Monday, July 4, 2016

Illusive Freedom

Today is the 4th of July. While I was out running this morning I, perhaps unsurprisingly, was thinking about freedom. I was daydreaming about giving a speech to a group of divorce lawyers. It went something like this.

When a crime is committed it is a tragedy for the victim and, I would argue, for the perpetrator. However when a crime goes unpunished it is a tragedy for society because an unjust society cannot thrive or even continue. 

In my daydream, I ask the room full of lawyers if they believe that all family law attorneys are 100% honest and would never knowingly lie in court or commit fraud. I imagine zero hands would go up. Then I ask for a show of hands stating how many believe most family law attorneys are honest and ethical. I imagine many hands would go up. Then I ask how many think the legal profession should aggressively prosecute the lawyers who do commit criminal acts. As I see the uncomfortable shifting I give them a break and tell them that no show of hands is needed. But maybe a better way to think about it, I tell them,  is to substitute pedophile priests for unethical lawyers.  I doubt anyone believes there are no pedophiles priests. Nor does anyone believe the majority of priests are pedophiles. But does that mean we should tolerate the bad ones?

Perhaps another analogy would help. In Iraq under Saddam Hussein clear cases of murder often went not only unpunished but rewarded by the government.  Here in Minnesota, as the facts in my case clearly demonstrate, criminal actions within the family law system not only go unpunished but are often rewarded by the government. Now maybe you think murder is more serious so the two aren't comparable but given the high rate of suicides by victims of unjust divorces and enormous transfer of assets from the innocent to the criminal, it is clear that by any measure that the problem is enormous. And, as this site has unequivocally shown, it is pervasive. A lawyer who commits a crime is bad enough. But when that lawyer is protected by the Lawyers Office of Professional Responsibility and County Attorney it is not matter of a few bad apples. It is institutional corruption.

Yet I am optimistic that our society can become more just. We have show time and time again that we can overcome injustice and become better. I have no doubt that the terrible injustices that occur within the divorce system today will one day be a thing of the past. But it won't just happen by itself. We need to all work together to achieve it.

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