CNN’s In Session is covering Ohio v. Daniel Kovarbasich. The 16-year-old was tried for first-degree murder as an adult. His defense was that the victim of the crime was a pedophile who had abused him for many, many years.
When will the justice system realize that there is no justice in trying even the most perverse juvenile as an adult, when all that is needed is either to incarcerate the juvenile in a juvenile detention center until he reaches 18 and then try him as an adult (which he is); or to recognize that juvenile murderers are mentally ill, incapable of making decisions of any kind, and instead of trying them, treating them in a mental-health facility?
In the Kovarbasich case, apparently the murder victim had exercised total control over the juveniles’ sexuality for years.
What’s wrong with this picture? Let me count the ways—again.
Prosecutors are elected officials who all-too-often, like pedophiles, do cruel things in order to retain their power. Prosecutors often over-charge crimes in order to make headlines, which they believe will reelect them for another term or will jump start their campaigns for higher office.
Prosecutors are given the power of life and death over juvenile offenders to charge them as adults or (if state law requires juveniles to be tried as adults for violent crimes) charging the juvenile offender with crimes that necessarily place them in adult-categories.
Judges are appointed and elected officials who all-too-often, like pedophiles, make cruel decisions in order to retain their power. If a judge believes the electorate will turn on him in a coming election if he “lets a killer off too easily,” he will err on the side of caution—not caution about punishing an essentially innocent person but caution in the name of “law and order.” Once appointed to a circuit court position, they need only be “retained” by the voters. Most voters either vote a straight party ticket, when it includes a long list of candidates such as judges, or they skip the judicial ballot all together. As a consequence, judges are often very old. One wonders if they fully comprehend what they’re hearing in the courtroom.
The judicial system is not the only power-mad branch of government, either. The executive branch is primarily appointed by elected officials who want nothing but to be reelected to office for life. Every mayor, governor, and president appoints an army of bureaucrats (most of whom are not even subjected to hearings or scrutiny of any kind). This is true at every level: city, county, state, and federal.
The legislative branch is primarily the hired staff of elected officials who want nothing but to be reelected to office for life. For example, all legislation in Congress is written entirely by the paid staffers of the Senators and Congressmen. The Senators and Congressmen rarely even read what their staffers write. This is true at both state and federal levels.
Who’s fault is this mess? Ours.
We need to stop the idiocy of electing prosecutors. Yes, I realize that means that corrupt, venial, elected officials will hire them instead, but at least these hired guns can be fired if public scrutiny demands it. And the thing a corrupt, venial, elected official fears the most is being blamed for something that someone he hired did.
We need to hold elections for judges at different times from the general election so voters can properly vet the candidates for judgeships and scrutinize the long list of names on the ballot. Judges should be required to have graduate degrees in judging, judgment, and all things judicial. We also badly need judicial term limits.
In fact, we need terms limits for every elected office in this country, from the city council to the President of the United States (and be very, very worried if any President suggests, as Bill Clinton did, that he would like to repeal the 22nd Amendment).
This is not a new situation. There is truly nothing new under the sun. Once in power, I’m convinced, a chemical is released in the brain of politicians, a chemical stronger than dopamine or serotonin, less resistible than an aphrodisiac. They can’t help themselves. They want more and more and more—power.
Know the candidates and vote against incumbents whenever you spot a decent alternative.
Elyria, Ohio, do something about your problem! Vote prosecutor Mike Kinlin or his boss out of office. Vote not to retain Judge James Burge. Every time you hear about the victim of a pedophile turning to crime and you do nothing, you hammer another nail into the coffin of pedophile victims everywhere.