Monday, April 18, 2011

Law and Order UK

The other evening I was relaxing in Vulture Manor with Deadeye watching an episode of Law and Order UK. The BBC version of this venerable franchise is, IMO, every bit as good as if not better than the original was back in the 90's.

Okay, I watched TV. What does that have to do with anything?

The episode in question unfolded with what police at first thought was a copycat murderer mimicking a convicted white supremacist serial killer (hereinafter referred to as "Whitey"). When they found the killer, they received quite a surprise: the murderer was a black Jamaican, the murders weren't racially motivated at all (the killer was channeling "commands from God"), and, the biggest bombshell of all, he wasn't a copycat. He was the killer behind all of the murders for which Whitey was convicted!

This is where the course of justice, UK version, diverged sharply from the course of justice, USA version.

Whitey was freed right away. That makes perfect sense, right? Except that in the US, once it's been established that you're innocent, you're lucky if you don't wait months for someone to get around to issuing orders for you to be freed. If at all.

Then the solicitor (attorney) for Whitey dropped an accusation that the Crown Prosecutor (DA) had spiked exculpatory evidence in Whitey's original trial that would have cast doubt about his guilt in the murders. The CP was actually brought up on criminal charges of perverting the course of justice as a result of this single accusation. Stop for a moment and ponder that. A prosecutor was charged with the crime of perversion of justice as a result of an accusation of withholding exculpatory evidence. Whoa!

It got me thinking. Why in the name of all that is holy is there no such statute on the books in any jurisdiction in the US for the crime of perversion of justice? Why is it that DA's in the US can run roughshod over the rights of the accused, prosecute individuals they know to be innocent, and hide or manufacture evidence without fear of any sort of consequences? Lest you think I'm exaggerating or simply spewing hyperbole, I suggest you take a nice long look at actual evidence of prosecutorial mischief. Spend a half hour at Will Grigg's place. Or at William Anderson's place.You'll swear that I've understated the problem by half.

Until US prosecutors are held to the same high standard as Crown Prosecutors, we can expect innocents to continue to be sacrificed on the altar of some scumbag prosecutor's career aspirations. One day it might be you.