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Old 11-26-2011, 02:00 AM
 
Location: 39 20' 59"N / 75 30' 53"W
16,085 posts, read 23,977,795 times
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The topic of special treatment of celebrities, politicians and hiring high powered attorneys. Add to this list along with your thoughts.

Ted Kennedy....death of Mary Jo Kopeckne....failed to report driving off a bridge until the following day, acquitted.

Mathew Broderick....swerved onto the wrong side of the road, 2 deaths, no drugs or alcohol, no charges, small fine.

Barbara Bush...went thru stop sign, 2 deaths, no drugs or alcohol, no charges.

Roman Polanski... plead guilty to statutory rape of a 13yr old, fled the country, arrested by Swiss police after 32 yrs who refused extradiction and set free.

OJ Simpson...double murder, acquitted. Case for Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman closed.

RJ Kelly...21 counts of having sex with a minor, directing and producing child pornography,charges reduced and acquitted of child pornography charge and went scot free of charges with physical evidence.

Michael Vick...torturing animals, rape strand, electrocution and drowning of dogs, in a 5 yr dog fighting ring in Virginia on Vicks estate. State sentence was dropped on good behavior, Did 21 of a 23 month Federal Prison sentence.

Robert Blake...death of wife Bonnie Lee Blakely, acquitted. Case closed.

Vince Neil... the band Motley Crew, drunk driving accident killing the passenger, no charges.

Paris Hilton

Lindsey Lohan

The controversial MJ......
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Old 11-26-2011, 02:45 AM
 
Location: Bangkok, NYC, and LV
2,037 posts, read 2,563,397 times
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I don't believe that celeberties get special treatment per so.

Although I do believe that charming good looking people who appear to credible perform better in front of juries. Of course, many actors are charming and good looking.

Moreover, I believe that in some cases being infamous works against you--Vick and OJ's imprisonment attest to this.

What does matter is money? Big time. For lower level crimes one can apply for all types of prediversionary programs and get charges knocked down or dismissed with aggressive advocacy because the DAs are looking to pick off the low hanging fruit. In more complex cases you can challenge the scientific evidence and hire private detectives to scour the earth to unearth dirt on the opposition.

Remember you do not have to prove your innocence...the standard here is reasonable doubt which seems to be pretty easy to me to achieve absent being caught red handed.
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Old 11-26-2011, 10:21 AM
 
9,264 posts, read 9,330,591 times
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Quote:
The topic of special treatment of celebrities, politicians and hiring high powered attorneys. Add to this list along with your thoughts.
This is a legitimate topic. However, to address it properly takes cogency instead of cacophony. Let's start with this idea: The criminal justice system is a system only in theory. Its made up of any number of players. There are the police, the prosecutor, the defense attorney, the judge, and finally juries. All of these individuals have a certain amount of power of their own. Any of these individuals through their actions can change the outcome of a case.

More importantly, that's exactly the way we want it too. We don't want some "machine" that railroads innocent people to the death house or to prison for life.

Quote:
Ted Kennedy....death of Mary Jo Kopeckne....failed to report driving off a bridge until the following day, acquitted.
A forty plus year old event. You have your facts wrong. Ted plead guilty in court to leaving the scene of an injury accident and received a minimal sentence. Do I think that the case was handled a certain way because the defendant was a Kennedy? Yes, I do. My hunch is that Ted was drunk when he drove off that bridge. In most places, that would be a felony and would land you in jail for a year or two. However, because the crime was not reported until hours later there was no way to know what Ted's alcohol level was at the time of the accident. I'm not even sure if something like a breathalyzer test was available in 1969 when this occurred.

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Mathew Broderick....swerved onto the wrong side of the road, 2 deaths, no drugs or alcohol, no charges, small fine.
I don't know enough about this case to comment.

Quote:
Barbara Bush...went thru stop sign, 2 deaths, no drugs or alcohol, no charges.
I think you mean "Laura Bush", the wife of George W. Bush. This is an incident that goes all the way back to when Laura was a teenager. It was long before she married "a Bush". As you stated, she was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs. There is such a thing as a true accident. In my state, the greatest offense someone like this could be charged with is running a stop sign. There is no charge of negligent homicide when the negligence is as minimal as a "non-impaired person" not seeing a stop sign.


Quote:
Roman Polanski.. plead guilty to statutory rape of a 13yr old, fled the country, arrested by Swiss police after 32 yrs who refused extradiction and set free.
Do we have to include foreign systems of law when we have a talk about injustice in the criminal justice system? Gee whiz...I think its enough to worry about the system we have in our own country. I have no doubt that in some countries the rich and famous are treated better in every way than ordinary people are. My only comment here is that this has nothing to do with criminal justice in America. Its the Swiss who denied extradition. Our authorities were doing everything they could to bring him to justice despite the fact it was a very old crime.

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OJ Simpson..double murder, acquitted. Case for Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman closed.
This one is one of the 2% of cases like the Casey Anthony case where a jury inexplicably brings back a verdict that is different than what rational people expect. I don't have an answer here other than to abolish the jury system. Of course, no one will support that.


Quote:
RJ Kelly...21 counts of having sex with a minor, directing and producing child pornography,charges reduced and acquitted of child pornography charge and went scot free of charges with physical evidence.
I have no knowledge of this case.

Quote:
Michael Vick...torturing animals, rape strand, electrocution and drowning of dogs, in a 5 yr dog fighting ring in Virginia on Vicks estate. State sentence was dropped on good behavior, Did 21 of a 23 month Federal Prison sentence.
Congress and legislative bodies pass criminal statutes setting prison sentences for all crimes including animal cruelty. Such sentences have tended to be short because of a feeling that animals are not as important as people are. You can argue that one if you want. However, the only way to get that changed is to get the same legislative bodies to take such crimes more seriously and lengthen the possible sentences for offenders. I personally am not a big "animal rights" fan. I have nothing against animals, but I don't get all warm and gooey over them like some people do.

In Michael Vick's case he did get a deal, a plea bargain that resulted in him serving less jail time. In return for that plea, Michael has to go around this country and speak about animal rights. I think certain people made a calculation that this would result in more good than him spending even longer in prison. Because Michael Vick is a famous athlete more people are likely to listen to him than to you or me. That may not be fair, but that's the way it is. In short, Michael could do something that you or I couldn't that probably justified a shorter jail sentence.


Quote:
Robert Blake...death of wife Bonnie Lee Blakely, acquitted. Case closed.
I think this verdict was largely a result of the jury not liking the victim. Sometimes that happens. Some people aren't likable. Again, the solution would be repealing the jury system. The human element is always going to play a role in any verdicts decided by non-law trained people.

Quote:
Vince Neil... the band Motley Crew, drunk driving accident killing the passenger, no charges.
I'm unaware of the details of this crime.


Paris Hilton... Hard to say if she really benefited from celebrity status. She spent minimal time in jail. Obviously has alcohol and probably drug problems. In the end, she'll be hurt the worst if nothing is done to fix them.

Lindsey Lohan.....See above comments about Paris Hilton

The controversial MJ....If you are referring to the past child molestation charges, I actually believe Jackson was innocent. I believe he did really stupid stuff like let children sleep in bed with him. However, the parents and their kids who pursued these criminal charges were basically "gold diggers" looking for a huge payout in a subsequent civil lawsuit. Again, a jury acquitted him. So, if you want to find fault with the system its probably a question of abolishing jury trials once again.

There, you've been given rational explanations for why most of these people were treated as they were. Any system that relies upon people to render criminal justice is going to fail sometimes. There may be some minor reforms that could make things more equitable. I'd be perfectly open to a discussion that deals with possible reforms. I think its ridiculous to make such a general post that encompasses so many different offenders in so many different places. I feel like saying something like "so, and the price of beef went up today as well".
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Old 11-26-2011, 10:25 AM
 
8,809 posts, read 10,904,249 times
Reputation: 12874
Quote:
Originally Posted by virgode View Post
The topic of special treatment of celebrities, politicians and hiring high powered attorneys. Add to this list along with your thoughts.

Ted Kennedy....death of Mary Jo Kopeckne....failed to report driving off a bridge until the following day, acquitted.

Mathew Broderick....swerved onto the wrong side of the road, 2 deaths, no drugs or alcohol, no charges, small fine.

Barbara Bush...went thru stop sign, 2 deaths, no drugs or alcohol, no charges.

Roman Polanski... plead guilty to statutory rape of a 13yr old, fled the country, arrested by Swiss police after 32 yrs who refused extradiction and set free.

OJ Simpson...double murder, acquitted. Case for Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman closed.

RJ Kelly...21 counts of having sex with a minor, directing and producing child pornography,charges reduced and acquitted of child pornography charge and went scot free of charges with physical evidence.

Michael Vick...torturing animals, rape strand, electrocution and drowning of dogs, in a 5 yr dog fighting ring in Virginia on Vicks estate. State sentence was dropped on good behavior, Did 21 of a 23 month Federal Prison sentence.

Robert Blake...death of wife Bonnie Lee Blakely, acquitted. Case closed.

Vince Neil... the band Motley Crew, drunk driving accident killing the passenger, no charges.

Paris Hilton

Lindsey Lohan

The controversial MJ......
Your post proves it--yes, they hire great attorney's and get off lightly or completely. Priviledged or wealthy people have always had more advantages. Nothing new. Just the way life is.
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Old 11-26-2011, 12:06 PM
 
Location: Bangkok, NYC, and LV
2,037 posts, read 2,563,397 times
Reputation: 1128
Quote:
Originally Posted by markg91359 View Post
This is a legitimate topic. However, to address it properly takes cogency instead of cacophony. Let's start with this idea: The criminal justice system is a system only in theory. Its made up of any number of players. There are the police, the prosecutor, the defense attorney, the judge, and finally juries. All of these individuals have a certain amount of power of their own. Any of these individuals through their actions can change the outcome of a case.
".
Excellent points. You must be a sagacious wise attorney. What do you think of mine?

What do you think of small town justice?

I believe that in certain small towns justice is much more personal and the system is far from rigid. In NYC, I could not see Bloomberg making a call to the NYPD to get a niece released from custody for being caught with dope or whatever; however, I believe in small rural communities the system might be eschewed and the mayor can call his cousin the sheriff to have his numbskull nephew Billybob released for fighting in the town square.

What amazes me about our justice system is the willingness to arrest VIPs or their kin. W was clipped for DUI when his dad head of the CIA. That would never happen in most parts of the world.

And it goes without saying that litigation is the purview of the rich. I once was involved in law suit in NYC and $130,000 bought me barely competent legal council.

Moreover, I think if the AUSA and the feds get a wiff of your ass, you'd better have 1Million on hand to fight it or you will loose before the game even begins. The average joe does not have the resources to go blow for blow with the federal government--especially if they start seizing assets.

I am thining of a case in Nevada where the sitting Lt. Gov was indicted by the Feds but beat it in court...very very rare.
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Old 11-26-2011, 05:47 PM
 
Location: 39 20' 59"N / 75 30' 53"W
16,085 posts, read 23,977,795 times
Reputation: 17995
Quote:
Originally Posted by markg91359 View Post
There, you've been given rational explanations for why most of these people were treated as they were. Any system that relies upon people to render criminal justice is going to fail sometimes. There may be some minor reforms that could make things more equitable. I'd be perfectly open to a discussion that deals with possible reforms. I think its ridiculous to make such a general post that encompasses so many different offenders in so many different places. I feel like saying something like "so, and the price of beef went up today as well".
With the 30yr anniversary of Natalie Woods death and the case reopening,
Purely for the discussion Mark as many of the links that get posted.
Thanks for your thoughts.

Last edited by virgode; 11-26-2011 at 05:58 PM..
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Old 11-26-2011, 06:28 PM
 
Location: tampa bay
6,595 posts, read 6,855,112 times
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Just FYI it was Laura Bush that went through the stop sign and at the time she was neither rich or famous!!
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Old 11-26-2011, 06:59 PM
 
Location: 39 20' 59"N / 75 30' 53"W
16,085 posts, read 23,977,795 times
Reputation: 17995
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishiis49 View Post
Just FYI it was Laura Bush that went through the stop sign and at the time she was neither rich or famous!!
My bad .....thanks

Ask yourself this though, if you went through a stop sign and killed two people, do you think you'd go without charges?
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Old 11-26-2011, 10:16 PM
 
9,264 posts, read 9,330,591 times
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Quote:
Excellent points. You must be a sagacious wise attorney. What do you think of mine?
I am an attorney. I'm not certain I am "sagacious or wise".

Quote:
What do you think of small town justice?

I believe that in certain small towns justice is much more personal and the system is far from rigid. In NYC, I could not see Bloomberg making a call to the NYPD to get a niece released from custody for being caught with dope or whatever; however, I believe in small rural communities the system might be eschewed and the mayor can call his cousin the sheriff to have his numbskull nephew Billybob released for fighting in the town square.
I think you make a pretty good point. Let me begin with something that is a simple fact about practicing law:

1. Success in the practice of law depends heavily on developing a network and a series of relationships. And, before anyone gets upset over this, realize that's the way it works in most occupations and professions too.

I seldom take on any criminal case at all anymore. I've found civil cases are more profitable, antagonize fewer people, and are easier on my emotions. However, I maintain a series of relationships I developed in the days when I did a certain amount of criminal law work. I know city attorneys, county attorneys, police officers, FBI agents, probation and parole officers, some judges, and court clerks. These relationships are essential. I made them work for my benefit and my client's benefit time after time. Most criminal defendants are guilty. You are going to plead them guilty and try and get them a reduced sentence. This can only be done if you have working relationships with the people I've mentioned above. And, I want to emphasize that this is not a bad thing. The citizenry can't afford to have the courts trying every case that comes down the pike. The system needs plea-bargaining.

(BTW, this is also a reason why non-lawyers who have a legal problem are generally making a mistake proceeding without an attorney. They may figure out what the law is based on a little research. They'll never understand the importance of contacts and relationships among the players in the system.)

Now, let's get to your point about "small town justice". I don't live in a small town and so I go mostly by what I'm told and what I know about people. I think the "potential" for abuses of the system are greater in a small community for many reasons. The public defender and the prosecutor know each other quite well and neither wants to see the other get hurt too badly. This could prevent attorneys from zealously representing a client. Same problem with the county sheriff and attorneys from both sides. All these people will be dealing with another for years after any individual case is litigated. They are not going to unduly antagonize any of the key players in the system.

I knew a particular judge in small community who was very well liked. I was told going into this judge's court that opposing another lawyer who lived in the judge's city was pretty much a fruitless endeavor. This judge was going to rule in favor of local attorneys period.

No money changes hands. None of this is "corruption" or "bribery" in any traditional sense of the world. Yet, I agree it does tend to result in outcomes that are based on "who one knows" rather than on the merits of an individual case.


Quote:
Moreover, I think if the AUSA and the feds get a wiff of your ass, you'd better have 1Million on hand to fight it or you will loose before the game even begins. The average joe does not have the resources to go blow for blow with the federal government--especially if they start seizing assets.

I am thining of a case in Nevada where the sitting Lt. Gov was indicted by the Feds but beat it in court...very very rare.
Our country has sent a vice president (Spiro Agnew) to jail. We've sent dozens of congressmen, governors, mayors, commissioners, and even judges to prison on convictions for bribery, racketeering, violating campaign financing laws.

The notion that the rich and powerful escape justice is not true.

The power of the federal government is immense when a United States Attorney decides he wants to try someone and send them to prison. Fighting such cases is very expensive and the outcomes are very uncertain even when one is innocent and has competent legal counsel. I've said before that I could see innocent people rationally making a decision to plead guilty to a crime they hadn't committed simply to avoid further attorney fees and the possibility of a longer prison sentence. Its a serious problem, but receives little attention from most members of the public who spend their time reading about murder and rape cases and are focused on seeing that the most maximum penalty available be imposed.
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Old 11-27-2011, 05:32 PM
 
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Sometimes the famous are made examples of. Plaxico Burress comes to mind. How many people go to prison for accidently shooting themselves? I know there was a weapons charge, but seriously, do you think Joe Blow would have gotten the same sentence?
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