Alien Justice

SellwynThumbby Selwyn Duke12/2/17
We Can Thank a Flawed Jury System for the Steinle Verdict  •  Much has been said about the acquittal of felonious invader Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, the killer of young Kate Steinle, who died in her father’s arms. Yet while most of the focus has been on “sanctuary cities” — a euphemism for treasonous, lawless cities — there perhaps has been no scrutiny of the people whose minds are too often a sanctuary from knowledge and reality: modern jurors.

The problem stems from “The Error of Impartiality,” which is the title of an essay on this very subject. For what is often perceived in jurors as fairness is just fecklessness, of the moral variety.

When choosing jurors, pains are taken to dismiss people with preconceived notions about the case. But consider: If in question is a high-profile matter such as the O.J. Simpson or Steinle case, what kind of person would know nothing about it and/or have formed no opinions? Does this reflect impartiality or just indifference?

Assuming such a person makes the ideal juror is like supposing that someone still undecided the day before a high-profile election is surely a better voter than someone who reads the news and formed an opinion early on. An undecided individual may be a better voter in the particular (relative to a given wrongly decided voter), but in principle this supposition simply is untrue. G.K. Chesterton explained the matter brilliantly in the aforementioned essay, writing:

What people call impartiality may simply mean indifference, and what people call partiality may simply mean mental activity. It is sometimes made an objection, for instance, to a juror that he has formed some primâ-facie opinion upon a case: if he can be forced under sharp questioning to admit that he has formed such an opinion, he is regarded as manifestly unfit to conduct the inquiry. Surely this is unsound. If his bias is one of interest, of class, or creed, or notorious propaganda, then that fact certainly proves that he is not an impartial arbiter. But the mere fact that he did form some temporary impression from the first facts as far as he knew them — this does not prove that he is not an impartial arbiter — it only proves that he is not a cold-blooded fool.

If we walk down the street, taking all the jurymen who have not formed opinions and leaving all the jurymen who have formed opinions, it seems highly probable that we shall only succeed in taking all the stupid jurymen and leaving all the thoughtful ones. Provided that the opinion formed is really of this airy and abstract kind, provided that it has no suggestion of settled motive or prejudice, we might well regard it not merely as a promise of capacity, but literally as a promise of justice. The man who took the trouble to deduce from the police reports would probably be the man who would take the trouble to deduce further and different things from the evidence. The man who had the sense to form an opinion would be the man who would have the sense to alter it.

Chesterton also noted that the logical outcome of our “impartiality” standard is that a “case ought to be tried by Esquimaux, or Hottentots, or savages from the Cannibal Islands — by some class of people who could have no conceivable interest in the parties, and moreover, no conceivable interest in the case. The pure and starry perfection of impartiality would be reached by people who not only had no opinion before they had heard the case, but who also had no opinion after they had heard it.”

The essay is pure gold, and I strongly recommend you read the whole thing.

I once wrote a piece titled “Why Most Voters Shouldn’t Vote,” and a corresponding principle may be that most jurors shouldn’t sit on juries. People so apathetic that they couldn’t be bothered to try and determine reality on high profile candidates or cases probably won’t transform, magically, into sagacious sleuths of reality upon entering a ballot or jury box. Apathy is not an asset, and ignorance is not a virtue.

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18 Responses to Alien Justice

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    The impartiality system works if the case has received little publicity, since someone who has formed an opinion in that situation is probably biased. But your comparison of ignorant and indifferent voters and jurors reminds me of my short piece about a 2008 presidential race between Rush Limbaugh and Slick Hilly. I had their supporters evenly divided, so the race was decided by those voters who had never heard of either one.

  2. Steve Lancaster says:

    Remember the Rodney King case. The officers who were forced to beat him down were tried in Semi Valley and acquitted. Political pressure forced a federal charge of violating his civil rights with a resulting conviction. I was troubled by the apparent shelving of double jeopardy, the same is true with this case. As much as I want this slug to hang a jury has decided.

    I am reminded of the end of the movie Devils Advocate where Al Pacino says, “Were coming out guns blazing, acquittal after acquittal until the stink reaches the heavens”

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Great line by Pacino. I don’t think I’ve seen that movie.

      • Steve Lancaster says:

        Pacino, Kenue Reeves and Charlize Theron available on amazon video rental for $3.99.

        Two of the best lines, Al Pacino as satan, “who could deny that the 20th century was all mine?” and “never let them see you coming”

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Thanks, Steve. I might check that out. Let me refer you to a useful app for either Android or iOS: JustWatch.

          You can search on a movie (such as “The Devil’s Advocate”) and find out where to find it for renting or buying. This movie did indeed show up on Amazon video rental (for $2.99) and also on Vudu which I recently watched a movie on to good effect (“A Star is Born”). I prefer Vudu because closed captioning doesn’t work or isn’t available on Amazon. It’s streaming is crap as well. I had no problems with Vudu. It also has this film for $2.99. I might check it out. It might be just what I need as a break from the Christmas schmaltz.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      The ACLU disapproves of those double jeopardy federal charges — but suspended their opposition for the officers in the Rodney King case. I think the proposed federal charge was on the firearm charge, for which he was convicted by the jury. Of course, that’s double jeopardy, too, though it may carry a heavier prison term.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        It seems one of the federal charges will be a firearms charge, but they will also try him on immigration charges, which won’t be double jeopardy.

  3. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I am reminded of the end of the movie Devils Advocate where Al Pacino says, “Were coming out guns blazing, acquittal after acquittal until the stink reaches the heavens”

    Steve, I watched the movie tonight per your recommendation. That quote is very apt.

    It’s a strange movie. It moves from being a psychological thriller to a horror movie to a apocalyptical movie and finally to a groundhog’s day movie. I won’t say that it all worked seamlessly. But whatever weakness existed was made up for by Pacino’s speech at the end.

    That scene is a metaphor for the human condition. Of course, religiously speaking, it might well indeed be the reality. But whatever the ultimate reality is, as Pacino (in the guise of Satan) tells us, he just sets the stage. We choose our own poison. We use our free will, so easily seduced by our vanity to take part in our own destruction.

    Looking around our world right now you can see that the devil doesn’t have to work very hard to get people to wind themselves up in their own crap. I look at the NFL, for example, and wonder why any decent Christian (or Jew) doesn’t see at least the proverbial devil in the works and instead insists he needs his football.

    Or the topic of abortion. Or drug use. Or open borders. Or public education. Or…name your poison. And you won’t have to twist my arm very hard to take up with the metaphor that lawyers are all (or mostly) the tool of Satan. I think most people understand that instinctively.

    The movie brings new meaning to “In God We Trust” because, despite the theodicy conundrums, it’s the only alternative to worshipping evil in all its many surface-level pleasing, but ultimately destructive, guises.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      A friend once wrote a short piece about a woman who sold her soul to the devil for happiness, and was suing because she was unhappy. But she couldn’t seem to find a lawyer willing to take the case.

      A related story involves a dream that Joseph McCarthy (the baseball manager, not the politician) once described. He went to Heaven and was told to make up a baseball team. Heaven, it seems, was stocked with all the great players. Then the devil called up, challenging him to a game. McCarthy pointed out that he had all the players — to which the devil replied that he had all the umpires.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        LOL. Good joke.

        On the more serious side, I’m reading a book right now (before I get to Philip Marlowe): Where the Dead Lie. It’s a natural extension of the Avery-and-Blake novels by Miranda Carver. This one is written by another chick, an Air Force brat, C.S. (Candice) Harris.

        I’m 22% into it. The decidedly upper-crust Devlin (amateur sleuth) and his doctor pal, Gibson, team up to solve the hideous murder and torturing of a young boy who had also been sodomized. Very gritty stuff. I’m not sure if this is a buddy-buddy movie. I think this focusses mostly on the efforts of Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin whose father is a very big wig indeed.

        The reads like a dark Dickensian novel. And the reason I bring this up is because, in passing, there is mention of Gilles de Rais, a real-life person, who fought beside Joan of Arc. This man apparently sodomized and murdered from 80 to 200 (possibly more) children. We can look at Harvey Weinstein in shock but our shock should be tempered by what is really happening out there, or has happened in the past.

        Gilles de Rais, with the help of a couple cohorts, was able to just pluck children off the street and have his way with them. And then dispose of them when he was done. And he did it unnoticed until a conflict with a clergyman over another issue caused these murders to come to light.

        And you can’t help thinking, Where is God in all this? You can’t help thinking that the devil seems to have the run of the place and we are an art farm for all intents and purposes for the amusement of the Creator. God could squash such a man in an instant and not effect any squeaky-clean Prime Directive notion of not tampering with free will, for all those children’s free will certainly was dissolved by the one monster.

        Some of the angry words of Al Pacino as the devil spoke to this. Dennis Prager has noted before the Jewish idea of “If God lived in the neighborhood, they would break his windows.” Is the rebellion of Lucifer about wanting too much, about trying to hold moral standards to an even higher degree or is that all just subterfuge to indulge one’s baser instincts?

        And does it take a little devil in us to make our way in the world? The meek might inherit the earth in the long-term, but in the short-term nearly all the people we revere as successes — the ones who have climbed the ladders of fame, power, or wealth — have not been shy in the art of treachery, lies, and at least slight abuses. So, is this world made for God, the devil, or some combination?

        • Timothy Lane says:

          I believe Gilles de Rais was Marshal of France. Someone of that status had no trouble getting all the young boys he wanted (especially given how many runaways and the like there would be particularly in wartime). But they got him eventually.

          A similar case is that of Elizabeth Bathory in Hungary, a noblewoman (a countess, I think) who believed bathing in the blood of young girls would keep her young-looking. (It may even have worked.) Again, her status made it easy to keep up her supply; and again, she was eventually caught.

          The famous motive for Satan’s revolt is “Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.” Pride goes before a fall, anyone?

  4. David Ray says:

    Jurors can be no more than chicken-shit punks serving their bellies. To wit, a Spanish heritage jury robbed an evil white Arizonan of his ranch for pistol-whiping two illegal aliens from somewhere south of Mexico.

    Lesson learned; if any treaspass on my place, I won’t subdue them for the cops only to face an assault charge then loose my house in a civil case . . . I’ll just shoot the bastards dead. (Just curious; how the hell does an ILLEGAL alien have standing to sue a citizen anyway!!?)

    • Timothy Lane says:

      A fellow student at Purdue once said something similar about car accidents — if you accidentally hit someone, make sure they’re dead. It’s better than paying out a big settlement.

      • David Ray says:

        Similar but with a difference.
        Me hitting their car = my fault & I willingly atone. Them in my house = their fault & I’m forced to smile.

        (Perhaps if that rancher had a “Clinton for change” bumper sticker on his truck, he wouldn’t have had to smile while forfeiting his ranch.)

  5. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    This article gives an idea of how bad things were under Obama as regards illegal aliens.

    Talk about alien injustice.

  6. Timothy Lane says:

    Well, we have some more alien justice today. The jury verdict came in today in the first trial of Inauguration Day rioters — and all 5 were acquitted on all charges. The defense said they were peaceful protestors, which still would mean providing cover for the rioters. The prosecution admitted that (because of the rioters’ masks) no one could say exactly who did what. Even though this was a DC jury, and therefore probably very leftist, this will have further consequences. One can only that some of the remaining 195 suspects will be convicted.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Armond White at NRO has a movie review of Spielberg’s The Post (regarding the Pentagon Papers, etc.) that likely intersects on this topic.

      This review/essay is worth reading in its own right. I wish I could write this well. The author makes several points all surrounding the idea that for liberals rebelling against authority (and particularly the glorious, truth-telling, ideological warrior media) is their mythical grounding. (White: “the media’s maddening “resistance” posture”…”white-knight vanity replaced the self-effacing detective work of the old-time crime beat”). First, the framing of the general question. White writes:

      In other words, Morrissey knows that journalism has become corrupt, whereas Spielberg’s movie normalizes that corruption.

      So…how many judges share this background, specifically:

      Spielberg looks to that turning-point event because the past is the source from which today’s leftist sanctimony — and particularly the media’s maddening “resistance” posture — claims its validity. All of today’s social-justice movements — Black Lives Matter, fourth-wave feminism, the transgender-equality brigades — derive their sentimental impetus from the memories of halcyon protest and counterculture dissent that transformed America.

      The Left’s hero story is subverting the government (except, as White notes, when Obama was president).

      I hope I didn’t devolve into mindless “whataboutism.” That gets tiring. But I do believe all the regulars present here understand the Left’s mythology about the media, in particular, and the liberal’s “heroic” journey of subverting authority. Even now, ask any baby boomer about what most animates their hearts and minds and it won’t be the Constitution, Jesus, or even their grandkids. It will be those times when life had real meaning for them when they were (unbeknownst to them) hankering for Utopia.

  7. Timothy Lane says:

    A federal juristocrat in San Franciso (which means the appeals will go to the 9th Circus) has knocked down Trump’s decision to close DACA, in essence saying that when it comes to immigration, he can’t even reverse an Obama Gang executive order. I don’t know who the judge is, but he needs to be impeached and removed for such a spectacularly bad decision.

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