The recent shooting of firefighters near Rochester, New York, illustrates some major flaws in our so-called justice system. According to the Washington Post:
A man who set his house on fire then lured firefighters to their deaths in a blaze of flames and bullets had attracted little attention since he got out of prison in the 1990s for killing his grandmother, authorities said…
He had served 17 years in prison after the beating death of his 92-year-old grandmother in 1980, for which he had originally been charged with murder but pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of manslaughter.
What are the details of his grandmother’s murder? It seems that…
According to reports, she was found at the bottom of the basement stairs in her home on Lake Road. She had been beaten with a hammer. Spengler pled guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to 8 1/3 to 25 years behind bars.
While in prison, Spengler did not seem like a man seeking mercy or repentance. I-Team 10 has obtained a copy of his 1997 parole hearing. At that hearing, the commissioner says “you didn’t want to come here today?”
Spengler replied, “I thought it was mandatory.”
When told it was not, Spengler said, “Then it’s not worth the time and effort.”
He was denied parole, but was released six months later after serving two-thirds of the maximum.
If I’m not mistaken, there was a time when murderers were vigorously prosecuted and punished as severely as possible. I get the impression that justice is secondary, while the primary priority is saving court costs. Plea-bargains save a lot of money by both reducing legal expenses and by shortening prison stays. Perhaps, if legal fees weren’t so exorbitant, plea-bargains wouldn’t be so common. Why are legal fees so high? A major factor in rising legal costs is the American Bar Association (ABA). According to the ABA’s own website:
The American Bar Association is the world’s largest voluntary professional organization, with nearly 400,000 members and more than 3,500 entities. It is committed to doing what only a national association of attorneys can do: serving our members, improving the legal profession, eliminating bias and enhancing diversity, and advancing the rule of law throughout the United States and around the world.
“Serving our members” and “improving the legal profession” can easily be taken to mean “earning them more money” and “making the legal profession more lucrative.”
We can agree that the ABA is a “voluntary” organization in the sense that nobody is forced to become a lawyer. But, in the U.S., lawyers are not given a choice as to whether they wish to be associated with the ABA. If they attend law school, they can thank the ABA for their outrageously high tuition. Sherwood Ross, back in 2009, put it well:
By requiring law schools to hire more full-time professors and add new buildings, the American Bar Association(ABA) is driving up the cost of a legal education to unprecedented levels, two legal education reformers say. Tuitions at some ABA-accredited law schools have breached the $40,000 per year mark, forcing many students to assume debts that will take years to pay off. The matter is so dire that university presidents “describe a situation where the ABA would…threaten…disaccreditation of the law school if they would not play ball,” write Lawrence Velvel and Kurt Olson in their new book “The Gathering Peasants’ Revolt In American Legal Education”(Doukathsan). Velvel is cofounder and dean of the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover(MSL) and Olson is an assistant professor of law at the school…
Other critics have bluntly described the ABA as a “guild” to enrich law school professors. Velvel and Olson charge the ABA has drastically lowered the permissible student to full time faculty ratio, “thus forcing schools to double or triple the number of expensive full time faculty members. At the same time, the ABA’s method of calculating the ratio would not permit even the fractional counting of adjunct faculty members, thus reducing an institution’s ability to reduce costs by using far less expensive part-time faculty members, even judges and expert practitioners.” In a secret student-to-faculty standard that is far more stringent than the written one known to the public, Velvel and Olson write, the ABA has pressured deans to adopt a 15 to 1 or even a 12 to 1 student-to-faculty ratio.
The ABA seems to be particularly keen on diversity. They have an elaborate subsection of their website devoted to diversity along with seminars and so on*. For an organization that suckles at the teats of crime, this should not be surprising. Diversity breeds crime. Crime breeds more legal complexity (and corruption of course). More legal complexity breeds an increased need for experts. A need for experts breeds protective guilds. Protective guilds breed higher prices. Higher prices breed cost-saving measures – such as plea-bargains and early release. Plea-bargains and early release breed repeat offenders and, in this case, two dead firemen.
Another thing I wanted to point out, regarding this shooting, is that the gunman was not allowed to own guns. Obviously, this did not stop him. What do the “gun-control” advocates say to this? That’s an easy one: They don’t want any of us to own guns – except for the military and law-enforcement. Because everyone knows they can do no wrong.
*I don’t think we can make a distinction between the diversity the ABA strives for within its own ranks and diversity in society at large. Incompetent, and corrupt, lawyers also feed the legal profession by creating new complexities and novel cases.