Judge above judgment

The adversarial legal process is a time-tested one. The idea of a public prosecutor whose only job is to do everything within the bounds of the law to convict the accused is as good as that of a defense lawyer who must everything he can to prevent that very action. One may think this to be a waste of valuable time and resources pitting smart people against each other, but the truth eventually emerges. The idea is that the side that triumphs after such a stiff fight has to be the truthful one.
This is excellent in theory, but in reality what we often encounter is talented litigators forced to win at all costs due to competition within their offices.
So, does the law and ultimately, justice suffer?
The judge comes into play here. He presides over the events in the courtroom with an impartial eye. This is a person who must be above the game and one with the law. The law must win at all costs.
The judge cannot prejudge the case and assume the accused’s guilt. Such a judge may end up steering himself and a probable jury towards a guilty verdict. As much as it might bite him, the judge has to rise above personal conflicts and adhere to the law. It is probably the hardest job of all. The sad part is that too many prosecutors become judges. It seems to be on a prosecutor’s agenda to either run for office, or become a judge.
Expecting a former prosecutor-judge to be completely impartial is not fair. These people have spent all their lives putting people away. It must be near impossible for such a judge to spot and deride any encroachment upon an accused’s civil rights. No matter what one is accused of,(be it a simple matter of theft or something heinous like a brutal rape and murder of a minor) he or she deserves a day in court. The accused deserves the chance to confront his accuser, to cross-examine his testimony and to put up a defense. If he cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided to him. He has the right not to cooperate with any investigation which might result in his incrimination. These simple rights cannot be breached by any government official, and any evidence and following prosecution as a result of such a breach is void as a matter of law.
These are certain legal principles which are sacrosanct and the judge is employed to protect them from being raped by over-zealous prosecutors.
This is not a game in any way, but the judge must, in a cynical justification, treat it like one. The judge has to be a referee, an arbiter with no vested interest in the outcome. These judges have to be above judgment and refrain from judicial anarchy even if they are sure that an accused is guilty of the crime.
Such a beautiful legal system is based on the one premise common to all nations and free worlds: Let a hundred guilty escape, but not a single innocent one should slip through the cracks of the law.

One thought on “Judge above judgment

  1. this is good expression of justice and law..both deserve to win! It is unfortunate that evidence is tampered, not available, twisted etc which results in conviction of the innocent.

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