Monday, March 3, 2008

parma politics

Other than the marquee elections, which may be of national importance, there are many inferior elections that touch some individuals specifically, while 300 million residents are unaffected. Ohio has many elected judges. Judges are supposedly impartial. In reality, they are biased towards the state in criminal cases, and towards the moneyed interest in civil cases. Many judicial candidates use the prosecutor's office as a jumping board for a judgeship. The prosecution is, by definition, biased towards conviction. The moneyed interests can finance campaigns far more easily, than non-moneyed interests. The office is a difficult to achieve bailiwick for one primarily interested in justice alone or for one who is friendly to civil liberties and social and economic justice.

There is often, a very close relation amongst, executive, judicial, police and prosecutorial agencies. Functional peer pressure and group think exist and contrary patterns of thought and behavior are inhibited, discouraged or punished. Mistakes are not admitted. Leniency is a point that is attacked if, it is, apparent or suggested. Surely, there exists breaches of justice, where, the guilty gets away or gets away lightly. But, it is far rarer that unjust harshness is exposed and rebuked. I can, hardly remember a judge, at least locally, where he met a penalty of even mild approbation of being harsh.* It is considered a badge of merit, for a judge, to be judged ‘tough’. I cannot remember a judge being negatively viewed, in the contemporary, local, press, as a hanging judge or despot.

This past Friday, a Parma judge, Timothy Gilligan, appeared,on television videotape, demonstrably outraged that he could not punish an individual, for a felony, for spitting on an off duty policeman's private car. There was more to it than that, but the level of histrionics to suggest that a petty offense to a member of the public, whom happens to be a city policeman, is of great and serious magnitude is to suggest, amongst other things, that different sorts of law are applicable to individuals of different status and vocation.

Within the last two years in Parma, a few different incidents involving police have transpired. The mayor (Dean DePiero) agitated, heavily for increased funding, for additional police. A determined and aggressive, telephone, poll took place before last year's vote to push for the tax. Before that poll, in the supposed under policed suburb, on a Sunday morning, that was forecast to break a temperature record into the 60s, police gave out parking tickets, in front of residential homes, for snow ban parking violations, for an up to then dry December.

A television exposé had previously shown some police taking hours long coffee breaks in public coffee and donut shops. This on top of a department, that for years, was padding overtime and had supposedly ended that practice.

There was suppressed, until after that election and tax levy, the story of patrolman Mark McCombs. For an April fool's prank, he raped a drunken woman in his patrol car, behind a school, while his partner watched on 1 April 2007. A mistrial was declared 22 January.†
*Except, there was Judge Patricia Cleary, who in Cleveland, in 1998, kept a girl locked up, so that, she would not have her child aborted. Yuriko Kawaguchi was sentenced to six months, after pleading guilty to a forgery charge. In Ohio that was a felony. Judge Cleary was voted out by angry feminists. People often skip voting for some ballot spots, and an, organised minority can achieve their ends. By saving a life, she lost her job. So, kindness does not benefit a career.

†postsriptum: 25 April 2008 found not guilty, but found guilty of tampering with evidence, he destroyed the trophy pictures. Verdict came, virtually, at the same time as the murder trial in New York, which let off cops who fired fifty times at Sean Bell. The busheviks can rest easier; it is nearly impossible for malefactors in government to be held responsible in the United States. It is almost a victory to bring them to trial.

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