Apology [if determined to be sincere] & American Justice

Unlike Dickie Scruggs, former member of the Scruggs law firm Sidney Backstrom apologized at the sentencing hearing for attempted bribery of a judge. And unlike Scruggs, Backstrom got his choice of prisons.

Incidentally, Scruggs’ son Zach also seems to have been penalized with a prison sentence instead of probation because of his arrogant aka non-contrite attitude.

Tonight on “Cold Case,” the serial killer didn’t apologize. Philosophically, he reflected that his life had been a good one. The female investigator peering through that other side of the mirror took on a look of great horror. Silent film stars couldn’t have signaled a moral tone better.

Apology seems so embedded in the American Justice system that it seems almost an unjust part of it. On the most simple level, the so-called “sincere” apology can be feigned. After all, many a sociopath and borderline personality comes through the courts. Another thing, apology has no necessary link with behavior change. We have no guarantee that Backstrom will comport himself differently professionally in the future. Third, as I’ve said before on this blog and as I will say again: Apology doesn’t equal remedy, at least in my book. The defendant’s remorse about deliberately killing my dog doesn’t bring my dog back or compensate me for loss of companionship.

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