– Benjamin Franklin
The jails are full and the prisons are fuller. Court calendars are clogged and lawyers stay busy.
Not because crime is rampant. Most studies show it’s down.
No, our legal system is mostly overburdened by one simple fact: People are stupid.
Look at many of the recent stories coming from the courtrooms of Richmond and Columbia counties and you quickly discern this common theme.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: Stupidity, while flagrant, is not a crime.
Well, I’m here to argue it should be and should be treated not with burdening the taxpayers, but instead focusing on those responsible.
When someone ends up in our legal system for doing something clearly stupid but not really evil, he or she will – under advice of legal counsel – be allowed to plead stupidity.
Why not? For some crimes, you can plead nolo contendere – which loosely translated is, “OK, you got me.”
In some cases you can enter what’s called an Alford Plea, which loosely translated means, “OK, you got me and you can prove it pretty easily.”
So why can’t one plead stupid? (“I dico stultus,” if my high school Latin is correct.)
In my opinion, allowing people to plead stupid will tidy up a majority of domestic or traffic-related offenses taking up valuable court time.
However, just because you’ve pleaded stupid doesn’t mean you get off the hook. No, there is a price to pay for not going to jail.
DRIVING: If you plead stupid, not only will you have to get a new driver’s license with your new stupid status designated, but you also will only be allowed to drive a car with a special “STUPID” license plate. That way everyone else on the road will know to stay out of your way.
VOTING: If you plead stupid, you won’t be allowed to vote. Obviously, stupid people have been voting for some time, and that explains much of our problems in Washington.
If you plead stupid, you can ride the campaign bus, make sandwiches for rallies and even applaud the candidate for the TV cameras.
You just can’t vote.
ALCOHOL: You can’t drink. There are few more dangerous combinations than stupidity and alcohol, so no booze.
MARRIAGE: There is no more dangerous combination than stupidity and marriage. I expect this will cut down on Hollywood weddings, but too bad. People magazine will just have to focus on something else – a better and improved America, I expect.