Justice, and other fantasies of contractual law

Justice is expensive. It is slow. It is a crap shoot and nobody knows how it will end.

The process has become so distorted that it often takes years and years to get to court. Clearly, the advantage is in the court of the one who has the money in their account. By the time that it finally is heard, those who were involved have forgotten much about the disputed details.

If you wish to not pay for a service given, here is how it works:

First: Don’t pay them. Lie, tell them that the check is in the mail. Tell them that you are waiting on a payment from which they will be paid. Act like their friends. Be pleasant and nice and tell them that everything will be fine “just trust me”.

Second: When they become upset, stop talking to them. Don’t return their messages, don’t take their calls, don’t answer their Emails. 

Third: When they become inflamed and punitive, have your attorney send them a letter stating that their work is sub-standard and you are shocked to find that the work that you had previously accepted was, actually, of poor quality.

Fourth: Wait. Wait for the people who were in positions of power to go away. Wait for everyone to forget the particulars and to come to “remember” the story that you have told over and over again about how this all came to pass.

Fifth: Postpone. At every turn put off and stall. Time is your friend. It is the enemy of truth.

Sixth: in order to support your false claims against the unpaid, spend some money on similar material or work. Befriend the supplier and, even if you have to damage the work of the unpaid, show the “poor” work of the unpaid to the new “paid” supplier. Now, you have made yourself a “friend” who will testify how he had to “fix” the work of the unpaid. OK now you are ready.

Now you are ready. Think of it as entertainment. You can sit and smile at the unpaid and try to get him to react. You can attack his character. You can question his judgement. You can lie. Lying is perfectly acceptable in court. Everyone does it and the court even expects it so don’t let them down, lie. 

Even if you lose, you have lost nothing, the worst case is that you must pay what you owed. More probably they will settle for a pittance of what is owed – or you might wish to appeal.

When and how did it become so convoluted? How can justice be delivered on  issues that have sat on the court’s docket for many years. It can not.

How did our justice system become so deeply broken that justice itself is but a shadow on the gilded walls of the great courtroom.

With so flawed a system, the tables favor the dishonest and the corrupt. They, and the attorneys, are the only winners in a courtroom. The honorable can only hope to get a bit of what they contracted to receive, and the contract is a worthless piece of waste paper.

From Edgar Lee Masters’  Spoon River anthology:

(Respectfully “lifted” from the “Law and the Humanities” course at the Romatre University)

  “l saw a beautiful woman with bandaged eyes

  Standing on the steps of a marble temple.

  Great multitudes passed in front of her,

  Lifting their faces to her imploringly.

  In her left hand she held a sword.

  She was brandishing the sword,

  Sometimes striking a child, again a laborer,

  Again a slinking woman, again a lunatic.

  In her right hand she held a scale;

  Into the scale pieces of gold were tossed

  By those who dodged the strokes of the sword.

  A man in a black gown read from a manuscript:

  “She is no respecter of persons.”

  Then a youth wearing a red cap

  Leaped to her side and snatched away the bandage.

  And lo, the lashes had been eaten away

  From the oozy eye-lids;

  The eye-balls were seared with a milky mucus;

  The madness of a dying soul

  Was written on her face–

 But the multitude saw why she wore the bandage.”

Justice is no longer the servant of the honorable. She has become the ally of the corrupt and the dishonest.

Can we, as a society, change so flawed and so deeply embedded methodology? Can we ever again have a simple and fair discharge of our judicial process?

Scott Cahill