Saturday, March 04, 2017


Regarding bail and fines, those who can buy their way out of jail will get out, while those who can’t remain locked up

My Big Jolly Politics post ‘Punished for Being Poor’ (3-1-17) generated several comments. One by Fat Albert read:

You complain about a two-tier justice system – and immediately propose the solution. . . . . . a two tier justice system!!!!

My response: Double ouch! You sure know how to hurt a guy.

Seriously though, our justice system operates on money, yes money! It enriches bail bondsmen, lawyers, and local governments. And as long as it does so, justice will remain a two-tiered system, one for those who can afford it and one for those who can’t. My bail and traffic fine reforms will not change that. They will merely level the playing field somewhat for the poor.

Once the poor get out of jail, they still will not be able to afford an attorney, which is not a problem for upper-middle class and wealthy criminals. A court appointed attorney system guarantees that the poor will often get inexperienced lawyers, alcoholic lawyers, or money-grubbing assholes who pressure the indigent defendants to cop a plea. A public defender system is much better, but the lawyers in that system are usually over-worked and do not have the experience or the resources of lawyers hired by the wealthy.

I never mentioned the civil justice system. It too is two-tiered. How many civil law suits are filed by the poor? Very few when compared to those filed by the well-off. The civil justice system, like the criminal justice system, is also one for those who can afford it and one for those who can’t. It operates on money, enriching the attorneys who practice civil law. But you ask, what about the poor person who is injured in an accident that is someone else’s fault? Yes, you see the TV ads every day of lawyers asking the accident victim to call, but those are about the only lawsuits filed on behalf of the poor.

So no matter what kind of reforms may be proposed, the justice system will remain two-tiered so long as it operates on money, and that isn’t going to change.

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