The U.S. Legal System and All Things Related Blog

With Enough People, Power, and Persistence, the System Will Improve



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Nationwide Protests and Demand for Institutional Reforms


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As many people are aware, there have been protests around the country as well as around the world after the brutal and senseless murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Monday, May 25th, 2020.  As the saying goes, this was the straw that broke the camel’s back—after the million other straws underneath it.  The tumult and passion of the past several weeks have forced people to face the uncomfortable realities of our justice system.  These protests are like nothing the United States and the world have ever seen.  The last time anything close to what is currently transpiring happened in the United States was during the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

The Staggering Costs of Wrongful Convictions


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The Numbers are Astounding

The National Registry of Exonerations—a joint project of the University of California/Irvine Newkirk Center for Science & Society, the University of Michigan Law School, and the Michigan State University College of Law—near the end of 2019 included a total of 2,515 individuals who lost a combined 21,000 years of their lives due to wrongful convictions, and these numbers are growing all the time.  The compensation paid to these people is sometimes in the millions, with the total estimated to stand at over $2 billion.

Is the COVID-19 Lockdown a Violation of Our Constitutional Rights?


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Benjamin Franklin once said, "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”  But what would Franklin have given up to secure a lot of permanent safety—stopping a sometimes lethal microbe that has already killed thousands of Americans?  Like so much else in our world during these trying times, his maxim now faces a harsh test from COVID-19.

Orange County Corruption Exposed


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Two audits conducted by the Orange County sheriff’s department uncovered a pattern of filing false reports that could call into question thousands of convictions.  Deputies booked evidence days, and sometimes weeks, after it was purportedly collected according to an internal audit, which examined thousands of police reports filed between 2016 and 2018.  Thirty percent of evidence was “booked out of policy,” according to a presentation describing the first audit’s findings.  A second audit found that deputies had claimed to have collected evidence that was never booked.

States Potentially Having the Worst Judicial Systems


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In a report by the Center for Public Integrity, states were rated and ranked according to their levels of integrity.  Several factors were used in determining each state’s overall grade.  But only one factor actually affects people, although indirectly, on a daily basis—judicial accountability—and is perhaps the most important one.  Since the judicial branch of government is the only one of the three branches that directly “serves” the people on a daily basis, it is the only one wherein having corruption or dysfunction can severely and negatively impact the average person.  The map above reflects the overall integrity score.  When ranking is recalculated based upon judicial accountability, the result literally yields a completely different picture, which is as follows with numeric scores shown:

New Laws in 2020


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With the ushering in of a new year comes new laws.  Lucky us!  A wave of new legislation will bring in changes, both big and small.  There is “good news” for workers, consumer privacy advocates, sexual abuse victims, and many more.

Book Exposes the Consequences of a Politicized Judiciary


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Try to talk to someone about how a court of law has engineered your financial ruin and, in so doing, has utterly ignored statutory and constitutional imperatives, and it is likely that you will be met with a blank, glazed stare.  After all, America has a good legal system, right?  Say what you will about America’s behavior in the Middle East and that nasty little torture racket at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and goodness knows where else—America’s legal system is…well….it is the best system there is.

Right?

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