Deals or Rubber Hoses

I am something of a Law and Order fanatic.  I guess I have watched almost every episode two or three times.  When I watch an episode, I can remember virtually the whole thing after just a few minutes.

I pretty much stay with the original version.  I don’t particularly care for the actors in the spinoffs.  I find one of them particularly obnoxious as he seems to be an expert on just about everything, though I must admit that such knowledge just might come in handy for a real detective.

Naturally, it would be ludicrous to think any of it all that believable, but I’m sure they do try to keep it reasonably real.  The problem, of course, is that they must always solve the crime and convict the culprit in court in one hour.  If the real police and prosecutors could manage that, we wouldn’t have near the backup in the court systems.

However, one thing did catch my attention in one of the episodes and I think it is worth considering.

They caught the culprit and they offered him a deal.  If he pleaded guilty, they would let him live.

Now that sounds reasonable.  The man keeps his life and the state saves a bunch of money and time.  Then the culprit spoils it all by saying he preferred the rubber hose.  His chances of coming out alive were far better.

Of course, he was referencing the days when the police used physical force to “beat” the confession out of a suspect.  Nowadays, the courts won’t allow such methods.  If it is determined that such methods are used in acquiring a confession, the judge will throw it out.  Moreover, any evidence acquired during the session is also disallowed, something about a poisonous tree.

I get it.  Beating a confession out of a man is barbaric.  Moreover, all it really proves is that he can’t stand the pain.  during those days, it is very probable that a man or two was sent to prison simply because he couldn’t tolerate the torture.

Then again, is it better that we send an innocent man to prison because he fears dying prematurely.  For sure, some people are terrified by the thought of death.  (not sure, but I think there is a name for the fear)  In other words, it is possible that if you threaten the right man with death, then he’ll confess to anything.

As the man in the show said, I think I would prefer the rubber hose.  It is less permanent.

Either way, there is something about a confession.  If a man is convicted before a jury, he stands a better chance of having the verdict overturned than the man who confesses.  There is a difference between a confessed killer and a convicted killer.

There are many reasons the courts don’t like re-trying a convicted man.  The man who confesses, much more.  This is especially true if a lot of time has passed.  Evidence gets stale and memories fade.  Worse yet, witnesses might pass.  A true fair re-trial becomes impossible.

So, Gen. Flynn sits before his accusers and they say, “If you don’t confess…”  Flynn refuses.  So they threaten to put his son prison.  So he confesses.

I don’t know about you, but if I were Flynn, I would prefer the rubber hose.  I don’t think I would want my son going to prison.

So, does Flynn’s confession prove his guilt or does it prove his love for his son.  Would he be a better man if he let his son go to prison.

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