Justice for Balloon Dad

The entire “balloon boy” spectacle was a bit of a waste of time in my opinion. Although, I do admit it was an interesting story. I didn’t know about it until a day later and found the family’s morning interviews to be a bit disturbing. In November, balloon boy father, Richard Heene, plead guilty to falsely influencing authorities (that’s an interesting charge) and began serving his 90-day jail sentence this week. You can read a recent story here from the LA Times.This story now strikes me as interesting since Heene has come out saying that he only plead guilty to avoid putting his family through a trial and for fear that his wife could be deported. I don’t know all the ins and outs of this particular legal situation. If I tried to research it, I’d probably never get around to writing this. But, it just does not seem right. Heene might be innocent; he might be guilty. If he truly believes that he is not guilty and copped a plea out of convenience, then I think something is wrong with our justice system.I recognize from the article that the prosecution could choose to go forward now that Heene has made this statement. It seems that they will not. I also heard it suggested that Heene also adopted this strategy to avoid the legal fees that he might incur if he were to fight the court battles for himself and his wife.It seems unjust to me that the legal system has evolved to a point where anyone avoids litigation or defense due to fees. The Sixth Amendment protects citizens by providing what can basically be described as a fair trial. The right to a fair trial is considered widely to be an essential feature of a modern society. The notion of a fair trial may be considered to include a “sufficient and equal amount of legal counsel for all parties” – this is not in the Sixth Amendment.I do not believe that all lawyers should be considered a public utility. Clearly, some lawyers are better than others and they should be able to command a higher wage for such talent. However, when it gets to the point that wages and other court costs are so high that the average citizen or small business can’t compete, then something is probably wrong.I don’t have any solutions on this one. I haven’t thought about it all that much. Just seems like interesting food for thought…

Comments are closed.