The Scummy Underbelly of the Law

Innocence until guilt is proven is something we hold dear in this country and anyone who’s been wrongly accused can certainly attest to that.  But what about when someone is guilty and their lawyer still attempts to pin the crime on someone else, worst of all, one of the victims?

Without going into great detail, that’s what’s going on in a murder case right now. I’m only close enough to it to have personal knowledge that this is fact:  The accused IS guilty and the victims ARE innocent and the lawyer for the accused is still allowed to build a defence on raising doubts about the mental state of one of the people who was tragically used as a pawn and ultimately killed.  I cannot imagine how horrifying it is for the family members to have to sit through this charade because the law allows for the defence attorney to paint whatever wild and ridiculous picture he can to attempt to free his client.  His guilty client.

How can such a man tie his tie in the morning knowing that he is attempting to destroy the reputation of a murder victim, in order to keep a murderer free?  How did the law ever get to this point? How did the vigilant defence of a person ever come to include deliberately imaginary situations – and outright lies – in order to keep a guilty person free?

I was only once directly involved in a court case years ago.  I was driving home to mid-town Toronto after an evening event on the Lakeshore.  A car came barreling down Queen’s Quay on my left and abruptly turned right in front of me at a high rate of speed and crashed into the front of a house.  The driver leapt out of the vehicle, ran toward my car and literally stopped at my hood, put his hands on it and looked directly into my eyes before pushing his drunken ass off and taking off again in a half-run, half-stumble.  The homeowner called police and I stayed to provide a statement.  Police caught the guy and brought him back by the cuffs to me for identification.  

When we finally got to court, I recognized the man instantly.  He was all cleaned up, his crazy Nick Nolte hair was combed and he was dressed in a nice suit but even in a very crowded courthouse, I had no trouble noticing him when he arrived with his lawyer, a little weasel of an ambulance chaser. I’ll never forget the attorney.  He twitched, rat-like, and fussed around, making extra movements with his hands, relentlessly pushing his glasses up his nose. 

I sat with the attending officer waiting for the case to be called and the weasel approached me.  The cop leaned over to me and said loudly enough so the lawyer could hear, “You don’t have to talk to him.  It’s up to you.”

The weasel leaned over and asked, “Have you seen my client?”  I said, “You mean the blond in the pinstripe suit I noticed as soon as he walked in?  Yup.”  The lawyer looked deflated.  “Do you wear glasses?”  “No”, I replied truthfully, as at that time, I did not.  He hung his head, looking like he had just lost a bet.  “OK” he said with a sigh. 

When the case was called the defendant pleaded guilty, lost his license for six months and had to pay a fine.  But what galled me was that the lawyer, knowing full well that his client did what he did and could have killed me and others in his path, was willing to create doubt out of a fairy tale.  He would have claimed I made a mistake because I didn’t have my glasses on or whatever.  It hung on me and he was dying to discredit me even though I saw what I saw and his client did what he did. 

That is not a defence, that is lying.  What’s being built as a defence is built on a lie, too.  It makes me sick to my stomach.