Pundits Pitching Their Books

We used to not mind Westchester County DA Jeanine Pirro. She always pushed victims' rights, but she was never evangelical or off- the- wall about it. That's changed. She is pitching her new book --on victims' rights--and yapping non-stop spewing all sorts of nonsense on every cable channel that will have her. We just had to mute her. Her voice has gotten shrill, she's speaking a mile a minute and repeating herself over and over. And she's talking nonsense.

But, it's her new message we find most offensive. Her tag line is that we should change the name of the criminal justice system to the victim's justice system because the system has become about criminals rather than about victims.

Hey, Jeanine, we have news for you. The system has been about the accused for more than 200 years --ever since the Bill of Rights was passed. The intent of the framers was to protect the rights of persons accused of crime - not the rights of the victim.

Quoting ourselves from a 1997 article published in NACDL's Champion, "The foremost purpose of the Bill of Rights is to restrain the power of the majority and its elected government to act against an individual. As one author put it: "The Bill of Rights was designed to protect personal liberties from governmental infringement, not to protect private individuals from each other." [James M. Dolliver, "Victims' Rights Constitutional Amendment: A Bad
Idea Whose Time Should Not Come," 34 Wayne L.Rev.87, n.7, at 91 (1987).]

We are not anti-victim. In fact, we have consistently urged that victims of crime be treated with dignity, fairness and respect. But ideas such as Jeanine's and those behind the Victims' Rights Amendment looming in Congress are unwise and dangerous.

And that's our rant for the day.

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