This is not going to be a review of the novel by Dostoyevsky. Sorry to disappoint you. Ha
The first thing to think about is the recent shooting at the movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado. Most everyone knows the basic facts of the case. The crime is pretty clear – 12 people dead, numerous people injured. It seems clear that the suspected killer did the deed since he was caught at the theatre and confessed. It is also known that he has been acquiring the items required to carry out the murders for a number of months. This would indicate some premeditation and some planning. But as we all know, often cases like this drag out for a long time. Oftentimes months or years go by as we wait for the case to go to court. Lawyers have to be found for the defendant. Psychiatric evaluations must occur. Motions are filed. We know that the defendant will almost surely plead an insanity defense. We all get frustrated that the justice system takes so long to decide what seems to be a pretty clear case (“why does it take so long?”).
Contrast that with the recent Penn State. Jerry Sandusky went to trial relatively quickly and was convicted. The sanctions levied on Penn State by the NCAA took almost no time. The Freeh commission was announced to begin on November 21, 2011. The report came out July 12, 2012. Sanctions were announced July 23. Penn State “agreed” to the sanctions. In this case, justice moved very quickly. But there was no “trial” of Penn State. Penn State did not get to face its accusers. The evidence is in one independent report, but it does not follow our judicial rules of evidence. The judge, prosecutor and jury in this case is the NCAA. The NCAA also has other ways to sanction Penn State if Penn State did not cooperate (lesser bowl games or none, at large bids to NCAA tournaments, etc.). So it was speedy and decisive. Are you comfortable with that justice system?
My point is not to argue the “right” or “wrong”, the guilty or the innocent. Here we have justice dispensed in two very different ways. One is swift, the other is not. We traded swiftness for due process.
The juxtaposition of these two cases got me thinking. Am I comfortable with either or both?