Why Do the Guilty Have All the Rights?
After the headlines of a crime have gone away there's still the matter of the trial. In the courtroom you'll find the defendant(s), a judge and possibly jurors and family members. If the crime happened to be something of interest to the public at-large the cameras and reporters will be there for the trial as well. What you won't find in that courtroom is common sense.
If a citizen does something to break the law there are rules and standards in the United States to ensure the accused has due process and a chance to defend themselves. That's part of what makes this country great, after all. Somewhere along the line those laws have been bent and redefined so many times by clever lawyers being paid good money to get their (sometimes) guilty client found innocent of the charges. What's resulted is a mess of epic proportions.
There are several high-profile cases that come to mind, but two ongoing trials come to mind immediately. The first is a crime that happened in our own backyard; the trial of Nidal Hasan, the accused Ft.Hood shooter. Outside the courtroom in which he's being court marshaled Nidal Hasan is known as a killer of 13 innocent people, but inside the courtroom he's given every right and privilege granted a US citizen, if not more. Hasan even continued to receive his military paycheck for a period of time after the crime. He's treated with far more respect than he showed those innocent people November 5, 2009.
Hasan's trial has been held up time and time again, and the latest delay is over his refusal to shave his beard to be in compliance of military regulations. A technicality is being exploited by the defense to delay his eventual capital punishment. This delay is is preventing closure for the victim's families and is also delaying justice. That's what the court system was designed to do initially... bring about justice. The judge that ordered the beard to be shaved and delayed the trial has been removed from the trial, so it appears the rights of the accused outweigh that of even the presiding judge.
The other trial that comes to mind is that of the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooter James Holmes. Friday, January 11th was another banner day for the defense team. The arraignment was delayed until March. The decision by the judge sent shock waves through the courtroom and caused the father of one of the victims to shout out, "Rot in hell, Holmes!". The outburst caused the judge to reconvene the trial to address the situation. After being assured that there would be no further outbursts the judge turned attention to the delay, saying he understood the frustration but he wanted to ensure he didn't give the defense a reason to appeal after the trial.
In both cases, and in thousands of cases like these the often-times guilty party is able to drag out the process for years, delaying any closure for the families of the victims and clogging the court system with both the guilty and the innocent. This whole process has gone from a trial of the accused to a trial of the accusers. Judges have to make sure they don't slip so as to avoid appeal. Lawyers manipulate the system. Victims become victims all over again every time a guilty person walks free on a technicality.
For these victims and families that have to live out the crime again and again in court in appeal after appeal there seems like there's no hope. The state of Texas offers help to victims and their families.