Above The Law Essay, Research Paper
Above the law
The flashing lights of the police cars are blinding to you in your inebriated state. Through your drunken haze, the events leading up to now start to unfold. You were pulling ninety miles an hour in your SUV, when you collided with the bus full of blind orphans. The resulting crash sent the bus careening off the overpass, and onto a passing group of nuns and the governor, killing all of them instantly. The total body count is so far unknown. If you were an average person, you could expect the electric chair without question. Of course, you’re far from average. You’re a former Olympic champion who stars in the number one rated show in America, and whose movie has won multiple Academy Awards. You are in fact, a celebrity. You’ll be free before you have time to get comfortable in a holding cell. You won’t even have to serve any real prison time. At most, you’ll probably have to serve a few hours of community service.
Although this moment seems preposterous, as well as obviously impossible, it essentially occurs all the time to a lesser degree. Athletes and other celebrities are almost always assured that they will usually get a slight fine or a few hours of community service at the most, and still get to wear any “time” served as a badge of honor. Because of their immense wealth, and more importantly, their huge public standing, they tend to receive an unfair advantage in the courts, while someone who performs the same act is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Because most celebrities possess exorbitant amounts of cash, they can purchase the best legal staff that money can buy. These attorneys are an almost assured win for the defense, since they can find all the potential legal loopholes necessary for an acquittal. By purchasing legendary attorneys, they can come up with excellent testimony on their behalf, essentially allowing them to beat the system regardless of their crime. As has proven in past cases, these attorneys can pretty much beat any charge leveled against their client. An average person would regrettably have to either settle with a public defender, or a cheaper attorney, neither of which can give an edge for the defendant. A key example of this was when former heavyweight boxer Riddock Bowe kidnapped his wife and children a few years ago. All the evidence was there to convict him and put him away for a long time, but because he had Johnnie Cochran as an attorney, it was argued that he was punch drunk, thereby giving him probation. The “limited capacities” excuse is a clear argument for celebrities, along with the stupidity excuse, as was shown in the Pedro Guerrero case last year. Mr. Guerrero was acquitted of drug charges after it was proven that he was “too stupid” to have done it. Anyone non-famous attempting either of these tricks would be laughed all the way to prison, since kidnapping is a federal offense, and the government prosecutes to the fullest possible extent.
Another leading to celebrity superiority is that they are held on such a high pedestal, that the public refuses to believe that whatever allegations leveled are absurd. This has happened for years, with growing intensity. The first man to get away with this was the late Ty Cobb. Cobb’s on the field antics were infamous in the world of baseball, but his off the field actions were even worse. He was once fined $150 for beating a black elevator operator for “being insolent.” He was once suspended for one game after jumping into the stands and beating a heckler to the point where his own mother wouldn’t recognize him; so badly in fact, that the man lost three fingers. Another time he nearly slashed off a man’s face after an attempted hold-up. No charges were ever leveled. Since Ty Cobb was at the time the biggest name in baseball, he was allowed to walk away with only minor fines. The same thing still occurs now. A celebrity tends to get preferential treatment from the police, the media, and the public, since these people are “role models” and “heroes.” A more modern example of this is Daryl Strawberry. Daryl Strawberry was projected to be a Hall of Fame baseball player since his rookie year. Unfortunately, he had a severe cocaine problem. After it nearly cost him his baseball career, he appeared to have straightened out and gone sober. Unfortunately, last spring he was suspended for parole violations after testing positive for cocaine. After being placed in rehab, he has escaped every time he has a chance. When found, he also repeatedly tests positive for cocaine. And what do his former employers say? “Strawberry still has a job as soon as he comes off of suspension.” If a normal person were to ever try any of Cobb’s antics, or even Strawberry’s, they would obviously still be serving time.
Celebrities are also fortunate to make plea bargains from felonies down to country club rehab time. Essentially, because of their high standing, it is believed that the celebrity in trouble can easily rectify whatever problem they have through a few weeks of unsupervised rehabilitation, followed by an immediate return to wherever the problem occurred. Whereas a normal person could expect to have a long prison stay, a famous person can expect to get multiple chances to clean up their act. Daryl Strawberry, Robert Downey, and Kelsey Grammer have all consistently beaten multiple drug, alcohol, and probation violations without any stiff penalties. All are still gainfully employed, and are still granted the right to work at their “jobs” while serving time. Of course, they almost always break the rules of their release within hours, but it’s okay since they’re famous. When you are famous, no matter what you do, it is okay as long as you remain famous. This is a perfect sign of a disjointed culture in which role models are allowed to continue their lives with no retribution, while a common man would be blacklisted from any employment after release. It should be made to be that the special treatment is gone, making those with true problems have to be confined until it can proven that whatever problem they have is gone. No one has a job that important that they can’t be replaced, and this includes the famous.
In a day and age in which those who are famous are for all extensive purposes above the law, it makes one wonder when society will say “enough.” As is the current trend, although most celebrities get off, one will essentially be justly prosecuted. The scales should be balanced out again by removing any potential legal loopholes as a start. Justice should truly be blind, not dumb or easily swayed. It is hopeful that one day the scales of justice will finally be equal, and that the rich and famous will not be the only ones to receive leniency in the courts.