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Sun Oct 28, 2018, 01:09 PM

Outrage [View all]

“Contrary to common belief, the presumption of innocence applies only inside a courtroom. It has no applicability elsewhere.”
Vincent Bugliosi; Outrage; Island Books; 1996; pages 21-22.

Friday, there was widespread discussion of Cesar Sayoc's being arrested for the MAGAbombings. These discussions began around the time that federal investigators indicated that they believed Sayoc was guilty of mailing the bombs. Some took a more Lou Dobbs approach, and interpreted Sayoc's arrest as certain evidence that the Deep State was out to stop Trump from deciding the mid-term elections.

Sayoc drove and inhabited a van. Even before the bombs were mailed, the van concerned some people. They recognized that it represented the bad potential lurking in the bowels of the Trump movement. Since yesterday, many view it as the defining essence of the alt-right. Still others see it as proof that the Deep State's involvement. These group sees the “caravan” as posing the existential threat to the US, rather than what Sayoc's van represents.

Thus, yesterday we witnessed the terrible attack on human beings in Pittsburgh. A 22-year veteran of the FBI said it is “the most horrific crime scene” he has ever seen. Robert Bowers reportedly believed the people in the synagogue were “the enemy,” who supported treating refugees humanly. This brutally ugly mass-murder, along with the mail bombs, perfectly defines the nature of the struggle within the United States.

Both of these situations are examples of social problems, which involve – among other things – our legal system. Hence, rational people can express their opinion that Sayoc and Bowers are guilty of extremely serious crimes. We can be sure that irrational people – with minds twisted by hatred – are talking about these two as “patriots.” And yet, I've seen a few people state that commenting on their guilt somehow violates the concept of “innocent until proven guilty.”

One person went so far as to say that “the facts” will come out in Sayoc's trial, which will prove if he is “guilty or innocent.” Such a statement disqualifies the person from being taken seriously, since – as we all should know – a criminal trial is restricted to verdicts of “guilty” or “not guilty.” The level of ignorance that holds otherwise is, sad to say, the same as found in those who think Alex Hones is being denied his constitutional rights if a newspaper or other media source refuses to carry his bullshit.

Sayoc and Bowers are entitled to fair trials. The jurors are instructed to decide if a defendant has been proven to be guilty by the prosecution. According to the bar's Rules of Professional Conduct (3.6), neither the prosecutor or defense lawyers should comment outside of the courtroom about the defendant's guilt or innocence. Likewise, as many of us remember from Nixon's infamous quote on Manson, public officials from other branches of government should not comment on an on-going case.

The general public is free to discuss issues of crime. The media is free to report on crime. If a trial judge suspects that “local” public discussion and media reports could prevent a defendant from getting a fair trial, one remedy is a change of venue. Another is to sequester the jury. Our legal system is, of course, imperfect: innocent people are sometimes convicted, and guilty people are sometimes found to be “not guilty.” Yet, these are reasons that we should have discussions about the legal system in general, and some cases in particular.

Yesterday was a hard day for my family. It marked four years since a man shot my cousin and his son in a “road rage” incident. Many forum members here would contact the court asking that the accused be denied bail. In fact, the court received more correspondence from DU members, than it had ever received from the public on any case. The defendant was eventually found guilty by the court. That verdict merely confirmed my opinion that the guy was a murderer.

For the sake of open discussion, I will note that one of the people that Sayoc had focused his hatred upon before his bombing campaign was someone I've been friends with for 30+ years. My friend's identity isn't important; the fact that Sayoc was threatening many, many people, and then attempted to carry out those threats, is important. It deserves discussion. The fact that Bowers acted upon his sick hatred for Jewish people demands serious discussion.

This is a strange essay. We are in strange times. I don't pretend to know all the answers, much less The Answer. But one thing I do know is that the sickness that inspired Sayoc and Bowers is widespread. It has infected a significant group of people known as alt-right nationalist. And they have infected the larger society. It is something that we need to continue to discuss openly.

H2O Man

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H2O Man Oct 2018 OP
pwb Oct 2018 #1
H2O Man Oct 2018 #13
vlyons Oct 2018 #2
grantcart Oct 2018 #7
Harker Oct 2018 #14
vlyons Oct 2018 #17
H2O Man Oct 2018 #21
triron Oct 2018 #30
vlyons Oct 2018 #35
coeur_de_lion Oct 2018 #3
LiberalLovinLug Oct 2018 #18
H2O Man Oct 2018 #22
coeur_de_lion Oct 2018 #28
CaliforniaPeggy Oct 2018 #4
OMGWTF Oct 2018 #9
BigmanPigman Oct 2018 #15
Haggis for Breakfast Oct 2018 #27
H2O Man Oct 2018 #23
erronis Oct 2018 #5
H2O Man Oct 2018 #24
Boomerproud Oct 2018 #6
H2O Man Oct 2018 #25
grantcart Oct 2018 #8
Haggis for Breakfast Oct 2018 #29
grantcart Oct 2018 #32
Haggis for Breakfast Oct 2018 #33
H2O Man Oct 2018 #36
geardaddy Oct 2018 #40
Haggis for Breakfast Oct 2018 #42
malaise Oct 2018 #10
H2O Man Oct 2018 #37
berni_mccoy Oct 2018 #11
H2O Man Oct 2018 #38
cp Oct 2018 #12
BlancheSplanchnik Oct 2018 #20
LittleGirl Oct 2018 #16
BlancheSplanchnik Oct 2018 #19
Me. Oct 2018 #26
lunasun Oct 2018 #31
voteearlyvoteoften Oct 2018 #34
geardaddy Oct 2018 #39
lunatica Oct 2018 #41
spanone Oct 2018 #43