You really have to give my liberal compatriots credit for their capacity to make things worse! Of course, when compared to the current crop of conservatives, their intentions are almost always good, but in their headlong effort to make folks “feel good,” they frequently fail to grasp the root cause and thus, immediately proceed to compound the problem.
They also think that money grows on trees.
What we really need is a third political faction that marries the heart of liberals with the conservative’s flair for taking an issue apart and co-opting the political process.
But I digress!
You will find two Illinois Constitutional Amendments on your November ballot and both are liberal constructs. One addresses voter’s rights, which is a waste of time in a state that, until Chicago slides into Lake Michigan, will never enact any voter ID law. But since there’s no unfunded mandate and it has no downside, the outcome is immaterial.
Ah! But the second Amendment, which deals with victim’s rights, is very different. It sounds fairly innocuous on the surface, but that’s how it is with most liberal concepts.
In a nutshell:
- A victim would get formal notice and a possible hearing before the court grants access to their personal information
- The judge would have to consider the victim’s safety before setting bail or releasing a criminal defendant
- The victim would be able to assert his or her rights in any court with jurisdiction over the criminal case
Yikes! Though this legislation is better than Illinois’ previous attempts, it is fraught with unintended liberal peril. And that prospect starts with the recession instigated taxpayer insistence on less local government that often leaves our overburdened court systems teetering on the verge of collapse.
So while I’m fine with a statute providing adequate subpoena warning, if the defendant has a legal right to that personal information, then please tell me what the victim’s courtroom presence will do other slow everything down? If you don’t like that kind of defense tactic, then change the law that allows for it – don’t add another level of complexity.
Along the same lines, ignoring the current victim’s rights can be symptom of our underpaid prosecutors who can barely handle their caseload. And the last thing they need is for the victim to be in the driver’s seat.
They see the enormity of their task from the top down, while victims and their families, often mired in understandable grief, can’t see beyond themselves. So can you imagine what will happen if victims are allowed to insert themselves in the process every step of the way?
Not only that, but what my liberal lackeys seem to be missing is, our judicial system starts with the assumed innocence of the accused. Lady Justice is blind for a reason. But if you allow emotion to come in at every turn, innocent defendants will be facing a de facto dual prosecution. Imagine what will happen when victims start hiring their own attorneys!
The perception of those precipitous pitfalls are exactly why we elect state’s attorneys and endow their prosecutors with the sacred task of representing our interests. That’s why it’s The People vs. The Defendant, not John Doe vs. Jim Smith
Then, swayed by the victim’s likely fears, what are judges supposed to do with all the “perps” who are suddenly denied bail or need to be locked up a little bit longer? Our jails are already bursting at the seams.
And lastly, what my beloved liberals never seem to learn is, legislating in light of the rare exception rarely works. Yes! There will always be bad judges and inept prosecutors, but the truth is, the incidence of courtroom incompetence pales in comparison to other professions. It’s just that our mistakes don’t get published in the paper.
So in an effort to prove that some liberals actually have a clue, here’s the real answer!
For years – ever since Chicago Federal Judge Joan Lefkow’s husband and mother were murdered by a disgruntled plaintiff – I’ve been advocating to add a social service arm to every judicial entity from the county right on up to the federal level. Anyone required to appear in court is already on edge and even your average boy scout understands the merit of being prepared.
And that means civil courts too! Let the court officers deal with the logic and these trained interventionists will tackle the emotion.
The problem is, it won’t come cheap, but neither will this Constitutional Amendment. Longer court proceedings will cost more as will putting more people in prison for a longer time.
Despite some glaring failures, our court system regularly treads the razor’s edge and, in a nod to all the dedicated folks involved, it works far more often than it does not. And if it ain’t broke…