On Jack Dunphy's threads about Christopher Dorner, a number of Ricochetti expressed relief (bordering on pleasure) that Dorner's violent death was for the best, as it would spare the world -- and, more importantly, Dorner's victims -- the spectacle of his trials. As Whiskey Sam put it:
We wouldn't have to worry about [law enforcement officers killing out of a sense of justice] as much if our legal system was more concerned with providing justice to the victims than protecting criminals' rights.
I had two contradictory feelings about this:
1) That it is appalling that so many law-and-order conservatives feel that it is better for a criminal -- even an especially odious murderer like Dorner -- to die in a firefight than to face justice in a court of law.
2) That they had a very good point.
I'm very much a due process kind of guy, who thinks every American citizen is entitled to his day in court to plead his case, call witnesses, and challenge the government's accusations, all while being presumed innocent; and yes, that applies to citizens suspected of being terrorists.
But there does seem to be a problem when high-profile murder cases with plain and damning evidence drag on for years, usually hinging more on the accused's state of mind than on whether or not he pulled the trigger. Dorner -- had he survived -- would have been an obvious example, as would Adam Lanza. So are James Holmes and Jared Loughner, who ended up pleading guilty a year and a half after his murderous spree, which was witnessed by hundreds of people.
In those cases where murder is committed in public and the forensic and circumstantial evidence are overwhelming, dragging these cases on for so long turns justice into a farce. Were the trials limited to matters of fact, it's hard to see how more than a few months would be necessary to collect evidence, select a jury, conduct a trial, and give jurors time to reach a sober verdict.
From what I understand as a layman, the primary reason for the hold up on these cases is questions pertaining to the accused's sanity. If so, what are the benefits of allowing such defenses? If there are such benefits, do they outweigh the costs? Should it even matter whether these people were sane when they murdered? There are lots of crazy people in the world, few of them are violent, and far fewer kill in cold blood.
What of it, Ricochet?