So, I just got back to my place from studying downstairs. I've been reading quite a bit; I'm halfway up to my eyeballs as of yet. Still plenty of steam left.
Anyway, I've been reading a good load about the O.J. Simpson trial--as required for my Legal Philosophy class--and it's been rather interesting. The last line of the reading prompted some thoughts about what is just and morally correct. More so, if some case is judicated erroneously is there ever a time where its justifed to defy the opinion through judicial nullification, etc. etc.
Actually, why don't I just quote the text.
"Can a historically erroneous verdict ever be a legally--and morally--just result? As a Socratic teacher of law, I leave you to ponder this uncomfortable question." - Alan M. Dershowitz (From Reasonable Doubts)
Basically, some argue that O.J. got away with double murder, but the question Dershowitz raises is if it could possibly okay or worth it (he was partially framed, the police work could have been unjustly and racially motivated, etc. etc.)
Well, I wish to go to the basic premise of why we have a judicial system in the first place. It's to punish offenders of the laws, but why do we have laws? To keep order, and keep the citizenry safe.
Of course this can be legally justified. If the rule of law is followed in the proceedings, the judicial proceedings that is, then everyone has a fair shake at a fair trial. I believe that our legal system even compensates for issues like racial/gender imbalance in a courtroom body (juries, judges, lawyers) through jury selection, right to choose counsel, and the possibility for appeal. Also even accounting for jury nullification, the trial is still fair. It is an assumed risk that the jury might praise you or screw you over. Would you rather have it another way? No permanent eye-witness can, or probably should, exist...in any case everybody's case is in the hands of the jury/justice/group of justices. To break it down quick: shit happens (and sometimes juries are psycho).
Gosh, what is just? I wish Socrates were here, haha. Now, let's assume that the person gets off of double murder. Then it is just, because the defendant is innocent until proven guility. I suppose I define unjust as the innocent being proven guility, and everything else as just. Yes, this means that murderers can go free. But, if they commit crimes on top of double murder, they should eventually get caught. Innocent vicitims is the sunk cost in exchange for liberty and fair trials. Though, I pray that my loved ones aren't those trampled in vain by criminals who have walked.
Wow, this is difficult to argue. I suppose it could be argued to be moral, if the trial overall has some societal good. As if, the helps maintain the order of law as a deterrent because the trial actually happens. As if, there is some fundamental good in the judicial system functioning, in and of itself. It could concieveably aid the citizenry, even if a guility criminal goes free, because the system yields benefit because it is acting legally and justly (see above).
However, I don't think ethical souls can stomach this defense (which I admit, is threadbare and not deep. To which I say, gimme a break, it's only my blog with a very small readership, if it has one at all)
I see this as undermining the moral value of the legal system if criminals knowingly go free. The system is supposed to find those who are guility, guilty. The system is supposed to make criminals pay. The system is supposed to be a beacon for fairness and truth, and it is simply not honest when guility criminals go free.
It is not fair to everyone for someone else to play the system. It makes the system appear dysfunctional, thereby causing a removal faith in the system as a whole (see, if a witness lies once, all of what he says could be a lie), a removal of faith in the system promotes lawlessness and in turn tarnishes the value of the rule of law...contradicting the purpose of having a legal system in the first place.
So...Legal, Just, but not moral.
But that's just from a pontificating semi-adult college student. Not to mention, he's wearing purple athletic shorts, listening to Mr. Brightside, how blasE. I'm not going to lie, I really just wanted to use the word blasE, even if it doesn't fit in context.
It's such a cool word, na?