This title is my written representation of the sound made throughout the television show “Law and Order”. I think it is supposed to represent the gavel of justice banging on the bench, or maybe jail cells clanging shut. I’m not sure, but it’s an unmistakable sound if you have ever seen the show.
For real fans of the show, the following words are unmistakable, “In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the police, who investigate crime; and the district attorneys, who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories.”
Oh boy, here we go. Stories of the criminal justice system! Golly, when I see that written down it doesn’t look exciting or entertaining at all, and yet it was, and for me still is. I am positive I have seen every single episode of the original show and most of the episodes multiple times. I love it. And it has taught me quite a bit about the criminal justice system.
No, I’m not naive enough to think that every little thing that happens on “Law and Order” is completely realistic or accurate, but a lot of it is. I have learned some very helpful tips. For example, I know I have the right to remain silent, and that I am entitled to have a lawyer present when I do talk, and that if I can’t afford a lawyer one will be appointed for me. I know that just because you are absolutely innocent doesn’t mean that you can’t get arrested, charged, and even convicted of a crime.
Sometimes when we know we are not guilty, there still isn’t a strong defense or us. Sometimes we don’t understand exactly what it is we are charged with or what the law will allow and won’t allow. Sometimes even having a lawyer isn’t enough to save us. Perhaps most important of all, the defendant who acts as their own attorney has a fool for a client. Get a lawyer!
The defendant (who was Job) said in Job 13:18, “Behold, I have prepared my case; I know that I shall be vindicated.” Job felt he was completely innocent, but is anyone truly completely innocent? Innocent of a crime as defined by law perhaps, but without any sin or mistake? No. Job was convinced that in the end he would win and all suspicion of him would be erased, but in truth he didn’t even understand what the trail was about or what the prosecution and the defense were actually up to.
Job thought he would win on his own merit. Life rarely, perhaps never, works like that. Only God is a sure thing and even then not necessarily in the way we think. God’s justice looks quite a bit different from human justice. God’s justice is about giving people what they need instead of what they deserve. Thus ends the second lesson in theology from a Reformed perspective.
P.S. I miss Lenny Briscoe.