April 24, 2013

Due Process: What’s The Purpose Of The Public Defender?

For those among us who believe we should try and convict suspects in the media and without trial, I ask, what is the purpose of the public defender? If there’s no due process, then we have no need for public defenders. If there’s no presumption of innocence, then why not just skip the trial altogether and throw people in jail or strap them to the electric chair.

What, this sounds extreme you say? You believe we should react this way for “special” cases only? Well how about this instead. — Let’s NOT suspend due process for any suspect, regardless of crime. Let’s NOT subvert democracy when we are terrorized. Let’s NOT violate the constitution out of fear.

Yes, I’m talking about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon bombing suspect. Now I know how some people are going to respond. Some might say, “How dare you come to the defense of a person who committed such a heinous act!” — I have a simple response. I’m not defending Tsarnaev, I’m defending our legal system. A system, by the way, that has served us well for over 200 years. I’m not defending horrible acts a violence perpetrated against innocent Americans, I’m defending the United States constitution. And for those who might be constitutionally challenged, the Fifth Amendment states no person shall “be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”

If you believe Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be treated as a special case then the only thing that needs to change is you. Because we should never sabotage centuries of successful legal process to appease one’s bloodlust for vengeance. I believe there are plenty of other countries on this planet that do not value due process. Maybe they might be more compatible with your worldview.

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