Mark Roman | August 14, 2019 | news
The shocking death of Jeffrey Epstein has precluded what promised to be a sensational criminal trial. Many of Epstein’s alleged victims were looking forward to facing Epstein in person and telling a jury about the magnitude of his crimes. Now, of course, they will never get that chance.
Fortunately, there are still civil claims available to alleged victims. You can’t put a dead person in jail, of course, but you can sue their estate in civil court. Thus, the civil side of our justice system will perform an important function which the criminal system cannot.
If you are the victim of abuse, negligence, or wrongdoing, our law firm can help you pursue justice outside of criminal court.
Societal Benefits of a Civil Cases
There are even more societal benefits to having a civil justice remedy in this situation. Anyone who aided Epstein’s crimes, or just engaged in the same reprehensible behavior he did, might think his death would protect them. A dead man cannot implicate his friends in crimes to try and get a more favorable sentence.
However, the civil justice claims brought by Epstein’s victims will trigger a long and thorough discovery process. While Epstein’s testimony will never be heard directly, other evidence will come to light. There are likely to be other witnesses and paper trails which reveal the names of others who behaved badly. Thus, the public may ultimately learn the names of other people who joined with Epstein in exploiting young women. They may not face criminal charges, but there will be some form of settling accounts for their behavior.
Civil & Criminal Justice Working Side-By-Side
Public shame alone is a potent form of punishment for people who are wealthy and famous. However, the punishment may not just be social: people who were co-conspirators with Epstein could become also liable for substantial damages in civil court. They could be financially ruined, or at least made to suffer serious monetary pain, even if they’re never arrested. Again, the civil justice system can be an important backstop for a criminal process which may not provide full justice.
This is just one example of how the civil justice system works parallel to the criminal system. Another is when a victim is killed by a person’s wrongful act. O.J. Simpson was acquitted of murder in his criminal trial but was found liable for huge damages in the wrongful death case brought by the families of his victims. While those families certainly would have liked to see Simpson behind bars, they did get some measure of justice when a civil jury validated their claims.
By the same token, a drunk driver who caused a serious car accident may not always be convicted of driving while intoxicated. There might not be enough evidence to ensure a criminal conviction. However, that driver can be subjected to a civil trial, and usually to punitive damages, for their wrongful acts. A civil trial thus ensures some form of punishment, even if there is no jail time.
Epstein May Be at Rest, but Justice Never Will Be
In other words, Epstein’s death doesn’t mean the scandal surrounding his behavior has ended. It will just be exposed in a different forum. There will likely still be a reckoning, and one hopes, a measure of justice for the women who suffered so much at Epstein’s hands.
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