Socialized Law — Something to Think About

February 5, 2014 at 8:29 PM Leave a comment

I’m a former paralegal who worked at two Legal Services offices — offices that provided legal representation for indigent people here in the US.  I know, through them, what it’s like to be charged with a crime, to be destitute, and unable to afford an attorney.  The feeling?  Helpless.

Someone like Bill Gates would never feel helpless.  Why should people who can’t afford a megabucks lawyer feel that way?  After all, the inscription on the US Supreme Court is “Equal Justice for All.”

Equal Justice Under Law via Wikipedia

(Image via Wikipedia)

Do we have “equal justice for all” when so-called justice can be bought?

No.

And that’s wrong:

Anyone who has ever picked up a tabloid knows full well how the 1 percent flouts the laws that bind the rest of us.

[…]

There are similar inequities in the realm of civil litigation, of course. Pharmaceutical companies and cigarette makers spend hundreds of millions each year beating back billions in legal claims, while the rate at which most working stiffs win judgments is appallingly low.In a typical year, a mere 14 percent of the thousands of miners who seek black-lung claims are successful. Predictably, the very poor fare worst of all in civil cases. They struggle to land legal representation of any kind, and, if they do, their lawyers tend to be massively overworked.

[…]

[W]hen Bill Gates spends hundreds or thousands of times more than I could to defend himself against a criminal indictment, the very act of doing so actually diminishes my status as a citizen. In a democracy, what makes people equal before the state isn’t that everyone has adequate procedural rights. It’s that everyone has the exact same procedural rights. It must be that, in the eyes of the law, there is no difference between rich and poor. If the rich have more rights—if they have fuller status as citizens—then by definition everyone else has fewer rights and lesser status.

More…

 

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Entry filed under: Laws / Judiciary.

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