The name of this series says it all. When the justice system fails and an innocent person is sent to prison or executed is a tragedy that has its roots in egos, prejudice, and other such personal vanities.
It does not matter if you support the death penalty or not. In fact it does not matter what you think of the US justice system. As carefully thought out as the US justice system is, it still must run on the fuel of humans. Without humans to drive the justice system, it simply becomes inert. So essentially the problem is not so much the justice system, the problem is in its fuel.
As a rule the closer you are to a situation, the more familiar you are and thus the more expert. It does not matter if you are a technician trying to sort out the latest antenna glitch with Iphone, or a scientist mapping the human genome, you are the authority that people seek out when they have a question or a problem. So enter if you would a prosecutor who’s job is to convict people.
The prosecutor is not an expert in most of the things he or she deals with. They rely on the real experts and do their best to get that information into the justice system by calling the expert to testify. So at this point there are 2 or more humans involved in seeking to convict a person. In this case you can rest assured the prosecutor will ask only the questions that will lead to a conviction, and that makes the expert witness a tool to convict and not truly an expert.
In this case the defense lawyer who is also not an expert must ask the questions that will show innocence to balance out the expert witness. But because that defense lawyer is not an expert, there is a chance a key question could be missed. Seeing that the judge and or jury is also not an expert, they can only weigh the expert testimony.
So consider this if you would, lets assume the expert witness has some personal views based on ego or whatever that makes them not impartial to the accused. It becomes very easy for them to put whatever spin or emphases on their testimony to influence the final verdict. Stopping this type of testimony is important but is also nearly impossible to do. The best bet is to bring in a defense witness to bring balance, but all this takes money and in many cases that money is not available.
So at this point the accused has the prosecutor, the expert witness, and their own defense lawyer’s inexperience in other areas working against them. When you look at that, you could easily start to loose some faith in the justice system as the human fuel thus far is full of impurities that could cause the justice system to fail.
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