The Freeware Hall Of Fame

United States Myths - and their realities

By Rey Barry

"Justice will triumph"

It nearly always does, because Justice doesn't mean what we think. It doesn't mean fairness. When fairness triumphs, which is seldom, it makes the front page and a made-for-TV movie because it's that rare.

Justice is served but fairness is absent from the table when plea bargains are struck to keep court backlogs in check. Nearly all criminal cases are plea bargained to some extent. The needs of a legal system are reality, not the idealism of what's fair.

Justice in the US means not fairness but the opposite, the chance for the guilty to avoid paying the price.

Fairness lies trampled when a jury scampers for the door at long last after being locked away from family and career for a year as amoral lawyers endlessly dissemble. As no less than O.J.'s defense council Alan Dershowitz pointed out in his book, "The Best Defense" 11 years before he relied so vividly on this to get his double murderering client off: "the courtroom oath - 'to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth' - applies only to witnesses. Defese attorneys, prosecutors, and judges don't take this oath..."

O.J. clearly and beyond question murdered two people, and lawyers and the judge so confused the jury and the masses that he was found innocent. Did O.J. get justice? Did his brutally murdered victums? In the American system, yes, all got Justice.

The blunt truth:

A prosecutor seeks to convict, a defense attorney seeks the best outcome for his client, a judge seeks to enforce the rules of the game. None of them is under oath to seek justice. Look for yourself: the word justice is not mentioned in their job descriptions or their oaths.

And not only oaths. In the US Constitution the term Justice appears three times and none relates to fairness in any way. In the Preamble we seek to "establish Justice" meaning a legal framework. In Article IV, Section 2, it mentions "flee from Justice" across state lines, again to mean the legal framework. The third is a reference to the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, bestowing a title.

It is popular myth that the term "justice" in the American legal system means fairness. It didn't intend to; it never did; it doesn't now. Justice in this country means legal framework. By being tried in a court of law rather than, for example, hanged by a posse, O.J. got the American Justice we promise to all.

Now not quite all. When 9/11 opened the possibility of American Justice to the worst enemies this country ever knew, the government, recalling that the Constitution is not a suicide pact, decided national security came first, legal framework second.

Choose another?

Introduction - How these myths began
"The US separates church and state"
"We have self-government"
"You cannot be forced to incriminate yourself"
"We have free speech"
"Americans have free television and radio"
"No Man is Above the Law"
"Corporate political contributions aren't bribery"
"The best is yet to come"
"Abner Doubleday originated baseball"

The name Freeware Hall of Fame is Service Marked by Rey Barry (rey at
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