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Monday, April 28, 2008

The Sean Bell Murder Trial

I liked this post on the Agitator, regarding the Sean Bell incident.

if four men not wearing badges were to unload 50 rounds into another, unarmed group of men, killing one and sending stray bullets all over the neighborhood, they wouldn’t have escaped without being convicted of a single crime.

My favorite quote is from the judge:

"This sends a message to New York City police officers that when you are in that position, when you are in front of a court house, when you are in front of a court bench, you will get fairness."


This sends a message to New York City police offers that they are absolutely immune from prosecution for misconduct while on the job.

I researched this a bit more. The policemen tried to get the trial moved to a venue outside of Queens, and their request was denied. The policemen *WAIVED THEIR RIGHT TO A JURY TRIAL* and instead got a "bench trial", where the ruling was unilaterally delivered by a judge.

That's very clever! The police were able to avoid prosecution in front of an (understandably) hostile jury, and got a biased judge to unilaterally rule in their favor!

The policemen "waived their right to a jury trial", because they knew a jury wouldn't be biased in their favor!

There's another trick that policemen use. If there's a crime committed by non-policemen, the police will segregate the suspects and immediately interrogate them. Then, their stories will contradict each other if they attempt to lie. When policemen commit a crime, they are not immediately segregated and interrogated. This allows them to "coordinate their stories", so that lies can be identical for each policeman.

The judge said that the testimony of the policemen was more credible than the victims/witnesses. Were the policemen honest, or were they coached on how to lie effectively? In an ordinary criminal trial, the defendants don't have the opportunity to "coordinate their testimony" like policemen.

I liked this post on the Liberty Papers. It's about the Sean Bell murder trial.

Without having heard having heard the evidence, it’s impossible to say whether the judge was right in his interpretation of the credibility of the witnesses, but I find it interesting that the Times would say that the detectives waiver of a jury would have been considered risky. Under the circumstances, I think it’s clear that they’d have less risk of a guilty verdict from a judge than from a jury.

This is an important point. By waiving a jury trial, the defendants were able to have a trial BIASED IN THEIR FAVOR. A jury trial might have been biased AGAINST the defendants, considering the huge negative publicity of the case. Without reviewing the details, it's impossible to determine if this particular outcome was fair. The manner in which the trial was resolved gives the APPEARANCE of unfairness.

Monopolistic State courts are inherently unfair. The families of the murder victims have no further recourse. It's much more important to look at the unfairness of government overall, rather than focusing on individual abuses. Of course, individual abuses make it easier for people to understand the evils of a monopolistic unaccountable State.

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