An Essay By Billy
It Sounded Good! The Truth About Lying
Have you ever had someone tell you a story that sounded quite true and believable only to later discover the entire story was a lie? Have you ever been lied to by your children, your spouse, your colleague, a friend, or by anyone that you really trusted?
Tragically, lying is a phenomenon that occurs with daily regularity in our society and throughout our criminal justice system. Just look at the recent misfortunes our former President experienced. The entire country sat riveted to their television sets grappling with the decision as to whether or not the President lied and obstructed justice. Many observers say it wasn't about sex and perhaps it wasn't. But, it was certainly about the President's lying about sex! The President allegedly lied under other during a Grand Jury proceeding about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. And it's ironic how his statements under oath became the topic of the day, specifically did he or did he not actually give perjured testimony?
Well, we all know the truth of the matter...the President lied!
Lying, whether under oath, in the work place or in the privacy of one's own home has become commonplace in our society. Witnesses do it, police officers do it, husbands do it, wives do it, priests do it, judges and lawyers do it and even political leaders do it! The sad reality is that lying has become tightly woven into the fabric of our society. It's all part of the 'Win at all any and all costs' attitude.
In actuality, a criminal trial has become a battle of which side can tell the best, most convincing lie! A trial is no longer about the truth, credible evidence or about the guilt or innocence of the person on trial! Integrity, fairness and justice have taken a back seat to winning! Oh yes, a trial has become a voracious quest for victory and if lies have been told it appears no one is immune! When you witness a fair trial nowadays one honestly can't distinguish between what's true and what's false. There's no light that comes on or bell that rings in the courtroom when a witness is lying, when lawyers are lying or when the judge is lying. Oh yes, and please don't be so na´ve to believe that judges have too much honor or integrity to lie! Because in reality judges are some of the greatest promoters and purveyors of deceit history has or will ever know!
Truth be told, everyone on earth has lied and will lie if it's to their benefit. How does one account for the fact that so many innocent people have been wrongfully convicted? Not always, but in most cases someone had to lie! And the liar was usually a civilian witness, a police officer, an expert witness, a judge, or all of the above! This is how most innocent people get wrongfully convicted.
Now, think back to the first question I asked you. Have you ever had someone tell you a story that sounded quite true and believable only to later discover that the entire story was a lie? Think about the last time this happened! When you first heard the story it sounded good, didn't it? It made sense, it added up, it was logical, and of course, you believed it! But, there's one very important reason you believed the story. You believed it because you trusted and had faith in the person who told it! Well, that's exactly what happens during trials. Jurors tend to believe the story of the lawyer they trust and have the most faith in. And, in most cases that lawyer is the prosecutor! You see, the prosecutor walks into the courtroom cloaked in credibility, believability and trust! Think about it! He represents the people, he's surrounded by police officers, experts of all kinds, victims, etc. How can anyone not believe the prosecutor. So when the prosecutor gets up to tell his story, examines his witnesses, presents his physical and scientific evidence while pointing at the defendant and telling the jury to convict him, the prosecutor usually sounds very believable!
But, a word of caution! Just because a story sounds good and is told by someone you trust, it doesn't mean the story is true! Take a moment to reflect upon the last time you were lied to by someone you trusted! When you finally found out you had been lied to, deceived, you felt anger, hostility and betrayal. And, what made the pain and hostility even more profound was the fact that you were lied to by someone you trusted and had faith in. And, the thing I know you remember most is that once you discovered the story was a lie it didn't sound good, did it?
Billy Clark, California