Football Analogy to Our Criminal Justice System

February 2nd, 2009 by Eric Cope

With the Superbowl fresh in our minds, I want to provide an analogy to our criminal justice system.

What the referees see is what they call. What actually happened is irrelevant.  The only thing that matters is what the referees call. They are human and its the only way to mitigate the imperfection they suffer. But lets pretend for a moment that a referee’s call of offsides would place the alleged offender in a penalty box for a year while things were sorted out. Mean while his team must play with out him for the rest of the season, regardless of guilt. Once the call was made, the referee’s job was not to determine guilt, but to ensure the call sticks. Ignore evidence of otherwise, and call attention to anything demonstrating his accuracy. That means that instant replays would be irrelavant unless they proved that the referee was right. How would that change the game?

That is our criminal justice system. Prosecutors are paid to convict, not determine truth. They only search and present evidence “proving” guilt of the suspect. That’s why prosecutors rely on character asassinations as well as evidence.  With such an imperfect system, would you want to be convicted of murder based on “evidence” presented by a person trying to convict you, not expose truth? Would you want to be placed on death row by that very person? In life, we rarely get an instant replay. If we did, do you think a DA would use it to prove your innocence, or leave it out to convict you?

Many people believe our legal system does a good job of sorting the good from the bad. That the few good people convicted is worth catching all the bad guys. The fallacy is that catching the good does not mean we catch all the bad. Additionally, you may find yourself defending your actions to police and a the DA. You may have been justified killing your daughter’s rapist, but remember, the DA only wants a conviction. The laws still apply when its you.

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