*Why does it seem the most prejudiced people in our society are in positions of authority where they can do the most damage?
There was the (now imprisoned) Pennsylvania juvenile court judge who sentenced first time offenders to jail time in exchange for kickbacks, the Massachusetts lab technician who tainted evidence bound for criminal court to increase convictions because she wanted the approval of her supervisors and the LAPD with a history of racism against other police officers and against the people they are sworn to protect simply because they can.
Now a Utah state trooper has been fired for arresting thousands of motorists for drunk driving without probable cause. On the job since 2002, Lisa Steed was named trooper of the year in 2009, the first woman to reach that status. And she became a member of the state’s special DUI unit because of her high arrest record. Why Steed’s DUI arrests – which amounted to more than double the amount for any other trooper in Utah – didn’t seem too good to be true and signal her supervisors that something was amiss sooner is now the subject of a possible class action lawsuit against Steed and the state. Maybe she did it to prove her strength in the tough world of law enforcement. Maybe probable cause meant nothing to her.
These are just four examples of why nobody should think that just because you’re innocent there’s nothing to fear and justice always will prevail.
If you find yourself being bullied by a law officer, convicted by tainted evidence or sentenced for a crime you didn’t commit you’re probably not the only victim. One thing Steed and the other law enforcement offenders have in common is they overestimate their power and underestimate the courage of some of the people they victimize.
From crooked cops to greedy judges and lazy employees, justice is only as blind as the people in charge of it. Even when you’ve done nothing wrong, you might find yourself at the mercy of people who don’t want to see you succeed and consider it their mission to see you fail. Put the odds in your favor and don’t tempt the crooked, greedy or the lazy, because justice is rarely – if ever – blind.
Steffanie is a freelance journalist living in the Dallas, Texas metroplex. Send comments, questions and speaking requests to firstname.lastname@example.org.