The headline yesterday in the Los Angeles Times was “Cutbacks in California court system produce long lines, short tempers. The statement that “justice delayed is justice denied” has its origin that traces back to Biblical times. Martin Luther King, Jr., stated it “justice too long delayed is justice denied.” This applies both to civil and criminal law.
Many people have been sharing their frustration with Sarah recently about not being able to get legal matters through the court system. For example, if a person is being harassed by a stalker or an ex-spouse tries, we expect them to get a restraining order. According to the law of California, restraininig orders must be ruled on within 24 hours. But in too many cases, they are not because the judge hasn’t seen the order.
What are people going to do when they’re unable to get timely responses to even simple but pressing issues like retraining orders, legal separations or custody resolutions? If people become too desperate, might they protect themselves by hurting or even killing the stalker. For working poor and middle class people the legal system is not working. They face demoralizing and sometimes scary long waits and delays for resolution of legal matters.
What I have in mind is a new profession of professional jurors or adjudicators. What gave me the idea for this at the time of the runaway verdict when O.J. Simpson was acquitted of murdering his wife. I envision a program for training such experts in legal process and impaneling them as small juries. I trust the cumbersome and costly process of impaneling juries will be simplified, but the main benefit would be the availability of justice rendered at much faster pace . Governor Brown has been quoted as saying courts need to reinvented or restructured. If can have justice and save money in the process , concepts like this need to be tested in one or more places. If we are to have a civil society, we need to restructure our processes.