Due Process or Mob Rule?By Jim Glennon | Sep 24, 2020
I’m a real emotional guy. My wife says I live in “full color” with my heart and every other passion on both sleeves. My opinions are shared easily with those I’m close to and they often make it into my columns and books.
I’ve been asked by loved ones how I—someone so quick to emotion—could function as a commander of investigations and run a major crimes task force. How could I keep those passions, those emotions, so quick to appear in my personal life, from disrupting my professional judgment?
The Law is Free of Passion
My answer is always the same. I had to. I had a responsibility to the law and the order that comes with following those laws. For without that order, there would be chaos.
On occasion, my detectives, in emotional states, would come to me with status reports on major crimes. They would ask to contact prosecutors in order to secure search warrants, subpoenas and arrest affidavits. Most of the time they were ready to make those requests, having their ducks in a legal row so to speak.
Other times their emotions would override their usual meticulous work. They were in a hurry to arrest the person they knew to be responsible for serious crimes.
These dedicated people weren’t trying to railroad a suspect or illegally cut corners. They just allowed their passions to override their logic.
As I told one of my investigators, “We need facts, not opinions, beliefs or hopes born from emotion.”
And that is it in a nutshell; the law must be separate from personal passionate beliefs. It must demand a strict adherence to due process. That is the foundation of the American Justice System. It is the hallmark of our society.
While without question over the centuries, and even today, there are miscarriages of that justice, but 99% of the time the system does work. When people talk about innocent people being wrongfully convicted, they are right. It happens. But in more cases, it is the criminal that is able to evade justice because of the system designed to protect the wrongfully accused.
Both of those scenarios are inevitable realities in a system designed by fallible human beings being run by fallible human beings.
Deciding to circumvent the system would lead to anarchy, chaos, mob rule and perhaps literal lynchings. All things we thought, up until the past few months, were injustices of a bygone era. No reasonable person would want to go back to the time of mob justice orchestrated by an enraged posse. Lynchings occurring because personal beliefs and passions overrode commons sense, evidence, and observance of due process.
“Dismantle the Whole System!”
Welcome to the hell that is 2020, the worst of the worst years by almost any standard when it comes to the fraying of the fabric that is the American way of life.
Yesterday, a Grand Jury in Louisville decided not to indict three police officers for murder. Those people who were impaneled, I’m sure, took those positions with the intention of delivering a fair verdict based on actual facts and evidence. I’m also sure that they each knew the ramifications of their decision.
Those people—not athletes, not washed up actors, not college professors, not the activist media members—but those people and those people alone, saw and heard the complete truth and the actual evidence concerning the events of Breonna Taylor’s unfortunate death. Those people, serving their community, putting their lives on hold, took on that responsibility. They took an oath.
Over the course of weeks and months, they listened, they fretted, and they considered as they heard the facts connected to those horrifying moments leading up to the shooting that took that young woman’s life.
And they suffered. No question they suffered, as they evaluated all the heartbreaking data and made those excruciating decisions. Decisions that were guided by the truth, the state’s laws and its processes. Laws and processes designed with due process in mind. Laws and processes designed to avoid mob rule and keep the angry hordes at bay.
But inexplicably, today, in the year 2020, pundits, actors, athletes, activists, news anchors and even lawmakers and politicians are condemning the grand jury and are openly advocating for due process to be overturned and mob rule to reign once again.
Members of each of those groups have literally used the phrase, “Dismantle the whole system!” Some have advocated for “burning to the ground” whole cities if not the country. Last night many started that process in various cities, three Louisville offices were shot. Cops in Portland were attacked with Molotov cocktails.
The Governor of Illinois, not Kentucky, held a press conference and said the grand jury’s decision was a “miscarriage of justice” while having no idea of the evidence in this case.
People who know nothing about the law are demanding drastic action and wholesale changes to the justice system. People who know nothing – and apparently care nothing – of the actual evidence presented to the grand jury, are protesting and insisting, by threatening anarchy and violence, that the officers be charged with murder no matter what is the truth. The hell with the law!
To them, their passions and misguided beliefs are more important than truth and justice because justice to them is whatever they themselves determine the truth to be.
And with what will they replace the current system?
Literal mob rule! Tyrannical dictatorship!
Do they realize that is what they are advocating for?
How many people who adhere to these dismantling beliefs made up their minds based on zero facts, social media misinformation and/or flat out lies immediately after the event occurred?
How many people have been threatening to protest, march, do damage, cause mayhem and move out of the country over any number of hot-button incidents if the outcomes aren’t what they demand they should be? Demanded outcomes that are based on nothing more than their social justice passions and biased beliefs reinforced by others in their like-minded bubbles, none having the slightest understanding of due process or what it is like to live in a world where the mob establishes power and imposes its will on the populace.
Where is All This Leading?
I hope most reasonable people recognize that popular basketball players, washed up quarterbacks, D-level actors and aging rockers aren’t exactly the arbiters of reason and intelligence…their misguided beliefs and injudicious passions not equating to fair and equitable justice.
Our system isn’t perfect by any means. No one or no one system is. But contrary to what the angry nihilists believe, it is a system that employs people with justice as their goal and honorable behavior as a matter of course.
I’d put any of them against a millionaire athlete any day of the week.
It’s time for those who recognize the value of this country and its effort for justice to step up and repel the momentum of the mob rule hordes.
If we don’t, 2021 will make 2020 look like nirvana.