© 2000 cstnews.com
Use Evidence Even If Tainted To Get Justice

By Dr. Don Boys
© 2000 Cornerstone Communications

"It is better to free 100 guilty men than risk convicting one innocent man" is an often used statement, but it is totally false. While no sane person wants to see an innocent individual go to jail, the above statement is fraught with error. Those "100 guilty" people will be free to prey upon, not one innocent person, but hundreds of innocent ones. Forget the abstract numbers, we must insist that each guilty person be penalized and separated from society.

Because of the above warped, witless and wicked principle the courts have swung to the extreme of protecting the rights of the accused at the expense of the abused. Thousands of felons have walked out of court (or never arrived there) because investigators did not follow numerous silly, senseless procedural rules – rules put in place to protect crooks not to ensure fairness and justice.

The U. S. Supreme Court released a confessed rapist (who raped again) because 7 1/2 hours was thought too long a delay between arrest and arraignment. Sure, as a Supreme Court Justice said, "justice delayed is justice denied," but 7 1/2 hours? In such cases, justice is being sacrificed on the altar of procedure and while procedure is important, it is not an article of faith.

In 1966, the U. S. Supreme Court handed down the Miranda decision whereby even voluntary confession of guilt could not be used as evidence unless the police officer "read him his rights." If the constable bungles, the criminal goes free, and truth, justice and the victims have no recourse. We all know that justice is blind, but we didn't think she was stupid. Maybe we are wrong. Too often justice is deaf, dumb and blind as well as stupid.

If a police officer is careless in gathering and handling evidence, the criminal should not go free. The question should be: Did the accused commit the crime? If so, he should get slammer time, and if the officer broke the law in getting evidence, he should be disciplined, demoted or dismissed or even go to jail. He should not go to jail unless there was criminal intent.

Extreme procedural rules are unreasonable, unnecessary and unwanted. They handcuff the cops, handicap the courts, horrify the citizens and honor the criminal.

A man beat a young lady to death in California and after being read his rights (the victim had no rights) he refused to have a lawyer present. He waived all his rights and confessed to the murder; however, an appeals court tossed out his conviction (the judges should have been tossed out) because he hadn't been permitted to see his mamma! Those judges should be out driving trucks and banned from the courtrooms.

A Pennsylvania man admitted killing his mother, sister and grandmother yet was released to freely walk the streets because the arresting officer told him that anything he said could be used "for or against" him. A court decided that the word "for" made his confession invalid! Why shouldn't an accused person's statement be used for him if it will help ferret out the truth?

Innocence or guilt can only be determined by having all the evidence – knowing all the truth and having it presented in court. How the evidence was obtained is not relevant to justice being served. It may affect the way police officers are trained, promoted, etc., but it should have no impact on the accused. Justice should be primary.

Police, judges, prosecutors, etc. must all be held accountable for their actions, and surely that includes the criminal. If he is guilty, put him in jail however the evidence was obtained. The basic question is: Did he do the crime? Is he guilty? If so, then sock it to him then go after the cops if they broke the law.

Sometimes the investigators make mistakes, get careless, get in a hurry or are simply uninformed. Such officers should not be treated like criminals but should be admonished and given further training to ensure that they do a better job the next time. However, the criminal should always be found guilty if the evidence substantiates it.

It is time to get serious about putting felons in prison, and we must stop putting unreasonable, unnecessary and unworkable restrictions upon police officers. Let's try to make their jobs easier rather than harder, and if they break the law then put them in prison.

Copyright, 1997, Don Boys, Ph.D

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