It’s no secret that law is imperfectly crafted by imperfect legislators and imperfectly administered by those so tasked, namely judges, lawyers, police officers, constables, magistrates. All fail in some regard. But, by and large, complacency doesn’t set in. A good lawyer doesn’t say “we’ll, I am not going to do this perfectly so who cares?” A lawyer, in light of professional obligations and applicable statutory, procedural, and case law advocates vociferously for a client. In its efforts to minimize the workload on judges, many courts delegate some judicial functions to others. This is most commonly seen in the case of arbitrators, mediators, masters.
Candidly, this post will not do the subject matter justice. Nontheless, I will raise the issue if nothing else. Why is it that people, myself included, find it some difficult to be objective when dealing with anything? Work, family, politics…we tend to delude ourselves into thinking we’re the ones who’ve got no ax to grind, no bias, no implied assumptions. This has become clear to me as we approach yet another presidential election. Its no secret the economy is a mess, inflation is hurting people everywhere, unemployment is too high. But who to blame? There’s the debate.
A recent New York Time article raised the issue of shutting down the criminal justice system by refusing to accept a plea offer. That’s a simplification of the article’s premise, but an accurate one. The article was well written and raised important issues. According to the author, “More than 90 percent of criminal cases are never tried before a jury. Most people charged with crimes forfeit their constitutional rights and plead guilty.” I’ll take her word on the statistic for the time being, since my experience would tend to support those numbers. The crux of the article is less dramatic than its title may let on however; its not claiming that a plea bargain is never in a defendant’s best interest, but the author, through her interviewee, makes the case that often times, it is not. No disagreement on that point.
I’m from New York City. The pizza in New York City is second to none–yes, Chicago, none–and I’ve have had enough pizza to know the good from the horrible. I was fortunate to have a mother who worked part-time at one of the best in New York City, according to Zagat. So, its always funny to me when a pizza joint advertises that it has the “best pizza.” When there’s a qualification on that claim, like “best pizza in Western Pennsylvania” at least there is some comfort in the hedge.
On my way to the courthouse yesterday morning, I drove past broken silos, dilapidated properties, and multiple empty storefronts. In fact, I’ve driven by such sites often, but for some reason, on this morning, I thought about how broken small communities (at least in Western Pennsylvania) appear to be. Remnants of what once was a manufacturing based economy have deteriorated to an almost unbearable existence: low wages, low opportunity, and what appears to be little motivation or know how among residents to seek change.
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