Does our justice system deliver justice


VIBC
No Party Affiliation
#1
Do you think it's appropriate that our court system is based on an adversarial spectacle; a verbal fight between lawyers - the outcome depending on who won the debate, in the jury's opinion; rather than on a persistent search for the truth? Or sometimes the outcome depends on 'technicalities' that don't make much sense. At least that's the way I think it often plays out.

If a case is thrown out because police violated someone's legal rights to obtain what would otherwise be valid evidence, is justice being done? It seems to me that in such a case it would make sense if 1) the police were penalised and 2) the evidence was presented.

Or does it make sense that either 'side' may conceal inconvenient evidence that's in their possession, even if it allows an actual injustice to occur?
 
Curious Cdn
Conservative
#2
How about police "massaging" the evidence to put their chosen guilty party into jail. There's been a lot of those. Steven Truscott was a famous example of that sort of process.
 
Hoid
#3
The system is weighted against the little guy.

The government or big corporation can keep you in court forever. They have the deep pockets.
 
VIBC
No Party Affiliation
#4
Quote: Originally Posted by Curious Cdn View Post

How about police "massaging" the evidence to put their chosen guilty party into jail. There's been a lot of those. Steven Truscott was a famous example of that sort of process.

Yes, many cases reported, of people wrongfully convicted, even executed (why don't we call that murder?) And it's not just the courts that can get things wrong. It can be the police, jumping to conclusions or even setting someone up for the sake of scoring a conviction.

Do any of these problems suggest the death penalty is always a really bad idea?
 
Curious Cdn
Conservative
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by VIBC View Post

Yes, many cases reported, of people wrongfully convicted, even executed (why don't we call that murder?) And it's not just the courts that can get things wrong. It can be the police, jumping to conclusions or even setting someone up for the sake of scoring a conviction.
Do any of these problems suggest the death penalty is always a really bad idea?

I doubt that Clifford Olsen or Paul Bernardo ... Will Pickton were set up or railroaded. Unending incarceration is probably a more cruel punishment for that sort of convict than execution. Maybe, anyway. It's not the easiest thing to get into the mind of a psychopath but if punishment is your motivator, having them locked up 'til they rot with them full knowing that they will never live another moment of their lives free is about as punitive as you can possibly get.
 
VIBC
No Party Affiliation
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by Curious Cdn View Post

I doubt that Clifford Olsen or Paul Bernardo ... Will Pickton were set up or railroaded. Unending incarceration is probably a more cruel punishment for that sort of convict than execution. Maybe, anyway. It's not the easiest thing to get into the mind of a psychopath but if punishment is your motivator, having them locked up 'til they rot with them full knowing that they will never live another moment of their lives free is about as punitive as you can possibly get.

I think that's right - there are cases where there is obvious guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Whether punishment/revenge does any good I don't know. There seems to be evidence that fear of punishment is not much of a deterrent. Locking up & throwing away the key may make sense. It's expensive but maybe worth the cost.

Should we use the death penalty when guilt of horrible crime is unquestionable - who would want/get to throw the switch? Maybe those most affected by the crime should get to do the deed if death is what they advocate?

And as a society do we really, really believe that life is really, really sacred?
 
Curious Cdn
Conservative
+1
#7  Top Rated Post
Quote: Originally Posted by VIBC View Post

I think that's right - there are cases where there is obvious guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Whether punishment/revenge does any good I don't know. There seems to be evidence that fear of punishment is not much of a deterrent. Locking up & throwing away the key may make sense. It's expensive but maybe worth the cost.
Should we use the death penalty when guilt of horrible crime is unquestionable - who would want/get to throw the switch? Maybe those most affected by the crime should get to do the deed if death is what they advocate?
And as a society do we really, really believe that life is really, really sacred?

Psychopaths that feed live prostitutes to pigs sure as hell don't. Sometimes, the punishment should fit the crime.
 
VIBC
No Party Affiliation
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by Curious Cdn View Post

Psychopaths that feed live prostitutes to pigs sure as hell don't. Sometimes, the punishment should fit the crime.

I don't know. Are people with brains as weird as that, consciously able to change their behavior; or are they just wired to do strange & horrible things?
Should punishment (revenge?) be the thing we do with/to prisoners - and should punishment mimic the crime, somehow be equal to it as far as possible? I can see that being a sort of comfort to some victimized survivors (though some prefer to mentally forgive or just 'move on.')
... back later. 'Life' intervened.
 
VIBC
No Party Affiliation
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by VIBC View Post

I don't know. Are people with brains as weird as that, consciously able to change their behavior; or are they just wired to do strange & horrible things?
Should punishment (revenge?) be the thing we do with/to prisoners - and should punishment mimic the crime, somehow be equal to it as far as possible? I can see that being a sort of comfort to some victimized survivors (though some prefer to mentally forgive or just 'move on.')
... back later. 'Life' intervened.

OK, the death penalty: If we had it, could you execute someone in cold blood - even if their crime had been horrible? I can visualise myself reacting in hot anger if I witnessed some awful violence done to another human, but coolly killing the criminal months or years later? Probably not,and specially if it was not a humane painless death.

But this is a digression from my original question, which is why we have an adversarial contest in court rather than a flat-out unpolarised search for truth?
 
Gilgamesh
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by VIBC View Post

Do you think it's appropriate that our court system is based on an adversarial spectacle; a verbal fight between lawyers - the outcome depending on who won the debate, in the jury's opinion; rather than on a persistent search for the truth? Or sometimes the outcome depends on 'technicalities' that don't make much sense. At least that's the way I think it often plays out.

If a case is thrown out because police violated someone's legal rights to obtain what would otherwise be valid evidence, is justice being done? It seems to me that in such a case it would make sense if 1) the police were penalised and 2) the evidence was presented.

Or does it make sense that either 'side' may conceal inconvenient evidence that's in their possession, even if it allows an actual injustice to occur?

No, I think the result should be acertained by reading the entrails of chickens in the temple of Jove.

Seriously, name a better system.
 
VIBC
No Party Affiliation
#11
".... Seriously, name a better system." ....

I tried to describe one but the computer ate it. Now JLM says its my bedtime and I agree.

Later. (I may not sleep through the night .)
 
Curious Cdn
Conservative
#12
Quote: Originally Posted by Gilgamesh View Post

No, I think the result should be acertained by reading the entrails of chickens in the temple of Jove.
Seriously, name a better system.

Go back to the old Saxon system of trial by ordeal.

http://youtu.be/_lu5_5Od7WY
 
DaSleeper
#13
You want a strange court case?


https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/...s-jail-indiana
 
VIBC
No Party Affiliation
+1
#14
Quote: Originally Posted by Curious Cdn View Post

Go back to the old Saxon system of trial by ordeal.

You might say we have an ordeal system now, in many ways.

What I see reported is too often a debate between opposing lawyers whose duty it is to convince the jury that their version of events is the winner, and by any means they can; which may include ignoring & withholding evidence and dramatically declaring motives and sequences of events whether they think them likely or not. Of course this kind of duplicity is not limited to the courtroom; police may lie to the accused, withhold/ignore evidence and worse.

I'd like to see a system where the objective was to arrive at the truth, not to see which of two adversarial groups can come up with the best story or hire the most accomplished debater. It would have to begin with establishing a body of competent and independent truth-seeking investigators with no stake in the outcome. Their findings would be presented to the judge and/or jury without bias or theatrics.

My point is that, however it might be done, the objective ought to be to find the truth if possible; not "the winner" by any means.
 
Curious Cdn
Conservative
#15
Yes, the cleverst lawyer wins. Unfortunately. Objective truth is just about impossible to detect. Looked at the strategic advantage that Trump derives from putting doubts in everybody's minds about the truth of everything in the Trumpiverse. Ask his followers "What is true" and each and every once of them will claim that everything he tells us is true, is true. [see:Joe Goebbels]
 
VIBC
No Party Affiliation
#16
Quote: Originally Posted by Curious Cdn View Post

Objective truth is just about impossible to detect.

That's not always true; but when it is, what should be the outcome of a trial. Do we want to declare a winner and a loser even if we don't know we're right? I think that's what often happens: It seems to me there are many convictions where there is room for "reasonable doubt" but the jury decides there's more doubt in one direction than the other, and convicts on that basis.

It seems we'd rather punish people who may be innocent, but we don't really know, than release people who may be guilty, but we don't really know. Is this 'a good thing'?

I don't actually say that the truth can always be determined. I believe that should be the aim of the justice system and all too often is not. As you say, frequently "the cleverest lawyer wins".

I wouldn't base my ideas about discovering truth on anything to do with Donald Trump or Joseph Goebbels (Why do people in North America call him Gerbils?)
 
Curious Cdn
Conservative
#17
It seems we'd rather punish people who may be innocent, but we don't really know, than release people who may be guilty, but we don't really know. Is this 'a good thing'?


Sometimes, we have to ensure the general public safety at the expense of some.
 
VIBC
No Party Affiliation
#18
Quote: Originally Posted by Curious Cdn View Post

It seems we'd rather punish people who may be innocent, but we don't really know, than release people who may be guilty, but we don't really know. Is this 'a good thing'?

Sometimes, we have to ensure the general public safety at the expense of some.

You'd have to explain to me how releasing someone who may be the criminal, or imprisoning someone who may not be the criminal, ensures the general public safety.

I was really looking for some thoughtful discourse here.

And by the way please don't misrepresent me by putting my words in bold italics, etc. when you quote me. If i'd wanted to shout them I'd have done it myself.
Last edited by VIBC; 4 weeks ago at 08:03 PM..
 
Curious Cdn
Conservative
#19
Quote: Originally Posted by VIBC View Post

You'd have to explain to me how releasing someone who may be the criminal, or imprisoning someone who may not be the criminal, ensures the general public safety.
I was really looking for some thoughtful discourse here.

Sorry. Sometimes, if a really serious violent crime has taken place and there is no host of Angels hovering overhead to record the objective truth, so innocent people with be incarcerated from time to time to protect the public from their alleged violence. It's going to happen because there is no fool-proof way to determine what is true. I don't like it. It is nasty and unfair but it is inevitable that it will happen. Maybe. It will happen to be, some day. I don't fancy myself as the Count of Monte Cristo but that's the way she be, Bye. I can't stop that from happening and neither can you.
 
VIBC
No Party Affiliation
#20
I don't for a moment believe that the present structure of our justice system was inevitable. It's the result of choices & decisions about how it should be set up. Human mistakes may be inevitable but the form of a deliberately created societal institution is not.
 
Kreskin
#21
Quote: Originally Posted by VIBC View Post

I don't for a moment believe that the present structure of our justice system was inevitable. It's the result of choices & decisions about how it should be set up. Human mistakes may be inevitable but the form of a deliberately created societal institution is not.

It depends how you look at it. Every branch is intertwined. Judges will even take into account the cost to the system; the availability of space in prison, etc. Their decisions impact the entire system. It's a system that is not without limitations, and it doesn't just operate based on philosophy or ideology. Every cog in the wheel is part of the bigger picture, including resources.
 
VIBC
No Party Affiliation
#22
I have much trouble with the notion that if you can't discover the objective truth about a crime, you're protecting the public by imprisoning someone anyway, who may not be the perpetrator (and thereby exonerating someone who may be the real criminal.)

You would no doubt like to think you're protecting the public but you could be doing exactly the opposite.
 
Curious Cdn
Conservative
#23
Quote: Originally Posted by VIBC View Post

I have much trouble with the notion that if you can't discover the objective truth about a crime, you're protecting the public by imprisoning someone anyway, who may not be the perpetrator (and thereby exonerating someone who may be the real criminal.)
You would no doubt like to think you're protecting the public but you could be doing exactly the opposite.

It is not intentional to do so and it is disturbing. It's going to happen, though as "truth" is sometimes elusive.
 
taxslave
Free Thinker
+1
#24
Quote: Originally Posted by VIBC View Post

I think that's right - there are cases where there is obvious guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Whether punishment/revenge does any good I don't know. There seems to be evidence that fear of punishment is not much of a deterrent. Locking up & throwing away the key may make sense. It's expensive but maybe worth the cost.
Should we use the death penalty when guilt of horrible crime is unquestionable - who would want/get to throw the switch? Maybe those most affected by the crime should get to do the deed if death is what they advocate?
And as a society do we really, really believe that life is really, really sacred?

There are times when the death penelty is appropriate. Paul Bernardo comes to mind. Anyone killing a police officer, The guy in Victoria that killed his kids to get even with his ex. A few others. There is no reason why taxpayers should have to foot the bill to keep these kinds alive.
 
taxslave
Free Thinker
+1
#25
But this is a digression from my original question, which is why we have an adversarial contest in court rather than a flat-out unpolarised search for truth?


How would lawyers get rich on that?
 
VIBC
No Party Affiliation
#26
Quote: Originally Posted by Curious Cdn View Post

It is not intentional to do so and it is disturbing. It's going to happen, though as "truth" is sometimes elusive.

I think that sidesteps my basic question: Why would we convict someone if we don't know for sure that we have the absolute truth (apart that is, for our own desire for revenge, or to feel we've accomplished something.) Why shouldn't there be room for a "we don't know" verdict? I know that judges can dismiss a case or maybe overrule a jury but that's not the same and is seldom used. This would be more like a jury's decision to make.

I think in Britain there used to be a "not proven" verdict. Why not?
 
VIBC
No Party Affiliation
#27
Quote: Originally Posted by taxslave View Post

There are times when the death penelty is appropriate. Paul Bernardo comes to mind. Anyone killing a police officer, The guy in Victoria that killed his kids to get even with his ex. A few others. There is no reason why taxpayers should have to foot the bill to keep these kinds alive.

I know that you and plenty of others consider the death penalty appropriate in some cases, but that is your/their assessment and doesn't make it a fact; opinions differ.

It is not correct to say there is no reason why "taxpayers" - we're ALL taxpayers - should pay to 'keep these kind alive.' The reason is that the government elected by the taxpayers has decided the matter on their behalf, and as far as I know the majority of the electorate agrees with them that we should avoid using the death penalty.

I understand and respect your feelings & opinion on the matter, TS, but others don't have to share them.
 
VIBC
No Party Affiliation
+1
#28
Quote: Originally Posted by taxslave View Post

How would lawyers get rich on that?

Ah, love will find a way. Love of money that is.
 
MHz
#29
Make trials a subscription service that allows people to leave comments on any trial they wish to follow, in real time. Allow the Judge to see all the comments.
 
Curious Cdn
Conservative
#30
Quote: Originally Posted by VIBC View Post

I think that sidesteps my basic question: Why would we convict someone if we don't know for sure that we have the absolute truth (apart that is, for our own desire for revenge, or to feel we've accomplished something.) Why shouldn't there be room for a "we don't know" verdict? I know that judges can dismiss a case or maybe overrule a jury but that's not the same and is seldom used. This would be more like a jury's decision to make.
I think in Britain there used to be a "not proven" verdict. Why not?

No, you shouldn't convict innocent people.

Now, it would be helpful if everyone told the absolute truth so that guilt or innocence are a guarantee. Maybe, since Santa Claus has a list ...
 

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