The Not Guilty Plea


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A few days in a courtroom on jury duty and now reading two articles in the paper today abnout drunk driving may have just eliminated my faith in the legal system–a faith that has bee tenuous ever since OJ Simpson was pronounced not guilty.

The case I was released from for employment obligaions was of a fellow in Trenton who disobeyed police as he continued to ride a Quad-bike/ATV through the city of Trenton, NJ. Just riding an ATV on the streets of Trenton is illegal, but this guy disobeyed officers–nearly running one down–and kills an innocent woman. While he was on bail, he gets picked up for selling crack. He’s currently serving a sentence for the drug charge, but the issue of his ride through Trenton resulted in a hung jury, so he’s getting another trial. Apparently, since he didn’t have the intent of killing the woman, the prosecutor is having trouble convicting him of it. Right.

Today I hear of a woman who is on record admitting that she smoked crack at 2am, did heroin at 9am, had one drink (just 1?) at noon, and hid the crack pipe in "a bodily cavity" after a car crash at 5pm. As a consequence of the crash, two of her four or five foster kids are dead. After admitting the use of mind altering substances, this woman has the audacity to stand before a judge and say she is not responsible for the two children’s deaths? She pleas Not Guilty to the court and is held on $500,000 bail. She also has a history of driving drunk and at the time of the crash was allegedly driving 70 mph. Sounds not guilty to me.

The second story in the paper today covers a drunk driver who was carting around 8 kids. When she crashed, also at 70 mph, an 11 year old was killed. Her 11 year old survived. Several were not even wearing seatbelts. Her lawyer is making the case that his client is not the only one responsible, that the parents of the kids she picked up saw she was drunk and chose to let the kids ride with her. Her blood-alcohol level was .132 ( the limit is .08) and she has plead Not Guilty.

I’m confident that the system will ultimately find these clowns guilty, so maybe my faith in the system isn’t completely ruined yet. Until then, how frustrating is it knowing that our tax dollars have to pay for others’ inability to own up to the consequences of their actions?

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