DRONES AND DUE PROCESS
by lauren paulson
The Law is Easy
As I nervously navigated my way through law school, the concepts were really easy. Contracts required an offer, acceptance and consideration (money, usually). Criminal law meant that you, the object of police’s affections, got due process.
Due Process was simple too. It meant that before bad things happened, one was supposed to get notice that the police were thinking about you. Then you had a right to be heard, usually before an honest, competent judge. You even get a lawyer if you can’t pay for one yourself.
It all made sense.
Years later, I got to see just how effective the habeas corpus component of due process can be. Habeas corpus means a ‘time-out’ to see just why the police are so interested in you. Was it a case of mistaken identity or just a mistake? A very valuable fail-safe system for the innocent.
As part of my penance for being a lawyer, I thought I should do some good for the poor, the meek and the downtrodden. I signed up to be a court-appointed lawyer for juveniles. My pay was about $10 an hour.
Juvenile court is different. How many of you realize that juveniles are not, I repeat, not entitled to all constitutional protections? When is the last time you saw a small child have a criminal jury trial? Though Juvenile Law beats to the tune of a different drummer, it basically has the same fail-safe protections adults get.
Well-adjusted to these juvenile processes, I had it made. The system usually worked. Sure, some state employees went a little crazy in how they treated juveniles, but all was well. Then all hell broke loose. Somehow, my juvenile client had made a judge (who had his own problems) mad. The judge threw him in adult jail when he was WAY too young to be so incarcerated. I rushed into court, papers-’a-flying, but the judge was too busy. (He didn’t like me anyway. Welcome to the real world.)
I tried all the usual tools. Nothing. The judge would ‘disappear’ whenever I ‘appeared’. Never really interested in criminal law, I harkened back in my memory bank to habeas corpus. I then went to the ‘form’ book, and did the best I could to do the habeas corpus papers right. My next stop was to the Presiding judge with more papers-’a-flying------, only this time they were the powerful habeas corpus papers that I also filed with the state supreme court.
The young juvenile was delivered out of that mean old adult jail within hours. His underlying juvenile problems were properly dismissed, and the young man quickly went on his way to life’s next chapter.
The law’s dysfunction is all around us. As bad as it is, due process and habeas corpus are valuable tools for the innocent or wrongly charged.
Our method of delivering justice through drones does not allow for these human mistakes or misdeeds found throughout our justice delivery systems.
Remember, -----I said law was easy? John Rawls, a Harvard Professor, wrote a 500+ page book on A Theory of Justice in 1971. There he opined on Justice as Fairness. That’s all it is. Fairness. Is it FAIR to blast a 16-year old to death from the sky without due process? Without a fail safe method to protect a young kid from a judge who may not like his lawyer? If he had one...............even.
firstname.lastname@example.org bulletinsfromaloha.org claurenpaulson2013 503 470 9709 Box 2236 Newport, OR 97365
About me -- Lauren Paulson had a private practice in Aloha, Oregon for twenty years entertaining all clients, refusing few. Dissent against the Oregon State Bar provoked the State Supreme Court.....to sick their police on him.
Prior to that he worked as a corporate lawyer responsible for complex litigation across the entire United States. He has physically worked as a lawyer in every geographical subdivision of the country ending up as a senior officer for a Wall Street company in New York City.