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THE LAW IS A ASS for 03/04/2003
"The Law is a Ass" Installment # 186
Originally written as installment # 293 and published in Comics Buyer's Guide issue # 1527 February 21, 2003 , issue
Sometimes, when I'm reading a comic book, I'll say to myself, or out lout--in fact, usually out loud, which surprises the hell out of, and gets strange looks from, the other passengers on the bus--"Oh no, don't tell me the story is going there.
Usually, it is.
The comic I'm writing about today was one those comics. Almost from the start, I knew where it was going. I knew what it was going to do and I couldn't believe it I couldn't believe that it was going to make a mistake as basic and as fundamental as the one I was sure it was going to make.
And, for the record, it made that exact, basic and fundamental mistake. And a lot of other ones along the way...
THE LAW IS A ASS
Installment # 186
"When Captain America throws his weight around..."
He catches the bad buy. After all, he's the good guy. That's what he does. It's what he did in Captain America# 39 and 40. Unfortunately, if he catches them like he did in Captain America# 39 and 40, that warm fuzzy feeling you got from knowing he was on the job won't last long.
In Captain America# 39, Cap takes part in a S.H.I.E.L.D. raid on A.I.M. headquarters. During the course of this raid, occasioned because SHIELD--you'll forgive me if I forego the periods from hereon in, won't you?--traced a shipment of the genetic biochemical material necessary for cloning the assassin Protocide to the AIM base, both AIM soldiers and AIM defense systems shoot at Cap and the SHIELD agents. During the course of the raid, the Director of AIM, who admits to Cap and the agents that he is the director of AIM, attempts to escape in a Mandroid suit. While doing this the Director of AIM also admits that AIM purchased the Mandroid suit plans from the Red Skull, who had, in turn, "pilfered"--his word, not mine--them from the SHIELD helicarrier data files.
Cap jumps on the fleeing Director of AIM's Mandroid suit. The Director tries to kill Cap by generating a lethal electrical feedback through the armor. Cap stops both the attack and the Director by smashing the suit's battery pack with his shield. Cap then unmasks the self-confessed Director of AIM and learns he's one Chet Madden.
In Captain America # 40, the defense counsel moves to dismiss the case, because "There is no evidence of my client committing any crime! The sole reason he's being prosecuted is because he was apprehended wearing the yellow suit of an organization that indulged in questionable practices long ago." If I had been the judge, I would have said, "Say what?" Judges don't really say such things, but it would be fun to start a new tradition. "No crime? How about the fact that your client admitted to being the director of an organization which just shot at federal officers? How about the fact that your client admitted to buying Mandroid plans he knew were stolen, so received stolen property? How about the fact that your client attempted to kill Captain America with a legal electrical feedback? How about them apples, counsel?" (Judges don't really say "them apples, either, but I really think they should loosen up. It will do wonders for their images.)
Unfortunately for justice, but fortunately for Captain America # 40, which needed a plot, I wasn't the judge and the judge in the story said he was "inclined" to grant the defense motion, then adjourned until the next morning.
This gave Cap half a day to come up with conclusive evidence of Madden's guilt, apparently more conclusive than a confession. Cap did this by issuing a SPOILER WARNING that he was about to reveal intimate details of how Captain America # 40 was going to end and then proceeding to said end. Actually, he did it by staging a fake jail break from a SHIELD prison where Billups, a former SHIELD agent turned turncoat, was serving his sentence. In reality, it wasn't two AIM agents who sprung Billups but Cap and Sharon Carter in AIM suits. They trick Billups into taking them to AIM's back-up headquarters, where Cap and Sharon storm the facility--with appropriate back-up from Dum Dum Dugan and SHIELD--and take computer files from the facility's Communications Room. The next day in court, Cap introduces a computer disk with hours of communications between Madden, as the self-confessed Director of AIM, and his operatives, including Madden's own orders that their cloned assassin Protocide commit various murders on AIM's behalf.
And, happy ending time, the judge denies the defense motion to dismiss and orders the case proceed to trial.
If I had been the judge, I would have said, "Cap, buhbie, how'd you get this evidence? Staged a fake jail break and tricked a man into taking you to AIM headquarters. That's all well and good, Sparky. But did you bother to get a search warrant, before you stormed the headquarters?
"No? Then how am I supposed to find this evidence admissible?
"Were there exigent circumstances which would mean you didn't need to get a warrant? No. Even though you were pursuing a fleeing felon into a secret facility, there weren't exigent circumstances. Cap, poopsie, you can't create an exigent circumstance by releasing the felon and then follow him into his hideout.
"Now, if you had bothered to have a judge on the line who would issue you a search warrant, once you learned where AIM's back-up headquarters, that would have been one thing. But you didn't do that, did you, Bunky. Do you mind if I call you Bunky, or is that a little too close to your old partner's name?
"No, you just bulled into the headquarters with lots of federal agents accompanying you and no warrant and took whatever you needed.
"Look, Wings, you ever heard of the Fourth Amendment. Of 'illegal search and seizure?' Well, you are now. Your evidence is inadmissible and the motion to dismiss is granted.
"I mean, I know I shouldn't have been granting the motion to dismiss in the first place, but seeing as how writer Dan Jurgens made it so that I was granting it, I can't let your illegally-seized evidence change my mind."
That's what I would have said, if I were the judge. So, having seen what happens, when Captain America throws his weight around, let's finish the song. The rest of you so join in. Come on, you know the tune.
"When Captain America throws his weight around.
Those crooks, and snooks he took won't face the Crown."
Bob Ingersoll, Cleveland public defender and legal analyst for Comics Buyer's Guide knows we're not we're not really British. Defendants in our country are prosecuted and don't face the Crown. Cut me some slack, already. I needed a rhyme. I mean, you let me have a judge call Cap, "Bunky," for crying out loud.
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