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The Lawyer-Judge Bias in the American Legal System
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Oh, yes, at the risk of keeping other readers waiting, and without wishing to detract from Mr. Barton's very able treatment of one weakness in the American judicial system, I must suggest that reform of the American system of justice can be effective only if this specific problem (as well as other specific weaknesses) are addressed in the broader context of systemic reform. Lawyer Theodore Kubicek has accomplished this kind of critique in his
brilliant (and far more affordable) ADVERSARIAL JUSTICE: AMERICA'S COURT SYSTEM ON TRIAL (New York: Algora Publishing, 2006).
Several chapters discuss cases in the areas of constitutional criminal procedure and civil constitutional law as examples of this process. For example, the famous "Miranda" decision put emphasis more on having a lawyer present than on protecting the right to silence, while doing nothing to ensure the quality of legal representation criminal defendants received. While this argument surely overstates the case, it does raise the important issue of whether clients (paying or otherwise) have adequate means to guarantee the quality of the legal services they receive.
Two chapters are devoted to lawyer regulation, and I think these are particularly valuable discussions for the non-lawyer.Read more ›
If you cannot understand why so many legal decisions seem to lack basic common sense, you will get and read this book.
If you wonder why there are so many lawyer jokes, and why people like to quote from 2 Henry VI, get and read this book, because the privileged place of lawyers in America is laughing matter, and Barton shows whence it arises and how unfair and damaging it is.
So get and read this book, the sooner the better, and then start advocating for change.
One thing I'd like Barton to address: if lawyers are officers of the court, as courts have so often said, then how can lawyers be legislators without violating the separation of powers?