Is the Court System Playing Russian Roulette with Attorneys, Defendants and Juries?
Is it nobler to go forth to Court and suffer sickening or outrageous fortune or to shed arms and attempt to resist the air of troubles by wearing masks or simply withdrawing prior to a comatose sleep or untimely death?
Arbitrarily and indiscriminately setting an extensive number of cases for trial in hopes of eradicating the numbers of the surmounting case load, through a pressured plea processing system, may appear to be a quick fix of an increasing problem of backlog. Unfortunately, it tends to undermine the very nature of the judicial system, the fortitude of which rests in providing a justice and treating of people fairly. Simply establishing a capricious paper roll call for something that will not readily occur undermines the willingness to serve when the venue is arbitrarily cancelled. In the process, this establishes nothing more than “make work” multiple times over for those involved; who must address and then readdress scheduling concerns for future short term legal appointments that will surely not be kept.
A respected Judge once wrote “Justice is a tolerable accommodation of compelling interests…sometimes just doing what appears to be the right thing may well meet those interests.” Certainly, playing roulette with attorneys, Court personnel, defendants and the public is far from accommodating, especially to those who may land on unlucky 19; certainly, a fortune that is not warranted or deserved.
Unfortunately, the situation leaves Judges, prosecutors, defense lawyers to deal with and in some instances, negotiate cases to address necessary postponements with increasing prolonged backlogs.
There are many persons who wish to serve, yet do not adhere to the rationale delivered in Tennyson’s Charge of the Light Brigade, “Ours is not to reason why but to do or die.” It is certainly not an adage that is founded in an intellectual society, wherein, the concept of restraint is utilized in opposition to hasty decision making, even if the situation is well pressured.
Reflecting on the numbers: Nationwide 200,000+ per day infected with 1 American every minute dying; elevating numbers rising at an unparallel rate in Marion County never seen before: 873 new cases; 14 deaths, with a positive 11.6% rate from November 29th – December 5th seems to indicate things to come similar to what is seen in emergency shutdowns of other municipalities and States. Now, with the introduction of a vaccine that is soon to be administered to all, it would appear that “doing what appears to be the right thing” is “not to be” for at least the next ninety (90) days.
Jack R. Maro, Esquire