On Society, Federal Judge Proclaims: ‘We are in a Death Spiral’


At the sentencing of a Ponzi scheme orchestrator Friday in federal court in Tacoma, federal court judge Ronald B. Leighton used some of the time to lambaste society in general.

We live in a time in which athletes cheat, he said, and where entertainers beat their wives and girlfriends. Government officials choose — or choose not — to pay their taxes, he proclaimed. And he took particular aim at our current cause celebre, calling some on Wall Street “souless.”

Leighton (pictured) ended such a diatribe by saying of our democracy that, “We are in a death spiral.”

The relevancy of these critical musings was indeed to the case at hand: sentencing Charles Nolon Bush, a former Port Orchard resident, to 30 years in prison for bilking investors out of $35 million. “Your timing is bad,” Leighton told Bush.

But the judge paints a pretty stark and gloomy picture. I have to ask: are things really that bad? And so bad, in fact, that judges — who serve as pinnacles in our democracy — are publicly foreseeing doomsday on the horizon?

For Leighton, the Nolon Bush case seemed to give the government a chance to set an example. It is my observation that our federal government cherry picks the most serious and heinous of crimes to show the rest of society that such behavior leads to harsh consequences.

“We live in a society,” Leighton said, “with a great need in a renewed faith in the rule of law.”

Leighton photo courtesy of the Emerald Education Group.

6 thoughts on “On Society, Federal Judge Proclaims: ‘We are in a Death Spiral’

  1. The “rule of law” is nothing more than the application of force by the state. It is an evolution of the kings prerogative to deal with his subjects as property and not, as is the common illusion, as sovereign beings themselves.

    Admittedly we need laws and rules to keep things flowing relatively smoothly, but it is a misguided philosophy that places undue faith and reverence in written rules rather than simple human relationships.

    The judges reference to faith in the rule of law is a simple reference to his notion that people should be appropriately afraid of being imprisoned and should guide their behavior with that knowledge in mind.

    As such it is not any better of a philosophy than any despotic ruler has ever employed.

  2. We need 1000 judges like this man….we’re plagued by social scientist jerks who can’t find their own food dish when it comes to the administration of justice. (See some drivel above), without “force by the state” this delicate society would come crashing down around your ears…..AND all you libertarians would be the first “Roll over” to totalitarian brute force and be crying for your MaMa.

  3. I think he is right.

    For those who can – not retired folks who can’t – consider New Zealand…a country that appears to be as we once were.
    Sharon O’Hara

  4. New Zealand crime:





    Every country has crime. However, instead of running from our problems I think we need to tackle ours head on. Just for starters:

    – Parents (MOTHER and FATHER) teach your kids right from wrong and hold them accountable. In fact, don’t have kids unless you have the means, maturity and devotion to raise them right.

    – Hold criminals accountable. If after a fair trial, you are found guilty, I don’t care how you are treated…it is time for you to get to work and pay for your crime. Got complaints…think about how well you treated your victim!

    – Lets make the punishments fit the crime. Murder…you are gone. Other violent crimes…you are going to pay and it is going to hurt. Non-violent crimes…you will still do the time but that is your last chance…next time it is going to hurt.

    – Education. Kids need to understand the value of our education. People risk their lives to come to this country for an opportunity to succeed. Too many Americans take our country for granted.

    – Protect our borders and enforce our laws. Pretty self-explanatory yet some people still don’t get it.

    – Drugs. Don’t do them. It is that easy. If you addicted then you will get helped…once. After that, all bets are off.

    I could go on and on but I am tired of typing. Our country isn’t going into a “death spiral”, at least not yet. We need to display some tough love and get away from the liberal feel good society. It is easy to be a productive, law abiding member of society, millions and millions of people do it every day. For those who don’t…it is time to get onboard or be left behind.

  5. We don’t have problems in this country – we have a terminal disease of entirlement and inefficiency.

    A overriding ‘problem’ I see here is ATTITUDE…the attitude of entitlement. The attitude that society is responsible for taking care of those unwilling to take care of themselves.

    We make laws we don’t enforce.

    We’ve made a mockery of legal immigration… instead we give driver’s licenses to the folks here illegally, teach them how to work the system in the U.S., educate their children, give them healthcare our own citizens can’t afford to get.
    All the items you mention are well known and sensible.

    “For those who don’t (get onboard) it is time to get onboard or be left behind.”

    Left behind? From what?

    Yesterday someone called- a political survey trying to determine, I think, how taxpayers can be asked to be willing for a greater tax burden than we already have in order to ‘balance the budget.’

    That is a joke… the idea to pay more taxes to get more revenue to maintain the status quo and keep spending isn’t good enough.

    We pamper our criminals and ignore the victims.

    We throw taxpayer dollars at business failures. Why?

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