Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Justice v. Common Sense

Justice is Blind.  Sometimes Justice is also stupid.  It's stupid when it makes certain leaps of logic that defy-- well-- logic.

This happened yesterday in the Washington State Court of Appeals (Eastern District).  Now justice in the Eastern District of Washington is literally blind--or nearly so.  I do know they require 14 point fonts sizes instead of 12.  Be that as it may, their decision to exclude evidence from a man's garbage because it was an unconstitutional invasion of privacy smacks of true legal idiocy.  This is what happens in strict scrutiny: judges become blind to the forest because of the trees in front of them.  The way to test the argument, in common sense terms, is to phrase a what if question: What if, instead of finding drug paraphernalia in the trash, the detective had found a human cadaver?  Would the outcome of the case be different?  Under this rule of evidence all a serial killer has to do is throw their victims in the trash.  No more driving out to lonely isolated spots.  Rubbish.

In another case, a 12 year old in Missouri has been charged with murdering her 9 year old sister over a hamburger.  Apparently the girl confided this to her social worker while hospitalized in a psychiatric unit for delusions.  Although the original autopsy did not show a cause of death, Medical Examiner Michael Graham said "No other condition reasonably explains her death."  So, independent of any forensic or medical evidence the 9 year old died of anything but natural causes, and based solely on the confession of a mentally ill 12 year old, the State of Missouri is prepared to put her in jail for the rest of her life.  Unbelievable.

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