With the sheer, flagrant idiocy of the Moussawi sentencing fiasco last week, I was reminded once again of something I consider a serious flaw in our legal system: it only has a single remedy for error or malfeasance on the government’s side, and that’s to give benefit to the accused. Police officer fails to read a suspect his rights? Prosecutor doesn’t turn over evidence? Stupid lawyer ignores court order and tells witnesses what other witnesses have said? In each case, it seems that the only solution is to dismiss or otherwise restrict the outcome against the accused.
I don’t like this. I can understand the principle — the state as a whole is prosecuting the accused, so the state as a whole should be sanctioned when one part acts wrongly. But it still bugs me. The accused (and in many cases, the guilty) gain benefits they should not.
I’d like to see the courts, instead of “striking a balance” by helping the defense, find some way of correcting the prosecution side. Sanction the individual or group that acted improperly. Compel them to learn from their errors. Order re-training or classes.
Just don’t punish the public for the misdeeds of their servants.