Aurora Colorado July 2012/1892
In July of 2012 a 26 year old man planned, prepared for and opened fire with weapons in a movie theater, killing 12 and wounding 58. He was apprehended shortly after the event and taken into custody. The impending scenario is yet to play out as this is written but let me hazard a guess as to the future developments.
It will be a few months before he is actually charged. The trial will take six months to a year before he is convicted. If found guilty the appeals will go on for 14 years and if not executed for the crime he will languish in jail for at least another 25 years.
Go back to another era, say Aurora in 1892. If this individual had entered a church on a Sunday, confronting another group of unarmed citizens and did the same thing, what would have been the probable consequences? He would have been arrested that same day. On Monday the authorities would have assembled 12 citizens to hear the trial which would take less than one day and the judge would have imposed the sentence of death. The man would be hung the next morning and the story would become lore.
The latter scenario is plausible under the Constitution as originally written. In order to protect the culprit from the caprice of government or an unruly mob we have the right to a trial by a jury of our peers. We have a right to an attorney if we can afford one. Like any right the cost of exercising it is the responsibility of the individual. We have a right to bear arms, but the government is not required to provide us one. It is also possible to waive a jury trial if we feel they will not be impartial.
What has caused the drastic change in the two scenarios? The answer is the changing of the rules by and for the advantage of the rule makers. And who are the majority of the rule makers, lawyers. They make the laws (rules), enforce the rules (district attorneys) and adjudicate the rules (the court system). So much for the separation of powers.
The Constitution gives us the right to trial by jury and the right to waive that right in favor of a judge. However, in tort cases, the accused, usually an individual or firm that is accused of malfeasance resulting in monetary damages does not have the right to waive trial by jury. Why? Because sympathetic juries usually declare in favor of the plaintiff to the monetary benefit of their lawyers. Guess who made this rule?
Each and every law that is passed is a further guarantee of the full employment of members of the legal profession. I segued to this point to emphasize the fact the Constitution also guarantees society the swift application of justice. This is not in the best interest of the lawyers.