Friday, January 21, 2011
 OUR COURT SYSTEM- Okay- yesterday I spoke a little about race- politics. Let me share a routine I got into these last few years- whenever I read/see a news story about a local person facing severe criminal prosecution- I add that person to an actual ‘prayer wall’ [about 12-15 names so far] and I pray for the person/case over the next few years. I have people on the wall who I have been praying for- for around 7 years or so. These are cases where they were sent to jail for murder- others who had stiff sentences for multiple felonies- and some who seem to have gotten ‘shafted’. One case is Hannah Overton- she was tried for murdering her foster child- Andrew Burd. She was found guilty and I think they gave her life in prison. As I watched the case develop it got lots of attention in the media- Hannah was a Christian missionary, living locally and attending a local church. Her foster son had drank water with spices in it- Hannah found him not breathing and they took him to a clinic down the road from where they lived. I did not join the crowd of ‘free the Christian’ type thing- she claimed total innocence- said she gave the boy the water/spices because he had an eating disorder- always wanted food- and she gave it to him as a filler. I personally did not believe that- yet I felt trying her for murder [I forget the exact charge- it was a charge that you would get if you actually shot someone] was overboard. The case was public- the prosecutors- who are basically elected politicians- played it to the hilt ‘we will rid the streets of such heinous criminals’ while right down the street from me they can’t even solve the crime of the car that pulled up in broad daylight- blew the other driver away- and took off. But these cases, child abuse, make for good theater among the electorate. So during the trial, the prosecution dropped the charge of making it sound like she killed the kid by giving him the water- even the doctor for the prosecution disputed his own team- instead they found her guilty of not getting the boy to the hospital in time- and this crime/mistake [not abuse] was punished with the same severe sentence of actually killing a person. The problem? As someone who has worked in the emergency field for 25 years [Fire/E.M.S.] the last thing you want to do is discourage people from bringing injured people in for treatment because they think if they didn’t bring them in fast enough they might be sent to prison! This case eventually made it to one of the news magazine shows [20-20, 60 minutes?] and they had some medical experts testify, that yes indeed, this boy did have all the signs of an eating disorder that was consistent with Hannah’s story. During the case others who knew the child did testify that he used to eat anything he could get his hands on- trash, stuff like that. So it did very much raise doubt in my mind- but even if she was guilty of all the things eventually charged against her- which was simply not getting aid rendered in time- this should not have merited such a harsh sentence. Then a few months back- while watching the news- I saw a local judge [might be the same one? Not sure] involved in a car wreck that almost killed a person- maimed him pretty badly. The judge was doing 70 MPH in a 25 MPH ZONE- on a turn. He hit a city worker on the shoulder and almost killed him. As the case developed the judge was simply fined a traffic ticket and the local media explained how even though the stated speed limit was 25, the official limit on the highway is 70, and that’s what you go by. I have been to these wrecks many times- if it was a civilian- he would have gotten some type of reckless driving charge. The judge got off. The problem with these cases, dealing with the law- men who get sent to prison for 30 years- later released on DNA evidence [just happened to another Black guy here in TX.] We need to hold the system responsible- what type of penalty should the prosecutor get for lying under oath? You ask- what do you mean brother? These prosecutors stand in the court- look at the jury- and then point to the defendant and say ‘he is guilty, he robbed- killed- raped- etc.’ and then when we later release them after ruining their lives- those who stood in court- and yes- did lie under oath [the things they said are now found to be factually false] what penalty do they pay? ‘Why brother, if we held them to that standard [of not lying] then you would have a hard time getting prosecutors to try cases’. Maybe we need that- we need judges, prosecutors, and others in the system to be more careful before they go after people- knowing the case is getting good political theatre- then they will be more careful before they falsely accuse people [the Duke Lacrosse team]. And to have a system- a system where a judge gets a ticket for what others face harsh penalties for- this system is simply too unjust at times- to trust this system with handing out the death penalty- I personally am against it- too much room for personal agendas and false balances. Though we do get our court system from the Old Testament law- Moses the law giver and the moral code of the bible is actually the basis for our system- yet in that system you did not have the role of a government sponsored prosecutor- who would actually lie in court as part of his job- you had witnesses appear before a judge and the witnesses and the accused would have a chance to tell their story- but you did not have cases where the govt. officially had a prosecutor falsely accuse the defendant- our system is problematic- even from a biblical view.