An observation that I read in the New York Times so succinctly illustrates the way the American Justice is aborted. It says, “The judge’s whim is all that mattered in that courtroom. The law was basically irrelevant." (Marsha Levick, the legal director of the Juvenile Law Center, on two Pennsylvania judges who sent thousands of juveniles to detention centers for $2.6 million in kickbacks).
If any branch of the civil society is enormously independent and truly powerful in the United States, it is indeed the judiciary. Now I would not endorse the kickbacks blemish but certainly there are dark shadows that come in the way of handing out absolutely unalloyed and sparkling justice.
Now how to expunge such aberrations or lacunae? As a lay man I would recommend doing away with the jury system. I plead this because with raw knowledge in legal matters, with diverse racial and ethnic proclivities and with very little time to understand the intricacies of the case, the jury may not come up with the right decision.
This custom can be replaced with a panel of judges who as legal experts would be in a strong position to hand out a wholesome and objective decision in much shorter time. If there is more than one judge, the whims and predilection of one single judge can be effectively checked.
It should also be worthwhile if in every criminal case, the DNA evidence is made obligatory because that is the incontrovertible way to determine one’s involvement or otherwise in the crime that one is accused of committing. Now the DNA, a unique and amazing innovation of the modern age has proven that many convicts of such heinous crime as rape and murder, who were put to death, were actually innocents.
The judges come to the bar through elections and by votes of the community. This system speaks for the grassroots democratic culture and is praiseworthy. But the qualifications of the judges and legal arbiters some time are not up to the mark to entitle them to hold these immensely crucial and delicate public offices and also to perform in a highly professional manner.
In my view, the election of the judges should be replaced by a panel of experts who should thoroughly scrutinize the professional credentials of the candidates and recommend the most qualified or eligible among them. This is how a fully competent person can be chosen who would not take sides in favor of certain community members that were instrumental in his election victory.
Or else in case of judges being appointed through voting process, a pre-screening exercise should be undertaken to approve their suitability to contest for the post of a judge. This would ensure his professional competence to rightly interpret law and dispense justice.