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

What has become of the American Dream?

What ever became of the American Dream?

It was a long time ago. It was an act of defiance, and it was an act of treason. It was based on a belief that men could govern themselves, and with appropriate checks and balances, corruption and manipulation could be kept in check.

The revolution was driven by men who were pushed to the limit, who could stand no more, who were so deeply and unjustly constrained that they came to the place where, as was stated in that little church in Richmond, by Patrick Henry “…give me liberty or give me death …” It was an act of desperation.

If they failed, they would be placed onto a ship and returned to jolly old England, tried, found guilty, taken to the yard and drawn and quartered. The death that Mr. Henry referred to was not a pleasant passing.

Our laws find their roots in the Code of Hammurabi, defined by the many revisions insisted on by the working class types, such as the Magna Carta, and then “modern” english law. We plagiarized and bastardized these elements until it met the needs of our little band of tyrants. For, you see we were, indeed, tyrants, terrorists, if you will.

And, thus was formed these United States of America well not quite that simply, but, you get the gist.

So, what happened? We have become a machine bound with rust and gum that hums and makes horrible noise, going nowhere, producing little. Where is our republic? Where are the great debates, the great statesmen, the great consensus?

They have gone where all such things go when a plan is left, structurally similar, to churn on year after year, decade after decade, century after century. The polarization of our two party system even our two party system itself, would be unthinkable to our founding fathers.

The overbearing monster that is our federal government would certainly bring Patrick Henry back from the grave to take up arms and level, again the battle cry “…Give me liberty or give me death.” We have left behind the liberty that these men risked everything to gain against insurmountable odds. We walked away from it for the promise of “safety”, “security” and conformity and complacency.

What man in 1950 could have conceived that Americans would board a plane with our baggage opened by strangers from the government, going through our undies in search of the evil from which they so freely promise to protect us? Who would have ever thought that schools would sport metal detectors and policemen? What World War II hero would have sat with his hands folded on his lap as a man held a flight attendant hostage with a box cutter?

Yet, that is what we have become a bunch of fat, lazy, fools, squandering riches beyond description for another donut or a piece of candy. We have lost our fire, we have lost our selves. A government that is spinning out of control seeks to control more and more until, at last, the only element to be managed is its constituency.

The Republicans dislike and distrust the Democrats. The Democrats dislike and distrust the Republicans. Either would rather lose than to see the other win. The government gets bigger and bigger and demands more and more of the wealth of the populous.

With more money comes more government, more control, the further subrogation of our freedom. We stand on and watch and every day the media feeds the fires of fear and we cower and hope and pray that the “evil” will not get us in our well­appointed living rooms.

Where is the American dream? It is inside of your head. You harbor it. You are the vessel that holds this precious thing. The elements of that dream are responsibility for one’s personal actions and the willingness to allow all to exercise their freedoms in any way that they wish, as long as they do not hurt others. If every one of us awoke tomorrow and thought those simple thoughts, laws and regulations could be pared down to a precious few. Men would, again, act as men were meant to act to protect those weaker than themselves. We would find, again, the tolerance that was the foundation of our nation.

The Federal Government was meant to oversee the few elements that are universal through all of the states it was never meant to tax and distribute with strings attached.

There are so many things that must be fixed for us to return to our position of prominence in the world. The grandest is this self­defeating assumption that our government is there to guard us. Our government is there to serve us, to provide transportation between our states, to provide a coordinated military for the defense of our nation.

Most importantly, our government is to keep out of the lives of its people and allow them to enjoy our freedom. If we gain anything at the cost of the loss of our freedom, then all is lost and, for myself, I, too, say:

“Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

Well said, old man, well said.

Scott Cahill

Little Girls, Beauty Contests, Death and A Failure of Justice

Someone killed a little girl. It was a long time ago and the case was never closed, the perpetrator never found.

JonBenet was a little beauty queen. The entirety of the scene, where little girls wear makeup and gowns, swimsuits, and parade before judges to be assessed is a somewhat disgusting scenario to me. How and why would anyone subject their child to such a situation?

Patsy Ramsey, the mother, was also a beauty queen in her day. Perhaps it is less odd to others. Perhaps the whole thing was “normal” to Patsy.

Many have written about this murder of a little girl. Most did research and interviewed witnesses. I did none of that. I have no idea of who killed this little girl, who would be a twenty six year old lady, if she were alive today.

It is such a superficial scene, such an obvious set of circumstances. Many blame incompetent police work. Many blame the parents, even accuse them.

I wonder, when confronted with information which appears to allow for closure, if there must not be some secondary actions at play – some one, or thing, being protected, or compromised. An “arrangement” that went bad, a frustrated diplomat, who went too far – too important to indict, too connected to reveal – let off into the night for others to tie up the loose ends – of the unthinkable.

I have no earthshaking exposure to shed light on the untimely and horrible loss. I offer only a word of wonder – how such a thing can happen without an offsetting justice. To me, there is no greater innocence than that of a child. Such a loss seems to cry out for equity, yet find none, mired in actions which yield no closure.

When I was young I believed in justice. Now I am old and I see the world with the veil lifted. I wish for that which I believed. I wish for the simple equity that I was assured, but, for me, for us, for JonBenet, it is but a ruse. Failure of justice is hard to look at. Perhaps that is why the lady wears a blindfold.

Scott Cahill