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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Paging Glenn Reynolds: must read Conrad Black article on Broken Justice

Read the whole thing.  When asked for an overview of the American justice system:

These are, in the briefest synopsis, that American prosecutors win 99.5 percent of their cases, a much higher percentage than those in other civilized countries; that 97 percent of them are won without trial, because of the plea-bargain system in which inculpatory evidence is extorted from witnesses in exchange for immunity from prosecution, including for perjury; that the U.S. has six to twelve times as many incarcerated people per capita as do Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, or the United Kingdom, comparably prosperous democracies; that the U.S. has 5 percent of the world’s population, 25 percent of its incarcerated people, and half of its academically qualified lawyers, who take about 10 percent of U.S. GDP; that prosecutors enjoy very uneven advantages in procedure and an absolute immunity for misconduct; that they routinely seize targets’ money on false affidavits alleging ill-gotten gains so they cannot defend themselves by paying rapacious American lawyers, most of whom in criminal-defense matters are just a fig leaf to provide a pretense of a genuine day in court before blind justice; that the Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendment rights that are the basis of the American claim to being a society of laws don’t really exist in practice; and that far too many judges are ex-prosecutors who have not entirely shed the almost universal prosecutorial will to crucify.

And this:

...indulging the conveyor belt to the corrupt and bloated U.S. prison industry that is its criminal-justice system in such a full-body immersion of misplaced praise is not just unrigorous and unwise. There is something totalitarian, and thus profoundly un-American, about it.

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