AN ESSAY ON INJUSTICE IN AMERICA
By Eric Deters
I wrote this over ten years ago. With maybe a point or two, it still stands. I’m proud of it. Therefore, I want to republish it.
In this country, lawyers control both the political and legal process and therefore, are responsible for the state the country is in. They leave nothing but injustice in their wake.
Both as a citizen and an attorney, each day I must address issues with injustice. Despite you not realizing it, you do too. There is a constant stream of decisions we make and others make which can cause an injustice upon someone. When you make a decision which is just or are the beneficiary of someone else’s just decision, you feel better about yourself and life itself. When you realize you made an unjust decision or you are the victim of an unjust decision of another, you doubt yourself and sometimes everyone else. Also, each of our perceptions of what is just plays a role. We can all agree at times that a pedophile receiving a long prison sentence is justice, but maybe not agree he should receive a death sentence. All those WWJD bracelets?
Aren’t we really simply asking what is justice?
As a lawyer, I feel compelled to provide my perspective so you realize the magnitude of the problems, how so few care, how so few try to do anything about it, how so few who are in a position to do something about it, do something about it, and what the simple solution always is to injustice. There isn’t always injustice. Plenty of justice occurs everyday from proper parental discipline to a Judge’s opinion or sentencing. I commend the prosecutor and grand jury in Cleveland for nailing Ariel Castro with 329 charges. There’s some justice for you.
The state of justice and injustice in America is an indictment of my profession. As you read this, think about all the injustice you experienced or witnessed just today or this week.
From small irritations to larger issues, we all experience injustice. We also each cause a little injustice. We all must live with the small injustices, but what about injustices which can destroy a life? Human behavior is human behavior. On occasion, men and women will mistreat each other. Some we must tolerate. Some we don’t. The same is true from our government. Should we excuse it because our government is made up of humans with all their foibles? Plato wrote: “Justice is the greatest good. Injustice is the greatest evil.” I believe Plato’s maxim. I also believe government sanctioned injustice is the worst form. I haven’t lost sight of the fact lawyers wrote the Constitution and founded our country. Also, I’ll admit today there are many smart, honorable, compassionate, emphatic and hard working lawyers. The difference between the majority of today’s lawyers and our Founding Fathers is simple honor.
The law is nothing more than rules. Think of the rules at school, rules at your work, rules at church and every place else you find yourself. Rules are a form of law. I personally think there are too many rules. It’s impossible to think of everything and it’s best to leave most to the parties and situation. Councilmen and county commissioners pass local ordinances which are law. State legislatures and state agencies pass state law. Congress and federal agencies pass federal law. We must tangle with all this law every day. Just ask a small businessman what he deals with everyday. State and federal courts interpret and make laws too. Bottom line – there is too much law. We know we need rules and laws for a civilized society, but at what point do we become a monitored and controlled society? Should it not be that if we aren’t bothering or harming anyone we should be left alone? Our government now watches and listens even if you are minding your own business. Also, when the politicians pass a rigid law, they always leave out a situation which no doubt will arise and cause a grave injustice to someone.
The profession most involved in creating all this law is the legal profession. Lawyers fill the state legislatures, state agencies, Congress, and federal agencies. You must be a lawyer to be a judge on the state or federal level except the US Supreme Court. With and through law, lawyers control government, and therefore, you. If you hold a negative opinion about the condition the country is in, please realize lawyers are to blame. There is not a more self important, complicating profession than the legal profession. It’s supposed to be what lawyers in more of that self-importance call a “noble profession.” It should be. I relish that being a lawyer provides me a noble opportunity to wage war against injustice. I just wish it wasn’t so damn hard.
Lawyers have the propensity in phony self-righteousness to complicate the obvious and trivialize the momentous. For example, the 2,800 pages of Obamacare is the work of lawyers. The tax code? Lawyers. Dodd Frank? Lawyers. Think of all the federal and state agencies in the “alphabet soup”: SEC, IRS, FCC, FDA, and EPA. Lawyers control all of them. The Justice Department? Lawyers. Self-important, “know it all”, complicating simplicity lawyers.
Remember, the more complicated the document or law lawyers create or draft, the greater need for more lawyers to deal with the requirements and demands of what they create. Exhibit A: The IRS and its Tax Code. Lawyers don’t like simple because fewer lawyers are needed. They justify complex claiming they must think of everything. They don’t. Fewer lawyers are needed if nothing is complicated. Call it one big self-preservation game which everyone pays for. You know how I say anything that is complicated is probably not good for you? I read in this weeks “Business Courier” that Warren Buffett stresses simple. Simple works. What is simple in the law and government? Nothing. What the real scam is how lawyers and politicians try to sell us complicated solutions through law. Senator Rand Paul pointed out how ridiculous the number of billing codes for medical providers is under Obamacare. I read one bureaucrat trying to defend this coding by saying that once it’s implemented it will make it easier. Who are they kidding?
They always sell it to us as it being good for us. Guess why they are requiring all these codes? So it’s universal. Yes. They are requiring U.S. doctors to use the same code as all doctors in every country. One big universal code. This is supposed to help you out if you go to Italy and walk into a light pole. They claim they couldn’t treat your bruise without the same code for walking into a light pole in the U.S. There is really a code for walking into a light pole. To make a point about simple, the Ten Commandments are a pretty solid criminal law code. For those who claim life is more complicated now that at the time of Moses, I ask what in human nature has changed pertaining to crime including theft, murder and all the rest. The platforms, stages and instruments have changed. The conduct is the same.
There have been many political movements against injustice: discrimination against gays, Muslim discrimination against women, India’s tolerance of rape of women, the sale of children into bondage, historical battles for workers rights and women’s rights, the entire civil rights movement and more are and were all causes against injustice. They always find their resolution and salvation in law. It demonstrates the power of law. I also want to stress that not all law is bad and law is necessary. My point is there is simply too much of it and those who are “masterminding” more and more law are lawyers.
In America, we have now learned our government lied to us under oath about Benghazi, the IRS, Fast & Furious, the AP Scandal, drone attacks, the Patriot Acts, the NSA program and more. All of these involve incredible infringements on our liberty and freedom. They represent injustice. When the government breaks the law, nothing good is going down. Guess who is guiding all the law breaking and all the cover-ups? Lawyers.
Cicero once wrote that with every new law a little liberty is destroyed. It is. But guess what? Across America, every city, county, state and, yes the federal government, has some jackwagon dying to do what? 11Pass a law.11 “Need a law for this.” “Gotta have a law for that.” “We need a law.” All so darn important sounding to claim you need a law. Many of these lawmakers and freedom destroyers think they are lovers of liberty.
Meanwhile, you hear these phrases from lawyers, judges and Bar Associations:
“We are a country of laws.”
“It’s the rule of the law.”
“We must follow the law.”
Well, I hate to break it to them, but all law in this country is supposed to come from the consent of the governed and just because “law abiding” citizens voted lawyers into state legislatures and Congress and all the lawyers to the Courts of this country doesn’t mean justice is being done. Did you give consent to all the IRS code provisions? No. The lawyer you elected to Congress passed the law which allowed the lawyers to draft all those regulations. These are the same Congressmen acting alarmed by the scandal at the IRS today. Other than the first term Congressmen, these same Congressmen acting indignant at the IRS allowed the IRS to be what it is.
This is a true story. I have a friend on a street who was worried about a pit bull. They pushed the city they live in to pass a law by ordinance. I have another friend on that city’s council. He checked and found out there was only one death in Kentucky by pit bull and it was in Louisville years ago. (I hate and fear pit bulls too, by the way). Of course, everyone else on council knew voting against pit bulls would be great politics. So? New law. In reality, there were already laws to deal with dogs of any kind. I wasn’t phony about it. I was nice, but told my friend a law was not necessary. But, everyone felt better. We had a new law. For my next comedy routine, I think I’ll channel George Carlin and do a bit on all the laws we need: “Need a law for this. Need a law for that.”
The roadblocks to justice the “law” throws up makes you wonder about the law. For example, Ohio has a law requiring a medical malpractice case be filed within four years regardless of it being filed within a year the malpractice was discovered. The result? Well, if you find out ten years after a cardiologist does an unnecessary open heart surgery out of no fault of your own, the “law” claims too bad for you. Yes, I have that case. And who wrote that law? Lawyers. The law also tries to protect hospitals that provide permission for surgeons to do surgeries at their hospital and medical device makers who produce and market devices which harm patients. All the work of lawyers.
I represent a woman accused of murder who, I believe, is completely innocent. She has been in jail for a year. Do you think that doesn’t weigh on my mind? I know it weighs on her.
I represent two ladies and a young woman falsely accused of “sneaking” into a school and beginning a fight and despite being completely innocent, they have lost their jobs and their reputations by the false reports in the media. But, it’s worse. The assistant prosecutor, the
public defender’s office, the police officers and even the judge have joined together to block me from representing the juvenile, because they know I’m going after the police and school. They claim it’s a conflict of interest when we have clear law stating otherwise and the judge to date has refused to put in writing why there is conflict. All lawyers.
I represent a young twenty-one year old man shot in the back and killed by a bicycle cop for suspicion of drinking by a minor. The cop has no interest in accepting responsibility and the prosecutor ignored the video capturing it all. The cop is getting away with murder. Plain and simple.
The Enquirer knows they screwed up a story on Sarah Jones, but can’t bring themselves to just apologize.
I can go on and on including how Kentucky Bar Counsel through a Supreme Court rule is allowed to veto the Supreme Court Orders in lawyer discipline. An analogy would be a prosecutor being allowed to extend a sentence of a judge.
The lawyers who dominate the state Bar Association aren’t the lawyers like me who are too busy to get involved in such an association. Think about it. You think lawyers would vote me into the Bar Association leadership? Trust me when I tell you these lawyers in the Bar Association, not all of them, despise lawyers like me. A recent member of the Bar Association leadership, rather than settle a case which should be settled, told me to let him make some money first by letting him work the file for awhile. I said, “My client is homeless now. He needs the money.” What’s funny is these lawyers look down their noses at me, when my profession needs more like me. By the way, I make no apologies for what I do. Only realtors can relate. We don’t get paid unless we have a success. The lawyers who bill by the hour increase the cost of litigation far more than anyone else. They benefit from it. The lawyer defending Dr. Durrani thanked me for filing so many lawsuits against his client so his firm can bill, bill, bill.
I also tire of the Bar Association constantly promoting pro bono panels as if that’s the end all on free legal services. I’ll venture my office does more free legal work than any law firm in the tri-state and none of it is through the pro bono panel. Pro bono panels are fine, but they are very much part of the Bar Association self aggrandizement personality. It’s their “see we really are human” marketing campaign. I’m in the planning stages of opening one or more free legal clinics. Why hasn’t those big corporate law firms opened up free legal clinics? I know.
They couldn’t win a Pro Bono Award from the Bar Association.
Regardless what anyone may tell you, we each have a core way of thinking that effects how we see things. For example, would it shock you I was a Scotch-Irish farm boy? Lincoln said if you find the path to a person’s heart you find the road to their logic. With that in mind, guess where the majority of judges usually come from? A prosecutor’s office or from a large law firm. This in itself does not make them bad judges. There are plenty of former prosecutors or big firm lawyers who are now great judges. However, they percentage wise, come from a mind set consistent from where they came. They have prosecuted people or represented large corporations and insurance companies. Remember the scorpion and the frog parable. People usually are what they are. Zebras and tigers don’t change their stripes. It matters who your judge is.
Guess who has the most money to lobby those lawyers in the legislatures and Congress and elect the judges we elect? Corporations and those they employ. The cards are stacked against “liberty and justice for all.” The National Chamber of Commerce elected the entire Mississippi Supreme Court. Every jury verdict for a Plaintiff appealed to them was reversed for a time. Scary stuff. And for all of those people who clamor for conservative judges who follow the constitution, I say balderdash. Give me a judge who knows mercy and justice. They can follow the constitution too.
If you have health insurance and you get hurt from falling out of a tree, you won’t recover money from anyone, but you will have health insurance coverage. But, if you suffer the same injuries as the one who fell from the tree but from someone who is at fault, like a driver of a car, that same health insurance wants their money back from the at fault party. The lawyers wrote this law.
Also, if that same health insurance company intentionally denies you coverage for profit purposes for let’s say a cancer treatment and that denial causes you to die, your family’s only recourse is to get the company to pay your medical bills, but they can’t sue for damages from you dying. The lawyers wrote this law too.
A prosecutor can know you’re innocent, but prosecute you anyway knowing you can’t sue them. Lawyers made this law. Prosecutors hide behind what they refer to as “public policy.” There are some good public policies. There has to be employment at will or our economy would be a disaster. I even accept the public policy police and prosecutors must have immunity for making mistakes. But, should prosecutors have immunity when they know what they are doing is wrong?
Every day, prosecutors, knowing people are innocent, will insist those innocent plead guilty to something, rather than just drop the charges. Who made that acceptable practice across the country? Lawyers.
The federal government and state governments, along with their agencies, have immunity from lawsuits and knowing they do, they don’t treat anyone very well. Why do you think the IRS scandal happened?
Social workers can destroy your life, your child’s life and your entire family with arbitrary, vindictive or mean decisions knowing you can’t sue them. Yes. They have immunity. Who made that acceptable? Lawyers. It’s so wrong. Remember Lord Acton’s maxim: power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
HIPPA does not provide a private cause of action. This means if someone steals your medical records. No HIPPA case. Lawyers wrote that law. It’s really a joke.
Federal sentencing guidelines require bad results often times because a judge can’t show mercy or do justice under the circumstances. It’s wrong. The federal judges don’t like it and yet they are stuck with it. The lawyers in Congress gave it to them.
If you ever have an incompetent or corrupt judge assigned to your case, too bad. (95% of judges are good judges.) Judges too have immunity. You can’t sue them. Also, I have found that if you file a Complaint against a judge to what’s called the Judicial Conduct Commission, nothing ever happens to them. Every Complaint I’ve ever filed from perjury to worse, ignored. I receive a standard form letter. Why? Because they use a standard form letter. Says it all.
The judge presiding over my grandchild’s life made so many incredibly unjust and off base rulings, I weep for all others who must have this judge decide such critical issues. The appeal we are taking could result in a reversal, but even if we win it is a hollow victory because we are stuck with the ruling while the appeal takes place. I did a first on this one. I threatened him with contempt and he changed his ruling to correct it. Kinda funny and scary. I threatened a judge with contempt and he got worried. Why should I even have to do that for him to do what is right? Despite all the actions I had to take against him, he claims he can be fair and impartial too.
However, every day in courts across America, and I have witnessed this just sitting in the courtroom waiting for my case to be heard, judges make inspiring, just rulings from the bench when sentencing. It must be a rewarding job. Also, even when losing; attorneys, including me, can appreciate a well-reasoned, written opinion.
Banks have foreclosed on loans all across this country without ever having properly signed documents. It’s also an injustice if someone becomes a “squatter” and destroys property.
Banks can crush your business by unilaterally cutting off already approved credit lines and from 2008 to the present, they have and do.
An insurance company investigating a fire can delay the claim for years. In fact, they can delay any claim for years. Car wreck to train wreck. They can deny, delay and defend until Haley’s Comet returns.
We have jails overcrowded with drug users, not just drug sellers. We also have jailers who intentionally deny medicine to inmates as if they deserve to die from their heart condition because they wrote a bad check.
We place unrealistic limits on the time someone can pursue a case in the Courts.
We have limits on damages people can recover. Do you know in Ohio that no matter how bad you are injured, you can’t recover more than $1,000,000 for pain & suffering? An arm? A leg? Your eyesight? Your hearing? Your back? Is a million fair? The CEO’s of the corporations who lobbied for this rule make millions and millions a year even if their stock price goes down. Yet, they don’t want to compensate someone whose life is destroyed by someone’s fault.
Employers give employees black marks with baseless discharge reasons. An employee can work twenty five years at a company, be fired for “cause” because he violated a “policy” that hasn’t been enforced, and then he has to try to find work while explaining why he was fired from the job. Do you think a woman with a sexual harassment case can find new employment? A teacher I represented was found innocent of sex with a student because she was innocent. Her teaching career is over. She can’t find another job as a teacher in North Dakota, Maine or the moon. You can’t hide. Students and parents can check Google wherever you go. Employers also challenge unemployment for no valid reason. In the tri-state, I know hospitals can blackball nurses from working by marking them not for rehire on a website created for that purpose.
Criminal defense lawyers often don’t look at the evidence the prosecutors tum over. How would you like your lawyer to take your money, not look at the evidence and then ask you to plead guilty? Prosecutors many times insist on a felony for what should be a misdemeanor. Try getting a job with a felony. It’s a punishment which keeps on giving.
Also, remember justice and injustice also involves what is the fair and just punishment for a guilty person. Every day I see disproportionate punishment for students, employees and citizens guilty of a rule infraction or a crime. I also see fair and just punishment. The common denominator is who is deciding the punishment. Some judges, principals and employers have more humanity and sense of justice than others. I actually suggested to Kentucky Bar Counsel that their office all go on a group viewing of “Les Miserables.”
Employees, if hurt at work or killed at work, can only recover workers compensation benefits, rather than pursue damages in a Court. More bad public policy created by lawyers. I’ve had four different death electrocution cases in Kentucky and Ohio where the family was stuck with only workers compensation. It’s wrong. Worker’s compensation is a joke. I’ve long advocated it should be eliminated. It would save businesses a fortune. It would allow them plenty of money to purchase insurance to pay claims if a worker was hurt or killed on the job by the fault of someone. Why should a worker receive money if he’s hurt at work by no one’s fault? Why should he not recover all he should receive if someone is at fault? My plan would be better for business, better for workers and reduce fraud in claims.
Employers discriminate against employees based upon age, gender, race, faith and more. The EEOC filing process is really toothless.
Schools have immunity for not protecting children from bullies. After much research, assessing, thinking and planning, I’m preparing to make holding bullies and schools accountable a cause.
I believe more than any reason for injustice is less and less honor among men and women, and the lawyers who control the legal system. The IRS scandal would never have happened if there was honor in the IRS. Did you hear that the Cincinnati workers claim they took direction from Washington from a man called Carter Hull. His profession? Lawyer.
Money is valued more than honor. Self-preservation is valued more than honor. Power is valued more than honor. The solution? More honor. More justice. More common sense.
More fairness. More humanity. More simplicity. More accountability. More responsibility. There is also probably nothing more important for justice than a judge with the right temperament, honesty, compassion, empathy, humanity and sense of justice. God help you if you stand before a judge who is the opposite of these virtues I just expressed. Imagine being judged by someone as dishonest, cold hearted, merciless and lacking humanity. I have. My first trial commissioner in my bar battle: Frank Doheney. Scary stuff.
When I have failed myself, my client or committed injustice, I can’t sleep at night. It weighs on me. Remember, I admit I’m a sinner, not a saint. I’m not a perfect person or perfect lawyer and I cause an injustice here and there too. However, I know I’ve never destroyed someone’s life with a lawsuit or any other action as a lawyer or person.
Because we allow lawyers to run the country, we will always face what amounts to state sanctioned injustice. This yields the evil Plato references. All students of political science learn the best and most effective form of government is the wise and benevolent King. Why? On a single word, a problem can be solved and because the King is wise and benevolent, it’s solved the right way. The problem of course is when you have the evil King. I would love to be the King of America for a year. All problems solved. But, our Founding Fathers chose a Democratic Republic for us and gave us a legal system which requires law. Let’s pray and work for wise and benevolent lawyers and judges. Our country needs them. We should not tolerate business as usual, both in the political and legal system.
At every tum when I’m engaged in a cause with an uphill struggle worthy of Sisyphus, which is all the time, I remember Lincoln’s words: “Right makes might.” I then hope those who decide my fate, my clients’ fate and my country’s fate agree with Lincoln.