General Question

willbrawn's avatar

How do you feel about our justice system? Is it right? Is it fair?

Asked by willbrawn (6609points) July 9th, 2008

I ask this question because yesterday i was talking with a co-worker. She went to court yesterday to testify against a man who was trying to use a fake travelers check worth $500. At my job he was caught in the act and the cops arrested him. At the court house yesterday the DA on her side said that they really dont have a case. The reason was that he actually didnt commit the crime yet. They could possibly try him for attempted forgery but that was all. Good news though he actually pleaded guilty so justice did prevail.

Seriously, they didnt have a case? Things that are right and wrong dont seem to matter anymore. Our courts can make it so that criminals go free, as long as they have a great attorney.

Am i the only one that thinks our courts and lawyers are messed up?

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16 Answers

marinelife's avatar

The legal system is definitely not “fair.” It is slanted to protect the accused. That is a lesser evil than having it slanted the other way.

It is not perfect, but then neither are human beings.

cheebdragon's avatar

If you catch someone in your home robbing you, dont make them empty their pockets, because this drops the charge down to tresspassing….....after all he didn’t take anything, he only broke into your home and went thru all your stuff….
Fucking cops….

Spargett's avatar

Simply put:

Its not perfect, but its the best thing we have.

Standswithacane's avatar

Wow, I could unload right now given the time and a decent keyboard. Hey Willbraun, you say this fellow was “caught in the act” but the DA doesn’t have the evidence to make the case. Something about your understanding and recitation of the facts is skewed. Whatever the true facts, prosecutors are often faced with the unenviable and thankless task of having to make their best case with the evidence that’s been provided to them by the cops. And God knows I’m no DA advocate, living here in Texas, home of the “every other day death row DNA conviction reversal.” Make sure you have more than a third party’s cursory understanding of the “facts” before casting stones.

@ Marina… You gotta be kidding me. I’ve seen your other contributions to this world and this one is definitely sub par for you. “Slanted?” Dont make me go back and write a tome on why we have the evidentiary protections in place that we do. Go back and read the declaration of independence again. And by the way, this judicial branch of our government, which is probably the closest thing to a corporeal asset you have as a citizen, is being and has been routinely trampled upon by our executive branch for the last 8 years. Realize that. Try not to let your prior bad experiences turn you into a bitter skeptic.

I’m sure i’ll be back.

MrKnowItAll's avatar

Our legal system (and government) is the best that money can buy.

cheebdragon's avatar

Were we shopping at the 99¢ store?

willbrawn's avatar

@standswithacane im just trying to give an example of how the justice system let’s criminals go because they have a good attorney. That’s a FACT. And is bullshit. If that’s our system. Then its flawed.

marinelife's avatar

@willbrawn That is your opinion. In my mind, better to let criminals go than convict one innocent man, which as we know, we do.

@Standswithacane From Merriam Webster, the definition of slant “to interpret or present in line with a special interest.” I don’t see anything negative about that. Our justice system was deliberately tilted by the founding fathers to protect the rights of the accused. That’s the good thing about it. I’m not sure what you’re so hot about regarding my comment.

Standswithacane's avatar

@ willbrawn… the systems has warts. Its not perfect and you will always be able to find examples. But as Marina said, better not to wrongfully convict someone. Check this out,

@Marina… I won’t quibble with your response. I had my howitzer out yesterday and fired it at several people. You’re right. I shouldn’t have griped at you. Public apology.

winblowzxp's avatar

By the way, if you read the Constitution, you’ll find that Article III doesn’t put the Supreme Court in charge of the justice system. Congress is in charge of the judicial system, thus making the Justice Dept. part of the Legislative branch of government. The only job that the Supreme Court has is to interpret the Constitution.

Just because you hate the President, doesn’t give you the go ahead to blame him for the trampling of the justice system that you give him credit for. The only judicial powers that he possesses is pardoning, commuting, and appointing judges and justices. That’s it. Read the Constitution again, as it is the guideline to the operation of Government, not the Declaration of Independence.

Zuma's avatar

We have a terrible justice system. And I have barely begun to scratch the surface of it in my blog on Justice:

For another, see:

Over the past 30 years, mandatory minimums, three-strikes, and a host of “designer laws” and penalty enhancements have greatly reduced the power and discretion of judges and tilted the system overwhelmingly in favor of the prosecution. The wars on drugs and alcohol have almost entirely eviscerated the 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th Amendments. Over 90% of felony cases are now decided by plea bargain—and these are no “bargains” in any conventional meaning of the term, due to prosecutorial overcharging. There is no longer a presumption of innocence, or any of the other constitutional safeguards and protections that a jury trial is supposed to ensure. The police routinely lie, fabricate and destroy evidence, and everyone knows it.

We are the most punitive society on earth. We incarcerate 2.3 million people—that is, we have 5% of the world’s population and 26% of the world’s prisoners. We incarcerate 7 times more people per capita than our counterparts in Europe, Canada and Japan and our crime rates are still no lower. That’s because, only about 17% of the people in prison are there for things that are traditionally considered crime—rape and murder (less than 1%), robbery (4%), burglary (10%). About 56% of the people in California prisons are there on technical parole violations—for things like having beer cans in their garbage, or failing to show up to a meeting with their parole officers. Roughly half of the people in prison are there because of drugs and alcohol; another 1/3 to 1/2 are mentally ill (there is considerable overlap). The vast bulk of people we punish are more disreputable than dangerous.

The system is starkly racist at every level. There are 990 incarcerated white men for every 100,000 white men; there are 6,863 black men for every 100,000 black men, even though the underlying crime rates are virtually identical across races.

We are one of five countries that puts children to death; and we execute more children than all other countries combined. We are the only society on earth that sentences children to life without possibility of parole.

Our prisons are an international human rights embarrassment. They are riddled with racism, brutality, rape and torture.

The way the U.S. Attorney General is situated as a political appointee, the whole law enforcement and judicial system is open to political influence and corruption. (See Gonzalez and the record of the Bush Administration firing U.S. Attorneys in the Civil Rights and Labor Law divisions for ideological reasons, or the stuff coming out now about the use of the Justice Dept. to justify ignoring international law so that they could practice torture.)

Corporations who steal billions quite often get away with it, or they bribe the safety inspectors that would ding them for dangerously sped-up assembly lines, while someone holding a rock of cocaine get 18 years under federal mandatory minimums (which is more than what some give out for low level homicides).

Anyway, you have to wonder how they got somebody to plead guilty to a crime he hadn’t yet committed and why you would consider that “good news.”

proXXi's avatar

There is at least no more right and fair system.

Zuma's avatar

@proXXi Nope. There are at least 16 other countries who are less corrupt and 27 other countries who have better human rights records. Some places in the U.S. are much worse than others.

proXXi's avatar

You are assuming my values match your own.

Zuma's avatar

@proXXi Nope. “Right” and “fair” are not determined by your values.

proXXi's avatar

Let’s meet halfway, shall we say ones values?

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