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.

Visit to the real world

Bull Sluice on the Chattooga River, part of the border between 
Georgia and South Carolina (properly pronounced 'Sacuhlaina').

Last week Lesley and I traveled to the Appalachian redoubt of my mother, sister and brother-in-law for a little family gathering, which included some horsing around in the protected lands around the Chattooga River, famed for its grade-five rapids and starring role in Deliverance.

Along the way we endured the pleasures of modern air travel in the Land of the Free as well as navigating around Atlanta, and it struck me how different our lives in Prescott are from those of most people out in the real world. We had a swell time and all, but we are very happy to be home again.

You may notice a new box at left with links to my Muggs columns in Pop Rocket. The archive there doesn't seem to be working, so I'm making sure that my purple prose remains deathless and searchable.
Abandoned 19th-century hydropower plant and corn mill on Fall Creek, SC