Judging The Judges

It is all very well and good to set up a commission of enquiry into miscarriages of justice, discover that an innocent man was imprisoned thirty years ago, and release him with compensation. When there was credible evidence against the accused at the time, but new evidence has emerged only recently, for instance through improved DNA testing or the deathbed repentance of the real criminal, this is no doubt the best that we can and should do. When, on the other hand, there was no real evidence at all, and the accused was the victim of a grotesque railroading, fuelled by police corruption, extorted confessions, prosecutor grandstanding, judicial prejudice, ministerial cover-up or any or all of the above, then this is not the best we can do.

It is often said that the public’s natural sense of justice demands that someone should be punished for a crime, and that this is one of the reasons for conviction of the innocent; well, what then does that natural sense of justice say should happen to, for instance, a judge who misdirects the jury in order to satisfy his own emotional needs, or because he is on retainer to a private prison corporation? Why should such behaviour remain without consequences to the perpetrator? Ah, they will say, a man should not be punished for a crime he committed so many years ago, and besides, he may have did the best he could. And yet, if that very principle were to be applied to criminals other than judges and prosecutors, we could empty half our jails tomorrow.

Since it seems as if the twenty-first century will in any case be a new age of slavery, let us restore another form of servitude that is now forgotten: the enslavement of evil-doers to the victim, his heirs and assigns. After we have released the innocent man from jail, where he has languished for thirty years, let us give him the criminal judge or prosecutor as his personal bondsman, to scrub his floors, dig his garden and cook his dinner; and his daughters for his concubines.

And if the judge has died in the meantime? Well, we could either enact that no judge may give a custodial sentence longer than his own actuarial life expectancy, or else we can enslave the judge’s posterity (yea, even unto the seventh generation), to the victim and his descendants. That might concentrate minds on the Bench.

Posted on December 16, 2011 at 14:28 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink
In: RESISTANCE IS FUTILE!, Some Modest Proposals

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