She knows who is guilty. And she would be delighted to prove it in civil court if she can't twist the criminal court to her will because it’s about vindication. (But let’s be realistic: it’s not about vindication of the victim, whom she has already chosen; it’s about vindication for Marci.) In civil court, the burden of proof is much lower. Instead of “beyond a reasonable doubt,” you only need a “preponderance of credible evidence.” But the “reasonable doubt” standard, like statutes of limitations and juries, was established as a constitutional protection of the rights of citizens to be secure against unjust accusation. Marci wishes “unjust accusation” to be an oxymoron. She wants to twist the constitution so that accusation is in itself a conviction, and furthermore, she wants to be the primary finger pointing. She has now supplanted not only the entire justice system, but also the founding fathers. She is judge, jury and Constitution.

But if anything, I am underestimating her omnipotence. Her next suggestion is an end to clergy exemptions from mandatory reporting laws. Why? She writes:

The reasons to put a reporting obligation on clergy are plain: They have unique access to family dynamics and may well be in a better position than even a doctor or teacher to save a child from further abuse.

Marci, in her all-knowing wisdom, has overlooked another small contradiction. One would ask her: “Marci, sweetie, why do you think that clergymen have such a unique access to family dynamics? Do you think that might possibly be because people trust them? And why do you think people might trust them? Could it be because they know the confidentiality between a minister and his flock is sacrosanct?” Marci believes that this sacred trust would continue once the ministers are legally obligated to cease being trustworthy. But she’s well beyond the pale here: she has decided--in addition to all her jurisprudential and constitutional responsibilities outlined above--that she also has the right to decide who gets to have religion and who does not.

How does this parse? Simple. Let’s say that an actual victim of abuse, for reasons of his own, does not want to go through a circus of litigation. He just wants to talk about it, to get it off his chest, to vent, to confide, to unload. And--especially now that mental health professionals are mandatory reporters--about the only really confidential option he has is in his faith, his religion, the clergy and ministers whom he turns to for spiritual guidance. But no longer: Marci will make them just another row in the phalanx of spies who are required to fill out your secrets in triplicate. Naturally, these individuals, and indeed these whole families (to the dynamics of which the clergymen have such “unique access”) will no longer be able to turn to these ministers. Marci will have disenfranchised multitudes from their very own faiths.

But she is allowed to do that. After all, what better person to dictate who is allowed to have a faith and who is not? She’s Marci, and that’s just one step down from God.

Or maybe not even one step. Maybe she is God. Let’s see what she (or perhaps She?) has to say on the topic:

There is no sacrifice at all to religious belief or practice in requiring clergy to speak up when they learn of child abuse; if anything, religious belief and practice ought to be vindicated by doing so. No religion treats child sexual abuse as a religious tenet.

Yes, She is God. How else could She know what is, or is not, a “sacrifice” to any religious belief or practice? Perhaps some religions might be under the delusion that the sanctity of the confessional, the trust of the minister, the bond between the shepherd and his flock, are religious beliefs and practices. Well, thank God... er, thank Marci that we have Marci to straighten us out on this one. She not only knows who is guilty and who is innocent, she not only knows what the evidence says before even seeing it, she not only knows which victims receive vindication, but heckfire and dalmatians... Marci knows what what will vindicate entire religions! She is not just the arbiter of justice; she’s the arbiter of the divine. That she has deigned to write her words to us should make us feel truly blessed. I wonder if CNN is aware they are currently host to divine scripture?

And now that she’s established that--in a move that makes me grudgingly admire the order in which she strung her paragraphs together here--she returns to that pesky issue of guilt and innocence. If she had mentioned this earlier, it would not have carried near the impact it does now that she has established her divinity. Remember earlier when I made the claim that, to Marci, accusation is tantamount to conviction? That was not hyperbole. I have Marci’s own words to cite. She is lamenting the inadequacy of the current sex offender registry system. She says:

Victims, though, are not satisfied that the DOJ’s registry will be adequate. They say that there are too many predators who are guilty and are accused, but are not convicted, and therefore evade the sex offender registry.

Analyze this carefully; Marci may be inadvertantly (though how could she do anything inadvertantly when she is all-knowing?) revealing her true philosophy here in a way that should make her colleagues question her fitness to serve the law. Look at the order in which she makes this claim: there are too many predators who first are guilty, then are accused, but finally are not convicted. This is the Law According to Marci: guilt, accusation, conviction. Granted, the concept of “innocent until proven guilty” is inconvenient for her, but she has shown us the error of our ways. All this time we have been believing that first you are accused, and then--provided you are found so by a jury of your peers--you are convicted, at which point you are found guilty. No; for Marci, she knows you are guilty without having to go through that rigamarole of a conviction. Think of the money she will save us in court fees. Think how many lawyers will be out a job once she can finally establish the new Marci Hamilton Guilt-First Principle of Jurisprudence.

What is her solution to this problem of guilty predators walking away without ever being legally found to be the guilty predators she knows they are, and thus never being immortalized on the sex offender registry? Easy. She wants you to be added to the sex offender registry merely on accusation. Yes, you read that correctly: first, she wants to eliminate the statute of limitations and end confidentiality. Then, she wants to lower the burden of proof to civil court standards. But now she finally comes right out and says it: she wants to do away with trials and judges and juries and the constitution (and, apparently, religion as well) altogether and completely. Upon accusation, you are a registered sex offender. Read it for yourself: she begins, “The one thing no government could do is to publish a list of ‘possible’ pedophiles.” And just when you’re ready to wipe your brow and say, “Whew, Marci, dear, I’m glad there’s at least some limit to your destruction of the fabric of our society,” she follows with:

Each state, however, could report to the DOJ any public records involving charges against individuals on these claims, and the DOJ could publish on the Web the compilation of the data.

That is to say, upon being charged--merely accused of a crime--with no finding of guilt, no trial, no evidence, no attorney, no judge, no courtroom, nothing except an allegation like any total stranger could make--you are a registered sex offender.

The modus operandi of the pedophile is significantly undermined if the secrecy he or she values so much is breached. Thus, government should work to make evidence of pedophilia easily accessible to the public.

We’re worried about undermining the modus operandi of the pedophile; to this end, we are willing to undermine the U.S. Constitution, the legal system, presumption of innocence, respect for religions and clergy... effectively, we will undermine the entire way of life in the free world in an effort to undermine the modus operandi of the pedophile... keeping in mind that this “modus operandi” is nothing more than “behaviors typical of a molester” according to Marci.

And would this help? She starts off lamenting the terrible travesty of justice in Michael Jackson being found innocent, and leads this to a new conclusion that publishing a registry of mere accusations would help resolve the problem... and I ask myself, “How?” If anything, she opens with the exact case that proves the opposite point: would Michael Jackson being on a registry of accusees have prevented her assumed heinous acts? Give me a break. Was there anyone on the planet who did not already know that Mr. Jackson had been previously accused? Marci, I must say, this omniscience thing is affecting your memory. What good does it do to know everything if you can’t ever recall it from one paragraph to the next?

Now that she's delivered this coup de grace, her next two points are rather like stomping on the corpse: she concludes with rescinding tax-exempt status for churches in which there are molesters (which is any church Marci points her magic molester-detecting finger at, we’ve established) and use RICO statues in order to charge and convict superior administration in the clergy when their subordinates fall under Marci’s finger. By the time she’s already established herself as the final arbiter of truth and justice and religion, that she would make this final ineffectual attack on religious institutions comes as no surprise. God can do that, you see.

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