Lee Romney's Article on Charles Rothenberg In LAT Shows Shortcomings of Justice System
It turns out that under a variety of aliases, Rothenberg has continued to commit a large variety of crimes and now is soon to be on trial on weapons and fraud charges that could send him to prison for a long, long time under the state's three-strike law.
But the most shocking thing in Romney's article is reserved for the last two paragraphs when she reports that the jury hearing the case won't be told who Rothenberg is, or even that this is a third strike case. "In fact," she concludes, "the only jurors who will be seated on the panel are those who say that the names Charley Charles, Charles Bocca (two of the names Rothenberg has used) and Charles Rothenberg do not ring a bell."
I've been present as a reporter in other cases when the jurors were kept in the dark about the background of a criminal, only to find out later to their horror that they would have acted differently in reaching a verdict had they known the whole truth. I remember one juror who burst into tears when he heard the facts, well after the trial.
It's why I've believed for a long time that serving on a jury is a sin. It's a sin of complicity with a justice system that all too often is a foul conspiracy against the public interest.
The way such trials are conducted is a conspiracy between judges and defense attorneys to keep jurors in the dark.
So when I've been called as a juror, I delay it as long as possible and then answer any questions about prejudices, etc. in such a way as to insure that I'm never actually selected as a juror. I never have been. In fact, I left Harvard Law School in 1962 after four months there when I concluded that the system was corrupt.
The newspapers, with all their faults, are still far more honest than the courts. I cannot believe that reporters like Lee Romney would ever have let Charles Rothenberg serve only seven years for the permanently disfiguring mutilation of his son or would keep the jury now from knowing who it was dealing with.
Labels: Justice system