An Attorney for an Attorney

by Dom Martin



Practically every material being on this planet, has some covert grievance or vendetta against the other. Grievances like Truth vs. Politics. Hope vs. Despair. Culture vs. Bias. Love vs. Alimony. Regret vs. Guilt. Excess vs. Need!

In the primitive past, these covert grievances were instantly resolved through King Hammurabi's Lex Talionis: An "Eye for An Eye". Or a "Tooth for a Tooth". With the founding of the Judiciary, King Hammurabi's Lex Talionis was circuitously revamped into the Code of Civil & Criminal Procedures. Through the edicts of the Code, there was to be no more the reckless gouging of eyes or the plucking of teeth. Or the blind going after the toothless. Or the toothless going after the gumless. Instead, society's new curriculum vitae was to be: An Attorney for an Attorney!

Accordingly, the courtroom became the arena of jurisprudence, where attorneys -- not the laymen -- were summoned to draw swords or shields against each other. No tangible price, however, was set on how much it would cost the layman to have an attorney successfully (or unsuccessfully) draw out his sword or shield in this arena of jurisprudence. The layman, in turn, was not barred from drawing his own homemade sword or shield. But in so doing, he stood to risk being either taken lightly by the presiding judge or contemptuously overlooked!

In any and all events, a Court of Law has clearly and sensibly averted what would otherwise have been an interminable need to create mini-mortuaries for humanity's casualties of eyes and teeth. But there are those who grieve that the exorbitant cost of pursuing the other's hypothetical tooth or eye has, in the process, left them materially blind and toothless.

If the legal process was a mere drawing of swords and shields, Justice would have been swiftly realized with one attorney (and his beloved client), going down to the floor merely upon the other attorney having swung at him, surreptitiously. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. The presumption of innocence does not equate with the presumption of guilt. The accused, through the court's benevolence, is entitled to every prescriptive opportunity to resurrect from each judicial coma and recuperate, until he has exhausted himself of all such prescriptions. Thus, the recurring availability of such lifesaving (or noose-sparing) drugs like 'adjournments', 'mistrials', 'appeals', et al. . . .!

In the face of this seeming judicial conundrum or malaise, several questions materialize: Is the modern day Lex Talionis of an 'Attorney for an Attorney', a resolving asset or liability to society's proliferating ills? Is the hallowed wisdom of Justice a myth or a reality? And if it is a reality, is it commonly affordable?

Rather than pontificate answers that in turn might precipitate more damning questions, I would like to impart the following: A Court of Law should be no less sacrosanct in the Realization of Justice than a Place of Worship is in evoking one's faith in the Divine. Without this moral-parallel, a Court of Law is bound to retrogress into a material arm, functioning at the behest of those who can best manipulate it to achieve the malignant values prevalent in the scope of human existence.

April 21, 1994