“Equal Justice Under Law” is engraved over the entrance of the U.S. Supreme Court building. It must have been put there as some kind of joke because the wealthy can escape justice while the poor cannot.
The latest example is the case of Robert Kraft who was caught in a Jupiter, Florida ‘massage parlor’ having his dingi massaged, if not more.
Kraft is the billionaire owner of the NFL Boston Patriots. His high-priced attorneys managed to get video of the dingi massage quashed.
CBS News reports that in his 10-page ruling, Judge Leonard Hanser wrote that Jupiter police detectives and the judge who issued the search warrant allowing the secret installation of cameras at the spa did not do enough to minimize the invasion of privacy of customers who only received legal massages. Hanser also ruled that detectives cannot testify about what they saw on the video or when they stopped Kraft.
The ruling means that prosecutors may be forced to drop all charges against Kraft and the other defendants in this prostitution case.
Can you imagine someone who got caught like Kraft, but who is poor, getting the same kind of ruling out of the court. Not in your wildest dreams. It was Kraft’s wealth that afforded him the best lawyers that money can buy and who, with all their resources, managed to get the video quashed.
In criminal cases, the poor are often stuck with incompetent court appointed lawyers or underfunded public defenders. In Houston, court appointed attorneys are often lawyers who are rewarded for having made campaign contributions to the judge who appoints them. Some of these lawyers are competent while others are not. And these lawyers will not go to trial because they have been made to understand that if they do, there will be no more future appointments.
In Texas, except for attorneys appointed in capital cases, the competence standard for court appointed lawyers varies from county to county. But even the most competent appointed attorneys will not have the resources of the prosecutors or high-priced lawyers.
A Public Defender’s Office for indigent criminal defendants is a much better solution to the inequity than court appointed lawyers. But for a public defender’s office to be effective, it must be as adequately funded as the prosecutor’s office, with good salaries, its own staff of investigators and funds for expert witnesses.
In any event, neither the public defenders nor prosecutors would be able to match the resources available to high-priced law firms like those hired by Kraft.
Most poor defendants are guilty as sin, but some may not be. I’m a tough-on-crime guy, but those who are truly innocent deserve better than being coerced into accepting a guilty plea.
There is a hue and cry for the removal of Confederate statues from public view. Robert Kraft and Jeffery Epstein, among other wealthy lawbreakers, have made a much stronger case tor removal of the laughable “Equal Justice Under Law” engraving from the building that houses the Supreme Court.