A technicality forced the Supreme Court to overturn former Republican Governor of Virginia’s conviction of misconduct while in office. Chief Justice John Roberts did not dispel the idea the Bob McDonnell was guilty; the issue was a word in the conviction relating to its Constitutional meaning. There is no indication whether or not he will be retried, along with his wife, for accepting ‘bribes’ while the Governor of Virginia.
The present Governor, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, had this to say: “He made some mistakes, he took some gifts he shouldn’t have taken. He apologized for that. But I think now that the Supreme Court has ruled I’m hoping this is the beginning of the end of the process,” Governor McAuliffe said. “This man has paid the price, it is time to move on. As governor I sit with a lot of big issues every day, the economy and everything else. Let’s move on.” Really?
If this incident had been a young black man, he would be tried over and over again until a conviction was guaranteed. The treatment of rich and powerful Americans within the judicial system is far different than those who are low-income or impoverished citizens.
It is nothing new for Republican politicians, and politicians in general, to receive protection from their peers. There are multiple examples, including Richard Nixon, Newt Gingrich, Dennis Hastert, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Mark Sanford, of how McDonnell will likely be spared punishment. If he follows the example of Mark Sanford, the Republican voters of Virginia will likely elect him to office once again; corruption has no importance for GOP voters. The only item of importance is that the candidate has an “R” next to his or her name on the ballot.
Our judicial system must be completely revamped, and law enforcement receive extensive training applicable to the 21st century.
The American prison system is bursting at the seams with people who have been shut out of the economy and who had neither a quality education nor access to good jobs. Findings revealed that, in 2014 dollars, incarcerated people had a median annual income of $19,185 prior to their incarceration, which is 41% less than non-incarcerated people of similar ages.
Black men and women compose 30 percent of the population, but 60 percent of those imprisoned. The prison population grew by 700 percent from 1970 to 2005, a rate that is outpacing crime and population rates.
Whether you are a politician, a Wall Street banker, or a spoiled teenager like Ethan Couch, you will likely be spared justice for your crimes.
We need a standard and laws which cannot be interpreted by judges who support the actions of high-priced attorneys while denying the rights of those represented by public defenders.
Justice has never been blind. Justice notices the color of your skin, the cost of your clothing, and the $75 haircut your attorney paid for yesterday. If you are an 18-year-old young black man from Mississippi who is a member of an impoverished family, and are arrested for felony drug possession, you will likely be sentenced to 25 years in prison. A white 18-year-old from a wealthy family who committed a like crime would receive probation.
By James Turnage
Photo Courtesy of Gage Skidmore