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Justice can be for all
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Updated: 06/22/2013 08:00:01AM

Justice can be for all

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This morning, at breakfast, I heard a thought provoking statement.

“Justice is for those who can afford it.” It’s worth repeating.

“Justice is for those who can afford it.”

This statement was not made by some uninformed individual. It was made by a graduate of the University of Florida Law School, a person who has had much experience with our judicial system in Polk County including Prosecution, Judicial and a lifetime involved in the law.

Recently I had a personal experience with an individual who received a traffic ticket from the Bartow Police Department for “running a stop sign.” This person could not afford to pay a fine or any other expenses. A poor person. When I got into the matter I found there was not a stop sign nor was there a street. I contacted a qualified criminal lawyer and asked him to represent this person. He agreed, and about a month later they appeared in court and curiously the arresting officer told the judge, who was hearing the case, that “He couldn’t remember anything.” The judge dismissed the case.

When I tried to pay the lawyer for his efforts he refused the money.

He said, “That’s what I went to law school for.”

He refused any notoriety about his generosity. “That’s not why I did it,” he said.

Many lawyers donate their time for good causes. more than any of us know. I can’t help but respect these professionals who are sensitive to the needs of poor people.

Many other professionals try to help those in need in Polk County. They don’t seek publicity frequently and to a large extent remain unknown. Many want to keep it confidential. I respect their wishes.

I do want to thank them, again and again.

Now, as citizens, we must ask the question: What was the Bartow Police officer thinking? What does the leadership in Bartow think about this and other similar matters?

Does the Bartow Police Department think they are contributing to the quality of life in their city when they do these dumb, unfair things? How many times do poor people plead “guilty” when they are not “guilty.” How many of the charges made by Bartow Police would result in a “guilty” verdict if they are represented by a lawyer? Does Bartow leadership care?

Douglas BarkBartow

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