Sam Harris has a fascinating discussion on his blog about self-defence in the USA. The entire article is well worth a read, but I was struck by something implicit in one of the stories that speaks volumes about the terrible mess both in the justice system in general and also with the rotten cheapening of white males victims in that system AND the rank injustice towards female victims of domestic abuse.
Here is the story:
Sam Harris: One sometimes hears horror stories about people who engaged in seemingly necessary acts of self-defense and yet were zealously prosecuted and landed in prison. What is the worst that can happen?
Steven Levine: The worst that can happen is that you go to prison for the rest of your life, especially if you kill somebody. In California, even if you have a valid self-defense claim, the DA’s office will typically still file charges on you. I recently had a client, a 50-year-old nurse, who was in her own home when her ex-boyfriend (for 26 years) came over. He’d moved out 7 months earlier. There was a small history of domestic violence. But in fact, he had recently assaulted their 22-year-old daughter by head-butting her. While they were discussing things downstairs in the living room, he picked up a sledgehammer. She grew worried, told him to leave, and retreated upstairs. He put down the hammer but followed her upstairs and told her he did not have to leave. Once upstairs, he was yelling at her. Finally, she grabbed her gun. She’s a cancer survivor. She’s had a double mastectomy. She’s half his size, and she told him to leave. He went for the gun, and she shot him. The bullet went through his rib cage and he died. She tried to save him by doing CPR.
The jury convicted her of murder despite the fact that she said that she was scared for her life.
This is absolutely nuts! What sort of justice system systematically delivers this sort of retributative pseudo-justice?
Another thing that struck me was the casual way in which white, male victims are are the most worthless victims in the system. Female minorities at the top, then white females, then male minorities and finally, at the bottom of the pile – the white male.
Steven Levine: Again, my case should have been a solid self-defense case, but the jury did not accept the fact the gun should have come out in the first place. I am still stunned by it all. I had a Lancaster jury, an Asian client, and a white male victim. In a different part of town, a different judge, I believe a not guilty verdict would have been the result.
Here we have a defence lawyer stunned that he had a case where an Asian female who killed a white male was convicted, not because of the justified self-defence angle, but because in Lancaster it is stunning that a minority woman is convicted of a crime for killing a white male. Sheesh.
Also check out:
The American Police State – http://chronicle.com/article/The-American-Police-State/142965/
The Collapse of American Criminal Justice Hardcoverby William J. Stunts (Amazon.com) EXCELLENT