I want…mercy..not justice……

Long ago and far away, I was in a discussion with a friend of mine who was a judge. I was just wondering about certain aspects of the judicial system. I’ll never forget that he told me that if I were to ever find myself in court for any reason whatsoever I had better hope for mercy and not justice. He advised that no one really wanted justice….everyone really wanted mercy.

I suppose he’s really correct, since it’s doubtful anyone would want to be judged by a jury of their peers. Or is that piers’Probably doesn’t matter does it’ When you look at the sorry state of our nation’s educational system, you might want to think long and hard about ever coming to trial in any kind of an American courtroom.

Several years ago I was involved in a major law suit that was very complicated and involved. The longer it took to go to trial the more concerned I became. It was difficult enough for me to explain what the case was all about much less the group of attorneys on our side. The experience left me very leery of the entire judicial system. I was not at all comfortable thinking that a group of my fellow citizens who had barely passed high school would be the ones deciding whether I was a winner or a loser. Fortunately the other side settled and I missed the experience of a court room trial.

Do not get me wrong, I’m not saying that all juries are ignorant or dumb. But let’s look at the recent trial of former governor Rod Blagojevich of Illinois. This trial droned on and on for weeks and then was declared a mistrial due to the hold out of one juror. Later news reports came out with the information that the jury was unable to understand the legal jargon and thought the charges were simply too complex. One juror reported that they got hung up on the charge of ‘conspiring to commit extortion’. It seems they didn’t understand exactly what this meant.

I had no problem with this…the charge looks fairly simple……but then again I wasn’t in the trial so maybe I missed something. However I am under the impression that conspiring to do something means several people got together and discussed committing some type of action, like murder or theft or even extortion. Under the law, conspiracy means an agreement between two or more persons to break the law at some time in the future, and, in some cases, with at least one overt act in furtherance of that agreement. There is no limit on the number participating in the conspiracy and, in most countries, no requirement that any steps have been taken to put the plan into effect. So in Rod’s case, the act of discussing on the telephone what he planned to do about filling the vacant senate seat of one Barack Obama caused some confusion on the part of the jury. His discussion of what he planned appears to me to be conspiracy, but then again what do I know’

Folks come to me all of the time asking questions about various things. One of the most common ones I get is whether or not someone should sue someone for something. I’m not an attorney and generally tell them they should consult with a lawyer, but I’d rather get pecked to death by a duck (my friend’s favorite term) than to get involved in a law suit. Looking at the level of education in this country, who wants to spend lots of dollars for a courtroom filled with jurors who cannot read or write, much less understand business practices’If the case was a simple case of someone stealing an apple, perhaps that might not be so bad. However when if comes to complex finances and business issues, then how has our school system prepared our citizens to handle these kinds of challenges’simple…they haven’t.

This might sound cruel, but suppose you own a business and someone sues you for whatever…..the person suing you wants all you’ve got. You’re trying to explain that you aren’t wrong to a group of people who normally are asking questions such as … “do you want fries with that’” These people are in a position to judge your fate as well as your future. If it comes to this in your life, I suggest you throw yourself upon the court and seek mercy…you won’t get justice.

Sad isn’t it’But until we get an educational system that rewards achievement and promotes excellence from our teachers as well as our students, we’ll be stuck in the ditch with the rest of the third world countries of this planet.