Commentary on the United States Legal System

Feb 5, 2014 by

“It’s not what you know, it’s what you can prove.” The corrupt LAPD detective Alonzo Harris played by Denzel Washington in the movie Training Day uses this quote many times to explain why his corruption has remained undetected. By all means, he is correct in stating this; the legal system in the United States government has parameters that state the burden of proof is on the state. Only hard evidence from witness testimonies and items collected from a crime scene are presentable in a court of law. Why? Because the burden of proof lies with the state. The landmark case Miranda v. Arizona not only reaffirmed this, but made the state rely on testimony willingly given by a suspect held in custody once he knows his rights. For this reason, any crime with little to no evidence, no matter how heinous, could lead to the suspects who did commit the crime walking away without so much as a slap on the wrist.

The legal system has its critics; they say that the legal system should not be so lenient to criminals. If it were not lenient to the criminals, we would not serve the reasonable purpose of rehabilitation so repeat offenders are not as common. If we were as cruel and unjust to criminals, we would be no better than they. That is not reasonable and not logical. Justice is the high road to the underground shame of crime. Any one can put a scope on a rifle, aim, and murder a SUSPECTED criminal. This scenario is not justice. It is vigilantism. The ends of government are to protect the rights of its citizens and bring justice to those who are wrong. The punishment must fit the crime. No proof needs to be presented to a vigilante in order for a punishment to be sentenced. The savagery presented by a vigilante disrespects all progress made by the human race to reach a more perfect union for the past five thousand years.

Reasonable people allow justice to be handled by its rightful process. The criminal is low and unreasonable for infringing on another’s rights, but to stoop to his level would be even more unreasonable. Vigilantes are unreasonable for this very reason; they take matters into their own hands and serve “justice” without concrete evidence. The United States legal system is reasonable in that it convicts those who are guilty of crimes and acquits those who are not guilty. The legal system is imperfect yes, but it does its job. Wrongfully accused defendants are acquitted through lack of evidence more often than guilty defendants are allowed to walk. Reasonable people would allow the legal system to take its course because if what they desire so much is justice, then justice will be served based on the evidence presented by the state. If the state cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of a crime, then the defendant is allowed to walk. Who is to say otherwise what happened at the scene of the crime if not enough evidence is presented to convince a jury that the accused is guilty of a crime? After all, it is not what you know, that matters; it is what you can prove.

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