If you believe that the American Judicial system is about justice you are so wrong. It is about winning. It’s about money.
You need only look at our history to see the dangers of a judicial system run amuck. In 1857, in the Dred Scott Decision, the United States Supreme Court ruled that no slave could become a U. S. citizen. It is reasonable to assume that the Scott decision was over 150 years ago and not reflective of today’s courts. If you believe that, then I suggest that perhaps OJ is innocent. Unfortunately, miscarriages of justice are all too common in our legal system today, more so in the civil court than criminal court system but all too common in either case.
The reality of the legal system is that it is so complex, so costly, so procedural, that justice is lost in the process. Even judges and attorneys are frustrated by the system that has evolved.
There is a horrible dichotomy in the justice system today. Those individuals or companies with great wealth can easily run rough shod over those less fortunate. At the same time, those with no financial resources can easily run up the costs on others to such a point that settlements on no merit cases are agreed to in order to avoid legal costs. Unfortunately, the persons lost in this great struggle are the vast majority of middle class families merely trying to get by.
To fix this system requires a complete overhaul of our courts and laws.
To begin with, attorneys should be held to a higher standard and held accountable for filing frivolous suits. Choose an attorney that will limit your desire to get even. I have been represented by two outstanding law firms in my career. The advice given to me over the years frequently reduced their income but, in the long run, was the advice that served me best. Their advice also kept things from clogging our courts. Choose an attorney that looks at your best interests.
Virtually every state has disciplinary boards for attorney or judicial misconduct. I would encourage you to contact the disciplinary board or judicial review board in those cases where you think that an attorney or judge has gone too far. The remedies are significant and will help clean up the profession. Most attorneys and judges are tremendous defenders of the Constitution and your rights. I am extremely fortunate to live in an area where our judges are honorable, caring, decent defenders of the Constitution. Other areas are not so fortunate.
An advocacy function needs to be established for the courts in which the procedural delays can be addressed by other than the defendant or the plaintiff. To require cases to move along, by someone associated with the courts, reduces costs and forces resolution to cases. In situations in which either party is employing delaying tactics, then courts should have the ability to dismiss the case. Such an ability on the part of the courts helps reduce the courts from being used as a weapon of choice against other parties.
The standard for even filing suit has to be changed. This can be done by requiring the party bringing suit to post a bond for legal fees of the person being sued should they not prevail. While this may seem unfair to those without financial assets, such equity can be balanced by also requiring the defendant to pay legal fees of those who are successful against them. This quid pro quo will start to balance the scales in favor of justice.
Public defenders funding has to increase in order to provide for the best defense for those without funds. Additionally, the state and county governments should be required to pay the legal fees of those defendants found not guilty. The tremendous cost associated with the current system almost precludes justice from being rendered. Just as no American should go bankrupt from medical expenses, neither should Americans go bankrupt defending themselves from a system run awry.
Finally, we have to stop criminalizing all behavior. In one city in California, it is criminal to grow a tree that blocks a sun powered generator. With all the laws on the books today, companies and individuals almost need an attorney just to go to work or to cross the street. Legislators should focus on repealing laws and stop criminalizing behavior which can be dealt with in more effective ways.
Justice should be blind. Justice must be fair. The judicial system must be reformed if we are to remain a great society. The beacon of light of our Statue of Liberty and the lives of those brave Americans who died defending our Constitution demand no less.