The American justice system was designed to protect the rights of the accused, Our entire system of government is based on not trusting the government, with rights of citizens against government intrusions paramount.
If accused of a crime, a citizen has the right to remain silent and not incriminate himself. The accused not only has the right to an attorney, if they cannot afford an attorney one is appointed by the court free of charge. On top of that, if this attorney, working for free and appointed by the government fails to present an adequate defense, you have the right to appeal based on a lack of adequate representation.
All this is in place to protect the weak against the mighty. To protect the indigent against the wealthy. To protect commoners against the well connected elite.
Perhaps the most disgusting and perverse abuse of this system is taking place in Connecticut, where Michael Skakel, a member of the Kennedy Klan, has had his murder conviction overturned on the grounds that his celebrity lawyer did not provide an adequate defense. Apparently, the judge felt that Mickey’s decision to spend his legal fees on country clubs rather than paying his income tax was an indicator of poor judgement. Mickey went to jail, Michael got a reprieve.
Skakel had used his status, and is quoted as saying “I am going to get away with it because I am a Kennedy”. Unfortunately, he was also quoted as saying he was in a tree masturbating while watching Martha Moxley through her window. In the twenty seven years that Skakel had avoided prosecution, he said a number of things, but it might have been when he threatened a teacher’s wife with a ski pole that people got to thinking about how Martha Moxley had been assaulted with a golf club.
One ironic issue is the flexibility of Skakel’s relationship to the Kennedys. Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a measure of how the klan has disintegrated, maintains Skakel’s innocence, suggesting that he be released on bail while awaiting a new trial. Skakel was not so warmly embraced by the family during his previous trial. Still, the rich and powerful band together, RFK jr. is using not only his own radio show, but pal and son of Gloria Vanderbilt Anderson Cooper’s television program to make Skakel’s case. The court hasn’t bought the argument, stating that a retrial is not the same as a not guilty verdict. I would like to believe that the court finds the defense argument for a bail of no more than $500,000 so that he can visit his son laughable, the hypocrisy of trading on the power of a wealthy family and simultaneously crying poverty is incredible.
There are certainly abuses of the legal system by the wealthy, but this may take the cake. I find this most offensive in that by unscrupulously presenting himself as misrepresented, he makes the defense less viable for those who have truly been misrepresented.