The Justice System Needs An Overhaul

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

Imagine our justice system is an old sports car. It was sleek, fast, full of bells and whistles, and a blast to drive—a triumph in modern design for its time. However, like an old sports car, it has been abused, laden with aftermarket junk, the maintenance neglected, rusting away in the yard, and most of the electronics are reminiscent of the infamous Lucas Electronics (jokingly referred to as the Prince of Darkness because the lights rarely worked) whose switches are said to have three positions—off, dim, and flicker.lucas[1]

This description reminds me of our justice system. Over the years, it has gone from a system seeking justice to a system of winners and losers with little regard for justice.

We have people like Gloria Allred, who just want money and recognition instead of justice. We have prosecutors who get so enthusiastic about a high-profile case that they ignore exculpatory evidence just to improve their conviction rate. There are justices who don’t seem to understand that the legislative branch is separate from their own, and we have litigants who look to get rich at the expense of the innocent.

A free market allows lawyers to compete, but the system has done little to penalize those who abuse it. I want to see our LEGAL system be a JUSTICE system again.  So, I’m proposing a “Common Sense Legal Reform Act” which includes, but is not limited to the following:

Scales of Justice
Scales of Justice

Some states have “Loser Pays” legislation; this should be nationwide. Loser pays prevents civil cases where people are unjustly enriching themselves.

For instance, when I was in the insurance industry, we often paid claims that were properly denied because the cost of defending our position in court was more than the cost of the claim, and it did not make fiscal sense to fight it. If these leeches are lawyers, or have one in the family, it often doesn’t cost them anything other than the filing fee, and they end up getting something they do not deserve.

“Loser Pays” legislation would help immensely in reducing such frivolous lawsuits as it would both deter individual from suing unjustly since they would pay if they lost the case as well as encourage victims to fight them regardless of the cost. Many businesses have failed, jobs lost, and bankruptcies incepted because of such unjust litigation. If you are curious, read more about it here.

Manhattan Institute on Loser Pays

Proper management technique entails recognizing the difference between an innocent mistake and a purposeful wrongdoing when disciplining employees. If I had an employee make an innocent mistake, a little coaching was often all that was needed. On the other hand, if someone knew it was wrong and did it anyway, it was potentially a firable offense.

The legal system is composed of legislators, lawyers, judges, police, and a myriad of other trained professionals. Most people don’t take an oath to uphold the law when they start a new career; but these folks sure do, and they should not only know better than to violate those laws, but should be penalized more severely if they break them.

Chief Justice Roberts Being Sworn In
Chief Justice Roberts Being Sworn In

“We the people” trust them to be supremely honorable in their duties, and if that trust is broken, the belief of a government serving its people is lost in a cesspool of distrust. Children used to want to become cops; now they hate them. Why?

While most are invaluable servants of the community, there are a few rogue officers who commit serious felonies. The less than severe penalties they often receive for such corruption infuriate those of us who trusted them. While I may know most are good and honorable, it often only takes one bad apple to ruin the tree for those who are not so fair and optimistic.

Lawyers and judges should be disbarred, police should be removed from serving, and legislators should be impeached for what, in a normal workplace, would be “fireable” offenses. They must hold themselves to the highest of standards and police themselves even more vigorously than they police us. If a doctor purposefully does wrong, they lose their license to practice.  But when Charles Rangel does wrong, he gets nothing more than a glorified tongue lashing and it’s deplorable.

Liability is a term that is often abused and should be redefined to protect the innocent. If someone slips on the ice on my sidewalk because I didn’t shovel it, I’m liable? Give me a break! Let natural selection run its course. If someone is not intelligent enough to exercise caution while treading ice, then they deserve a bump on the head. I should be charging them for the education. Ice-slip-drink[1]

While good Samaritan laws currently exist in some states to protect doctors, it wasn’t long ago that if a doctor stopped to help someone dying on the side of the road, he could be sued if the person died because the doctor couldn’t scrub up, sterilize equipment, etc.

Liability should be restricted to an action where the defendant knew what they were doing was wrong and put people at risk with no mitigating circumstance to excuse it. The idea that I can be held liable because I didn’t anticipate someone getting hurt as a result of my inaction is ridiculous. People should be responsible for damage from their own ignorance, not me for not foreseeing the results of such idiocy.

I’m sick of warning labels on kids bikes that say, “Warning: experienced riders” or labels on paper respirators that say, “Warning: Does not provide oxygen”. FYI, both were featured on an episode of Stossel and are a result of our overly generous definition of liability.WWL2011_blue_bicycle-400[1]

America must get back to basics with the justice system, prevent “get rich quick” schemes, and worry more about the spirit of the law than the letter of it. Until we force Congress to ignore the campaign-generous trial lawyers and address the issue, innocent people will be financially raped by those who have done nothing to deserve such wealth. Where is the justice in that?

 

 

 

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