What Is Justice?

by Luigi Kapaj

There is a man, of whom it was announced on the news recently, will be released from prison soon. He did not serve the full term he was sentenced to. He was not repentant of the murder for which he was convicted. He did not do the crime at all. The District Attorney admitted to lying to the court about the availability of witnesses to the crime. The District Attorney told the Judge that one witness, who claims the accused does not come close to the physique of the man she saw, was unavailable for the trial. Meanwhile, the prosecutors put up another witness to positively identify the defendant. This witness was a convict who was convinced, by the District Attorney, to testify by making a deal. In reality, he was asleep at the time and saw nothing. Justice needed to be served. The District Attorney got his conviction.

Is this Justice? A man nearly had 20 years taken from him and suffered public humiliation. A man was punished for a crime. The man who was punished was innocent. The man who did the crime walks free today. To what end do these events truly serve?

Our Criminal Justice system serves to protect society from the criminal element. Actually, it is there to punish anyone who does not behave accordingly. Your Liberty and chance to pursue happiness can be taken away for actions that have no victim. It is called serving Justice but in reality a Prosecutor gets rewarded for winning, not for being right. Such actions belie society’s belief that Justice is best served when someone is punished. This is not Justice, it is revenge; and it does not even do that marginal concept justice when it is misdirected so.

In high school, I was attacked by six Neonazis. The fray was quickly joined by six other Guidos with whom I have had problems before. Since I can remember, guys with short hair have always been envious and contemptuous of guys with long hair. I was able to not only fight them off, but to deal out enough of a beating that they dared not attempt a rematch. This having occurred on school grounds, the administration felt it necessary to deal out its own brand of Justice. Twelve people attacking one person is legally a riot by New York State Penal Law and such a situation would have marred Susan Wagner High School’s stellar reputation of the day. Instead, they looked at me with my long hair, and at my opponents with their short hair, and decided to suspend me for two weeks using the reports of those that attacked me as witnesses while dismissing the reports of all fifty other witnesses since "they are just children, you cannot believe what they say," as my parents were told. I missed two valuable weeks of schooling to satisfy their delusional façade of a safe and uneventful school while my assailants walked, though some had to crawl, away.

Prejudice can be the source of much injustice. I am going on thirty years old and have found a way to comfortably become a productive member of society with an impressive career in computers and a growing home based Internet business while furthering my education. Yet, only last week, as I walked to my home from the train station, an old couple in a car at the intersection I was crossing gave me the most evil and suspicious stare as they locked the doors when I walked by as if I was a threat to them when the reality is quite the contrary. This was not some "dangerous" neighborhood, nor was I doing anything more threatening than walking across a street away from their car. This was in a middle class neighborhood where I was well in the ethnic majority. On the same street the very next day, I had some kid spit out his car window at me with his mother laughing as they quickly drove away. This is the society that our Criminal Justice system protects.

What is Justice? I have no idea since I have never seen it.

© 2002, by Luigi Kapaj
Plagiarizers will be brutally tortured!
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last updated on January 3, 2003

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