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The Champion

December 2003 , Page 4 

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What you can do to help salvage the criminal justice system

By E.E. (Bo) Edwards

Read more President's Column columns.

The criminal justice system is broken. As criminal defense lawyers, we see the problems — and their effects — every day, at every point in the process.

  • Public representation is not properly funded; justice is illusory as indigent defendants are railroaded through the system.
  • Traditional lineups often lead to false identifications; innocent people are wrongfully charged and wrongfully convicted.
  • Interrogation processes are not recorded; coerced “confessions” obscure exculpatory evidence.
  • Mandatory minimum drug laws warehouse addicts behind bars; less costly and more effective drug treatment is not an available option.
  • Sentencing discretion has been steadily curtailed; America is now the world’s leading jailer.
  • Post-conviction DNA review is routinely denied; innocent people waste away in prison, begging courts to take notice their proof of innocence.
  • Capital defendants are denied effective counsel with sufficient resources; states therefore execute people that —
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