Comment 63700

By ItCouldHappen2U (anonymous) | Posted May 18, 2011 at 20:54:40

It's 9 o'clock at night, when suddenly a heavily armed SWAT team busts down your door. As you lie face down at gunpoint on your living room floor, the police search your house. They find in your garage a can of gas for your lawnmower, a case of empties you've not yet taken back to the beer store, a hedge trimmer, an axe, and some rags you use to wash your car.

That night, on the 11 o'clock news, your picture is everywhere, with video of bomb squad members going in and out of your garage. The newscaster reads:

"Tactical officers tonight found and dismantled a Molotov cocktail factory in a local residence. Numerous weapons were also removed from the premises. Police say, from the volume of materials found, that a major terrorist act was being planned, and could have been launched at any time. Possible targets include City Hall, the Courthouse, and a local daycare."

Many months, and tens of thousands of dollars later, you are able to prove that you didn't do anything wrong, and all charges are dismissed. But you will always have a cloud over you.

What protects us from a scenario like this is the good faith of the police, crown attorneys, Justices of the Peace and Judges. If any of those actors lacks good faith, the power of the state can destroy an individual. Given the enormous power players in the justice system have, we are right to demand an extremely high ethical standard. They must all rise above anger, embarrassment, and spite. And they must have the humility to realize when they have made a mistake or overreacted. Our freedom rests on their integrity. And usually, we can rely on it. In Byron's case, I'm not so sure.

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