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The Expert Witness and The Iceberg

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posted on Apr, 21 2015 @ 10:22 AM
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Introduction
The title of this thread caught my eye: The FBI caught distorting evidence for decades. The tip of the iceberg??

Originally I was going to reply, but the more I read replies the more it seemed surprising that the iceberg was invisible to so many persons, and that the iceberg was believed to be unique or special to the FBI or even America. The other thing that caught me off guard was the idea that this could be a ‘new’ discovery or even a reveal. The iceberg is kind of global O.o

I’ve altered a lot of my discussion to cater to ATS’s (mostly American) audience, but a lot of this will apply to many Western countries. Its also because I sometimes feel America is very proud of the jury system. I have no idea why.

The jury consist of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer.
- Robert Frost



Posting in diverse places like ATS has always made me think about the type of websites jurors go to. I’ve always wondered if a dyed in the wool and toilet dunked skeptic would argue every doubt, or if it would be the ‘every photo is real’ UFO believer that would be firmly in the defence’s corner. Authenticating a UFO image isn’t that different to being on a jury really. One person’s idea of caught-with-a-knife guilty is another person’s idea of so much doubt you need an MRI. Just like the hunt for aliens, ‘proving’ something in court is having increasingly higher demands curtesy of something called the CSI effect.

Commonly the CSI effect is defined as an exaggerated portrayal of forensic science which vastly over estimates the amount of evidence that can be brought forth in a trial, the qualities that evidence should have, and the capabilities of the scientists involved. This is a very industry centric view of the relationship between ‘forensic evidence,’ the public (jury members), and trial processing.

The public, after decades of television shows demonstrating procedural police work, have been brought up to accept exotic and often non-existent forensic techniques. In the early 1900s and prior a jury could expect a few coincidental items of evidence and some eye witness testimony, but now they expect pants fibres, blood, DNA, and security footage. This is often a significant pressure on forensic labs who are encouraged by police to turn up the details. Moreover, it causes prosecutors to exaggerate their closing arguments to try and meet the impossible standards of television where phrases like ‘we have a match’ are mandatory. It’s rarely ever that simple, but in an environment of rising doubt what is law enforcement to do? (On an unrelated note there is a ‘reverse’ impact of the CSI effect which police officers often fall foul of … the belief that certain basic forensic processes such as identifying distorted license plates and the like aren’t possible)

The result of this is that the chasm of reasonable doubt is now getting unreasonable to cross resulting in over enthusiastic prosecution at best and flat out framing at worst. It’s not impossible to understand though. I’ve seen one jury give a paedophile a split verdict. They decided to give two counts innocent and two counts guilty on the unicorn of doubt that this person might be innocent. The forensic evidence was flakey, but the child in question knew specific phrases in a foreign language they could have learned from nowhere else. During the trial closing the judge made reference to a prior charge of the defendant which wasn’t admissible as evidence during the proceedings. One of the jurors cried.

There is a growing feeling that in the face of a complex case with multiple charges which requires expert witnesses and the like it is best to fight out the defence. There is always that doubt, that chance that without bang on the nail forensic evidence there might be an innocent verdict. At very least you might side step a few counts here and there. Far from being apologia for sloppy prosecutions I’d like to just make a case for reality, to help people understand the process and some of the problems involved and the hopefully think up some ideas.




posted on Apr, 21 2015 @ 10:22 AM
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Part #1
The exact laws on this will vary depending on where you are, but almost every country has an issue with the existence of the expert witness. In recent decades there have been cases where an expert witness has presented at several hundred hearings but later been challenged and found to be unreliable. At times this results in further costly appeals and sometimes legitimately guilty people walk. That said, please take a look at Project Innocence where a worrying amount of cases proven innocent include poor forensic evidence.

Perhaps this is working as intended? I imagine a lot of people prefer the idea of two guilty persons walking than one innocent being slammed with multiple life sentences.

Many countries have attempted to limit the number of expert witnesses who can present as well included requirements on what should be required of an expert witness and the types of evidence they can rely. Unfortunately this results in many strange practices as one’s qualifications are an intrinsic part of the performance. At times the actual work will be carried out by a ‘junior’ analyst, whilst the actual evidence presented will be from a surrogate ‘expert’ witness. This is someone who is good on the stand and has the paper, but again it also feeds the CSI effect beast. Jurors have come to expect this treatment and often the qualifications of the experts are based on presentation rather than content. Sometimes they’re not even that relevant.

Hair matching from the previous thread is a classic example, and it highlights something I was surprised about in that thread. The issues with hair matching are decades old.

A famous case for this is the 1979 prosecution of Gary Dotson though I must stress these cases are still happening around the world including my home country.

Dotson was arrested when 16 year old Cathleen Webb claimed a clean shaven man attacked her. At the time Dotson had a moustache and testimony from friends placed him in another area of the city. Dotson wasn’t exonerated until 2002.

At the depths of this case lie many of the issues with expert witnessing. Dotson was convicted on two damning pieces of forensic evidence: serology and hair matching. At the trial in question the analyst testified that Dotson was blood type B and made the further claim that this blood type is only within 11% of Caucasians. What the analyst didn’t testify is that the victim was also type B, and when asked about type A matter that was discovered the analyst claimed this substance could have come from contamination from ‘dust, wood, leather, certain kinds of clothes, different cloth materials, detergents in materials’ … This is false and not how blood typing works.

Whether the analyst tested for contamination I don’t know. They certainly could have. Its simple logic that if this type of blood sampling was unreliable due to contamination then it shouldn’t have been used in the first place, but this and the hair matching became integral to the prosecutor’s closing argument. The prosecutor claimed that the hairs had ‘matched’ those of Dotson’s and, despite an objection that this statement did not match the evidence, the judge allowed it.

The public defender assigned to Dotson didn’t perform due diligence. Even at the time hair matching was considered unreliable, statistics place its error rate anywhere from 28 to 68% and, more recently, up to 90% with some of those studies being contemporary to the time. The defender also failed to question the ‘analyst’ who performed the blood matching. The analyst claimed to be performing research at Berkley but had in fact only attended a two day course.

For those who believe those days are long gone, I can provide you with:
• A two day course on accident photogrammetry complete with single click software application
• A three day course on automated image authentication for insurance purposes
• A two week long forensic imaging suite course complete with $5000 worth of software on the cheap skates
• A friend who will accredit you as a private investigator in a couple of weeks



posted on Apr, 21 2015 @ 10:23 AM
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Part #2
It’s certainly not an unnoticed problem. In 2009 the National Academy of Sciences released a report stating that other than DNA no forensic discipline has been tested to a level that establishes ‘the validity of their approach or the accuracy of their conclusions.’ In fact, over the decades a number of forensic practices have been retired due to their complete lack of validity. Comparative bullet-lead analysis, used in the investigation of the assassination of JFK, was found to be unreliable. The FBI abandoned it in 2005. Recently its been discovered that DNA evidence can be forged. MD5 hashes, once declared as a ‘digital finger print’ by one particular prosecutor are potentially unreliable and can be forged. Believe it or not, biometrics have demonstrated finger printing is capable of false positives. The American Board of Forensic Odontology found a 63% rate of false identifications in teeth identification. To this date in America there is no individual standard to qualify a coroner. There is also the issue of emergent fields of science of expertise. The digital imaging boom has resulted in experts with wildly varying credentials presenting in courtrooms, although there are education resources available in many places.

In response to these issues some countries have taken steps to limit or standardize expert witness involvement in court cases; Canada is quite notable in this discussion. The Criminal Justice and Forensic Science Reform Act (S.2177) was put forward in 2014 in America, but it was not passed. The act put forward accreditation for existing forensic labs, training requirements, oversight by NIST, and a forensic science board to help determine research needs and practices. Other attempts have included a commission to improve forensic science in the criminal justice system. The commission had a single federal judge appointed by Obama: U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff. Rakoff quit early this year citing Department of Justice interference designed to benefit prosecutors.

In most countries the prosecution is already somewhat favoured particularly by dedicated labs. When a private lab’s primary customer is the police there is a certain conflict of interest and pressure to ‘bring the goods.’ The anarchocapitalists in the audience should take note, some labs will take only exclusively prosecution work since it’s generally more regular and pays better; many labs consider themselves to be an extension of the police. This environment ensures that there is no ‘proving for innocence’ in most situations. Much like unpublished research, generally speaking the police and prosecution aren’t interested in results which don’t provide a conviction – results which prove innocence are even less sought after. This introduces a lot of double handling and some questionable testimony practices.

As an expert witness this can leave one slave to the system. The practice on the stand is to only answer questions you are directly asked. In some instances this leaves a person hoping that the defence will ask the appropriate question to draw doubt on your own testimony. One way to handle this is to take the ‘hands off’ approach and accept the system for what it is. The other is to have trouble sleeping at night since once the words are out there they are for the prosecution to twist or bend as they please. ‘Close’ can become ‘match,’ ‘possible’ can become ‘certainly.’ In many places transcripts, even though they are produced and stored, are not made available to the jury due to a number of studies which suggest that the accuracy of a verdict isn’t improved by the introduction of a transcript. To make things worse the prosecution is often in favour of short, sharpy, punchy presentation whenever possible. At best some complex evidence might receive an afternoon on average. In a fair and just world it might be appropriate to provide an educated jury with a copy of signal processing 101 or serology for idiots volume II, but good luck getting it admitted into evidence or reference. Audited handouts are the preferred communication method. In an expert vs expert battle you are more likely to be judged on a handful of unrelated factors rather than your work. How good were the slides? Was the forensic animation pretty? How confident did you sound? Does your resume look like one from CSI? In one particular case image analyst John C Russ was placed against one of the person’s former students. Russ was asked in cross examination what grade the student received to which he replied a credit. According to Russ, the student’s testimony was then no longer part of proceedings from this point forward.

So will a few acts and new legislation fix the problems? Unfortunately many of the people involved in that discussion are directly benefiting from it, but even then it’s not that simple. The ‘surrogate’ expert approach will carefully step around any legislation requiring accreditation and if anything only reinforce jury confidence in a broken system. The expert witness industry is already quite hierarchal, so additional requirements will only increase the theatre in many instances and introduce new barriers to private operators working for non-government labs who are already denied access to required systems such as CODIS (FBI Combined DNA Index System). The introduction of further standards can be incredibly successful, but again increases jury confidence and lowers potential critical thinking for all involved when really each individual instance of evidence should be its own investigated and discussed entity. It may also create a steep barrier for introducing new evidence methods in a world of constantly changing digital technology.



posted on Apr, 21 2015 @ 10:24 AM
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Part #2.5
Another major factor is the already raising standards of the jury system. The CSI effect looms ever large over the expert analyst when juries often see forensic evidence as a lynch pin for their decision. Remember, Dotson has several friends testifying that he was elsewhere when the attack he was convicted for happened. On one hand, if you’re completely to the point and honest about your probabilities, it is likely the jury may under estimate the evidence; on the other there is an ethical decision to make when you present your evidence in a deeply positive light.

The typical jury panel involves various ‘types’ of jurors. Several will go ‘chin to chest’ immediately upon hearing forensic testimony. One juror pad I saw some years ago was covered in elaborate doodles. On the front page it said, ‘there is no judge but God.’ Not a keeper. There is often a doodler. This leaves an unknown number of randomly selected listeners one hopes have some education in whatever it is that needs to be presented. You hope they have the courage and education to ask questions, but in many instances it isn’t till near the end of the trial that judges permit this. Essentially jurors simply watch the boxing match and declare a winner. In most countries jurors receive little training or accreditation and often have few responsibilities other than making a verdict. This makes the closing argument of the prosecution key in securing a conviction and also in instilling bias in the jury deliberation room. Far from science it’s the most theatrical part of the proceedings and encourages jurors to commit to back room agreements such as the split discussed earlier in this post.

For the curious, one country with training for jurors is China. This isn’t a great endorsement, but I would like to see some major changes to that system. I’d like to see forensic labs blinded from their customers and more safe guards put in place to ensure that all forensic activity completed on a case is available to the jury. I’d like to see jurors receive training as part of civil service and perform terms equivalent to a ‘tour of duty’ rather than the current system. We have the technology to do this now, and jurors don’t necessarily need to be in the same location as the cases their viewing. Kind of like jet packs and robots, I don’t see why many of these issues are necessary in this day and age. More so, I don’t understand why we can’t fix it.

Disclaimer: Pinke apologies for the length of this thread. Pinke was going to put pictures but there is no reason other than the pretty. Pinke is completely unimportant. Pinke lives on a diet of vegetables, grass, and love. Do not place your Pinke upside down. Pinke is not an American. Pinke can be U2U'd for many references. Pinke is probably wrong about everything. Pinke is not an equal opportunities employer.



posted on Apr, 21 2015 @ 11:01 AM
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a reply to: Pinke

You bring up some troubling points regarding the execution of "justice". Very troubling indeed. If it was simply incompetence, working randomly, I think it would appear much less sinister to me. Based on my observations the operation of the "justice" system is systematically tooled and gamed to benefit certain people at the expense of other people. Different motives drive this authoritarian theme. None of these motives are intellectually honest or moral IMO.

What I can't quite tell is if it was better at some point in the past or if it's actually been much worse all along and what we are observing now is the hangover.

My personal experience with jury duty in the US left me with much less confidence in our system than I had previous to this experience. There are large swaths of people that truly don't deserve self governance. They think they can just selfishly withdraw benefits of society without personal integrity or adding any energy whatsoever. Be it from a misguided idea of liberty or of birthright or total disenfranchisement and apathy. There are black clouds over the US and I believe the USG is preparing for some very upset American citizens. What are they going to be upset about? 9/11, election fraud, the surveillance state, corporate predation? Take your pick.

I can't stop the visions of Hunger Games rolling through my mind. I won't stop my efforts to emigrate. Is Canada far enough? IDK.



posted on Apr, 21 2015 @ 11:04 AM
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a reply to: Pinke

Pinke make good thread. Me like Pinke.

Just a quick add to the discussion. I was watching Bill Maher the other day, and Fareed Zakaria was on discussing the American legal system, and he quoted a few stats that amazed me. He said that though America constitutes 5% of the world's population, we incarcerate 20% of its prisoners. The stat that really got me, however, was that 95% of all prosecutions are successful, with 90% of those never going to trial. Having been unfortunately involved in this legal system on the "meat in the grinder" side, this plea business is evil. They force you to plea. If you're facing a charge of 2 to 20, they will lock you up, often with no bond or with an unrealistic bond that the person is financially unable to meet while making you sit for up to 2 years waiting, and offer you a plea (let's say the offence isn't drastic, let's face it, the difference between 2 years and 20 years speaks to very different punishments), you either accept the plea or the prosecutor makes it known that, if they are forced to take you to trial, they will go for the max. This happens, literally, almost every time. And so, most accept out of fear which is born from, quite simply, bullying. Aren't we supposed to hate bullying in this country, aren't there campaigns against it? And God forbid you accept probation. Before you accept probation, you should just pay the county 5 grand and then go to prison, because they're going to simply suck all of your money and time from you before they eventually violate you and send you to prison anyway. Great system we have.

The Electric Priest



posted on Apr, 21 2015 @ 11:56 AM
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Here is a quote from another member from here... www.abovetopsecret.com... regarding a jury service experience.



originally posted by: pthena

Once upon a time I was called for jury duty. The case involved the non completion of a building contract. The Assistant DA was attempting a novel approach by prosecuting a civil case in criminal court with a charge of felony theft.

I was asked the question: "If there was a law on the books that stated that wearing green socks on Tuesday constituted theft would you be able to vote guilty in the case of some one found to be wearing green socks on a Tuesday?"

My answer was, "I wouldn't want anything to do with a case like that."

"Then you are dismissed from jury duty", was the decision of the assistant DA.

On my way out, I could be heard saying, "This is an inappropriate use of the courts. Laws may change, whereas a felony conviction sticks to a person for life."

____________


Having spent some time reviewing my faulty memory, I would have to say that a more accurate account would be that the question was asked by the ADA to all the potential jurors at the same time, such as:

"Would any of you have a problem [ insert afore mentioned green sock scenario here]" and I was the only one to raise my hand and voice my wish to not be associated with such a thing. Also, it was actually the defense attorney who asked the judge to have me dismissed.

Based upon the demeanor of the parties: ADA, Defendant, Defense Attorney, and Judge, I got the distinct impression that the outcome of the trial was already prearranged in order to get a precedent into the public record with the added weight of a jury's endorsement. So yes, I believe that it would be accurate to describe the process as "looking for children of the bondswoman" to rubber stamp, in a way that would seem to be free decision, something whose outcome was prearranged.



Justice or just wrong?

You be the jury.



posted on Apr, 21 2015 @ 12:02 PM
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a reply to: Pinke


or if it would be the ‘every photo is real’ UFO believer that would be firmly in the defiance’s corner.

Moon pie believers aren't usually selected for jury duty. If they are truthful and don't hide their biases, jurors are selected pretrial for their critical thinking skills, not their predispositions.

At least thats the way it should be.



posted on Apr, 21 2015 @ 12:06 PM
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a reply to: Wifibrains


Justice or just wrong?

You be the jury.

"Justice" is different from just enforcing laws. The green sock scenario showed they wanted jurors that would enforce laws no matter how unjust they were.

I wouldn't sit on such a case either. Thats what juries are for, to determine the law in this case.



posted on Apr, 21 2015 @ 12:12 PM
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a reply to: intrptr

Except as mentioned the outcome was not determined by the jury but predetermined by the jury selection.

Glad you would not sit in such a case...

Sad millions would/do.



posted on Apr, 21 2015 @ 12:15 PM
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Short answer:

Justice isn't blind, she sees what she's allowed and told to see. If those prosecuting want to selectively leave out details or exaggerate others -- the jury isn't the wiser.

There are two legal systems in America -- one for the wealthy and the other for the rest of us. The wealthy have the power and ability to influence legislation in regards to the law, so as to better shield themselves. (they do the same with tax law as well).

The legal system is also fraught with greed. Oftentimes your lawyer won't be interested in actually getting you out of legal trouble, but rather lining his pockets. Defense and prosecuting attorneys all know each other, and routinely strike deals.

Its sad, but even if you hire an good lawyer -- it's on YOU to keep the fire under them. Its in your best interest to take a crash course in law, and learn everything you can about your case. You need the lawyer, but you almost need to know more about the case than they do. Sad, but true.

Oh, and a pubic defenders seem to always try to get people to strike deals instead of going to trial. I think they play games with the prosecutors office in hopes they can get hired on there later or something.



posted on Apr, 21 2015 @ 12:32 PM
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a reply to: Wifibrains


Except as mentioned the outcome was not determined by the jury but predetermined by the jury selection.

They hope. Stacking the jury is attempted by both sides and both select each member. Kind of a safety valve. Juries themselves determine the law… again, in a prefect world.

The notion of justice in this country is a long forgone concept, these days.



posted on Apr, 21 2015 @ 02:16 PM
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originally posted by: Wifibrains
Here is a quote from another member from here... www.abovetopsecret.com... regarding a jury service experience.



originally posted by: pthena

Once upon a time I was called for jury duty. The case involved the non completion of a building contract. The Assistant DA was attempting a novel approach by prosecuting a civil case in criminal court with a charge of felony theft.

I was asked the question: "If there was a law on the books that stated that wearing green socks on Tuesday constituted theft would you be able to vote guilty in the case of some one found to be wearing green socks on a Tuesday?"

My answer was, "I wouldn't want anything to do with a case like that."

"Then you are dismissed from jury duty", was the decision of the assistant DA.

On my way out, I could be heard saying, "This is an inappropriate use of the courts. Laws may change, whereas a felony conviction sticks to a person for life."

____________


Having spent some time reviewing my faulty memory, I would have to say that a more accurate account would be that the question was asked by the ADA to all the potential jurors at the same time, such as:

"Would any of you have a problem [ insert afore mentioned green sock scenario here]" and I was the only one to raise my hand and voice my wish to not be associated with such a thing. Also, it was actually the defense attorney who asked the judge to have me dismissed.

Based upon the demeanor of the parties: ADA, Defendant, Defense Attorney, and Judge, I got the distinct impression that the outcome of the trial was already prearranged in order to get a precedent into the public record with the added weight of a jury's endorsement. So yes, I believe that it would be accurate to describe the process as "looking for children of the bondswoman" to rubber stamp, in a way that would seem to be free decision, something whose outcome was prearranged.



Justice or just wrong?

You be the jury.


Sounds to me like it is standard practice to weed out potential candidates for jury nullification which doesn't surprise me in the least.



posted on Apr, 21 2015 @ 04:24 PM
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As a scientist we cannot even measure 1 kilogram without some level of doubt. The better your tools, research and capability the less error there is, but error is still there.

To be truly objective we do need to be aware of our limitations. Limitations of evidence, limitations in the system and limitations of culture. The profit driven war machine leading the profit driven corrections system is setting a concerning trend. Making mistakes is a very natural part of the learning process, how we correct those mistakes turn us into what we become.



posted on Apr, 21 2015 @ 06:40 PM
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Very well written Pinke


Being from the uk I find the jury system in the US to be very strange.
In the uk each jury member is selected by the Jury Central Summoning Bureau, at random, from the electoral register, and they are legally obliged to appear.

I suspect you'll find this vid very interesting!

Peter Donnelly: How stats fool juries.
Oxford mathematician Peter Donnelly reveals the common mistakes humans make in interpreting statistics -- and the devastating impact these errors can have on the outcome of criminal trials.
If your short on time then skip to 13:45, but I highly recommend watching all of it.



posted on Apr, 21 2015 @ 10:46 PM
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originally posted by: TheElectricPriest
The stat that really got me, however, was that 95% of all prosecutions are successful, with 90% of those never going to trial.


It's actually a little worse than that. 93% of all convictions are a result of a plea bargain rather than the courtroom. Public defenders especially are notorious for deals. The defender want a deal because it means he can work more cases and get more money. The prosecutor wants a deal because it counts in their stats as a guilty conviction so they keep their job and their metrics look better. The judge wants a deal because (in states where they're elected) it makes them look tough on crime so they keep their jobs. The city/private prisons want a deal because it's the only way to keep them full.

The entire system wants to cut a deal rather than go through the process. It takes 2% of the man hours to make a plea bargain as it does to run a jury trial and our entire system is currently corrupted to where it's based on quantity rather than quality. The system as it's currently set up would collapse in a day if we only sent people to prison for the things we could prove in court.

Maybe that would be a good thing, it would force the courts to only deal with the crimes that really matter.



posted on Apr, 22 2015 @ 09:24 AM
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a reply to: Aazadan

I was shocked when you pointed that out before, it is in fact evidence of the absence of a functional justice system.

I think we agree that we need a legislative purge.




posted on Apr, 22 2015 @ 10:18 AM
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a reply to: Pinke

I've heard this lament before, but I'm not buying into the whole "CSI Effect" nonsense. It's just one more way to blame the victims and bully the people.

Bottom line is simple: If the prosecution can't prove their case, they can't prove their case. Period. Given the virtually unlimited resources at their disposal -- including obviously iffy forensic technology -- and compared to the meager resources of most defendants, they have no excuses.

Furthermore, I'd say most criminal laws shouldn't even exist. If someone is not a direct threat to others, there is no crime -- except under color of law. And that includes almost all laws related to the War on (people who use) Drugs. The inevitable Black Market created as a direct result of the criminalization of drugs has proven to be a far greater threat to the people.

Perhaps if our law enforcement/judicial resources were focused on real crimes, they could be more effective and efficient in prosecuting those crimes.



posted on Apr, 22 2015 @ 01:45 PM
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a reply to: VoidHawk

originally posted by: InverseLookingGlass
a reply to: Pinke

My personal experience with jury duty in the US left me with much less confidence in our system than I had previous to this experience.


I believe this is one of the many antidotes to the issue. Jurors are often told not to talk about their deliberations, but when they do it is sometimes a disturbing experience when you take into account their responsibility. Often no transcripts, not allowed to research, and left in a room with strangers.


originally posted by: TheElectricPriest
a reply to: Pinke

Having been unfortunately involved in this legal system on the "meat in the grinder" side, this plea business is evil. They force you to plea.

I am sorry to hear you went through this


Often even private defense lawyers will show clients their records of plea deals and encourage a deal even if their client is innocent. It's a bit like real estate. Real estate ages take longer to sell their own houses. Both prosecution and defense don't trust the jury, and a deal for defense is a half win. Nod to Mystik Mushroom and Az too. Personally I believe this needs to have the commercial elements removed entirely if possible. Ideal world?


originally posted by: intrptr
a reply to: Pinke


or if it would be the ‘every photo is real’ UFO believer that would be firmly in the defiance’s corner.

Moon pie believers aren't usually selected for jury duty.

Voir doir questioning can prevent it, but this is not guaranteed. In other countries this is completely impossible to achieve. Most of the time only the juror's occupation is known.


originally posted by: VoidHawk
Very well written Pinke


I suspect you'll find this vid very interesting!

Thanks!

We don't always agree and I think that just highlights how broken some of this system is.

The part at the end is especially awesome, even people who are 'in the field' sometimes don't appreciate the differences between professional areas when that difference appears 'subtle.' Totally encourage anyone in this thread to watch voidhawk's vid!



posted on Apr, 22 2015 @ 01:52 PM
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originally posted by: Boadicea
a reply to: Pinke

I've heard this lament before, but I'm not buying into the whole "CSI Effect" nonsense. It's just one more way to blame the victims and bully the people.

Appreciate your position, but the fact is the demand for evidence has been climbing drastically in the last several decades as evidenced in many studies. That increase is happening even if we discount modern media's contribution to it, and that increase has been causing the issues discussed.

I don't believe it's bullying or blaming victims pointing out that there is a vicious cycle of distrust amongst legal representatives, the public, and police which causes a cycle of improper practice. The trust needs to be rebuilt between all parties.


Bottom line is simple: If the prosecution can't prove their case, they can't prove their case. Period. Given the virtually unlimited resources at their disposal -- including obviously iffy forensic technology -- and compared to the meager resources of most defendants, they have no excuses.


This is the essence of the problem. By adopting this attitude we place ordinary people in positions where they may know to a point of near certainty that a person is guilty of a horrific crime. Then we tell them, 'this is your fault,' and place them within that system to develop chips on shoulders. They will then predictably use collusion, exaggeration, and everything else in their power to avoid facing the coin flip of a doubtful jury. This is how systemic problems begin and continue, but if we humanize this issue ... really look at the feelings and the problems involved ... we can begin dismantling the system, softening those feelings, and bring back justice. Breaking down the barriers of those who benefit from such a system is anything but victim blaming; it's giving back responsibility.

I was going to write some suggestions here, but I don't want to under estimate your suggestion. Can you elaborate? I suspect I might be under estimating what you're trying to say, since it seems like an endorsement of the status quo as I've scribbled above.

Side notes:
* Criminal laws ... I'm not sure what percentage should or shouldn't exist precisely, but lowering the number will not solve the issue outlined in the OP
* Resources ... I'm not aware of many countries where resources were infinite. Trials are booked for specific times based on estimates which prosecutors are held to, and the pay in most countries is lower than persons think. Its certainly benefits the wealthy though. Again ... holding back from a massive post of stupid suggestions haha

Thanks for the input!



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