I just read about the virtues of the American legal system on another thread.
And the inevitable rebuttal that innocent people are imprisoned falsely.
I invite you to share here on experiences with our (or your -- wherever you live) justice system.
Or just express your opinions -- pro or con -- on same.
This is not intended to be limited to criminal court. It can be civil or family or probate.
It does not require appearance in court. Can be dealings with attorneys or court-appointed officials.
The floor is yours...
Having worked within the criminal justice system in the UK, I can honestly say hand on heart, that I would never, ever trust any of them (police, probation, solicitors, the courts etc.) to deliver anything that remotely resembles justice. I do appreciate that I might sound quite cynical and perhaps a little twisted too, which is I why I'm prepared to submit that within other regions in the country the situation might not be so dire and others may have a completely different (and positive) experience.
Unfortunately however, recent events indicate otherwise. Something about bribery, corruption, perverting the course of justice etc. etc. Who was this? Our largest police force, The Met!
Nice to see you, MM.
You have been missed and have missed some (whatever the opposite of superlative is) discussions.
I bet you have some stories that would curl our toes!!
I have had dealings with family court and probate court. Horrible.
Recently went to support a friend in court. The case started with her family trust, a conservaorship of her mother, and a vindictive brother.
She ended up in criminal court being charged with embezzlement of $8K (even though her brother had stolen $400K).
This was a hearing to determine if it should go to trial.
The DA was a cocky young guy (totally bucking to make a name for himself).
The defense attorney -- not public defender, these people have $$$, was (from where I sat), ineffectual and kept pissing off the judge with stupid objections.
I think the word that applies here is "railroaded."
It is my opinion that justice is available - for a price.
Politicians of both ilks run on being the "toughest on crime," but that just translates into increased tax revenue we must pay to prosecute non-violent crimes. I think there should be separate courts for violent and non-violent crimes, with only violent criminals being locked up if convicted.
There are many innocent people unfairly convicted - if they can't pay for a decent attorney.
Americans should be able to argue their own cases in court without having to know the law inside and out.
It's a rip off and it affects lives.
But - we keep electing the tough-on-crime candidates because, frankly, we're scared of our own shadows. Until we, as citizens, change - nothing else will.
Here in the UK we have a thing called legal aid, this is supposedly to protect those who can't afford the legal costs, however we increasingly hear about millionaires using the system and going to court over what appears to be stupid unreasonable liable cases.
Also judges have become more liberal and sentencing seems to have gone soft on the hardened criminal whilst becoming increasingly harsh on those who either can't pay their bills or refuse to pay them.
Unless you owe money to the Inland Revenue the UK doesn't send to people to prison for debts, it's a civil matter, not a criminal one.
They don't send rich people to prison for failing to pay tax but they have been know to send poor people to prison for not paying council tax. (And unpaid fines)
Fines are a criminal matter- they are given because somebody has committed an offence, in most cases the fine is your sentence which might be served with other sentences (such as a probation order). Like any other community sentence, if breached the original order will be revoked and there is a possibility that you'll be sent to prison.
The only time you'll be sent to prison for non payment of council tax is if it proven that you have the means to pay but have refused to pay. You'll not be sent to prison because you cannot afford to pay (unlike the old poll tax, where they simply didn't care one way or the other)
http://www.bailiffadviceonline.co.uk/co … x_cani.htm
We agree on this, HowardBThiname.
Sending more and more people to prison to somehow make the public feel safer from nonviolent 'offenders' is going in the wrong direction.
Tough on crime misses a wide swath of real crimes being perprtrated against citizens
every day. The criminals are not poor minorities (although we love to scapegoat those people).
The criminals are WHITE COLLAR sharks, often hidden in plain sight within the legal system.
They take advantage of them knowing the laws and having influence with the courts.
And we don't find out until too late that even though we hire them (yep, even buying into the "justice can be had for a price") to represent and protect us, they are ripping us off and serving themselves.
So the corruption is both in criminal and civil sides.
As a paralegal I've had many opportunities to see the justice system work from the "inside out!" There are instances where the system works as it should BUT there are also times when money is the catalyst. I point out the Cullen Davis murder trial in Texas. The man killed a 12-year old child execution style, and another man. He shot his soon to be ex-wife and a visiting friend who was paralyzed for life. He arranged for a judge to be murdered (the whole thing was filmed and recorded) and again was acquitted. He's never even been brought to trial for the murder of the other man -- yet, he walks free today and has since the whole incident came down in the 1970's. The common denominator and catalyst in this whole crime scene was money. Cullen Davis was one of the richest men in Texas and paid his way to freedom. I fail to find any element of justice in this whole situation -- yet the jury spoke and the verdict stands. Our justice system is severely challenged today as evidenced by the riots connected with the verdict of a recent "murder" case. Right or wrong, if our justice system doesn't sustain when a verdict is handed down -- we have no justice system at all.
The system is not inhertently flawed so much as the people who sometimes make it up. An aggressive State Attorney General with his eyes on the Governor's Office just might push the limits of the system to gain a high level of recognition for his ability to prosecute. In one particular area, I have heard the system is very one-sided and that is in the accusation of sex offender. I have heard a number of comments in which the defense attorney advises the accused to "go ahead and plead guilty to a lesser charge" and make a deal...not even attempt to argue the case even if the person accused is inoccent of the charges in the first place. This is one of the crimes in which one is "guilty" until proven inoccent at the outset. Judges gain ego and power and begin to prostitute the court and the law with their willingness to let repeat offenders off one more time...Lindsay Lohan is a good example here. Any system which employs people inevitably will suffer some mistakes and some misuse but the judges and the lawyers are sworn officers of the court and have an oath to uphold in protecting the legal system and the Rule of Law from those who would otherwise abuse it. Many moons ago, an agriculture inspector was slain in a west Texas cotton field. The medical examiner in the case ruled his death a suicide...the man was shot five times with a 12 gauge shotgun. His family spent 20 years and untold amounts of money to finally get that verdict overturned. One can only figure that if indeed it was suicide, the man was a lousy shot! LOL!
The United States court system is corrupt. They scare individuals in to accepting a plea on charges that cannot be proven. The courts, for the most part, also refuse to allow jurors to be informed of their full rights. Not only can a jury decide guilt or innocence based on evidence presented, they also maintain the authority to nullify an unfair law. Even with overwhelming evidence, a jury can acquit a defendant because the law is unconstitutional, unjust, immoral, or the possible punishment is excessive. This is the basis of the American justice system and was used throughout our history in nullifying slavery laws as well as alcohol prohibition. Both of which eventually led to the eradication of these horrific laws.
Today, most courts will not allow a defense to even speak of nullification. New Hampshire seems to be at least one state that operates in a legal and fair manner. At least the judge in this case:
This Judge is a true arbiter of justice.
Below focuses on the caseload of judges in America with the knowledge of knowing more judges are needed. If one's workload is substantial how then can one expect fair and impartial judgment?
http://bigstory.ap.org/article/study-us … ary-widely
I'm not sure if one remembers this television series in Las Vegas where people were taken to the police station to be booked. If the police in that program.thought their actions would make him look justified from where I was sitting it had the opposite effect. Many were clearly arrogant to the people. They would call out "stop resisting" but while the person was handcuffed I only saw them driving a knee into the back of the neck or twisting their arm while he was still shackled with handcuffs.
This may be just my opinion but trying not to have a godlike attitude when you are in control of others requires a special breed of person.
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