Tuesday, September 22, 2009

How the football of justice bounces

Michael Vick, when he was not running and passing on the football field, was a dog fighting impresario. For this he was sentenced to twenty-three months (and several conditions) under federal convictions, and was sent to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Dog fighting is vicious and disgusting. Anyone who profits from or enjoys this entertainment is wicked.

Donte Stallworth, football receiver, while drunk and driving, hit and killed Mario Reyes. Stallworth was sentenced to thirty days (and several conditions) and did twenty-four days in Miami jail.

Plaxico Burress, football receiver, accidentally shot himself in the thigh while dancing in a saloon. This sounds like a foolish video scene, albeit with a handgun, that would be shown on a television programme highlighting humor and stupidity, but the mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, became intensely vocal advocating fullest possible punishment. Burress has been sentenced, to-day, to two years imprisonment.

Where is the equity? ‘Justice’ in the United States of America is a game, a contest of intangibles, and like a game can be decided by one bad call. There is no instant replay in the courtroom.

I would suppose all three men, because of their financial success in athletics had access to high calibre legal advocates. If they were three, poor, unknown, black men their trials would be of little note or contest. There is a huge thirst for punishment, and blind vengeance, over drunk driving. Organisations monitor and push courts and legislators to exercising greater severity. Hitting a stop sign, while drunk driving, can lead to a nightmare for the driver over virtually nothing. Government financial grants are given to elaborate sobriety stops, that are used as fishing expeditions. Yet, have you read supra? And then two years for an unintentional, self-inflicted wound? while a killing gets twenty-four days? The scales of justice are not balanced, there broken.

Now, in 1963 William Zantzinger, a young rich man, received a six month sentence for killing Hattie Carroll, a black hotel servant, in Baltimore. Bob Dylan has given this a lasting infamy:
In the courtroom of honor, the judge pounded his gavel
To show that all's equal and that the courts are on the level
And that the strings in the books ain't pulled and persuaded
And that even the nobles get properly handled
Once that the cops have chased after and caught 'em
And that the ladder of law has no top and no bottom,
Stared at the person who killed for no reason
Who just happened to be feelin' that way without warnin'.
And he spoke through his cloak, most deep and distinguished,
And handed out strongly, for penalty and repentance,
William Zanzinger with a six-month sentence.
In 1991 Zantzinger was sentenced to eighteen months for collecting rent on properties he did not own as a landlord. Zantzinger died earlier this year, he has not been forgotten.

It is hard to correlate the dispensation of justice in this country. Wealth and the social status of participants skews matters, but not always correspondingly. The wheels of justice and fortune are similar to a roulette table’s.

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