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  1. #1
    GluttonForPunishment's Avatar
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    Default *Spin off - The need for good defense lawyers

    In another thread, a poster questioned the ethics of defense lawyers in the case of an unconvicted ped0. Before anyone lynches me, I'm not supporting them at all, but I wanted to raise the issue enclosed in the article below:

    http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/real-life/how-kirk-bloodsworth-wrongfully-convicted-for-a-crime-he-didnt-commit-escaped-death-row/story-fnixwvgh-1226812570321


    THIS is why those same defense lawyers exist. The vast majority of people accused of a crime will say, even against sturdy evidence, that they didn't do it. This man wasted away behind bars because some police and law enforcement officials had decided that he was guilty - but he wasn't. An innocent man spent 10 years of his life in prison for a crime he didn't commit. His marriage failed, another marriage failed because of it and he spent years afterwards still being shunned because of the mistakes and wrong doings of the police.

    Defense lawyers are there to keep the police honest - something which they all too often are not. Nothing can give this guy those years back and it is an injustice of the worst kind that it happened in the first place.

    The legal system is far from perfect and needs to be overhauled rather dramatically. But please, don't question the ethics of those people who have to defend those who stand accused. Their job stands as the foundation of our democracy. Without them, any police could accuse you of damn near anything and you'd get put away for it. That's what's known as a police state and we desperately don't want that. Every single person has the right to a defense when standing accused and whilst there are some who'd love to see some people never be given that opportunity (like accused ped0's), to do that would be the ruin of us all. Just remember Kirk Bloodsworth and his wrongful conviction as a testimony that there is a big difference at times between who the police think did something versus who actually did it.

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  3. #2
    SuperGranny's Avatar
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    hi gfp. I agree. There has to be a balance, everyone has to be considered innocent and then proven guilty, but I also want to see more truth in sentencing. Jury is not told any thing about the suspected criminals past, and the judge seems to only punish for the crime before the court today. Once the person is found guilty, then the judge has to be made aware of the history of the person ,and the sentence should reflect the seriousness of the offense and the past history. The judges are not giving harsh enough punishments. I wish the judges used the life sentence to mean for the term of his natural life, never to be released. I also remember a few cases when an innocent man was imprisioned, and that is bad, but letting scum get into society and re offend, that is by far worse. Marie.

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    SuperGranny's Avatar
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    sorry for apparently killing your thread here GFP. I thought there would be lots of people with lots to say about this. Marie

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    nah I agree with you Marie

    Defence lawyers are necessary. Everyone is and should be presumed innocent until proven guilty, and should be entitled to a good robust legal defence.

    I disagree with a lot of the technicalities where people can wriggle through loopholes ... but its tricky to protect the rights of the innocent so sometimes that is going to happen I suppose.

    I also agree with tougher sentencing, especially for multiple offenders (though My understanding is that judges are made aware of criminal history prior to sentencing). The problem is that :-

    a) prison is not really suitable for re-rehabilitation so long sentences have a great impact on a persons ability to re-enter society and not re offend; and

    b) prison is expensive to run, and limited ... and filling up ... so the worst offenders are put away for longer, but lesser offenses tend to get very light sentences simply due to the lack of space

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    One of the other problems with sentencing is that magistrates have to follow the sentencing act. Apparently they have to look at previous similar cases and what sentence was given so they can put an appropriate sentence on.

    But back on topic I think some lawyers would enjoy the challenge of defending someone who is guilty. It would take brain power to find loop holes and not pick at the evidence.

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    Under our current system, I strongly believe in the right to a fair trial and that just can't happen without defense lawyers.

    More generally, I think our current way of dealing with criminal and anti-social behaviour happens too much 'after the fact'. That is, we wait until a crime has happened and then we blame someone and punish them. A large number of people who engage in criminal activity are mentally ill, or have some history of parental abuse or neglect. So they have a terrible time growing up, lack purpose and direction and are then put into prison to spend time with other people who have the same background. They are all angry with the world and feed off each other, hurting each other, becoming more angry, becoming even more hardened criminals. Prison is a terrible place and you wouldn't wish it on anyone, especially the most disadvantaged groups in our society. Yet that's what we all do - we don't take into account a person's history and then we arrogantly assume that they should be in prison because they deserve it.

    I'm don't mean to trivialise the plight of crime victims, and I understand why they would feel angry and want someone punished. However, I think prevention is better than cure and that if we spent more time and resources on mental health and supporting parents and kids who need help with early intervention, then we would need a lot less defense lawyers AND prosecutors.

  10. #7
    SuperGranny's Avatar
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    hi cdro, I agree there needs to be more support before we put people in prison. There has been a number of youth group mentoring programs, that have helped over the years, and then the govt decides that the money has to be spent elsewhere and the programs fall over. Even the support for young parents and disadvantaged youth, to encourage them to extend their education levels, that seems to dry up in a few years. It is so sad when these programs can and do achieve such great results. Noone seems to be able to see past Tuesday of next week. Marie.


 

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