Broken justice

Very sobering article in yesterday’s Sunday edition of the San Jose Mercury News: Tainted trials, stolen justice, part one in a five-part series that will continue throughout this week.

Taken together, the Mercury News findings offer a picture of a system that often turns on its head the presumption that defendants are innocent until proved guilty. Prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges and appellate justices frequently act in ways that cause defendants’ rights to be violated.

As the exectutive editor notes:

Our investigation did not conclude that the justice system does not work — far from it. We found that most trials are fair and that most defendants are convicted by juries presented with strong evidence of their guilt. We also know that the system sometimes bends over backward to guarantee defendants’ rights, and that things happen in the courtroom and on appeal that help, rather than hurt, defendants’ chances to go free.

But often, that’s not the way it works.

If Silicon Valley can’t get their act together, I wonder how things look in less fortunate places elsewhere in the United States.

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