View Full Version : Is this fair? (American justice system)

01-28-2009, 07:33 AM
Is this fair...



01-28-2009, 08:43 AM
If the info presented is correct , than it is not fair.

Richie B
01-28-2009, 01:47 PM
I think its a legal system not a justice system.


01-28-2009, 02:03 PM
Ummm... surely there isn't enough information? If the homeless man was an armed robber with a string of previous convictions, while the AIG executive was largely incompetent and made no personal gain from the fraud it may be that the sentences were entirely appropriate and proportional.

01-28-2009, 04:05 PM
Is fair to represent an entire justice system with only a case ?

Rising Sun*
01-28-2009, 05:43 PM
I think its a legal system not a justice system.



If you're going to steal, do it big time with a pen and not small time with a jemmy or gun.

You'll ruin thousands of lives; deprive people of their life savings and homes; and drive some people to suicide, but you'll be okay because everything is in your wife's name.

A lot of times you won't go to gaol, or even be charged with any criminal offence, but even if you are you'll get the red carpet treatment all the way and leave gaol with your ill-gotten assets intact, unlike your poor bloody victims.

After all, when you have big money you can buy the best accountants and lawyers to protect your assets, and to get you the best deal from the legal system, which always has and always will favour the big end of town.

Some rob with a gun, others rob with a pen

The Kansas City Star
Jan. 10, 2009

Suppose, peculiar though it might seem, that a suspected bank robber had been granted bail while awaiting his day in court, but then was found to have sent off packages containing $1 million or so of the unrecovered loot to his relatives and friends.

Surely one could expect that his bail would be revoked and he’d be escorted immediately to the slammer without passing Go.

Ah, but there’s the difference between a common thief and one wearing a designer suit and topcoat, and represented by the best legal counsel that money — stolen money — can buy.

In the case of Bernard Madoff, who didn’t just rob a bank but, by his own confession, robbed hundreds or perhaps many thousands of individuals and families of their savings and their futures, a few days of deliberation were required.

At a Monday hearing, Madoff’s lawyers sought to minimize his indiscretion, suggesting that what he’d mailed to his sons and brother were just “a few sentimental personal items” like cheap cufflinks and a pair of mittens.

You know, trinkets, more or less.

Oh, yes … and also diamond-encrusted watches and brooches, a diamond bracelet, jade necklace and other little pretties, maybe adding up to something over $1 million in value.

The photograph in The New York Times showed Madoff leaving court, hands not in cuffs but in his coat pockets, hair elegantly coiffed, lips pursed in what looked to be a wry smile — every bit the man of power and means.

By the time this column sees print, most likely a decision will have been reached on whether Madoff spends his time awaiting trial in his $7 million New York apartment or in rather less congenial accommodations.

What’s clear, though, whatever the ruling, is that the wheels of justice grind slower, and often a bit more courteously, for crooks who think big than for those who target convenience stores.

In different section of that same day’s edition of The Times was a related story, this one illustrating the depth of the pain that Madoff’s thievery has inflicted.

It profiled an elderly couple in their 80s, in fragile health and residing in an assisted-living facility, who discovered that their life savings — which they’d believed sufficient to see them to their end of their days — had disappeared overnight through Madoff’s duplicity.

Their remaining resources, they calculate, will not get them through the current year. It can reasonably be assumed that their sad story will be widely replicated.

Besides such individual catastrophes, there are institutional victims of the scheme. College endowment funds, charitable foundations and other nonprofits — organizations committed to worthy public causes — also were undone by the long-running $50 billion fraud.

In most cases, however, their losses, though damaging, were not total. And with their ability to sustain lengthy litigation, some recovery is considered likely.

As generally is true, it’s the little people — in this case, individual investors — who seem surest to suffer. Isn’t that the usual way when venality and overreaching by powerful players bring down the house?

If there is fairness in this world, Bernard Madoff and any others complicit in his operation will be locked for life in a place where time passes on such slow feet that diamond watches would be of little use. http://www.kansascity.com/news/columnists/cw_gusewelle/story/975058.html

Contrast that with what you get at the other end of the legal system.

The lawyer, Louis Tirelli, was appointed to represent Mr. Tippins on a drug charge in Rockland County. Several times during Mr. Tippins's six-week trial, Mr. Tirelli's head fell forward and he dropped his pen as he slept, a court stenographer testified at a hearing in 1988. "He was snoring," she said. "We heard it."

The judge, William K. Nelson, said that he had admonished Mr. Tirelli "to please stay awake and represent his client." Mr. Tirelli "slept every day of the trial," the judge said. "How many times during the day, I didn't keep track."

Mr. Tippins was convicted of a drug charge and sentenced to 18 years to life in prison. Mr. Tirelli was convicted of attempted grand larceny for requesting $5,000 from his client's mother, who said she paid him because he said "it would make him work harder on the case."

In a 1991 ruling, the appellate division of the Second Judicial Department in Brooklyn said that despite Mr. Tirelli's criminal conduct and "reprehensible" sleeping during the trial, Mr. Tippins had received "meaningful representation." http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F05EED81138F930A15756C0A9629582 60&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=3

Bad Lawyering

The resources of the justice system are often stacked against poor defendants. Matters only become worse when a person is represented by an ineffective, incompetent or overburdened defense lawyer. The failure of overworked lawyers to investigate, call witnesses or prepare for trial has led to the conviction of innocent people. When a defense lawyer doesn't do his or her job, the defendant suffers. Shrinking funding and access to resources for public defenders and court-appointed attorneys is only making the problem worse.

Asleep on the job

A review of convictions overturned by DNA testing reveals a trail of sleeping, drunk, incompetent and overburdened defense attorneys, at the trial level and on appeal. And this is only the tip of the iceberg. Innocent defendants are convicted or plead guilty in this country with less than adequate defense representation. In the some of the worst cases, lawyers have:

slept in the courtroom during trial
been disbarred shortly after finishing a death penalty case
failed to investigate alibis
failed to call or consult experts on forensic issues
failed to show up for hearings

Featured Case: Jimmy Ray Bromgard

The exoneration and release of Jimmy Ray Bromgard from Montana prison provides a sobering view of the effects of inadequate or incompetent counsel. Bromgard, arrested when he was 18, spent 15 years in prison for the brutal rape of an eight-year-old girl, a crime post-conviction DNA testing proved he did not commit. Bromgard's trial attorney performed no investigation, filed no pre-trial motions, gave no opening statement, did not prepare for closing arguments, failed to file an appeal, and provided no expert to refute the fraudulent testimony of the state's hair microscopy expert. Other than the forensic testimony and the tentative identification, there was no evidence against Bromgard. http://www.innocenceproject.org/understand/Bad-Lawyering.php

Major Walter Schmidt
01-30-2009, 09:47 AM
Ive also heard from an economist friend about policy makers profiting (in theory), by making policies that would ultimately collapse the economy.
Is there anything in this?