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Lexington Courts Examiner Christopher Hignite In this series of articles we will explore the term 'Kangaroo Court' and I'll gi ve examples from Lexington's Municipal Mansions otherwise known as the courthous e complex. We'll take a trip to the courthouses and discuss particular cases, pa rticular courtrooms and we'll even discuss some of the judges and attorneys that have come to not only rely on but make a pretty penny from this Marsupial Madne ss. http://www.phrases.org defines a Kangaroo court and the origins: Kangaroo courts are sham legal proceedings which are set-up in order to give the impression of a fair legal process. In fact, they offer no impartial justice as the verdict, invariably to the detriment of the accused, is decided in advance. Such courts are associated with groups who have found a need to dispense a roug h and ready form of justice but are, temporarily at least, outside the bounds of formal judicial processes. For example, inmates in jail, soldiers at war, settl ers of lands where no jurisdiction has yet been established. The origin of 'kangaroo court' is unknown, although, given that kangaroos are na tive nowhere else, we might expect the term to have originated in Australia. As always, a lack of a definite origin encourages speculative claims, which may be an appropriate word in this context as one frequently repeated supposed derivati on relates to 'claim jumping' in the California Gold Rush - hence the allusion t o kangaroos. That's quite a plausible notion. Kangaroos and their claim to fame, so to speak, i.e. jumping, were known in the USA by the early 1800s, so there's no reason to limit the derivation to Australia. Also, the earliest known citati on of the term is American and appears in a collection of magazine articles by P hilip Paxton (the pen name of Samuel Adams Hammett), which were published in 185 3 under the title of A stray Yankee in Texas: "By a unanimous vote, Judge G-- was elected to the bench and the 'Mestang' or 'K angaroo Court' regularly organized." In my last article I mentioned the corruption and lies from current and past adm inistrations. I also mentioned that Mayor Jim Newberry had stated, in response t o a question about a prostitute who might have been murdered by police officers, that some lives go unnoticed and don't matter much, while police officers lives matter. This past spring on WLAP AM 630's Sunday night show with 'Officer Don' and 'Ray the D.A.', otherwise known as Lexington's Commonwealth Attorney Ray Larson, Lars on made a statement similar to Newberry's in callousness with a touch of elitism for spite. Larson stated to Officer Don that a widely known secret among the le gal community, known to judges, prosecutors, attorneys, police officers and the like is 99% of everyone arrested or accused of a crime is guilty. The problem th at we have, he stated, is that we have this darn legal system that allows defens e attorneys to twist the laws so that their clients get plea bargains or don't g et as much time and even sometimes get off. Give the show a listen, one night, and you'll also hear him discuss individuals and cases by name while calling the accused names like thug, gangster, trash, jerks and the list goes on. The National District Attorney Association has this to say about Ray Larson: I would hate to be the next criminal Ray Larson of Lexington, Kentucky, faces. N ot only is he hard on those who choose to commit crimes, but he’s also in a part icularly bad mood since his Kentucky Wildcats lost in a late round of the NCAA B asketball Tournament. In a state where the entire populace cries and bleeds blue
when the team falters, Larson is still considered a huge University of Kentucky basketball fan. But no time is a good time to commit crime in Lexington, Kentucky. Ray Larson, F ayette County’s commonwealth’s attorney, is a criminal’s worst nightmare. For as clever and witty as Ray Larson is, he sees nothing funny in criminal activity. His many state and national awards and honors bear him out to be a prosecutor wh o is as tough on crime as he is dedicated to the fair treatment of victims. I do n’t apologize “for enabling criminals to send themselves to prison,” says Larson . Indeed, he feels that prosecutors are elected to take a stand against hoodlums who are criminals. As he sees it, one of the fundamental roles of government of ficials is “to do all we can to guarantee the safety of citizens. We protect law -abiding citizens from criminals by incarcerating people.” If Mr. Larson s stated views on WLAP and Mayor Newberry s quotes are the attitud e and position of those at the very top of our local government and this attitud e filters down through the ranks it s not hard to imagine why getting a fair tri al in Lexington isn t as easy as just being innocent. From Ray Larson s Website: Guess What? INCARCERATION WORKS !!! When the Incarceration Rate goes up, the Crime Rate goes down. The OUTRAGE is that the anti-punishment gang and their accomplices in the libera l media have convinced our elected leaders, in the face of dramatic proof to the contrary, that incarceration doesn’t work. The "Let’em Out Gang" shouts from the safety of their mostly white and crime-fre e neighborhoods that our government cannot afford to send prolific, predatory re peat offenders to prison and keep them there. How do you get a fair trial in Lexington? Don t get arrested. Sadly, for some in nocent people, that s easier said than done. Follow this series of articles as I delve more deeply into the legal system of Lexington. Future articles in this s eries will talk about the eviction court, family court, plea-bargaining and we l l discuss why African-American males make up so much of the jail and prison popu lation. Does money, or lack thereof, have anything to do with whether you ll win d up with a criminal record? You bet it does and we ll discuss why 95% of Americ ans in jail accepted a plea bargain. We ll discuss why in America you get as muc h justice as you can pay for. The final article in the series will discuss why t he more technology the police have, the fancier the courthouses and the higher t he paychecks those in municipal mansions earn directly reflects how many arrests and fines must be given to support the cost of running government. Follow along as we unlock some of the secrets of the city while keeping an eye o n the courtrooms and attempt to highlight good work when deserved and expose cor ruption when found.