February 5, 2014
Reality is the difference between what we wish for and what truly is. In cities and courtrooms across this country there are many people with a distorted sense of reality. People commit crimes, knowingly and sometimes unknowingly, without a true sense of reality. The reality of their crimes; the reality of the lives they affect; or the reality of the consequences.
Reality Check #1 Breaking the Law Reality check #1: we all break the law. I spent 10 years as a defense attorney before becoming a Judge and I found it very interesting how the United States legal system is truly a “Legal Matrix.” I wrote a book called “The Legal Matrix, How the System is Controlling Your Life.” The book talks about laws that are obvious and those that are not so obvious. Every day we all break at least one of the laws on a federal, state or local level. Lucky for us the law enforcement agencies don’t spend a lot of their time trying to bust us for every little violation. All of us are aware of the more common and obvious laws. For instance, we know that we can not steal from another person or business. A not so obvious law is the one that will have you facing jail time and a life-time suspension of your driver’s license if you run from a police officer, known as fleeing and eluding. However, obvious or not, most of us you know the difference between right and wrong. The bottom line is that you cannot do what you want, whenever you want, to whomever you want, without consequences.
Reality Check # 2: Your Actions Affect Others Reality check # 2: your actions do affect other people. We often only think of ourselves and not the others we affect. Every crime has some affect on other people. Property crimes = when you damage, destroy or take another’s property. Domestic crimes = any type of violence or harassment of people. Drug crimes = the use or trafficking of illegal drugs. Driving offenses = driving recklessly or without authorization. All of these crimes affect other people. We need to stop and think you is being affected by what we do. We need to remember our actions have consequences.
Reality Check # 3: Your Actions Have Consequences
Reality check # 3: you will pay for your actions. Sometimes your consequences will come in the form of loss of money, loss of friends or even loss of opportunities but there will be a cost. I recently had a man in my courtroom charged with domestic violence and, though he tried to negotiate his way out of jail time but that was his consequence. On the way out of court, he decided to express his disappointment with the reality of what he “wished for” versus the reality of what was happening. He had some choice words for me. Did his actions affect my actions? I’ll answer that question in the next article.
For more discussion on this subject or others, join Judge Dawson’s Cycle Breaker/Finish First program on Monday nights at 5:30pm at the East Cleveland Municipal Court. East Cleveland Municipal Court’s Judge William L. Dawson is on a mission to help people to Finish First, live their best lives and be Cycle Breakers!