I guess that depends on a number of assumptions: Which country or countries are you talking about? Is the first one I'd ask. There are great differences.
We know that in many nations an accused person has to prove their innocence, exactly the opposite to how it is in, say, Great Britain, the USA, Australia et cetera. It much harder to prove innocence that to prove guilt.
Then we have in our own 'innocent until proven guilty' and the matter of who can afford the best legal council. We know that the rich have much more chance of getting that, so is this a 'proper' working arrangement?
I'd say, yes and no. It a yes because it's reasonably good - not perfect - but reasonably fair. It's bad, because it is open to manipulation, plea bargaining and the like. The Scales of Justice are weighted in favour of those who can afford the very best barrister and law team. For if you lose at one court, your just appeal and take the case to a higher one, and a higher one after that - if you have the money.
If you don't "Do not pass go..." And often: "Go directly to gaol."
I believe that every legal system has its flaws. There are countries that don't use a jury system. They have a 3 judge panel that determines guilt or Innocence. Is that better than a jury system? Who knows. Many people are prone to emotion and not able to comprehend or accept facts. This means if a decision makes them feel good, it is good and the facts be damned. I've seen it happen more than once when I've served on juries. So, I guess you have to take what you have and work with it. I don't know if a legal system will ever be created that works perfectly because people are far from perfect.
Our legal system is based upon the wealth of the individual facing charges along with having the most persuasive attorney present an argument.
The very fact that (human beings) which are imperfect are police officers, jurors, and judges means they have their on set of biases which may cause them to believe/disbelieve someone regardless of evidence.
Ultimately most cases come down to who does the jury (believe).
This is especially true with laws such as "stand your ground" in Florida where one can kill a person because (they believed) their life was in danger. However no one can actually get into another person's head to know if they (really) felt threatened. Once again it's a game of whom to believe.
Frequently we're hearing about people who were convicted of crimes and even sat on death row that were later freed because DNA tests prove they were innocent. While O.J. Simpson, Robert Blake, and Ted Kennedy were allowed to get away with killing people. John DeLorean was arrested and charged with conspiracy to obtain and distribute 55 pounds of cocaine (caught on videotape) and was acquitted! If he had been John Smith he would have gone to prison. Fame and wealth has it's privileges!
In a perfect system innocent people would not be in jail and the guilty would never go free. There would be no incidences of police coerced false confessions. However flawed the system is it's the only and best one we've got.
In my opinion, the US Legal System, both civil and criminal, along with the jury system just don't work for the average person.
The jury and the defendant are the only people in the court no getting paid. Dismiss the few bucks given to the jury,
When the judge is the trier of the fact, he replaces the jury. The difference between the judge, and the jury as the trier of the fact is that the judge understands the law, juries are selected to insure they don't know the law.
Over the last one hundred years, the constitutional protection of the rights of defendants has been watered down.
Under our criminal justice system, the accused is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. This is impossible, the innocence disappears when the person is arrested or even detained. From that point, the person cannot never be deemed innocent.
Take the plea that a defendant can give in court.
Nolo Contrende --- guilty but not an admission for a civil trial.
There is no plea for innocence, and we all know that Not Guilty is not the same as innocent. Reference OJ Simpson.
The average person cannot afford to hire a lawyer, either as a plaintiff or a defendant. Small Claims court is a viable alternative as long as your case fits under that statutory limit. A solution there would be to increase the ceiling of Small Claims Courts to at least one hundred thousand dollars.
Remember, that hiring an attorney is not a lock on a win in court, and Small Claims cases don't involve lawyers. For the average person, they have a better chance of winning without major legal fees.
Using a lawyer in court is very expensive, and court costs are difficult to win, even if you win your case.
The legal system is a closed system that allows attorneys to charge whatever the market will bear, and they don't even guarantee their work. They should at least give a reduction for their fees, if they lose your case. ha.
In a criminal case, if you can't afford an attorney, you get a public defender. But if you are Bill Gates, you get a whole law office to represent you. Which defendant has a better chance to win?
In addition, today the court of public opinion taints the case, and clouds the minds of the public. Who today can be impartial being subjected to 24-7 media opinions?
Short answer, it doesn't work at all.
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