UK Commentary - Laban Tall's Blog has an article on what it terms 'Justice for James', referring to the continuing controversy surrounding the treatment of the killers of James Bulger.
Laban writes of James' mother's fight for justice for her son
defeated by a criminal justice system institutionally biased in favour of the offender and against the victim.
It's not for me to comment on the emtions or actions of James' mother. But what worries me about Laban's argument is his presumption that the criminal justice system is somehow a battle between the victim and the offender.
Surely it is a fundamental principle of justice that the two sides in any criminal case are the offender and society at large (in the case of the UK, represented by the Crown - here in the US, by the People). The victim should always be treated with respect and consideration, but any trial must serve the interests of the wider community. It is ironic that those who decry the rise of the 'victim culture' in the UK are often also those who seem to want to promote it in the criminal justice system.
If a victim forgives their attacker at the end of a trial, it does not follow that no punishment should be meted out. Any more than if I demand that the person who stole my wallet be publicly executed, I should expect to have my request granted.