I’ve been watching the circus. You know, the one currently being held over in Washington DC. The one that’s been dominating our news cycle for weeks. If nothing else, what I’ve seen has convinced me of one thing:
I don’t like the circus.
You might not know this, but I have a legal background. I was a Paralegal for several years of my adult life, I even went to school for it (I did pretty well, actually), until I realized I was the wrong personality type for that kind of work. I actually like having a life…
It did, however, teach me to think like a lawyer. And as I watch the impeachment hearings, that part of me cringes. OK, it convulses and throws up a little…
One of the things that’s really big in legal circles, particularly if your trying to prosecute someone for wrongdoing, is a thing called “evidence.” And there are rather strict rules about evidence, serious enough rules that there is a legal volume that has been written on the subject, which details what is and isn’t admissible as evidence. Every lawyer has one of these, and it’s used to help insure a fair trial, so that the prosecution must actually prove a defendant is guilty of a crime.
Roughly speaking (I’m not a lawyer, so do your own research), evidence has three basic categories. Physical evidence is just that, photos, spent shell casings, fingerprints, etc. Circumstantial evidence is a bit more nebulous; not-quite-eyewitness accounts, he-could-have-been-there, it-looked-like-her-car, that kind of thing. It’s much more difficult to prove guilt if there is no physical evidence, but it happens.
The third category of evidence is called hearsay. There’s a reason it’s called that, it’s a literal “translation” of the kind of evidence it is – you heard somebody say something. Third-person. You didn’t witness it, the defendant didn’t confess to you… “My friend has a friend who said their friend…”
This evidence isn’t really evidence, and I don’t believe is normally admissible in a court of law, for good reason. How would you like to be convicted of a crime based on rumor? A Facebook meme? An accusation that isn’t backed up by actual, physical evidence? You’d take a dim view of it, wouldn’t you? Particularly if you didn’t commit the crime you were accused of.
That’s where we’re heading, boys and girls, but right now I’m talking about impeaching a sitting president, accusing him of crimes; a very serious action. Nothing I have heard constitutes what I understand to be actual “evidence” of wrongdoing. It’s supposition, suggestion, innuendo; Sondland “assumed” quid-pro-quo, but nobody ever actually said anything to him about it…
When you add this to what came before – the rabid searching for something to pin on this president, each time one idea gets shot down grasping at another – and you start to realize that Ringling Bros. would have paid money for this.
I don’t like the circus.