Yesterday the Herald reported on two seemingly separate stories: the decision by Judge Pinero to suppress a confession and the decision by Judge Farina to continue to allow cases to be super sealed.
What occurs to us is how these cases are related in philosophy if not in fact.
Benjamin Disraeli said “Justice is truth in action.”
What can be more important to justice in a free society than to see it in action? The fact that any person could have walked in and taken a seat in Judge Pinero’s courtroom to watch a defendant ask a Judge to enforce the constitution is remarkable. The importance of this openness in safeguarding the Constitution cannot be overestimated.
While there may be legitimate reasons to keep a case secret, they should be few and far between.
Secret court cases are the thin edge of a larger wedge. First its just a few cases, then its all terrorist cases, and before you know it, the criminal docket is conducted in secret in the name of “national security.”
As a country we have a lot of dirty laundry to air. From the Christmas bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong
(We don’t even want to think about the fact that we litigate against lawyers who were not born during the Vietnam War) to the shameful conduct at Abu Garef, the strength of our country comes from our public discussion of our shortcomings.
Just a word to the wise to our Judges the next time some lawyer has a great reason to make a case secret.
There may be even more important reasons to keep the case public.
See You In Court where all of our cases are public, and no one cares.
TOMORROW: THE CASE THAT MADE MIAMI BURN
PS: Anyone else have trouble seeing the blog today? Or did we just have too much to drink last night?