Lady Justice has been on my mind as of late. The mythical, symbolic figure of Lady Justice that embodies fairness and the established justice system has three primary components in modern depictions. First the Sword, which symbolizes retribution. The second component is the scales, with which lady justice measures the value, or figurative ‘weight’ of the supporting case and the opposing case. The scales make each case more uniform; justice is dispensed based on merit and fairness as read only by the scales. Finally, Lady Justice wears a blindfold. Justice applies to all of us evenly and equally, and the blindfold ensures this.
Judges in our modern court system are meant to emulate Lady Justice. They should deliver retribution, weigh the merits fairly, and most of all, blind themselves to anything that would distract them from dispensing justice fairly and equally.
Contrast that to three cases in recent years:
1. Samuel Curtis Johnson, III, heir to SC Johnson (the alleged “family” company) repeatedly confessed to sexually assaulting his teenage stepdaughter since she was 12. The girl would not testify, and so a plea deal was made. The judge gave Johnson, a billionaire, by the way, a $6,000 dollar fine and a 60 day prison sentence. He will not be labeled a sex offender.
2. Shaun Goodman was arrested on his 7th DUI. While driving over 100mph, he crashed into a parked car and a house. He will serve no jail time: a blatant violation of sentencing protocol for DUI offenders. Goodman is a rich businessman, by the way.
3. Ethan Couch, incredibly wealthy 16-year-old, stole beer with his friends, drove drunkenly (his blood alcohol level was 3 times the legal limit) killed 4 people on the side of the road (a woman with a broken down car and 3 good Samaritans) and fled the scene. Two of his friends, riding in the back of the truck Couch was driving, were tossed from it and severely wounded. One will never talk again. Couch received 10 years of probation and is enjoying a taxpayer-funded vacation to a very nice rehab facility. His defense attorneys argued that he was so rich that he was unaware of any consequences.
4. Robert H. Richards, incredibly rich heir to the DuPont fortune, raped his daughter repeatedly. She was 3 when he began. He also molested his 19 month old son. He was given 8 years in prison, but had his sentence reduced, as the judge felt he would not fare well in prison (as child molesters normally do not).
These are all cases of Affluenza. Remember their names:
• Circuit Justice Eugene Gasiorkiewicz
• Judge James Dixon
• Texas District Judge Jean Boyd
• Superior Court Judge Jan Jurden
These are the judges, among a multitude, who have let justice slip through the cracks because the
men facing them happened to be rich and elite.
Wealth is not a free pass to do harm. Wealth is not a defense. Wealth is not a get out of jail free card. Wealth should not matter when it comes to justice, but it clearly has had an impact.
We should all be ashamed that this has happened in our country. As always More Guns equal less crime….Go out and Buy Yourself a Gun. You’ve been listening to Come and Talk It with Michael Cargill.