In the UK we’ve looked down on America’s criminal justice system as an underfunded joke for a long time, but once someone is on trial, he or she probably gets a fairer crack of the whip. Evidence rules are tighter in the US, so juries can’t usually know about previous convictions or hearsay evidence, and the defendant can challenge jury members if they may be prejudiced. Of course the US public defender system is completely underfunded, but as legal cuts really bite, in 2014 can we say that we are much better? At least the barbarism of the death penalty has been avoided in the UK, but as whole life sentences become more prevalent, are we inching closer to the US year by year? We hope to start a conversation with this infographic about our justice system, and about whether its evolution is actually a decline.

Author: Joseph Kotrie-Monson

Joseph is a director of Mary Monson Solicitor

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  • George Gretton September 30, 2014 1:21 pm

    Hello again Jon,

    I have cast my votes.

    I was fascinated to note that 51% of the UK population advocate the restoration of Capital Punishment, as do I, in very carefully controlled circumstances.

    In my mind no Jury should be burdened with the responsibility for condemning an individual to death, but there are very distinctive cases (as in the Woolwich / Bandsman Lee Rigby ultra-savage murder) when I have a problem with keeping such an individual alive, but forever-imprisoned, for the substantial balance of his life, at a massive financial cost to Society, where the money could be much better spent. There may even be a sense in which it would be more humane to end that individual’s suffering, rather than dragging it out over half a century.

    Mistakes will always happen, but they happen on operating tables in in course of surgery, and still people choose to take the relevant risks, although in my case the 70% risk of death or permanent kidney failure passed by the attention of my Surgeon, who in my view should not have been in sole charge of my pre-operative and post-operative care; and I am making a big fuss about this..

    But I also consider that putting the respective legal systems under scrutiny may be getting too close to minutiae, and missing wider social points and aspects.

    I learned earlier today, to my shock, horror and acute distress that 1,900 US Military Veterans have taken their own lives…. this year alone, so far.

    I understand that 30,000 individuals die in hand-gun and other weapons incidents each year.

    I suggest that what problems there are in the US Legal System are but one symptom of a very much more serious and enormous Social Problem, which is that ordinary people are largely seen just as bits of trash, while the central commercial goal is to achieve unspendable wealth at the expense of that trash, of all cultural and ethnic origins.

    The central “Freedom” within the US seems to be that of behaving like Barbarians…starting with abusing one’s fellow citizens…

    Yours, narked, George Gretton

    • Jennifer November 26, 2016 11:39 am

      It is far more expensive to execute someone than it is to keep them incarcerated for the rest of his/her life.

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