MANSFIELD: Giving The Devil His Due

What’s the old saying … “Even a broken clock is right twice a day.” So while it pains me deeply, I have to admit that tRump has sometimes been more right than wrong when it comes to federal sentencing guidelines. That’s not to say he’s been fair in how he doles out mercy. In fact he’s been grossly unfair in selecting primarily those who have made large political contributions to his campaign, are somehow connected to someone on Fox News, or happens to be a black person that some high-profile celebrity has taken up their cause.

Additionally, he’s about to slap Lady Justice in the face by giving a pardon to that scumbag friend of his, Roger Stone. But Lady Justice has, over the centuries, set herself up to get bitch-slapped. All we have to do is look at the grossly unfair 28-year sentence Jimmy Dimora received, basically for getting a backyard tiki hut and barbecue grill and receiving a couple of blowjobs. And he’s certainly not the only person in America to be ground to dust by an overly punitive federal criminal justice system. In no other country in the developed world would anyone receive the sentences that have sometimes been doled out by our Department of Justice over the years.

Recently released former Illinois governor Rob Blagojevich (whom tRump pardoned after he served eight years of a dozen year sentence) got it right — and wrong — at a press conference upon his release. He attempted to characterize his incarceration as a political witch hunt when the evidence at the time of his conviction clearly proved that he was indeed a crook — one who attempted to sell Barack Obama’s senate seat for cash. But he was right when he said, “It is a broken criminal justice system, and it’s a racist criminal justice system.”

The reason our system of justice — both at the federal and local state levels — has gotten so far off course is due to the bastardization of the grand jury system. Grand juries were designed specifically to protect the citizenry from overzealous prosecutors, and at the founding of the Republic, they did just that.

During the time immediately after the American Revolution, half of the cases presented to grand juries were rejected; citizens were reluctant to simply go along with whatever prosecutors said about fellow citizens. However, over the centuries, that changed. Now, grand juries issues an indictment in over 99 percent of the cases presented. What changed?

Well, the Civil War happened, for one thing. Prior to that conflict, blacks were rarely brought before the bar of justice. Slavery was punishment enough and an enslaved human being was worth far too much (a healthy adult male was worth $1,800 dollars in 1860, which is over $30,000 in today’s money) to allow them to languish in prison. However, after the Emancipation Proclamation, when people could no longer be owned, the value of a black life plummeted to zero, and Jim Crow laws were enacted to control the newly freed individuals. Those are essentially the framework of laws we still operate under today.

Sure, some whites get caught up in the unfair sentences from time to time, but that’s the price Lady Justice is willing to pay to keep in place the most draconian system of so-called “justice” the world has ever known.

So, while tRump will nibble around the edges of this unjust system, using the power of his office to selectively correct some wrongs and often commit just as many more — by pardoning crooks like Stone who will no doubt go scot-free — he won’t move to make any wholesale changes because he knows that if he’s reelected he’s going to need these unfair laws to mass incarcerate those who stand in opposition to his efforts to change our form of government to one more favored by white supremacists.

 

From CoolCleveland correspondent Mansfield B. Frazier mansfieldfATgmail.com. Frazier’s From Behind The Wall: Commentary on Crime, Punishment, Race and the Underclass by a Prison Inmate is available in hardback. Snag your copy and have it signed by the author at http://NeighborhoodSolutionsIn

 

 

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