walkitout (walkitout) wrote,
walkitout
walkitout

Hemry, _Burden of Proof_ and _Rule of Evidence_

Two more entries in JAG in Space. In the second entry in the series, Our Hero meets his girlfriend's dad, who is a complete jackass. Then, the girlfriend's dad is tapped to run the investigation on Our Hero's ship after a Chief Petty Officer dies in a mysterious, major fire. While Our Hero isn't blamed, he's kinda smeared in the resulting investigation, which results in a recommendation for the person probably responsible, at least in part.

Then someone comes to Our Hero saying, hey, I gave a statement and it wasn't in the report. Our Hero tells the Captain, who authorizes further investigation, resulting in the obvious conclusion: the guy that got the medal is Teh Evil and must be court-martialed. Very compelling circumstantial evidence; no direct evidence that he caused the fire/gave the order that resulted in the fire. Antics ensue.

The third entry is sort of a mirror image. As hostilities between SASAL and the Euro-Americans escalate, Our Hero's girlfriend's ship blows up and she is the only survivor in Engineering. A major refit added some software and hardware that is supposed to help with power distribution. Its design connects it to not only everything that is connected to power, but also all of the controls (including safety interlocks) that are connected to power. Predictably, this results in disaster.

However, it turns out the contractors responsible for this piece of nonsense covered up ALL failed tests during development, and while numerous people comment on how odd it is for something this major to come through on schedule with no significant problems, everyone also accepts the assertion that it couldn't POSSIBLY have caused this disaster. So instead, lacking alternative explanation, and in the absence of any evidence or witnesses (cause they all got destroyed), they blame the Hero's Girlfriend.

Now, this bothers me. A lot. Like, why wouldn't you blame one of the victims, instead, if you're looking for a saboteur? Seems kinda silly. OTOH, the desire for a scapegoat can be overwhelming. On the gripping hand (hey, this is a review of two sf novels), why isn't anyone worried about this SEERS system? First trip out of the yard, the first ship with it installed blows up mysteriously. Would _you_ accept expert witness testimony that this is impossible?

Then again, a lot of people _have_ accepted such testimony in comparable situations. *shrug* Frustrating to someone with my background, but I can't say it isn't realistic because I'm sorry to say I suspect it's _very_ realistic.

Nice in-joke: one of the members is from the ship Dhalgren. Go, Hemry!

One book in this series remains.
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