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Opinion >  Letters

Fairness requires equity

“The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges.” Anatole France

The letter of the law kills, particularly, when it is applied by blind justice. The principle of equity (fairness) was adopted by English Common Law to prevent the unfair, harsh, and irrational decisions the letter of the law required judges to render.

To avoid outcomes likely to enrage common sense the English Common Law combined law with equity to produce fairness. For legal systems to survive citizens must see them as fair. The American legal system is modeled on the English Common Law and includes its concept of equity. Equity is, thus, not a new idea.

Equity recognizes that not everyone who comes before the court is similarly situated. To obtain justice people with mental health issues, addiction issues, and war-trauma issues require Mental Health, Drug, and Veteran’s Courts.

In a recent Guest Opinion Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno stated that the Spokane Superior Court, along with more than 30 county stakeholders, recognize that fairness requires extending equity to cases where racism has been shown to regularly produce unfair, harsh, and irrational outcomes.

County Prosecutor Larry Haskell is opposed to equity. No matter how different a person’s situation and needs are, Mr. Haskell insists the community will be better protected if everyone is treated exactly the same. One size must fit all. That’s why he needs a bigger jail.

Tim Gallagher



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