Monday, December 1, 2008

The Moral Case for Investigating Brevard County

I've seen a disconcerting sentiment expressed by some of the comments on sites like FloridaToday that have covered the release of William Dillon. A good number of people seem to think that an investigation into the questionable practices of Brevard County would be a waste of taxpayer dollars. I couldn't disagree more.

If money is really their principle concern, these cynics would do well to realize that, depending on the number of people freed by these investigations, it might be cheaper to organize an investigation than it would be to keep those prisoners incarcerated for the rest of their sentences. But that argument has a particularly callous ring to it, and for a good reason.

The real motivation is not money, obviously, but the administration of justice. Why is the government commissioned by the people? I have said previously that Governor Crist is charged with faithfully executing the laws and the Constitution. The presence of innocent people in prison represents a serious miscarriage of justice. Furthermore, when reasonable people have cause to believe in a pattern of widespread injustice, the government has a responsibility to right its wrongs.

Taxpayer money spent on such an endeavor would not be a waste, nor even a luxury: this is the fundamental purpose of government.

When we say things like, "the evidence merits an investigation," there is a missing premise, but it's one most people would agree with. It is that one of the duties of government is not only to administer justice fairly, but to act diligently when a corruption of justice is apparent. That is why we are calling for such an investigation.

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