Monday, September 20, 2010

An unnecessary strain on judicial economy

While I was a law student I worked for an appellate court, one of the cases for which I was asked to perform legal research was on an appeal from a misdemeanor conviction for contract splitting, a misdemeanor.  The case had gone to a jury trial that lasted multiple days and resulted in a multi-volume record (probably over 1,000 pages of transcripts and over 1,000 pages of trial exhibits).  The conviction resulted in something like a $500 fine.  The defendant appealed.  I forget what the final decision on the case but I learned something about judicial economy that day:  courts do not apply cost-benefit analysis.  The case was the product of 100s of attorney hours for both the prosecution and the defense, days for the trial judge, calling up/selecting/paying a jury for a couple of days, multiple photocopies of the different exhibits and that was just at the trial level.  At the appellate level it took about a day from a judge, several days from a staff attorney, probably over 100 hours for a new set of attorneys for the prosecution and several hours for appellate counsel for the defendant, and a day's worth of work for a lowly judicial intern.  The result, if the conviction was affirmed, a $500 fine and perhaps some court costs which probably didn't amount to more than another $500.  The real losers . . . the tax payers and the court system.

6 comments:

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  2. sounds like the court system needs some fixing

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  3. You better be careful isn't it illegal to leak information about certain trials you've been involved with? Regardless good post.

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  4. It's good to know this, thanks for share.

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  5. That's true. But we, unfortunately enough, have plenty of large scale cases that need this kind of processing. Unless a better system arises to benefit the lower end, without compromising as a whole, there isn't much we can do.

    The fact that our government needs reform is an understatement. If corporations can compete with each other in order to improve, why can;t our government?

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