An argument for legal accountability

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An argument for legal accountability

Jazmin Sanchez, Staff Reporter

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Accountability is the fact or condition of being responsible for one’s actions. Should people be held accountable for their actions, even if it from the past? In the case of Supreme Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas the answer is no. In other cases like Arizona student Hunter Osborn, the answer is yes.

Hunter Osborn is now being charged on sixty-nine counts of indecent exposure, a class 1 misdemeanor, and one count of furnishing harmful items to minors, a class 4 felony after exposing himself during a team picture as a dare by a teammate. However his crimes pale in comparison to the Governor of Virginia.

On the other hand, Governor of Virginia Ralph Northam allegedly was in a yearbook picture of himself and a friend wearing blackface and a KKK robe. He was called to resign, but he refused.

The people of Virginia called for Justin Fairfax to step up and become governor but, now,  Lt. Gov. Fairfax has been accused of sexually assaulting two women in 2000 and 2004 at a Duke University frat House and a hotel room during the Democratic National Convention.

Fairfax made a speech and related the accusations to ¨political lynching¨. It was frowned upon and yet he was not held accountable for his words or for the accusations.

Third in line is attorney general Mark Herring who has admitted to wearing blackface in the 1980s. No one has been held accountable or taken blackface serious.

In heinous cases like the ones of the Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas or Supreme Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh they should be held to some type of accountability.

Whether it is resigning or giving something to the family of the victims, those who have been affected emotionally and physically should always get justice.

When 49-year-old Bruce Michael Alexander was arrested in Albuquerque on an abusive sexual contact charge, he told authorities that ¨the President of the United States says it’s OK to grab women by their private parts.”

The President of the United States Donald Trump has been accused on twenty-three occasions of sexual assault and harassment, including non-consensual kissing or groping, by at least nineteen women since the 1980s.

People with money or celebrities are able to do anything with just a slap on their hands. R. Kelly was charged with 10 counts of felony aggravated criminal sexual abuse. The cases of sexual abuse allegedly occurred between May 1998 and January 2010. He posted bond and left the Cook County Jail on February 25, 2019 pleading not guilty.

His defense attorney Steve Greenberg has said, “He’s doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances. The jail staff has been great; they got him at the hospital unit, not because he’s sick or anything like that but because that’s the most secure place for him to be, and he’s certainly hoping to get out of jail.”

While being in jail, he is getting a special treatment because the staff knows that if he was in a cell, the other prisoners will be aggressive towards him for his charges.

Vallejo police officers have yet to be held accountable for the unnecessary shooting of Willie McCoy while he was asleep in a Taco Bell drive thru. Mr. McCoy was shot more than twenty times for scratching and not responding to the officers since he was in a deep sleep and yet the officers are still working in the Vallejo Police Department.

Or in the case of Andrew Scott, a young man who was playing video games with his girlfriend when he was disturbed by a loud pounding on his door at 1:30 in the morning. On the other side of the door the Lake County Florida police did not have their emergency lights on and they did not identify themselves. Mr. Scott then opened the door with his gun at his side and was shot down.

In court, Officer Richard Sylvester claimed that Andrew Scott flung the door open and pointed his gun in the officer’s face. Evidence was later presented that when Scott opened the door and saw a man crouching down with a gun, he retreated and his gun was pointed to the floor the whole time.

The officer, Richard Sylvester, responsible for killing Andrew Scott was never held accountable even though he killed an innocent man. The officers were at the wrong address and not saying anything to indicate that they were the police. In many news articles reporting this tragic event, they say that Andrew Scott had a criminal history therefore Officer Sylvester was doing the right thing.

Officer Sylvester was covered by the Eleventh Circuit which states that officers can kill someone without punishment if that person is exercising his constitutional right to bear arms and they show up at his home.

Another case like Mr. Scott’s was Angel Mendez who was resting in his home when he was awoken by his blanket being ripped away from him. The police saw Mendez’s BB gun and started firing at him and his pregnant girlfriend, who was asleep next to him. He was severely injured, resulting in the loss of one of his legs. The officers were reasoned with because they had a right to fear for their lives with seeing a guy with a gun.

“This invented rule put the lives of deputies into danger by causing them to hesitate in using reasonable force to defend themselves for fear of later civil liability,” The Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs said about the rule that says police can be sued for violating a victim’s constitutional rights against unreasonable searches if they provoked a confrontation that resulted in violence for example the cases like Mr. Scott and Mr. Mendez.

In all these cases, one thing is prevalent which is the lack of accountability. Justice should always be the main concern in all severe cases and needs to be served no matter the timeline. There are too many law enforcement officers and celebrities getting away with severe offenses that any other person would get incarcerated for. They are not special and they should be treated like people who need to take responsibility for what has occured.

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