The Miraculous Works Of The Criminal Justice System
from the the-impossible-is-the-mundane dept
Thanks to its ingenuity and expeditiousness, the criminal justice system -- from the cops busting perps to judges presiding over arraignments -- is able to perform small miracles. The impossible is nothing, not when these forces come into play.
First off, a person picked up by police (for minor possession) managed to commit (inadvertent) suicide with a gun he'd somehow kept hidden during two previous searches of his person.
The official statement from police said this:
“[Victor White III] was taken into custody, handcuffed behind his back, and transported to the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office for processing. Once at the Sheriff’s Office, White became uncooperative and refused to exit the deputy’s patrol vehicle. As the deputy requested assistance from other deputies, White produced a handgun and fired one round striking himself in the back.”The police questioned his father at 5:00 am the next morning, never once mentioning White was already dead. Police did not allow White's father to see his entire body at the morgue, but what could be seen (White's face) had abrasions and bruising.
This somewhat miraculous self-shooting was made even more miraculous by the autopsy report, which showed something else entirely.
The autopsy report, issued by Iberia Parish Coroner Dr. Carl M. Ditch six months after the death, revealed that the bullet did not enter the body from behind, as police had claimed. Instead, the report stated that the bullet penetrated White’s chest from the front, perforated his heart and left lung, then exited through his left armpit and injured his upper left arm.So, apparently White, with his hands cuffed behind him, shot himself in the chest. The coroner's report also noticed a couple of other things at odds with the official explanation.
According to the report, the forensic pathologist found gunshot residue in the wound, but not the sort of stippling that a close-range shot can sometimes produce. He also found abrasions on White’s face.If you thought this miraculous event would have prompted a full investigation, your faith is sadly misplaced. Despite nothing agreeing with the official narrative, the coroner still found the officers' description of the incident largely believable.
Dr. Carl Ditch ruled that White shot himself, and declared his death a suicide.Ditch cited White's "body habitus" as making this highly unlikely event possible. No explanations were given as to how multiple police failed to spot a gun during two pat-downs, nor as to why the involved officers and White weren't tested for powder residue.
From one miracle to another. You'd think having a completely airtight alibi would result in charges being dismissed. And this wasn't just any airtight alibi, this was one that could be confirmed by law enforcement officers and their official records. But somehow, because the criminal justice system moves in frustrating and mysterious ways -- this alibi still wasn't good enough.
This is how we come to meet Tyree Threatt, 21 years old, facing charges of mugging a woman on June 27. They didn’t arrest him that day, of course, but she gave a description of the mugger. A few weeks later, officers saw Threatt and determined he matched the description. Then they put his photo in a lineup and she picked him out.Someone incarcerated obviously can't commit criminal acts on the outside. Threatt should have walked away from this one. But he couldn't, because impossibility isn't enough.
"Two days after that, a court commissioner signed a warrant for Threatt on a raft of charges, including armed robbery and using a firearm in a violent crime, each of which carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence. Threatt was arrested over the weekend, according to court records."
So there he was, facing a crap load of jail time, when the simple fact emerged that on June 27, he was already in jail.
A public defender who represented Threatt this week says he laid out jail records before a judge Monday showing that his client had what might have been the best possible alibi.Just being physically unable to commit a crime is no defense against a system that has been fine tuned for prosecution. What seems impossible is now possible, as long as you're willing to have your disbelief forcefully suspended by a perversion of the justice system.
But prosecutors said the issue should be sorted out at trial, according to the public defenders office, and the judge declined to release Threatt (he did get $25,000 shaved off his bail).
But none of this takes into account the law’s stubborn desire to extract a conviction from just about anyone who wanders into its field of vision, despite the apparent physical impossibility of that person to have committed the crime.Someone who was in jail during the alleged crime will now have to return to jail (or make bail) to await a trial for a crime he couldn't possibly commit because the system at play here has decided to sacrifice rights for expeditiousness. Threatt's two options at this particular session were either (a) plead guilty or (b) wait for his turn in the courtroom. It's called a "meet and plead" and it had nothing to do with defending yourself against allegations of impossible criminal activity.
Overwhelmed attorneys are pressured by judges into forcing their clients to plead guilty on the day of arraignment to “discounted” and “one-time only” resolutions.Gone is the right to effective representation. If a defense attorney is present, he or she is only there to advise on the choices presented, not defend his or her client. The judge is not there to weigh evidence or even see if the charges should be dropped. The judge is there to accept pleas. Full stop. Anything else -- even something that would take 30 seconds to verify -- is ignored in favor of pushing grist through the judicial mill.
So you end up with people who are completely innocent who still plead guilty because they feel like they have no choice and would rather taste freedom again than wait in jail until it’s “sorted out at trial”.
In our criminal justice system, the impossible is also the mundane. Narratives only the most extreme conspiracy theorists could love are accepted at face value. Anything that might keep the system from running smoothly -- like someone being unable to leave the building they're in, much less mug someone -- is ignored in favor of obtaining speedy guilty pleas.
So, what do you tell the public? That if you're picked up for minor marijuana possession, you might die? That if you were in jail when a crime was committed, you're still a suspect? That doesn't jibe too well with the "if you're doing nothing wrong, you've got nothing to fear" narrative that is pushed by law enforcement defenders and surveillance proponents alike.
It's enforcement first and the public's rights and safety are a distance second. Take a look at this chart (via) and see where all the money and attention goes and then ask yourself who's looking out for you. The guy who could take a ride in a cop car and end up dead. Or the guy who could already be caught in the wheels of the system only to find out that being stuck in the machinery doesn't keep the machinery from moving towards its desired conclusions.
The criminal justice system doesn't serve the public. It feeds on them.