We Have Lost Respect for the Law
There are many positive effects seen daily from our fast and interconnected society. We get our news more quickly, we can get more work done, we can work anywhere in the world as efficiently as in an office, and we no longer have to rely on every product we need being in a local store in order to purchase it. Those have all been great quality of life improvements, but there is also a way in which the modern, fast-paced internet life has degraded us, and that’s through our concept of justice.
To be clear, our personal sense of justice may be about the same, but there’s now an increasing alignment between that personal sense and what is expected from the actual justice system.
Consider any recent case that drew a lot of media attention. These cases are tried a thousand times over in public before they ever reach a decision in court. By that time, people are nearly out on the streets shouting for one result or another.
This was always possible in the past, but it was far rarer. Consider how exception the OJ Simpson trial was in the 1990s. That sort of public scrutiny and controversy is now commonplace and follows from crimes serious and not.
The problem with this new turn in our culture is that the need for fair and honest trials where rights are respected on all sides is getting lost in the need for scandal. People now tend to think that they know enough from a tweet or a Facebook post to condemn a person to the worst penalties of the law or else free them without any other investigation. Once that opinion is set, there’s little that can be done to change it.
This is dangerous. Our system is built not only on the rule of law but on respect for the rule of law. Respect may sound like an old-fashioned term, but it is a crucial concept for a civil society. Civil, after all, also means a polite respect for others.
While it may seem based off a modicum of evidence that someone is clearly guilty of, say, murder, that doesn’t change the fact that that person deserves a fair trial. Even murderers deserve lawyers, like the Wisconsin homicide and murder charges lawyers of Kohler, Hart, and Powell, and the chance to prove either their innocence or extenuating circumstances. And that chance means that sometimes, they do successfully prove one or the other.
Cases, lawyers, and judges can be criticized for getting things wrong, but there needs to be more respect for the institutions they represent. These institutions are, after all, the reason most of us can feel confident that we will not be picked up by the police today and be forced to serve out sentences for crimes we never committed.
That may sound fantastic, but such things still happen today in many parts of the world.
The courts save us from that. So, we all need to have a little more respect for what they do and how they do it.