Justice v’s Vengeance

There was a story in my area the other day about a Grand Jury that exonerated two police office from a criminal action that killed a college student several months ago.

A Grand Jury found the officers not guilty of any criminal malfeasance.

The family of the student is furious and the reporters of the story kept saying that the family demands  “justice.”

The family and the reporter are misunderstanding the word, “justice.”

One of the meanings of justice is the maintenance or administration of what is just by law, as by judicial or other proceedings.

The Grand Jury proceedings, compromised of 23 jurors, listened to months of testimony and looked at reams of evidence and collectively decided that the Police Officers were not guilty of any criminal action. That, to me, is justice.

The family of the victim is angry at the Grand Jury’s decision and said they did not get justice. What they  are really saying is that they did not get vengeance. Justice was served in this case.

Rightfully the family is devastated at the death of their college student son. He was an apparent good kid and student who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and was involved in actions that led police to feel threatened.

When anyone loses a loved one, either by violent action or accident, the natural reaction is to blame, to find someone or something to blame and litigate.

I don’t blame the student’s family. It is their right to sue under the laws of our land. I do find fault with some lawyers who encourage clients to litigate in order to get a percentage fee. Somewhere down the line the family will probably agree to a settlement and the story and our memory of it will pass and the lawyer will get his or her cut.

What I would like our media and all those who think authority has wronged them to realize is that once the adjudication process reaches a verdict the case is over for whatever charge was originally leveled. There may be other judicial paths to take in other courts, but initially justice was served. The demand for  revenge has never been a legal recourse.

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