Consider the case of Mr Ayers … and this time not one bit in relation to Mr Obama. Mr Ayers for some years acted as a domestic terrorist. He bombed, killed, and spread terror for some time. He and his cohorts worked actively and spoke fervently about bringing down the government of the United States preferring Communist rule to a republic. He was eventually caught .. but it turns out those that caught him used illegal wire-taps and the evidence could not be submitted.

In the TV Show Law and Order, quite frequently legal system is shown with the police confronted by the issue in which if the rules are not strictly followed guilty parties will go free. Typically in those shows (and alas I have no other experience with the how such matters play out), the punishment inflicted on the police in these matters is just that. That is the primary and perhaps only punishment inflicted on the law enforcement agencies is that they “don’t get their man.”

Is that sufficient. Would a system in which penalties on the law enforcement agencies were harsher, imprisonment and loss of employment for infractions being more common but that the evidence so collected remained admissible in the legal proceedings against the defendant. After all, in Mr Ayers case he did commit the crimes. He should be imprisoned … still. His crimes were heinous and needed stopping as fast as humanly possible. Clearly the police had reasons to suspect him, for they didn’t randomly wire-tap everyone, the machinery to do so doesn’t exist. They picked likely targets and found their man (and his wife). If they proceeded more slowly … more people would likely have died. The notion that more severe penalties might be submitted instead of a “get-out-of-jail free card” for the defendant … might allow a enforcement team to choose between their job and saving lives instead of saving lives and not getting a guilty verdict.

Why is the current system better? Is it less likely that the former would be the choice and that is why we prefer the latter? … is it just common law tradition? or another reason?

Filed under: JudiciaryMark O.

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