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Justice vs. Justify

By Judith L. Burr, Prisoner of the Drug War

Defined by the American Heritage dictionary, justice means: 1) The quality of being Just; fairness. 2) The principle of moral rightness; equity. 3) The upholding of what is Just, especially fair treatment and due reward in accordance with honor, standards, or law. 4) the administration and procedure of law. 5) Conformity to fact or sound reason.

A fine word and one our forefathers expounded in the founding of this great country.

So, what happened? Today the courtrooms are jammed and the jails are overflowing. Statistics show that the crime ratio is on the wane, yet the number of federal prisoners increases every day. Is this serving justice? Sadly the answer is "no." Somewhere in the crusade to do right, justice was lost and in its place we now find justify.

Justify: 1) To demonstrate to be just, right, or valid. 2) To declare free of blame; absolve. 3) To demonstrate sufficient legal reason for an action taken).

Yes, today justify reigns supreme, under the guise of due process. The crowded courts and overflowing prisons justify judicial compromise, but what a crime against society! No longer does innocent until proven guilty stand tall in those government halls. Ask anyone who has had a brush with the law.

Once a prosecutor hones in on a victim, conviction is imminent. The numbers are staggering, and in the federal system a conviction rate that exceeds 95% should raise more eyebrows. It doesn't take a genius to realize that going against the unlimited resources of the federal government is a losing proposition. In fact 90% of all convictions are obtained by the almighty "plea bargain."

Those brave souls who do believe they are entitled to their day in court have little hope. When all else fails, prosecutors fall back on the catch-all conspiracy charge. Being even remotely linked to criminal activity, no matter how distant, almost guarantees incarceration. Sons, daughters, friends, mothers, fathers and even grandparents and acquaintances are easily captured in the all encompassing conspiratorial net. Whole families have been torn asunder by the broadly justified term. They have been ripped to shreds, stripped of dignity as well as their financial resources, and unless they become cooperating government witnesses they are thrown into prison with their would be criminal cohorts. All in the name of a plea-bargain; The grand compromise, the deal and the justification of due process.

But it's a war out there, you say. An expensive war, one paid for by taxpayers.

Cutting the corners of justice is cost-effective. It's justified. Just look at the War on Drugs. It's escalating, and it's a losing battle. Well, yes. I'd say that's absolutely true, but not for the reasons that immediately come to mind. You see it's not for our benefit that the government wages war against so-called drug conspirators. It's for their own benefit. They do it to justify. They do it to statistically demonstrate the need for their jobs, to line their own pockets, receive their bonuses and promotions.

Is this justice? Not to me, but when you add to this the fact that the prosecutors are accountable to no one, and their actions are condoned by judges who are appointed, not elected, it almost appears conspiratorial. Certainly, it's a scary piece of business to say the least, and seemingly unlimited funds exist to support this procedure. So why are they losing the fight? Why is the War on Drugs an ongoing battle?

This war is actually a War on Civil Liberties. It is an abomination and a threat to what we cherish most. It is tearing at the very foundation of our freedom, one by one, and it needs to end. It is wrong, and it cannot be justified!

It's a war all right, but not one we should claim proudly. It's a losing battle because it fails in every sense of the word justice. It fails to qualify as just or fair. It's not based on a principle of moral rightness or equity. It doesn't uphold what is just, especially in fair treatment and due reward in accordance with honor, standards, or law. And it fails to conform to fact or sound reason. It fails miserably, and it is costing society much more than a pretty penny.

Fortunately there are a few citizens who have seen this, and they are trying to right the wrong. Tell your congressional representatives. Tell the world it is time to stop the justifying.

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