an end to "courts" (was RE: An end to "court appointedattorneys" )

Tim May tcmay at
Thu Aug 21 14:21:13 PDT 1997

At 5:58 PM -0700 8/21/97, Rishab Aiyer Ghosh wrote:

>unlike in the common-law, jury system, such arbitrators would perhaps
>be able to use their intelligence to figure things out by talking to the
>sides directly, instead of requiring lawyers to pick fights in matters of
>a "law"
>so distant from the people it affects that they can't interpret it directly.

The modern American legal system, at least in the many recent capital
murder cases which have received such wide publicity, is not about a
"search for truth," obviously. Instead, it is an adversarial system (no
surprise there) in which competing teams spend vast amounts of money trying
to derail the other side, get jurors dismissed because of "jury consultant"
models, etc.

As the Simpson case showed, the logic went like this:

Prosecution: "The DNA results showed a match to an average of two out of
the earth's 7 billion inhabitants. Mr. Simpson's DNA was one of them. "

Defense: "So how come you ain't lookin' for da other guy?"

Jurors: "Like Johnnie said, if it do not fit, you must acquit."

By the way, the McVeigh case was filled with the same nonsense, from both
sides, and from the defense side especially.  I know that if I had been
unfairly accused of planting such a bomb, I'd be screaming at the top of my
lungs and would have testified extensively in my own trial.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I can already hear some of you about to argue that a
defendant's silence is not evidence of guilt. But this is precisely the
kind of legalistic nonsense we are talking about! (I am not saying silence
equals guilt, or that testimony can be compelled, but it only stands to
reason that a jury should take into consideration that a defendant--Simpson
or McVeigh--never testified, never gave his side of the story, never
explained this theory of how things happened, etc.)

Anyway, a machine has been set up to let these dueling adversarial teams
consume vast amounts of court and public resources.

OJ Simpson could have received a trial beginning 60 days after the murders,
lasting for no more than 10 days, and with his execution to follow within
30 days after that. (Yes, I would allow one "appeal," with a higher court
listening to any objections to how the lower court operated, etc., and
possibly ordering a new trial, etc. It should not take more than a day or

The adversarial machine is made worse by the vast public subsidies of both
sides, the endless delays, and the general "legalisms" used by both sides.

As a personal note, my father was an officer in the U.S. Navy, and served
on several courts martial. No capital murder cases, that I recall him
mentioning, but some might serious matters. As most of you must know, the
system is much different than the main U.S. legal system. And my father
believes the military system is vastly more just, and quicker, and cheaper.
A 3-man panel hears the evidence presented, asks questions, listens to
defense points, etc., and then adjourns to reach a verdict. All in a few
days, of course.

No jury consultants making sure that no college graduates are on the jury,
that enough blacks are seated, that facial expressions indicate likely
sympathies to the defendant, etc.

The U.S. system is corrupt. Hordes of lawyers--too many, of course--swarm
out into the "System," inflating legal bills, billing at $200 an hour for
the Xerox copying time of junior lawyers, and even charging lavish lunches
to the other side. (I could cite dozens of examples...)

Those of you who have taken McVeigh's "side" against Steven Jones should
consider this whole situation. McVeigh, who quite clearly "did it," will
now get a new lawyer--and his team!--to handle the appeal. More delays,
more time billed at $300 an hour for the new top lawyer, and at $200 x 4 =
$800 for his major assistants, and at some unknown rate for his clerks,
secretaries, etc., all for what? So that an additional $500K or so is
spent, with a delay now of an additional 4 to 6 months "for the new lawyers
to familiarize themselves with the 200,000 pages of transcripts"...and so

To what end? McVeigh did it, and only an Alice in Wonderland legalistic
society could even doubt it for a nanosecond.

(And in fact, we all accept this. Where's the real "outrage" that McVeigh
is being prosecuted for a crime he didn't commit? We were outraged that
Randy Weaver was entrapped on such a minor offense (shortening a rifle
barrel by an inch or two), and that his wife and son were then shot in an
ambush. We were outraged at Waco. We _are_ outraged at the treatment Abner
Louima received in NYC. But we are not outraged at McVeigh's treatment.
Because, as with OJ, anybody with three neurons to rub together knows he
did it. And yet the multi-year legal charade continues.)

--Tim May

There's something wrong when I'm a felon under an increasing number of laws.
Only one response to the key grabbers is warranted: "Death to Tyrants!"
Timothy C. May              | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
tcmay at  408-728-0152 | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
W.A.S.T.E.: Corralitos, CA  | knowledge, reputations, information markets,
Higher Power: 2^1398269     | black markets, collapse of governments.
"National borders aren't even speed bumps on the information superhighway."

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