Day 13 Devotional & Discussion – March 19, 2014

Exodus 23:6-9, Isaiah 5:22-24

There are dangers inherent in every system of justice.  People can make false charges.  People can try to subvert the outcome through bribery.  The innocent can be condemned and killed.

The Law and the Prophets condemn these practices as “despising the word of the Lord” and warn of God’s judgment against those who pervert justice. 

In Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, a judge received bribes from Correction Corporation of America, a private prison company.  In exchange, he sentenced juveniles to their prison for the most minor infractions, ensuring their profits.  In Chicago in the 1970s and 1980s African Americans were routinely rounded up, tortured and coerced into confessions that were later used against them in trial.  Scores of innocent people ended up wrongly convicted—11 of them were sentenced to death row.  

What other instances can you think of where justice has been perverted? 

Link HERE to a story about a man who was coerced into a confession and was sentenced to 100 years in prison for a sexual assault he did not commit.  

2 comments

  1. I know there are many people who have been correctly convicted of crimes. However, when even one innocent person is wrongly convicted and incarcerated, it raises the question, “How many others?” When justice is perverted by law enforcement or by corrupt judges, it calls into question the integrity of the whole system. It does not help when those who are responsible for the system defend those who pervert it. In the torture case in Chicago, the city spent $20 million defending Jon Burge, the Police Commander who was at the heart of the torture and coercion. He is currently serving a 4 1/2 year prison sentence for perjury and obstruction of justice, but he is still receiving his city pension! And no police officers have been convicted of torturing suspects. First, it makes me angry that my tax dollars are being used to defend those who abused their authority and caused great harm to innocent men. Second, it make me want to remove from power those who defend the abusers. Finally, it makes me pray with greater intensity, “Rise up, O God, and judge the earth with equity. Bring to justice those who despise your instruction.”

  2. Those are some powerful verses in both Exodus and Isaiah. They seem so basic, so obvious, and yet you are right they are routinely abused. It is very instructive to see God’s heart for truth, for protection of the innocent.

    I think about those situations when a person is coerced/forced into a false confession. It reminds me of times when I feel I have caught my kids lying, and I yet they are defiant in maintaining that they told the truth. How forceful do I get in pushing them to the truth? There is always that part of me wondering “maybe they are telling the truth”. I don’t know for sure. I have to make a choice between letting it go and pushing harder for the truth to come out. If I let it go, they could get away with a lie. If I push to hard, they could be give a false confession. Neither option feels great. There is part of me that wonders what it is like to be in a position of authority having to deal with alleged crimes every day. I think it could wear me down, get me to the point of not caring, maybe even assuming that they’re all guilty. Like I mentioned with judges in a previous post, how does a detective or other person doing questioning keep a balanced, loving heart as the years go by? Do they have training to help them? I have no idea.

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