Out of Kilter

Friday, September 16, 2005


Governments that have a separation of powers like the United States and Aruba attempt to protect the judiciary from the force of public opinion or other influences. When the results are abhorrent to the public, changes usually come from a change in leadership, legislation or a process of judicial review.

When OJ Simpson was tried for murder, prosecutors had the bodies, blood, DNA evidence, a prime suspect and the American media behind them. Still, they could not carry the case. No amount of public pressure could alter the result. In the end, it was the quality of the evidence, its presentation and a jury who had the final word.

No one asked for the mayor’s ouster. There were no boycotts of Los Angeles. And the Goldman family found justice in a civil case.

In our system the Kalpoes and Joran would have been charged and tried. But the result would have been very uncertain.

Public pressure rarely changes the course of the judiciary in an open system. The Dutch system is opaque. No jury and the judge must weigh all evidence BEFORE a trial rather than during a trial. It is an exacting and, for Americans, exasperating system.

Still the economic burden of a boycott will only serve to hurt thousands of Arubans who have done nothing wrong. And will have no influence on the courts. Most of these people supported Beth and the family and still do. They want the same result - justice for the family.


The case was flawed. It was difficult to make after what appears to be errors in pursuing evidence quickly. But, with varying stories, and no confession or body, they were stymied.

You can blame the system. You can blame the prosecutor and the judge. But you cannot claim that there was corruption or collusion. And you cannot ask for the “government” to intervene, anymore than President Bush would tell a federal judge to get a conviction on a case “or else.”

There is an injustice here that hopefully will be righted over time. But asking for a boycott will solve nothing, only evidence will.

from arubatruth.com