Security breaches at airports! Cyber-attacks throughout the nation! Shootings and killings (although, as the commissioner tells us, simply bringing the numbers up to par) in Boston!
Doesn’t sound too good, does it?
No, it doesn’t. And I am about to tell you that it’s even worse..
Attorney Sam’s Take On Your Risks In Criminal Investigations
You do not need an experienced Boston criminal lawyer to tell you that the above events are scary to anyone living who is aware of the news. The things that can happen to us should we venture outside, or even stay inside, are frightening.
“Well, thanks, Sam! Is that the bottom line to this week’s blogs? To tell us we are all doomed?”
Not quite. You see, I am actually an optimist by nature, although, when looking through my criminal defense glasses, I look at things as a paranoid. Both points of view, it turns out, come into play here.
By looking at things as a paranoid, I see two very real dangers which all these stories underscore and for which they sound the mental alarm.
First of all, none of these stories are new. These instances may have just happened, but we have faced them many times before. And yet…what are we doing about them?
“Well, clearly, those in the various industries are doing all that they can…that’s why they are throwing up their hands in frustration.”
Well, yes and no, I’m afraid. Throwing up their hands in frustration is fine…so long as it is followed by meaningful approaches. After all, these are experts in whom we have placed our faith…and fate. They must keep on fighting the fight and if they are unable to do so, or if they have burned out, then they must be replaced. The cause is too important.
In terms of “doing all that they can”…I have to question that.
You see, I believe in human ingenuity. Especially in a country which prides itself in its free-thinking and the “glories” of capitalism. As a species we came from doing everything with rocks. Just a couple of years after that (when I graduated law school), a personal computer was an oddity. Now, look at us.
We, and our abilities with technology have grown at lightning speed. However, in doing so, we have also created a few problems. Some because we have not seemed to “grow up” at the same speed when it comes to preventing misuse of the technology. Some because we have ignored other problems, such as those which many folks face on a daily basis. In any event, there is an old saying. “If Man created the problem, Man can fix the problem.”
I would like to supplement that with another adage. Namely, “Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” It comes, I believe, from the various 12-Step Programs which have grown out of Alcoholics Anonymous.
It seems to me that what our “experts” are doing, and so what we are doing by proxy, is consistent with this definition of insanity.
“Sam, how can you say that? Are you an expert on computer forensics? Airport security? National defense?”
Nope. Just an expert in criminal defense. Oh yes, I am also a guy with a brain.
Looking at it in terms of our authorities on the street, I can tell you, and have told you throughout the past few years of blogs, that I see the same approaches over and over again. How many times have I decried law enforcement’s procedure of deciding what they believe the truth to be and then gather evidence, discarding on that which is inconsistent with what they believe? How often have I complained about the police notion of, “Whoever came to us first must be the actual victim”?
And how often have I railed against political law enforcement leaders playing to a citizenry which seems content to be fed the blood of all alleged wrongdoers at the cost of doing justice, fully investigating allegations and being fair minded?
You saw it yourself in this very week of blogs. The instant assumption on shooters is that they must be gang-bangers…shooter and shootee both! It does not matter what the circumstances are. It does not matter what the jury says. It does not matter what the truth may be.
Don’t get me wrong. I actually have allot of respect for law enforcement. Particularly those who risk their lives out there to protect the majority every day. However, the politicians and panderers amongst and leading them have created a circumstance which is quite unlikely to solve these problems…only worsen them.
My second point is an off-shoot of that and, yes, it has more to do with criminal defense and you as criminal defendant.
When high publicity crimes take place, there is a great deal of pressure put on law enforcement to, not only “solve” that particular crime, but also come up with a fancy new “strike force” to assuage the people that it is taking a brand new initiative in solving the problem.
For the most part, it is akin to something which is known to drop out of the backside of a bull.
However, it also creates more risk to the public about which they are completely unaware…until they get caught up in the publicity net.
The sensitivity to certain types of criminal allegations make the risk of giving the benefit of the doubt to someone accused (under almost ANY circumstances), politically impossible. Nobody wants to be on the front page of tomorrow’s newspaper as “soft on crime” and the sensitivity increasing makes the type of allegations more newsworthy.
That means the chances of any suspicion being resolved against you increase and, with it, the actions of the police department, Department Of Children and Families and the Office of the District Attorney. At least.
“Well, Sam, what about the judges? Aren’t they supposed to protect us from that?”
Two things about that. One is that you do not get before the judge until after the charges are being brought, which means that it will go on your record The second point is that judge can only dismiss charges under certain limited circumstances.
Increasingly, they do so at their own risk. Although, as you will see tomorrow, that may be about to change.
“Ok, Sam, you said that your personal optimism also comes into play here. You have painted a pretty bleak picture. Where’s the optimism?”
The optimism is that I believe in people. That is one of the reasons for this daily blog. I am hoping that by revealing the reality in the system might actually get people interested enough to do something about it.
Am I right? Is there reason for such a hope to break complacency? Let me know, if you wish. Drop me a line at my personal email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, stay tuned tomorrow to see signs that the judiciary may be finally pushing back!