(image by Jason Rosenberg)
In our criminal-justice system, the primary mechanism for determining guilt or innocence is a contest in which attorneys for the state and the defendant engage in a debate before a jury that then makes the decision. Civil law suits follow a similar pattern, each side having its own champion. This system provides the basis for exciting TV dramas, but often falls short of producing a just outcome. The fundamental problem is that the relative skills of the attorneys, and the resources available to them, is a crucial factor in determining the outcome. The ability to hire a major-league lawyer gives a wealthy person an enormous advantage, while an indigent person is greatly handicapped. I propose here a modification of our justice system that would take jury trials out of the realm of competitive games.
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