Monday, April 11, 2011

Not a good week to be on trial in Montgomery County

By proclamation of our dear leader, the fair-haired one, Governor Rick Perry, the week of April 10-16, 2011 is "The Defendant's Not Deserving of a Fair Trial Week."

We all have the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure at the hand of the state. Those accused of breaking the law have the right to remain silent and the right to consult with an attorney. Defendants at trial have the right to trial by jury and due process rights, including the right of confrontation.

The state has the right to notice of certain items as well as the right to demand a trial by jury.

The complaining witness (the alleged victim) has no rights in criminal court. The complaining witness is not a party to the litigation.This notion that "victims" have rights assumes that a crime was committed and is used as a front for attacking the Bill of Rights and a criminal defendant's due process rights.

Up in Montgomery County they take that notion to an extreme with a banner across the courthouse entrance and a "Crime Victim Memorial Wall" in the courthouse. Nothing like walking a jury passed those displays and then expecting them to sit in judgment of another without being influenced by it.

When a person sits at the defense table facing a jury of his peers, he deserves a jury that is going to make its decision solely on the facts of his case, not a jury that's going to base its decision on the fact that someone thinks a message must be sent or that a statement must be made.

Now I'm sure there are plenty of folks who don't see the problem with these proclamations and displays - and I understand that attitude. After all, most of us will never set foot in a courtroom accused by the state of committing a criminal act. But in the event that someone you know finds himself or herself in that position, would you want a jury who would presume them innocent unless proven guilty or a jury that was exposed to pro-prosecution propaganda on the way into the courthouse?

That's the real issue here.

1 comment:

Kirk said...

That banner is nothing. Check out this "Victims" display.