G(u)ilt

G(u)ilt
"The g(u)ilty seem more likely to walk away free to commit their crime again."

Our criminal justice system struggles to treat everyone equally under the law. Those who can afford expensive delaying actions tend to invoke them, deferring justice if not thereby outright denying it. Years later, the urgency of meting out justice erodes and the well-heeled defendant might find the charges dropped or simply turning moot. The poorer defendants might find admission more attractive, throwing themselves on the supposed mercy of the court or hoping to bid down the damage through sincere contrition. The merely guilty and the more g(u)ilty experience really different days in court. The guilty might hang their heads in shame while the g(u)ilty might find any of an array of deflecting blames to hide behind. Until the jury's finished deliberations and the judge pounds his gavel, all seem equal under the law. Once that gavel sounds, the g(u)ilty will more likely walk away free.

The G(u)ilt seems obvious on the wealthy man's face, but it's a face more belligerent than contrite.
He stands upon dubious rights, extending privilege beyond the full extent of the body of precedent law. He pleads spurious conditions. He asserts more than he ever admits to having done. He'll lie while insisting he's well within his rights to obstruct in any way he might. He'll appeal any ruling as long as that avenue extends, then likely as not refuse to comply with whatever order the superior court hands down, pleading another in an ever-lengthening series of misunderstandings, starting yet another round of judgements, each confounding the case. The fine, when it's finally assigned, will very likely amount to little more than a light slap on the wrist. No jury and no judge ever seems to understand the magnitude of the wealth they're dealing with. A million bucks might well be chimp change to these g(u)ilty clowns. Even convicted, they still seem to be out free and walking around.

The indigent carry little recourse. They cannot make bail, so they go directly to jail. They might spend more time in there with their trial pending than they'd ever spend convicted on the crime they're charged with committing, even after insisting that they didn't actually do the deed; even after actually receiving a full exoneration at trial. They will not receive a penny in compensation for the time served, and, depending upon the jurisdiction, might be billed for court costs in addition to the bucks they forfeited in their defense. The whole process, almost unavoidably ruinous. Convicted of a crime, they'll do more than their time, finding themselves disenfranchised from thereafter voting (depending upon the jurisdiction), owning a firearm, and perhaps ever again holding an above the table job. Odd are that they'll offend again, once backed into that inescapable corner as a once-convicted offender.

The law treats those with gilt as though they could not possibly ever be as truly g(u)ilty as their lowlier counterparts. They might have to surrender their passport and wear an ankle bracelet when padding around the manse, but they seem to dance around any stigma associated with their charges. They might proudly insist that they did it for a greater good lost on those more familiar with genuine good works. Still, we dare not presume guilt before proven innocence, though the g(u)ilt might seem more than obvious to anyone quickly glancing at the evidence. Justice remains blind, though I suspect her sense of smell remains intact behind that blindfold, and the alluring scent of gilt might attract more forgiving responses, particularly when it comes to judging one of the so-called victimless crimes, where a complicated regulation got violated or in the case of a dizzyingly complex financial crime. The g(u)ilty seem more likely to walk away free to commit their crime again.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved








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