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One of the mysteries that only the dead know, is whether they had any comprehension of death? Was there only an anticipation and then nothing? Or did they somehow know that they were now dead never to walk with the living again?
Imagine you are a serf in Russia in October 1917, or a small farmer in Provence, France, in May 1789. Retrospectively we know now what irreversible events occurred then, but to the people living their lives away from the consequential events, did they know that their lives had been set on a different course, with an entirely new set of understandings.
Derek Chauvin has been convicted of murdering George Floyd. Twelve citizens “good and true” have so determined. But we all know what the consequences of them finding Chauvin not guilty would have been. We know the pressures they must have felt if, if, they had reasonable doubt as to whether the case against him on any of the charged counts had been proved. Scott Adams said — before the verdict was rendered — that had he been a juror he would have voted to convict and then told the press he had done so because of the likelihood that harm would come to him, his family, and the community if he had done otherwise.
If the jury had not convicted Chauvin we would have known, known, that their verdict was free of jury intimidation or tampering. But because their verdict ran with rather than against the pressure on the community from BLM, the media, and politicians, we are left to speculate whether they were intimidated or not. And even were they to come on to a media program and vow that their verdict was free of influence and only based on the facts and law, could we believe them? Should we believe them?
And this is true whether or not G-d himself adjudged Chauvin guilty. And it is important because due process and equal protection of the law demands that we have confidence in our system — the one President Biden says is systemically racist — to be fair and just in the process by which decisions are made, even as we know those decisions are sometimes wrong.
The fact that we can harbor these doubts about the process regardless of the outcome should give all of us unease. Think of it another way, say you line up Usain Bolt 50 meters closer to the finish line than everyone else. You fire the pistol and sure enough, Usain Bolt crosses the line first. Do you count that as a win? Do you doubt that for any field of 10 or so runners that Usain Bolt wouldn’t beat them in a 100-meter dash? So Usain wins! Hoorah! What’s the problem?
This illustrates that it is how you run the contest, not just the outcome, that determines whether you have confidence in the fairness of it. And if we have lost confidence in our legal system (and we have) where are we?
For millions of Americans, we see two systems of justice. We have seen it with figures in the political arena since at least 2016. Disfavored persons have legal “difficulties”; favored persons have seemingly “get out of jail free” cards. Disfavored persons have SWAT teams knocking on their doors before dawn, and solitary confinement; favored persons have no bail or their bail paid for by celebrities and politicians. Disfavored persons are doxxed and canceled; favored persons are at liberty to do anything they want.
And now with the Chauvin trial, the cancer in our legal system is spreading. And this is true whether or not the jury’s decision is lawful. There are grounds for appeal based on procedural matters totally aside from whether or not a second jury in a different place and time would come to exactly the same decision. But what court is going to grant a new trial? Will any Minnesota court do so? John Hinderaker doesn’t think so. And he has been following this very closely.
Will a federal court do so? In a perfect world, this would be precisely the reason for a federal court to hear and rule. Recall the federal courts reviewing state court decisions in the Civil Rights era of the 1960s. But this is not then. The US Department of Justice will be opposing it. DOJ is all in with the forces pressuring the jury.
Is our constitutional Republic dead and we just don’t know it yet?Published in