In the Name of the Father

In the Name of the Father is about innocent people convicted of crimes and sentenced heavily; even when their innocence is known to the police (the real guilty person confesses), there is a cover-up until it is exposed by a dedicated lawyer.

The story is based on real-life happening, and in and of itself it's not that spectacular. But it does serve as a reminder of how the so-called "system of justice" can be twisted, perverted, and made into a travesty to suit certain people's needs.

It is, in particular, a story of the British system of justice (or lack thereof) as the lawyer (I believe) says: "This brings into question our entire system of justice". And that it does. We have heard countless numbers of incidents involving police brutality and injustice, but yet we turn a blind eye for the most part because we rationalise by thinking the system does more good than bad. But that's not an excuse for continuing with an imperfect system. In fact, at the end of the movie, it says that none of the police involved in this case were disciplined! That is completely ridiculous---law-makers and law-enforcers are in no way beyond the law. But again, we know of several instances (I have seen several instances personally) where law makers do constantly break the law. I am quite sure a lot of people, at some point in their lives, have been through experiences that made them think about the legal system. I suppose it does depend on your lifestyle, but the point is that it shouldn't! As long as you're innocent, you're innocent. You cannot be bullied into submission (which happens during the movie).

You can't be accused by someone in uniform "You're a thief" without any basis. This does happen. I've seen it happen, I have a lot of friends who have experienced this, and it has happened to me personally. In fact, at the Black Sabbath concert I recently went to, I was stopped by some security guard even though I was frisked at the entrance. He said: "Are you sure you're not carrying anything? You came through that door pretty fast." I would argue it's impossible for a two line queue to get past four to six people who were doing the searching without being stopped. Why should the police guard assume something different? Had he really seen me come through, he'd have noticed I had been searched. How could he know I had come through "fast" if he didn't follow my moments through the entrance. It's just the attitude of these people in power which bothers me, and this is brought out by the movie. As the prosecution prepares its case, it does find evidence that corroborates the defendants' stories, but they choose to hide that fact from the defense. In general, I'd argue strongly that a lot of law-people are more interested in winning cases and obtaining convictions (in short, being "right") than finding out the truth. Again, in the movie, when the prosecution wins the case initially, you can see the law-makers getting great pleasure out of this. Why should they? Because they won a case? Was that their motivation?

But why should this not be? Is it not human nature to want to be right all the time? Most people who accomplish something usually are of the type that they form an opinion about something and it takes a lot to shake that opinion. We see this happen constantly, even in the scientific world where researchers push their pet theories. Some people even pervert the facts (sometimes incidentally, and sometimes intentionally) in order to achieve their goals. It is these sort of people that we have in in the legal systems around the world. Some systems are worse than others, but the basic problem is the same. So given this type of people in our judicial and governmental, we are always going to have cases of innocent people being persecuted. The system will be proportionally twisted to the degree of corruption in a society.

So, our current system (Judge, Jury, Lawyers) isn't good enough to prevent what I consider a significant percentage (purely based on experience) of innocent people from being bludgeoned into submission. My personal philosophy is to do away with any sort of system that gives so much power to a set of people that the individual is virtually powerless. To take things to an extreme, I believe in an anarchistic society where people can do what they want and people can be their own judge and jury. This at first seems that it would encourage more crime and not be worth it, but I do think the criminals commit crime without a great deal of respect for the law (I suppose it follows automatically). I think the system of justice does punish them, but I don't think it really makes a big dent in reforming the criminal mind. I think if a certain society were made anarchistic (this is idealism talking), then people who would commit crime in present society would be more open about it, but the rate of crime would not increase by any significant amount, especially in the long run. But what we have here is an added enforcement of the "law". As I have pointed out earlier, criminals would think twice about targets that hit back. The more idealistic solution is to say that people when given the freedom won't do anything to others that they wouldn't want done to them.

Personal philosophy aside, we need cases such as these to be more open. I don't believe a cop's word should have more weight than the testimony of 3-4 witnesses. Clearly the jury system is flawed because in today's age it's hard to believe that any jury would not be informed of the crime and form their own opinions. Of course, the media doesn't help things much either. We have recently seen at least one case (and perhaps another) where the person was judged "guilty" by certain organisations even before it was proven in court. People who serve on the Jury should be more rigourously chosen, based on their background and beliefs. In particular, people who take courses in logic might help. Seriously, in the movie, as people were being accused of certain crimes, it was shown how ridiculous it was. Yet, the Jury, in the heat of the moment, was easily swayed. A larger jury might help. This can be mediated by computers, which I think should be used to store information about cases and such and this information should be available for all.

Finally, one of the main reasons that these people were kept in prison even though they were found innocent is because of a cover-up of the people in power. Such cover-ups should be punished just as a common criminal would be (yes, we saw this happen during the Iran-Contra affair). Such cover-ups should not be allowed. The public should have access to this information and it should be done in a complete manner. That is, there should not be a superficial layer of information just for the "public", but rather any and all information should be made free. What problems can this cause? Of course, the first issue that's raised is the issue of national security. But I think this really has little effect on most cases. I don't it mattered at all in this particular case, and in general doesn't (pointing to the numerous innocent persecutions simply due to age, appearances, etc.). Some might object that this is an invasion of the convicted person's privacy. When you take away a person's freedom for a crime---I don't see why privacy should be protected.

But all the latter solutions dance around the issue. It hides what happens before cases come to court. There is always injustice as what determines a person's actions at a particular time is influenced by various unrelated factors such as personal arguments and problems. In fact, I've heard it said many times that the world would be a better place if "men" weren't in charge simply because it seems like they allow their hormones rule over their better judgement. I've also heard remarks that people in power are sexually frustrated and thus they end up acting the way they do. Perhaps this has some truth to it, but it doesn't matter. People in power are prone to commit injustice, but it passes by unnoticed for the most part since they do it under a thin veil.

The way such injustice can be eradicated is by demolishing the current foundations of our existing systems that give power over other subjective individuals and thus naturally creating a system where everyone is judged equally and fairly (albeit from a subjective perspective).

State is the name of the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly it tells lies too; and this lie crawls out of its mouth: ``I, the state, am the people.'' That is a lie! It was creators who created peoples and hung a faith and a love over them: thus they served life. --Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Movie ram-blings || Ram Samudrala ||