General Question

flo's avatar

What are the hallmarks of the best justice system?

Asked by flo (7793 points ) March 11th, 2013

Is justice to be seen to be done one of them? What if the defense lawyer asked the judge to exclude everyone, (except the family of the murder victim) including the media from the courtroom, at any stage?

Has there been such a case (other than the national security cases, I’m aware of those) in a democratic country?

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10 Answers

jerv's avatar

Are you after justice, or do you just want to see a person publicly condemned so that you can feel some sense of closure? I fail to see how a non-publicized hearing is inherently unjust, unless you consider not being able to see people get thrown to the lions “unjust”.

The best justice system is one that seeks to establish the actual truth of a matter first, then establishing who should be accused of a crime and what their relationship to the case is. Our current system supports scapegoating and is more interested in vengeance than justice.

SamandMax's avatar

Hallmarks of the best Justice system? That’s subjective. However I do agree with @jerv.

zenvelo's avatar

The juvenile justice system in most states is conducted in closed door sessions. But because of that there have been instances of grave injustice against defendants who weren’t guilty, or had no premeditation. That’s why an open system is considered fair. But if the defense requests it, I think it is something to be definitely considered.

There is a strong sentiment in this country that if you’re at trial, then you must be guilty. It’s why we have had many injustices committed. The tone of this question is that the person being tried should be held up as an example because they are probably guilty.

It’s bad enough that print journalists are able to write about certain trials. I think it is a huge mistake that cameras are allowed in courtrooms. It turns the trial into a circus, rather than an attempt to find truth.

PhiNotPi's avatar

It’s hard to be objective with this.

Things such as low crime rate are often signals of a good justice system, but high crime rates can be created by societal problems and not necessarily by a bad justice system.

Another important trait is a low error rate, which is of course how good the system is at picking out the bad guys.

One other thing might be its ability to determine the best punishment method, such as who can be rehabilitated and who cannot. Rehabilitation success rates are also important.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

A justice system where judges are appointed based on their merit as lawyers is far better than one where they are elected for being party hacks for some political party. Similarly prosecutors should also earn their position based on merit rather than patronage or political affiliation.

flo's avatar

@zenvelo
“I think it is a huge mistake that cameras are allowed in courtrooms. It turns the trial into a circus, rather than an attempt to find truth.” Absolutley right.

“That’s why an open system is considered fair. But if the defense requests it, I think it is something to be definitely considered.” The defense would request the moon to have the guilty person be found not guilty.

“The tone of this question is ? that the person being tried should be held up as an example because they are probably guilty.” Sounds to me instead of is might be better, don’t you think? And even then…

@PhiNotPi and @Dr_Lawrence Thanks. How about the detail part?

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Requests that trials be held in camera should be granted only where demonstrable risk to a accused or their family can be demonstrated in a compelling manner. Otherwise, trials are supposed to be open to the public and the press. Reasonable controls on the publication of testimony pending the outcome of the trial is often reasonable to assure a fair trial and the right to appeal.

flo's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence Agree.

Not even the media being allowed in court, brings the term “Banana Republic” to my mind.

flo's avatar

I think a lot of jurisdictions are allowing sketch artists instead of cameras after the O.J’s trial.

@zenvelo “It’s bad enough that print journalists are able to write about certain trials.” So, the media ideally would hold on to their reports until the trial is over, just like the poll results of elections should?

But there should be legal experts, law students et al in court rooms.

mattbrowne's avatar

When criminal defense lawyers of child murderers are qualified and respected. A conviction carries far more weight that way.

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