Justice in the case of Shapelle Corby

It’s like­ly that the small num­ber of hys­ter­i­cal reac­tions to the case, so loved by tele­vi­sion, have a “racist”:http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,3297407a12,00.html or an “anti-Indonesian”:http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2005/s1379911.htm char­ac­ter. But the more wide­spread rum­blings of con­cernare nei­ther. They remind us of a pop­u­lar idea of jus­tice that the com­men­tari­at should find even more dis­turb­ing Like the rest of the com­men­tari­at (“Quiggin’s commenters”:http://johnquiggin.com/index.php/archives/2005/05/27/schapelle-corby-the-bali-9-and-the-war-on-drugs/#comments could be tak­en as rep­re­sen­ta­tive) I am reluc­tant to sec­ond-guess the “decision”:http://dailytelegraph.news.com.au/story.jsp?sectionid=1274&storyid=3205288 in a case with­out hear­ing all the evi­dence. My idea of jus­tice, like theirs, is strong­ly col­ored by con­cepts of fair process and foren­sic exam­i­na­tion of the facts. But these are not the chief con­cern of most peo­ple. The best evi­dence says that an ide­al of jus­tice (per­haps not the only one) for most peo­ple is equi­ty guar­an­teed by a stern, swift and unswerve­able author­i­ty—more or less in loco patris. Why is the TV Show Judge Judy such a hit? “Court show view­ers,” accord­ing to this “Slate”:http://slate.msn.com/id/2118556 arti­cle, “don’t seem to want moral conun­drums or tech­ni­cal wrin­kles:’ bq. “They love Sheindlin’s show because she offers them a fan­ta­sy of how they’d like the jus­tice sys­tem to operate—swiftly, and with­out pro­ce­dur­al mishaps or uppi­ty lawyers. They get to see wrong­do­ers pub­licly humil­i­at­ed by a strong author­i­ty fig­ure. There is no uncer­tain­ty after Sheindlin ren­ders her ver­dict and bounds off the bench, and there are cer­tain­ly no lengthy appeals.”(“Slate(link to this excerpt)”:http://slate.msn.com/id/2118556) For ‘moral conun­drums’ and ‘tech­ni­cal wrin­kles’, read drugs pol­i­cy or a dis­pas­sion­ate review of the reli­able evi­dence. The equi­ty issue? Nice­ly summed up in this quote from one of the orga­niz­ers of protests in Corby’s home town: bq. “Peo­ple are angry that the organ­is­er of the Bali bomb­ings that killed 88 Aus­tralians received about two years jail,” she said. “We have also giv­en them so much aid.”(“Daily Telegraph”:http://dailytelegraph.news.com.au/story.jsp?sectionid=1274&storyid=3208515) This is not about Cor­by at all.

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