by Earl Staggs
The vast majority of people who practice law in this country are decent, honest, hard-working people dedicated to seeing wrongs righted and justice served. I call them “attorneys.”
There is a percentage of those in the legal profession who are not concerned with wrong or right or justice, but only with winning cases and making tons of money. These are the people who put murderers, thieves, and drug dealers back on the street because helping bad people beat the law makes them rich. To do what they do requires trickery and deceit, of course, but the worst part is twisting and bending the intent and purpose of laws intended to protect the innocent. I call these people “lawyers.”
In my conscious mind, I know lawyers are only a small part of the entire legal profession, but these are the ones who make headlines and often run for political office so they can use their wiles to become even richer in terms of both money and power. I know that for every Johnnie Cochran, there are a thousand Ben Matlocks.
My problem is, I can’t read a book or watch a TV show or movie featuring decent, honest attorneys without thinking about those for whom a legal case is not a quest for justice but a contest which must be won, no matter what. I can’t enjoy reading about attorneys using their training and expertise to see justice done without thinking about lawyers who are only interested in winning at any cost.
That’s why, if I pick up a book about someone who practices law, I put it back on the shelf and look for something else. If I’m scrolling through TV listings, I pass over Law and Order, The Good Wife, and other highly-rated shows. Instead, I’ll look for true crime shows, those documentaries about real cases in which the bad guys are caught and punished in accordance with the law. Not the law which makes it possible to kill people and get away with it if you can afford the right lawyers. Not the law that puts criminals back on the street based on idiotic terms such as “inadmissible evidence,”and “Illegal search and seizure.” If there is evidence a crime was committed, it should be considered by the court. If a police officer doesn’t follow correct procedures, punish the cop, but don’t turn the criminal loose because of it.
But that’s just me and the way I think and feel, not an indictment of anyone who thinks and feels differently. Last time I checked, we were still allowed to be hard-headed, opinionated curmudgeons if we want to be as long as we do no harm to anyone else.
So I’ll end this year and begin a new one thinking what I think, feeling what I feel, and to the best of my ability, harming no one.
Happy New Year everyone.