Tom Delay - Guilty until proven innocent?
I just did a trial where, during jury selection, I had some of the most right wing reactionary possible jurors expressing themselves. Basically, this was what they had to say: "If you are charged with a crime, it means you are probably guilty, because the DA would never charge someone who didn't do it, so even without any evidence, I would find the defendant guilty." "If you assert your right to remain silent, you do so because you are guilty." "Being charged with a crime is evidence of guilt." "Being in a gang means that you are guilty of anything that gang does, even if you have no part in it."
You get the idea, these people were so out there, they made Torquemada (Spanish inquisitor, for those who don't know, or never saw History of the World Part I) look reasonable by comparison.
So, it got me to thinking, do any of those right wingers believe that Tom Delay must be guilty? I'm sure they don't, but he is an indicted felon. A grand jury of disinterested citizens has found probable cause that he committed a crime, even after being presented with any exculpatory evidence (I'm sure right wingers will now loudly protest that a grand jury could indict a ham sandwich, which I don't dispute, but hey, am I going to be the looney liberal to suggest that the system is weighted against criminal defendants? No, I'll leave that to the right wingers right now).
I wish that I had thought to ask these potential jurors this question.
I did get a nice couple of lines in, though. You see, during investigations into police misconduct, or any time there is an officer involved shooting, and Internal Affairs wants to question the officers, they have to read them their rights first (never mind that they're not in custody). The officers are then given COMPLETE IMMUNITY on what they say, so that it cannot be used against them in any way in a criminal matter, so that they can investigate the potential misconduct. This means, practically speaking, that the police can rarely be charged with crimes after they've given these "compelled statements." How many other jobs do you have where you can keep your job and assert your 5th Amendment right to remain silent in the face of potential prosecution? None that I know of. So, if all criminal defendants who don't testify, or assert their 5th amendment rights, are guilty, does this mean that all cops who assert their rights and then have to give compelled testimony are also guilty of the underlying crime they're refusing to speak of?
I asked this of those obstinate jurors, and you could see them crumbling behind the walls of congnitive dissonance that they've hidden behind. You could almost hear them muttering to themselves "Must...watch...Fox...News...NOW!!!"