Thursday, March 29, 2007

Twofer Thursday

When I was twelve, I used to sneak out of bed and sit in the hallway directly behind my dad's chair so I could watch the Dick Cavett show. Things would be going well for a while and then he would say something that made me laugh too hard and my dad would hear me and send me back to bed. Sometimes, depending on who the guests were or how Arthur Treacher was behaving, I would get back up. I loved Dick Cavett (behind the paywall) for his urbanely sly wit and I still do.
In New York’s most recent case of law officers pumping a half gross of lead into an unarmed citizen, a prosecutor, of all people who should know better, urged press and public to remind themselves of the presumption of innocence “that governs us all.”

In the Enron case, a top-flight and expensively-suited lawyer, a goodly, portly fellow looking a bit puffed from having walked a few yards, expressed his anger on the 11 o’clock news about a columnist who wrote something unfavorable about his client. He snorted something like, “Whatever became of the presumption of innocence?”

What do all these good folks have in common? All of them — Tonya’s strident fan, the district attorney, and his tubby eminence the attorney— are all, to put it less strongly than one might, dead wrong. The presumption of innocence has nothing to do with any of the above.
I don't think he likes lawyers.
Why do you suppose so many of us have had it so wrong for so long? See if your lawyer answers correctly. If the answer is wrong, be magnanimous. Lawyers work hard and, like us, they’re human, many of them. Should you feel you’re losing the argument, toss in, “How come the jails are full of people awaiting trial if they’re presumed innocent.”
I knew the answer, my American Government teacher was very clear about it, when he wasn't throwing darts at a picture of Warren Burger. The phrase used to be "innocent until proved guilty", not "presumed innocent" That was a book and then a movie starring Harrison Ford.

The rats are deserting the sinking ship and administering a painful bite on the way out.
Under questioning by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Sampson said Gonzales also was wrong when he said other senior Justice Department aides gave Congress inaccurate information because they hadn't been fully briefed about the firings.

"I shared information with anyone who wanted it," Sampson said. Asked by Schumer if Gonzales' statement was false, Sampson replied, "I don't think it's accurate if the statement implies that I intended to mislead the Congress."
Not if it meant getting caught, which is something the crew without a clue never thought would happen. I'm starting to believe all of the "nobody could have foreseen" excuses we've been given for every national setback. They really don't other people's actions into account when they plan the future.

Somehow I don't think The Secret is working for them anymore. Sounds like they need to talk to Oprah.

I'm out running around today, mandatory meetings and other such nonsense. TTYL


  1. The "presumption of innocence" has been strictly for those with "friends" anyway. The so-called system of "justice" never did a poor person any favors. If you don't believe me, just ask the many who have been released from Death Row about how that whole "presumption of innocence" thing worked out for them.

  2. There is no "presumption of innocence", it's supposed to be "innocent until proven guilty", which is a whole different ballgame.

    And yes, money helps in these matters. Always has and always will. Some decades are worse than others. Guess which one we're in now?