Before we get started I’d like to assure some of our likely nauseous readers that this isn’t a story about Justin Bieber. It is, however, a story about a story about Bieber. As most of you were probably unable to avoid hearing, “the Biebs” was arrested again this week on a variety of charges including – but not limited to – drag racing, driving while intoxicated, driving without a license, being high on drugs and resisting arrest. That’s a pretty hefty night’s work in anybody’s book, and clearly he’s done something wrong.
Enter CNN, where their celebrity legal expert, attorney and radio host Eboni K. Williams, struggled to explain that the pop star had indeed done something wrong… he didn’t keep his mouth shut.
In a few terrible seconds, teen star Justin Bieber made his attorney Roy Black’s job a heck of a lot harder.
Bieber, who was arrested in Miami Beach on Thursday for drunken driving, resisting arrest and driving without a valid license, decided it would be a good idea to spill his guts to the Miami Beach Police Department.
According to Miami Beach Police Chief Raymond Martinez, during his arrest, Bieber “made some statements that he had consumed some alcohol, and that he had been smoking marijuana and consumed some prescription medication,” before getting behind the wheel of a yellow Lamborghini.
On the surface, this could look like Bieber was just being an honest guy, admitting to his wrongdoings. But look a little further, and you’ll see a young man who has done the worst possible thing a defendant in any case could do. He opened his mouth. And in doing that, he’s also doing the state’s job for them.
Justin Bieber should have just shut up.
Williams goes on to explain the fine tradition and constitutional foundation of the right to remain silent, and what a horrible mistake Bieber made by explaining to the law enforcement agents presents exactly what he had done. This, she proclaims, is a pretty awful thing.
Defending a client against an impaired driving charge is no easy task. The public interest in keeping impaired drivers off the road is understandably great. No one wants to see our society in harm’s way because of irresponsible drivers.
However, the integrity of our justice system requires that every defendant get an opportunity to have his guilt or innocence determined according to the evidence against him.
By making statements against his own interests, Bieber actually helps to undermine the whole process. His lawyer’s job is not to get him “off.” Black’s task is to hold the state accountable to its burden of providing evidence — beyond a reasonable doubt — that Bieber is in fact guilty of the crimes charged against him.
Perhaps it’s just me, but those last couple of paragraphs are frankly shocking. Apparently – at least to her way of thinking – a criminal is undermining the entire process of trial by jury if they confess their actions to the police. What new madness is this?
Call me old fashioned. Point out that I don’t have a law degree. But I was under the impression that the various – and highly generous – rights allotted to the accused in our country are there for the purpose of ensuring that the innocent are not unjustly convicted or railroaded by the legal system. We strive to guarantee that the accused has each and every opportunity to prove their innocence and not be unjustly jailed for crimes they have not committed.
But in Williams’ world, as much as she claims to be arguing the exact opposite, the legal system is in place to also give the admittedly guilty each and every opportunity to scam the system and beat the rap. Were Bieber being accused while loudly proclaiming that he broke no laws, she would be exactly right. At that point it’s up to the prosecution to prove him a liar and obtain a conviction by a jury of his peers. But Bieber has already admitted that he did the crime(s). Is it not fitting that we move on briskly toward his doing the time?
It would seem not. Even knowing – and saying in front of the police – that he had broken the law, apparently the guilty party is still supposed to use up the resources of the criminal justice system to fight the best lawyers that he can afford. And if his lawyers manage to obfuscate the case well enough, he gets to walk free with a smile on his face and a really annoying song in his heart. To me, this is simply a twisted perversion of justice, not an undermining of the system which is supposed to protect the truly innocent and wrongly accused.
As a side note, if you read the CNN article, Ms. Williams is listed as a criminal defense attorney and legal analyst based in Los Angeles. She has worked as a public defender, private trial lawyer and also provides commentary on legal and political issues from a pop culture perspective. That doesn’t give you much of a hint as to where her ideological leanings might run. But in this Fox News debate with our own Katie Pavlich, she is also introduced as a “Democratic strategist” so take from that what you will.