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Trust in the Legal System at an All-Time Low

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Recent polls confirm that public confidence in legal institutions and lawyers is at historic lows. Gallup’s June 2016 poll indicates that only 36 percent of Americans have a "great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in the Supreme Court; and only 23 percent feel that way about the criminal justice system. How do lawyers fare? Only 15 percent of the public has a high degree of confidence in them. The question is where do we go from here and how can public faith in lawyers and the legal system be restored? The simple answer is that it is not going to be a quick or easy fix, but we offer ten thought-provoking solutions below.

U.S. District Court Judge Believes Detective Should Not Be Liable for Fabricating Evidence

Clyde Spencer appeals from the judgment of U.S. District Court Judge Benjamin Settle who overruled a jury verdict in Spencer’s favor following a seventeen-day jury trial in his 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action. Spencer spent nearly two decades in jail until his criminal conviction was vacated because Clark County police officer, Sharon Krause, fabricated evidence to gain Spencer’s conviction.

How a Judge's Bias Can Taint a Case

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Many legal experts agree that one of the biggest threats to our nation’s system of justice are judges, who, through a lack of proficiency, bias or corruption, prevent a litigant from getting a fair hearing in our courts. Judges in local, state, and federal courts across the country oftentimes hide their connections to litigants and their lawyers. These links can be social, political, financial, or ideological. In some instances the judge may have mutual investment interests with a litigant or lawyer. The judge might be related somehow to one of the parties. Although such situations cannot always be avoided, when they do create a perception of bias, a judge has the duty to at least disclose that information. If the situation creates an actual bias, the judge should allow a different judge to take over.

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