Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer
Many citizens probably think American courts are orderly places, where questions of facts are reasonably decided and the actual law is scrupulously applied. Those citizens almost certainly have never been involved in a legal case.
I know, from first-hand experience, that our courts are anything but neat and tidy. Everyone involved in the process--parties, lawyers, clerks, judges--is prone to mistakes. Even a case where the judge is competent and honest is likely to involve numerous rulings that are based on mistaken interpretations of fact or law.
Actually, I'm just guessing about that last sentence because I've never been involved in a case where the judge was either competent or honest. I can only assume that such judges do, in fact, exist somewhere.
With all of that in mind, let's examine the case of Crystal L. Cox, the Montana blogger who recently was hit with a $2.5-million judgment in a defamation case. Were mistakes made in the Cox case? I think you can bet on it.
Key documents from the case are available at the Web site for the Citizen Media Law Project.
God only knows how many Americans have been wrongly convicted for "crimes" that were not lawfully proven in a court of law. God also only knows how many Americans have been held liable in civil proceedings that were butchered from start to finish.