Opinion

We Wound Up with a Three-Tiered Criminal Justice System in America

Leftist political pundits, and some on the right, say the right should desist from chanting “Lock her up!” when referencing Hillary Clinton. They claim it is better for the nation if that behavior stops. I understand the argument, but I’m not so sure. It keeps our national focus on another critical matter, the politicization of federal law enforcement. Some folks see the chant as damaging American unity. Maybe it is. But what about certain classes of people not held accountable for possible crimes? How does that affect national unity?

There are dangers to national cohesion when there exists a lack of legal accountability for highly placed politicians and government officials. But it’s worse than that. It’s not only highly placed Americans getting away with their crimes. In fact, there is not a two-tiered but an emerging three-tiered justice system. A system where, if you are protected by the leftist political ideology, you skate. If you espouse a right-wing political ideology, you hang.

Now, I am not one of those who would join in the chant (though it does have a ring to it), but I understand the frustration behind it. Frankly, I’m not sure I even care if she goes to prison if convicted as long as she goes through the process like the rest of us would have to. I just want her, and any others who have been protected by this mysterious force field, held accountable for any crimes committed just like any other American.

Even if President Trump pardoned her after a possible conviction (not bloody likely), at least that might have a legitimate argument for fostering national cohesion. It would be similar to when Ford pardoned Nixon in the ‘70s to bring the nation together. Again, I wouldn’t like it, but there would at least be a valid argument for it. Getting away without any legal consequences at all or even having a legitimate process initiated to truly investigate wrongdoing is demoralizing to average Americans.

Yes, I did say a three-tiered system, not two. We often think about a two-tiered justice system, one for the rich and powerful and another for the rest of us. But we’re seeing something different playing out in America: one justice system for the rich and powerful, one for social justice-protected classes, and another—the one that is supposed to exist for us all based on equal justice and the rule of law—for the rest of us.

What does it do to middle America when the government holds them accountable for paying taxes and obeying the law but not certain minorities, the “homeless,” or high-profile politicians, appointees, their associates, and staffs?

Even at the lower levels of federal law enforcement inequity, what does it say to middle America when an attorney general drops a voter intimidation case against two black defendants, members of the New Black Panther Party, apparently because the suspects were black and the victims white?

The crime was never in question. Video cameras caught their behavior clearly, and that evidence was damning. Reportedly, the previous Bush administration’s DOJ attorneys were confident they had prepared the case properly for prosecution.

Despite this, Attorney General Holder dropped the case. He spouted a bunch of nonsense about the case not rising to the seriousness of many civil rights abuses in the south during the pre-civil rights era. According to Politico.com, Holder said, “To compare that kind of courage, that kind of action, and to say that the Black Panther incident [is] wrong, though it might be, somehow is greater in magnitude or is of greater concern to us, historically, I think just flies in the face of history and the facts.” What should history have to do with trying two alleged law breakers today?

Then, after making such a race-conscious statement, Holder also said, “This Department of Justice does not enforce the law in a race-conscious way.” Um, okay.

April 18, 2018: Eric Holder speaks at podium as Al Sharpton and NY Governor Andrew Cuomo listen to his remarks. (Credit: Facebook/Reverend Al Sharpton)

While what happened in the south under Jim Crow laws was far worse than the Panther incident is obviously true, I have to ask, So what? When I was an active cop, I didn’t let people go because other law breakers had done worse.

Crimes committed by individuals should be tried on their own merits. Holder seems to be a great example of one of the left’s favorite accusations against the right: unconscious bias. If anyone has it, he does. Then again, he’s an attorney general who replaced equal justice under the law with social justice outside the law.

Holder’s act was so egregious, because of the equal justice principle he violated, that one DOJ official, J. Christian Adams, resigned in protest. Adams said his “blood boiled” when a DOJ official declared the case wasn’t solid. It seems obvious the attorney general would not prosecute the case because of the defendants’ skin color. Was he, instead, looking for a bit of historical payback? Understandable but wrong, especially for a person in his position. And he wasn’t the only Obama official using a multitiered structure for dispensing justice.

What does it say to middle America when former IRS Director Lois Lerner used her powerful position to abridge the rights of Americans with whom she disagreed politically and gets away with no legal consequences? To use your political position to say yes to tax-exempt status for groups you agree with and no to groups you oppose is an egregious abuse of political power.

According to WND.com, “The IRS tax-exempt division admitted it deliberately delayed action on groups that opposed Obama.” The agency issued a formal apology and agreed to a reported $3.5 million settlement with conservative organizations including Tea Party groups.

Incidentally, if you still wonder about the state of the American mainstream press these days, anyone remember a whole lot of media coverage of this settlement? Since the conservatives “won,” it’s not hard to figure out why so little attention.

President Obama is certainly a beneficiary of multi-tiered justice. He and his supporters are fond of saying his presidency was scandal-free. There have been no resolutions with most of the Obama-era scandals due to what seem to be cover ups and more corruption. But, looking at the IRS disgrace alone, because this scandal did reach a settlement, how is paying out millions of dollars and issuing an official apology for abusing federal taxing power not considered a scandal to the former president and his sycophants? Well, of course it was a scandal.

Now, this may have been a relatively significant settlement, but, as they say, the damage was already done. Obama won reelection, and who knows how many conservative Americans’ votes and ensuing momentum the IRS’s actions had compromised or halted—chilled?

And how much will paying what is a relative pittance to the federal government prevent future abuses? Yet the government expects you ordinary, law-abiding, and fair-minded Americans to follow the tax laws. If you didn’t, Lerner would have brought down the proverbial full weight of the federal government on you.

What kind of American uses her official power to punish private citizens who happen to be political opponents? A person mired in a political ideology that has become the left’s religion. For them, the ends justifying the means is the equivalent of being on a mission from God. This was not simply political. This was not simply corrupt; denying people their basic rights to fully participate in the American democratic process is a form of evil.

If a Republican had done this to Democrats, there would have been convictions. It would be splashed across the mainstream media headlines. Someone would be sitting in jail by now. And they should be.

What does it say to middle America when a secretary of state, in this case named Clinton, can generate so many true scandals (not just frivolous accusations but accusations with significant evidence) over so many decades and, as yet, have suffered few consequences? A person who, by her own admission, in only one of the scandals, after Congress subpoenaed her emails, used Bleach Bit to electronically scrub over 30,000 correspondences and then physically demolished the devices that had held them.

She decreed herself the sole arbiter of the evidence against her. She determined which emails were personal and which were official. Wow! If I’m ever accused of a crime, I’m evoking the Clinton Clause, reserving the right to determine the veracity of the evidence and to destroy it if I choose.

Imagine a person who’d rather chance overtly destroying subpoenaed evidence than risk that evidence being seen. The Congress says you must turn over emails and your devices. Instead, you obliterate the digital information and then demolish the hardware. Could you or I get away with that?

(Credit: Facebook/Citizens For Trump)

What does it say to middle America when a secretary of state, and perhaps a president, stands by, or sits, or lies, or whatever, while four Americans, including an ambassador, are attacked and murdered in a nearly undefended, and undefendable, Libyan outpost, awaiting American help that never arrives?

Leftist pundits say things like, Benghazi has been investigated to death. It’s time to drop it. No, the only thing involving death was what happened to four Americans that day, thanks to an administration apparently more worried about politics than their fellow Americans. Family members are still awaiting answers Obama and Clinton promised them.

And what should middle America think when Congress tries to conduct its constitutional oversight of federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies, but those agencies refuse to turn over information Congress has a right to? One problem is the agencies are still saturated with left-over Obamanians. For example, agencies still haven’t given Congress requested information about whether arms transfers to Libyan rebels occurred that may have affected decisions about Benghazi.

According to reports, “[E]mployees at the CIA, State Department and Defense Department refused to answer specific questions about whether the U.S. sent, oversaw or was otherwise involved in weapons transfers to Libyan rebels, according to an exclusive copy of a section of the final Benghazi committee report provided to POLITICO.”

Aside from the myriad other Benghazi-related issues not yet resolved, we still don’t know where Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Obama were during significant portions of the crisis. Why not? If this were “investigated to death,” wouldn’t we at the very least know their whereabouts during all phases of this high-profile incident?

Those brave Americans were expecting their government to help them at any moment because they had been conditioned by patriotism and experience to expect it? What could Obama and Clinton be hiding by withholding so much still-undisclosed information? Shouldn’t the American people know?

(Credit: Facebook/Huggins Law Firm)

What does it say to middle-America when the attorney general allows and then covers up “gun walking” to Mexico, even after it was found that some of the guns had been used to kill several Mexican citizens, and one gun was used to murder ATF Agent Brian A. Terry. There have been no consequences for an attorney general who allowed those guns over the border. An American attorney general, who was held in contempt of Congress, with no prosecution, gets away with running guns over the southern border, some people believe, in an attempt to demonize the Second Amendment.

The NRA’s Wayne LaPierre said, “Over a period of two or three years they were running thousands and thousands of guns to the most evil people on earth. At the same time, they were yelling, 90 percent…of the guns the Mexican drug cartels are using come from the United States.” A statistic LaPierre disputes, claiming most illegal guns were coming from Central America, Russia, and China.

And, more recently, and again, what does it say to middle America when the nation’s top law enforcement and intelligence agencies, whose oversight is Congress’ mandate and responsibility, stonewalls instead of providing information it is obligated to give congressional committees?

Think about it. Congress created these agencies; it is Congress’ job to make sure these important and powerful entities honor citizens’ rights and comply with their reporting responsibilities to Congress.

Every time I hear a committee chairman on a news program say the FBI or DOJ is refusing to provide them the information they need for oversight, I feel like my head is about to explode. Refusing? What happens to our republic when its law enforcement agencies refuse to cooperate with Congress? It collapses into tyranny. How could it not?

Finally, the TSA recently fined an airline passenger $500 for an apple discovered in her belongings, during a random search. Delta Airlines had given her the fruit on the plane on a flight to the U.S. from a foreign country. At the same time, illegal aliens, from foreign countries by definition, who enjoy a different legal tier, enter the country with whatever they can carry—maybe an apple. These intentional law breakers suffer no legal consequences and they’re often offered legal assistance and government benefits?

So, the next time some pundit, on the left or the right, tells you it’s better for the nation if we back away from chants such as “lock her up,” “lock him up,” or “lock them up,” remind them that conceding the ground is as good as resigning America to a multi-tiered, unequal criminal justice system.

That result cannot be negotiable. A multi-tiered criminal justice system will damage America’s already precarious, social justice-compromised justice system. The best thing for our nation is to enforce the single-tiered, rule of law, equal justice system upon which America was created and to which America aspires.

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Steve Pomper

Steve Pomper is an OpsLens contributor, a retired Seattle police officer, and the author of four non-fiction books, including De-Policing America: A Street Cop’s View of the Anti-Police State. You can read a review of this new book in Front Page Magazine and listen to an interview with Steve on the Joe Pags Show. Steve was a field-training officer, on the East Precinct Community Police Team, and served his entire career on the streets. He has a BA in English Language and Literature. He enjoys spending time with his kids and grand-kids. He loves to ride his Harley, hike, and cycle with his wife, Jody, a retired firefighter. You can find out more about Steve and send him comments and questions at www.stevepomper.com.

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