Friday, December 16, 2011

Second-guessing the courts

Today the unnamed Courier editor takes what looks like an easy shot, and blows his toes off again. In the editorial he excoriates Yavapai Superior Court Judge Tina Ainley for making the call on a plea deal that makes a "free man" (um, with lifetime probation) of the defendant.

The editor bases his judgment not on the facts of the case (he wasn't there and doesn't know what happened) or his knowledge of the plea deal (he has none), but rather on what seem to be the aesthetics of having someone charged with a crime and pleading guilty, but not going straight to jail.

I don't know why this is necessary, but: the reason we have judges is to prevent the rule of the mob. Here the editor is speaking for the mob, not realizing that he's speaking against the rule of law, and through his hat to boot.

We cannot know the specifics of what went on among the court officers or the factors that led the prosecution to advance and the judge to accept this deal. If the editor thinks he can do better, I think he ought to spend his time productively working toward becoming a judge, rather than waste it and ours undermining trust in our system with no basis in fact.


Anonymous said...

I think you miss the point on this issue. Without your timely comment in the first line, I would have missed my morning cup of laughter. I agree with your thoughts, while also appreciating the editor giving us food for thought and you material for humorous comment. Bravo to you both.

Steven Ayres said...

The editor's "food for thought" lacks nutritional value. It's irresponsible to cast doubt without facts, not only from the standpoint of the institution he's unfairly targeting, but in his own interest as well. Having repeatedly wasted his readers' attention on non-stories, if he did happen to stumble on a real incidence of incompetence or corruption, why would anyone take him seriously?