Free «The American Courts» Essay Sample

In the adversary system parties to a controversy develop arguments, gather evidence, and question the witnesses in an attempt to control the trial process. The jury is always supposed to remain neutral. More often than not, the adversary system is concerned more in resolving the controversies between conflicting parties rather than finding the eventual truth (Strier, 1996). The adversary system is prone to manipulation. The 1994 trial of Eric and Lyle Menendez brothers who confessed to murder their parents is an example of an adversary system that is unable to convict confessed murderers. Attorneys argue that it is not possible to protect the innocent without intermittently protecting the guilty. The binary resolution of conflict is affected by the ability of the defendant to hire an attorney rather than by the truth itself (Hostettler, 2006).

A wealthy defendant will be able to hire an attorney who is trained to come up with evidence necessary to alter the truth, thus, affecting the final judgment of the jury. Rich defendants are not forced to take a plea deal; poor criminal defendants have less choice than the rich regardless of whether they are guilty or not. Lawyers have a duty to challenge the evidence presented against their client by whatever legal and ethical means possible.

Some advantages of the adversary system are that it satisfies a variety of truth and justice criteria. Allowing the opposing sides to fight it out under given rules allows the truth to surface eventually (Jenkins, 2011).

The adversary system is slow; cases take years before they are resolved. This makes the courts cumbersome. The judge being a neutral fact finder cannot do much to speed up the trial. Lawyers in the adversary system spend a great deal of time trying to avoid the truth rather than seeking the truth. The adversary system is inadequate and thus unable to satisfy a number of goals of any dispute resolution system. Some levels of the adversary system need to be restructured. This will help to serve the interest of legal system.


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