Pubdate: Wed, 5 Aug, 1999
Source: St. Petersburg Times (FL)
Copyright: 1999 St. Petersburg Times
Author: Rick L. Meredith


The Aug. 2 editorial, Doubts about a judge's fairness, pointed to another
casualty of the war on drugs -- the fairness of the American justice
system. One of the most beautiful aspects of the American justice system
was that a defendant was presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court
of law. Most people, especially those who have never had any dealings with
our criminal justice system, believe that it is still that way. But in the
past few years, the war on drugs has clogged the courts, and our justice
system has changed.

Most defense attorneys let their clients know upfront that the vast
majority of judges will side with the prosecutor and the police, and it is
up to the defense attorney to prove that the client is innocent. If a judge
presumes, as the judge is supposed to, that the defendant is innocent until
proven guilty, then the judge is presumed to be soft on crime. Being soft
on crime can be very detrimental to a judge's career.

According to our founding fathers, the trial by jury was supposed to be the
final check and balance on bad laws and corrupt systems. Our founding
fathers would not recognize the so-called justice that is handed down in
the modern courtroom. 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Thunder