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The Era of Kangaroo Hearings

The Era of Kangaroo Hearings
House Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Rep. Adam Shiff (D-CA) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) answer questions at the U.S. Capitol October 2, 2019 in Washington, D.C. Pelosi and Schiff updated members of the media on the latest developments related to the impeachment inquiry focused on U.S President Donald Trump. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Wednesday, 02 October 2019 05:00 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Merriam Webster defines a Kangaroo Court as a “mock court in which the principles of law and justice are disregarding or perverted” also characterized by irresponsible procedures.

The origins of the term Kangaroo Court are loosely attributed to the claim jumping days of the Gold Rush. It was first used by Philip Paxton in "A Stray Yankee in Texas" with a historical account of the “Mustang” or “Kangaroo Court” for the principle amusement of the saloon, instituting “mock proceedings against some one of their number, for some ridiculous, imaginary offence.”

History provides us with the “Legend of Judge Roy Bean” and stories of his kangaroo court, entrenched in the folk law of the Wild West as the only “Law West of the Pecos” with jurors predisposed to guilty verdicts chosen from the patrons of his saloon and bizarre sentences.

Joseph Stalin conducted hundreds of thousands of kangaroo courts during the Great Purge. Between 1936 and 1938 it is estimated that 600,000 to 3 million dissenters of the Communist Party were killed during these Purges, justified by the sentences of these courts.

The Nazi Party used the Volksgerichtshof (People’s Court) trails to exact vengeance on those who collaborated in the attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler. The defendants were mocked during the filmed proceedings by the judge shouting “insults at the individuals throughout the course of the trial” for use as propaganda.

This country also lived through the Sen Joseph McCarthy hearings, which capitalized on the fear and paranoia of the country to initiate widely publicized congressional hearings based on indiscriminate allegation and unsubstantiated charges to expose Communist Russian infiltration of the U.S. Government, personified by McCarthy’s constant interruptions, shouting irrelevant questions, and verbal assaults on witnesses.

Literature exposes these Kangaroo Courts as expedient sham legal proceedings denying due process and fairness with outcomes decided in advance, ensuring a conviction, to add legitimacy to the conviction.

"Catch-22"reflects “The case against Clevinger was open and shut. The only thing missing was something to charge him with."

Even more famous is the case of Tom Robinson convicted of rape in the court of public opinion before the trail opened, leaving Atticus Finch few options, even when the proceeding's charades were exposed, in the American Literature Classic “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Can Kangaroo Courts be summed up as proceedings characterized by politically motivated purges based on imaginary offenses with the conviction established before proceedings even begin, proliferated by propaganda to consolidate public opinion typified with the inquisitors constantly interrupting and shouting insults at the witnesses?

Are we seeing parallels of these characteristics in the proceedings of congressional hearings over the last few months?

Rep. Maxine Waters during an interview on C-SPAN stated, "Impeachment is about whatever the Congress says it is. There is no law that can dictate impeachment.”

Rep. Adam Schiff has been criticized for paraphrasing a transcript of a presidential call with the Ukrainian President with words that he wanted in the transcript rather than the exact wording to bolster his accusations.

Are these examples of imaginary offenses?

Before Robert Mueller even testified on the famous Mueller Report findings of no evidence of Russian Collusion with the Trump Campaign, Rep. Maxine Waters tweeted “Impeachment first, prison next!"

Immediately upon being sworn in as a member of congress, Rep. Rashida Tlaib proclaimed, "We're gonna impeach the motherf****r." Would these be examples of conviction established before proceedings begin?

During recent hearing on Capitol Hill the witness Corey Lewandowski stated to Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, "I don't believe there was a question... Could you repeat the question? I didn't hear it. Just a rant," Is this just one example of inquisitors constantly shouting insults at the witness?

Do these illustrations indicate we are we experiencing politically motivated conviction in advance of proceedings of imaginary crimes, circulated by propaganda, with inquisitors pontificating accusations and insults unsupported by evidence in the Kangaroo Hearings of Capitol Hill?

John M. DeMaggio retired after 30 years of service as a Captain from the U.S. Naval Reserve Intelligence Program. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Forensic Science from John Jay College and a Master’s of Science from Whiting School of Engineering, Johns Hopkins University. Privately consulting in counterterrorism, forensic science, and investigations, he also conducts international counterterrorism training, having retired as a Special Agent in Charge and serving as Co-chairman, Investigative Support and Forensic Subgroup, TSWG, developing interagency counterterrorism technology. He is also an op-ed contributor for The Hill. He previously published “Mitigation of Terrorist Effects on Victims’ Motivation” in U.S. Army Counterinsurgency Center Colloquium. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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Merriam Webster defines a Kangaroo Court as a “mock court in which the principles of law and justice are disregarding or perverted” also characterized by irresponsible procedures.
trump, ukraine, kangaroo court
Wednesday, 02 October 2019 05:00 PM
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