On the Mercies of Man vs. the Mercy of God

It is written:  “And David said to Gad, I am in great distress. Let us fall into the hands of the Lord, for His mercies are many and great; but let me not fall into the hands of man.” – II Samuel 24:14 Amplified

I didn’t understand that verse in much depth until after I had practiced law for a couple years.  I’ve had personal and legal experiences with law enforecement officers.  Many, especially the younger ones, have usually had an “attitude” – rather than protect and serve, it was more as if everyone was guilty of something and needed to be punished. 

I once rolled through a stop sign at about 1-2 mph with NO TRAFFIC and NO DANGER and was pulled over by an officer who appeared to be too young to buy a beer.  Judging from his attitude, you would have thought I had bombed the police station and he did give me a ticket.  A similar incident happened when I was pulled over for having a rear tail-light out in a different town.   I’ve begun to wonder if there should be a minimum age of about 28 to be a law enforcement officer.

We currently represent a client who was convicted (plea bargain) of kidnapping and rape.  He agreed to and accepted the terms of the plea and his conviction was 5 years in prison, probation and he had to register as a sex offender once a year for 10 years at the sheriff’s office.  However, the Ohio Attorney General recently sent him a letter informing him that his agreed sentence had been changed because they re-catagorized the sex offender registry.  Now he has to register once every three months for the remainder of his natural life.  That’s called an ex post facto law – a law that retroactively changes the legal consequences of acts committed prior to the enactment of the law.

However, Article 1, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution states: No state shall . . . pass any . . . ex post facto law. . .  The change in the Ohio law as relates to our client is blatantly unconstitutional, yet the Attorney General and the Legislature ignore it because sex crimes are presently considered the worst possible crimes.  Note that the sex offender registry requirements avoid application of the criminal rules of due process and such because the legislature and courts have stated that registration as a sex offender is not a criminal penalty, but rather a civil matter.  I have no idea how they justify that finding.  Further, 5 years for kidnapping and rape seems a rather short term in today’s legal climate. 

On the other hand, the Assistant Prosecutor was recently telling me about a case in which a fellow was discovered to have about 110 very underage pornography photos on his computer that were found via the internet.  There was zero evidence or even allegation that the fellow had taken any of the photos himself and there was zero evidence or allegation that the fellow had ever abused a child himself.  However, the maximum sentence was 6 years per photo – for a total of 660 years in prison.

The assistant prosecutor is a very “law and order” sort of fellow, but even he thought 660 years was a bit excessive for possession of photos with no evidence of any involvement in abuse on the part of the person charged.  He offered the fellow a plea to possession of one photo which the fellow accepted and he was sentenced to 6 years in prison, probation, and lifetime (every three months) registration as a sex offender. 

Even at that, the comparison between the two cases is interesting – the photo fellow got 6 years for possession of illegal/perverted photos and the first fellow above got 5 years for actually committing kidnapping and rape.  Does anyone think there’s something wrong with this picture?

 I came across the following article by Al Cronkite a couple months ago and I remembered it this morning.


Whatever happened to mercy?

START ARTICLE EXCERPTS:  Several years ago we had a neighbor whose attractive young, single daughter studied law enforcement at the local community college and became a Sheriffs Deputy. She visited us in her new uniform and I asked her what she had learned about discretion in making arrests. She stoutly declared that all who break the law are guilty and should be handcuffed and subjected to proper punishment.

My wife and I watched an old Andy Hardy movie. Judge Hardy’s daughter had a date with a young man and did not return at the usual 11:00 PM. Her brother, Andy, declared he would go looking for her because he heard a rumor that the man she was dating was a drinker and he was concerned about her reputation. He found them and sure enough the man had drunk too much and driven the car into a tree. Neither of them was hurt so Andy towed the car and brought his sister home. They sobered up the boy friend, took him home and arranged to have his car repaired. The following day the young drinker arrived at Judge Hardy’s door and apologized for his behavior indicating his willingness to receive whatever punishment the judge decided. Judge Hardy reminded the young man that he could have him arrested and jailed but in a merciful action said he had decided against it.

In our Florida town, an eighty year old man who had been stopped on the Interstate for speeding was separated from his new Cadillac, handcuffed and taken to jail for resisting a traffic ticket. This same scenario was just repeated in Utah where a taser was used on a young man who also resisted signing an assent to a speeding violation he had not committed.

United States authorities have stopped using a conciliatory, innocent until proven guilty approach to law enforcement and replaced it with a quick, cruel meting out of the most demeaning and stiffest retribution the law will allow. Handcuffs are applied to fathers in their homes in front of their children and to business executives in their offices in front of their employees. Arrogant policemen in every city, town, and village are endowed with the power to harass, intimidate, and falsely arrest almost at will. They demand instant conformance and for the slightest resistance will find a legal infraction that will cost you money or jail time. Our airports are teaming with intellectually challenged goons who thrive on demeaning citizens by ordering them to remove their shoes, searching their belonging, groping their private parts, and intimidating their persons.

Our government denies the use of torture but the procedures used against prisoners clearly fit into any sane definition of the word. Extended periods in solitary confinement, darkness, light, squalor, or a particular physical position are all forms of torture. Water boarding repeatedly brings on the agonizing panic of drowning. Unlimited, helpless imprisonment takes away all hope and is a living torture. Torture, which has become the policy of our government, might be considered an antonym for mercy.

Rudy Giuliani is [was] a front running candidate for President of the United States. He is a former Federal prosecutor whose highly publicized prosecutorial successes would have better served society had they all failed.
James Bovard in his book “Lost Rights, The Destruction of American Liberty” describes Giulinani’s raid on the financial firm Princeton/Newport. In the initial use of the RICO statute against a financial organization during the Christmas season in 1987, he sent forty federal agents with automatic weapons and bullet proof vests into Princeton/Newport’s offices where they carted off 275 boxes of documents. The indictment was for violating an “arcane” tax law. They confiscated all company assets, including the homes of the corporate officials, bankrupting the business – there was no trial and no proof of guilt. The charges were eventually dismissed but the losses to the individuals involved were never recouped.

Several years ago, I had an extensive internet correspondence with an Orthodox Jewish man who lives in our town.  He informed me that the Laws God gave to Moses were not to be administered to the letter but were to be tempered with mercy.

[He brought up] King David and the mercy he pointed out to me was evident in God’s dealing with the King’s crime. The crime was murder [and adultery] and murder [and adultery] requires the death penalty [of the murdered under under OT law]. This powerful King repented with the statement that he had sinned against the Lord and the prophet Nathan advised him that God had “taken way” his sin and that he would not die.

The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is a merciful God. He was merciful to King David, his chosen instrument, and He has been merciful to me and countless other Christians whom He has selected to be drawn to the propitiation of the Savior. Mercy is a characteristic of our God.

The assault on peace and order that has been perpetrated on United States society has been successful in bringing a chaos that appears to have no remedy other than police brutality. The judges in our courts have forsaken immutable legal standards and resorted to decisions involving their opinions. This malignancy has infected the highest court in our land.
Law in human hands creates chaos in society and will bring on tyranny. As justice fails, laws become less and less effective, recalcitrant citizens more and more aggressive and enforcement more and more barbarous.  The humanistic legal system being used in the United States is not only inconsistent and unfair but is the instrument of wholesale injustices throughout society [See the Duke non-rape case from 2007].  Humanistic laws bring tyranny and death; God’s immutable Laws enforced with mercy bring justice, peace, and prosperity. The choice is between freedom under the dominion of a merciful God or tyranny under the cruelty of a humanistic regime.  END ARTICLE EXCERPTS.

Final comment of mine:  I am thankful that I work for a part-time Judge who has some understanding of mercy.  He has consistently ruled in reasonable ways in the cases I’m familiar with.  I think it has something to do with the fact that he has been a prosecutor, a defense attorney and now a Judge.  Since he’s been involved in all aspects, he has a balanced view.  He’s also aware that many of his [perhaps over-zealous] prosecutions in the early 80s didn’t acheive the expected results and may have, in fact, had a negative overall effect.

Nevertheless, like King David, I would much rather plead my case for mercy to God rather than than the mercy of man.  One may occasionally find a just judge on earth, but they are the exception, rather than the rule. 

Published in: on February 23, 2008 at 8:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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