JUSTICE DELAYED IS JUSTICE DENIED
By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Sun, 08 Jan 2012
How often have we heard the phrase, “justice delayed is justice denied” which, Wikipedia clearly explains, is “a legal maxim meaning that if legal redress is available for a party that has suffered some injury, but is not forthcoming in a timely fashion, it is effectively the same as having no redress at all.”
Indeed in most countries around the world the phrase has become a rallying cry for the less privileged in national societies either because of their economic or social standing.
It is said that the phrase may be traced to the Magna Carta clause 40 which reads, "To no one will we sell, to no one will we refuse or delay, right or justice.”
Given this background it is impossible to comprehend how Justice of the Peace Melissa Saragosa reversed herself in the Floyd Mayweather Jr case after making some laudable pronouncements about the need for the fighter who was sentenced to 90 days in prison to serve time.
In sentencing Mayweather last December 21 Saragosa said “I think a period of time in incarceration will send the right message to the community and to his (Mayweather’s) children that no matter who you are, you will have consequences to your actions that are appropriate when this level of violence is inflicted.”
In an inexplicable turnaround which isn’t in fact inexplicable once you read the basis of Mayweather’s lawyer’s request to delay his incarceration and Saragosa’s granting of the request, Saragosa delayed the start of Mayweather’s prison term from January 6 to June 1.. To put it bluntly, it was all about the business of boxing and money.
Mayweather’s lawyer Richard Wright informed Saragosa that the May 5 fight would be a boon to the city of Las Vegas to the tune of $100 million claiming that Floyd’s last seven fights garnered a total of $1 billion for Las Vegas.
Of course there was no way the judge could verify those claims. It would be worth recalling that in Mayweather’s last fiasco of a fight against Victor Ortiz he didn’t fill up the venue or do well on pay-per-view just like his previous fight against Juan Manuel Marquez which failed to fill up the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Wright claimed Mayweather wanted to honor a commitment to the MGM Grand and supposedly to cable providers who have booked the date. Yet, even today, there’s no definite word on who will cover the fight, HBO Sports or Showtime which raises doubts about the alleged commitment to cable providers.
There was also never any confirmation from the MGM Grand that indeed there was a done deal for May 5 because, according to Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, the MGM people didn’t commit since they wanted to first know what the plans of Ring Magazine pound for pound king Manny Pacquiao, a proven draw through the years, were.
To quote Atty. Wright “It’s a simple delay so he (Mayweather) could honor that commitment.” Are we to understand that a commitment to fight on May 5 overrides the serving of a sentence for a crime that had been committed and for which, if Mayweather stood trial, could possibly have earned him a prison term of 34 years? In fact the lawyer was quoted as having told Mayweather he could make those commitments because he expected the trial in the domestic violence case to be delayed until well after May. Was this part of a charade because Mayweather entered into a plea bargaining agreement with prosecutors instead of going to trial.
What the judge also failed to consider was the fact that Mayweather doesn’t have a license to fight which means he has to go before the Nevada State Athletic Commission to plead his case considering his conviction. There is, at least on the face of it, no certainty that he would get a license to fight unless of course that too has been arranged.
Remember, the NSAC did not grant Antonio Margarito a license to face Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas even though Margarito was never convicted of any crime over the illegal hand-wraps in his fight against Miguel Cotto. The result was that Arum took the fight to the Dallas Cowboys Stadium and Las Vegas lost a huge potential income.
How can the NSAC refuse to give Margarito a license because of alleged illegal hand-wraps and grant Mayweather who has been convicted of a crime and sentenced to prison, no matter how short the sentence, unless the Commission also joins the double-standard bandwagon.
When Chief Deputy District Attorney Lisa Luzaich pointed out that since Mayweather had apparently scheduled the fight before he entered his pleas he could have asked for a delay at last month’s hearing even as she claimed the fight could be rescheduled. However, Mayweather’s lawyer claimed it wouldn’t be easy to reschedule, as though it has never been done many times in the past.
What, for instance, if Mayweather or the opponent his handlers choose is injured while in training?
Atty. Wright asked for the June 1 date for Floyd to begin serving his sentence because he would need some time to recover from the fight, yet in the same breath said he knows Mayweather will win the fight even though no opponent has been named. Is this too a settled issue so that a massive fight against Pacquiao could take place possibly in November in a venue Arum wants to build that would accommodate 45,000 people and thus bring in a huge income to ease the troubles of struggling hotels and casinos in Las Vegas and the state itself which we presume pays the wages of Saragosa?
The role of the Judge as we appreciate it, was to sentence Mayweather and to make sure that the sentence was carried out. The economic impact of her decision should never have been a consideration.
Because if that were the case then the words of the Magna Carta ring loud and clear-- "To no one will we sell, to no one will we refuse or delay, right or justice.”
Click here to view a list of other articles written by Ronnie Nathanielsz.
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