Defending principles is extremely difficult. But necessary.
On this blog and in other venues, I’ve defended the outcomes of the Casey Anthony and George Zimmerman trials. I’ve defended the grand jury decision with regard to Darren Wilson. I defended the right to a trial for James Holmes and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. I defended the acquittals of Jian Ghomeshi and Gregory Alan Elliot.
And by defending all of that, I’ve been portrayed as defending the people involved and their alleged crimes.
I’ve been called racist. White supremacist. Sexist. Terrorist sympathizer. I’ve already been called a rape apologist before, along with a misogynist, for my views on feminism. And now this article will probably get me branded a rape “sympathizer”, if not an out-and-out rapist. No, wait, I’ve already been branded as both for my staunch defense of due process with no wavering even when the accusation is that of rape.
After all, only a rapist would possibly defend the outcome of a rape trial, right? Only a rapist would defend due process for suspected rapists, right? After all, the world would be better if it were easier to convict rapists. So goes the rhetoric that’s been pushed at me.
People don’t know what defending principles looks like anymore.
Given the details of the assault upon “Emily Doe”, I join the majority who are outraged at the lenient sentence Brock Turner received for his three felony convictions. Six months in prison (though he’ll likely actually serve an additional three months on top of whatever he already has served) plus three years on probation. Seems kind of light. It would likely outrage people more to learn that the Santa Clara County Probation Department recommended only one (1) year in prison along with probation. And I would agree that would be considered lenient as well.
Except my opinion on the matter is irrelevant. Every person’s opinion on the matter is irrelevant.
It sickens me that the public response to cases like that of Brock Turner force me to defend outcomes I also do not like. I do not do this to defend Brock Turner. Or any specific person. I do it to defend the process that is employed.
I do this to defend due process itself. To defend the trial process. To defend the rights entitled to all persons who become subject to the jurisdiction of a criminal court.
I do this because it seems no one else will.
And it’s heartbreaking to watch supposedly civilized people be “reduced into pesky, pestilent, squandering, argumentative and belligerent mobs”, to quote an article I wrote over five (5) years ago. Few seem to realize that the more often this occurs, the easier it becomes for our rights to be violated, if not out right stolen from us.
In the wake of cases like Brock Turner, Casey Anthony, George Zimmerman, and Darren Wilson, mob justice reigns. One man versus a mob. But if that is what I must do to defend the basic rights of a civilized society when that society goes patently uncivilized, then so be it.
Currently there is a campaign to recall the judge who presided over the case and declared the sentence. This strikes me as similar to the recall campaigns against other judges who make unpopular decisions. Most notably the three justices of the Iowa Supreme Court who declared Iowa’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional.
One of my friends commented on Facebook, “Stupid ass fucked up piece of shit some one shoot him between the eyes and leave him for the buzzards.”
I still have a lot of work ahead of me, it seems. But I’m only one man.