[Guest post by Aaron Worthing]
That title is a tongue-in-cheek way of getting at a serious point. Also its my way of complying with the rule that every blogger must make at least one Monty Python reference every week.
As you may or may not know, Geert Wilders is on trial for saying lots of bad things about Islam. Regular readers know how I feel about the God given right to talk trash about any religion you want. Mind you, most of the time that is a pretty rude thing to do, and I discourage that. But more than I want to avoid offense, I believe we should be free to say what we want about any religion, without threats of violence—be it by terrorists or government prosecution. So, I am against this prosecution.
And don’t tell me he is an awful, awful man. I don’t know, and it doesn’t matter. Certainly anyone who has ever defended dipping my savior in urine, burning the flag, or letting Nazis march in Jewish neighborhoods shouldn’t suggest to me there is any righteousness in this prosecution.
Now a few people have reported that Geert was found not guilty. That is the headline of this story, for instance. But that isn’t quite right, as the text of the story makes clear. The truth is that prosecutors have only said he should be found not guilty.
Now in America, under our adversarial system of justice, that is almost a guarantee of a dismissed case. But apparently The Netherlands operate under the Inquisitorial system (see? Now you get the joke in my title!). In the Inquisitorial system, the judges are in charge of even the decision whether to prosecute at all.
So for instance, Andy McCarthy at The Corner points out that
Prosecutors never wanted to bring the case against Geert. In 2008, the office of the public prosecutor declined to charge him. The lunatic judges are the ones who’ve been behind this all along, representative as they are of the transnational progressive thinking responsible for having such “crimes” on the books in the first place. In 2009, the Dutch Court of Appeals issued an order essentially overruling the prosecutors and ordering that Wilders be charged. That could not happen in the U.S. federal system — at least for now — because, under separation of powers principles, prosecutorial discretion is vested absolutely in the executive branch. The judiciary can inveigh, but judges can’t force the Justice Department to charge anyone. But in the Netherlands, the court gets the last word.
McCarthy’s bottom line—and I think he is right—is that you shouldn’t get too excited by this news. I mean a better headline is “Prosecutors Who Didn’t Want To Bring the Case in the First Place Don’t Want Wilders To Be Convicted.” I suppose the fact that after all of this, they still aren’t convinced is encouraging, but I’m not sure how much it really matters.
[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]