Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Jury Duty

(In California) Jury Duty is a strange thing. You receive a notice in the mail every 2 years to report on a specific day for jury duty at a certain location near where you live. Then you most of the time sit there with a group of about 60 other people who have been called for jury duty while you mostly just sit there and wait. Then from among you often is chosen 12 jurors and 12 alternate jurors who have to show up where they are needed when they are needed. And the rest of the people can go home having done their duty. If you don't show up you can be fined or even go to jail. So, most people take it at least as serious as a traffic violation that they receive from a policeman. Because not doing that just isn't sensible.

My problem with all this is much different than the above paragraph. My problem with it all is that even though our justice system is likely in the top 10% of the world in regard to justice, even here justice in the end is mostly about how wealthy and educated you are. There is a tendency that the wealthier you are the more likely it is that you actually will get something that might look like Justice.

Here is the reason. If you are poor often a legal aide lawyer is appointed for you. But, mostly these lawyers are brand new lawyers because if they weren't they would either already have their own practice or be partners in a practice with other lawyers or something like that. So, legal aide lawyers Are lawyers but they might not stand up against a Martindale lawyer which is a lawyer in the top 10% of all lawyers in your area, state, or country. A Martindale lawyer gets there by winning all or most all of the cases they have ever been on ever. So, this group is really good at winning for their clients. And they are almost always very expensive unless they are doing a pro bono case (case for free or at reduced rates for some specific reason)

Here is the other problem. If someone is accused of something, if they don't make a plea bargain their likelihood of being convicted is about 90% statistically speaking. So, not making a plea bargain (whether you are innocent or guilty) often results in incarceration. So, whether you are guilty or not you are likely going to jail (9 chances out of 10) if you don't make a plea bargain.

So, without a very good lawyer, even if you are completely innocent you might go to jail for something you never did by being too proud to make a plea bargain. And this is really sad but also true throughout the U.S.

The general agreement of how many people are convicted who are innocent of the crime they are accused of varies between 25% to 40% depending upon the state. So, in any prison there are at least 1 out of 4 that have been convicted of something they didn't do. And this is nationwide. So, it gives one pause when one considers this.

However, all that being said, still our justice system is still likely in the top 10% of the world's justice systems. (Which makes one realize just how completely unjust most countries justice systems actually are).

Then if you go from Criminal Law to Family Law (Divorce Court) you have a completely different problem. There, the problem is that historically children are considered Property. And what is also strange is that women are almost considered to be property too in a vague sort of way reminiscent of 100 years and more ago. So, Children are treated like possessions often by the court, women are sort of treated like children and half property by the court in some states. And often the husband (whether or not he actually is responsible for anything at all (is treated like he is responsible for everything in a punitive way). So, the children are mistreated, the wife is mistreated, and the husband is mistreated in every way.

So, unless you want a long term version of Post Traumatic Stress disorder don't go to court and expect the court to resolve your problems. Because you are going to need psychological counseling at the very least after going through any contested divorce proceedings and you can often kiss goodbye $50,000 to $75,000 or more if you are in a custody dispute that lasts more than one year. So, if you expect what is coming you might find an alternative to getting a contested divorce or one with custody or property disputes.

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