Monday, December 14, 2009

Email in from Bill Doriss:

My comment on "Are Closing Arguments Necessary?", posted by Norm Pattis at www.normpattis.blogspot.com, Dec. 12, 2009:

William Doriss said...

I wonder if Opening Remarks should be omitted as well? How about omitting the Examination and Cross-examination of witnesses, as we all know the defendant 'probably did it' and witnesses often lie 'under oath', even though we have sworn to regard him [the defendant] as 'innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt'? Why not dispense with criminal trials altogether, as it takes up just so much 'precious court resources'; the players are all 'overworked and underpaid'; the prisons are now overflowing and the states are running huge budget deficits which must be closed?

We also now know that the prison experience is non-'rehabilitative'. A guest on Talk of the Nation, NPR two days ago made the remarkable assertion that many prisoners [who are essentially non-violent] come out of prison more violent than when they went in. Many have no place to live, no job and minimal-to-nonexistent skills. Many employers will not hire ex-convicts. Would this not be the case in the alleged Cheshire perpetrators, Hayes and Komisarjevsky? Has anybody thought that perhaps the State itself may have some cause to share blame for the post-prison behavior of these two monsters? Does anyone seriously think that the State itself will entertain this hypothesis?

My Question is this: If Mr. Pattis's client loses, does he [the now convicted defendant] have cause for appeal based on the lack of 'the effective use of counsel'? After all, are not the Closing Arguments a standard part of the criminal process itself? Does the Defendant not have a reasonable expectation that his attorney will at least go through the motions, as the other participants (judge, prosecutor, witnesses, experts and finally jury) go through their respective rituals? To simply sidestep the onerous and distasteful task of making a closing argument may in fact be described as a 'dereliction of duty'.

Don't get me wrong. I am saying that it is, but this novel idea could well be viewed as such by others. Personally, I think the whole criminal 'justice' enterprise is an archaic, inexplicable relic from a bygone era. It does not work, simpley. It is cumbersome, Byzantine to the nth degree, inefficient and simpley Unfair. Why as an advanced civilization we tolerate this institution which cannot do what it is supposed to do, which piles charges onto unsophisticated, undereducated, poorly represented and occasionally innocent, unfortunate members of society is beyond me.

The symbolisms are all wrong: the massive Corinthian columns as you enter a building better suited to be a museum; the judge in black robes, sitting high on a lectern where she can 'look down' on all participants. The requirement that she be called 'Your Honor' is simply alien to the ideals of a democratic republic. Why would anyone voluntarily go into this kind of work? I choose to make an 'honest living' in this lifetime instead of wrecking individual lives, families, businesses, neighborhoods and communities on a daily basis,...often without warrant, probable cause, or common sense.

The legal profession today is largely run by a cartel of arrogant pseudo-sophisticated, pseudo-educated, dishonorable men and women who themselves are ignorant of the 'law' and unable to follow their own rules and regulations with any kind of consistency, oversight or accountability. As I told the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, April 3, 2008: "If this [district court] decision is allowed to stand, this will send a signal to the State that it can charge Anyone with Any crime, Anywhere, Any Time--without true oversight or accountability--and get away with it in real time." I felt that way then, I feel that way now.
December 14, 2009 4:39 AM




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William "Bill" Doriss calls in:



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