"...judge, jury and executioner..." Is there a more tired, melodramatic cliche? I think not.
I see or hear this one a lot. Anytime a person doesn't like that another person gets to make a decision that will affect him, he claims that the other person is acting as judge, jury and executioner, implying that the other's decision is overreaching and flawed.
The most recent use I saw of this phrase was today. Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's so-called "dream team" of lawyer is trying to stop, through the Michigan courts, Governor Jennifer Granholm from proceeding with her hearing tomorrow which may result in Mr. Kilpatrick's removal from office due to "official misconduct." One of Mr. Kilpatrick's lawyer expressed dismay with a court ruling allowing the Governor's hearing to go forward because it is "set up for the governor to be judge, jury and executioner in this case."
I'm not sure if Mr. Kilpatrick's attorney understands this, but the Mayor will not be executed no matter what the Governor decides. The worst she can do is remove him from office. She will serve as a quasi judge if you will. Many legal matters are decided without juries so the cliche doesn't work well on that level either.
Personally, I hope Kilpatrick is removed by the Governor. But more than that, I hope the hearing is done fairly and impartially, giving him every opportunity to "execute" himself.