Double Jeopardy: Why the U.S. Justice System is Awesome
Imagine if the criminal justice system worked like its counterpart, the civil. With endless appeals in their pockets and the deep coffers supplied by taxpayers, prosecutors could go after defendants to their hearts’ content – all while the court system remained clogged with old cases, lives stayed on pause and victims became lost in the righteous indignation of the state. That system, or one similar to it, has been in place in many European countries for hundreds (if not thousands) of years. In the United States, double jeopardy statutes protect the accused from facing multiple prosecutions for the same offense, and that’s why our Bucks County criminal defense lawyers believe our system is just plain better.
Exhausting Defendant Financial Resources
Paying for legal defense in a criminal trial one time is expensive enough, without having to pay a defense team for multiple trials for the same offense. An innocent defendant could emerge from the process broke and in very serious financial difficulties all because a prosecutor was convinced of their guilt. While the accused can have an attorney provided for them, a public defender does not have the years of skill that experienced criminal defense firms possess in pursuing all angles to shut down prosecution tactics. The defendant is at a disadvantage, and their one with everything to lose.
The Emotion Toll of Multiple Prosecutions
I’ve seen defendants lose weight while standing trial and exhibit symptoms akin to posttraumatic stress disorder. Going through the ordeal once is terrible enough, without having to do it two or three times.
Even when a guilty verdict comes down, there’s an element of closure for the defense as well as the victims in a given case. While the defendant still has the right to appeals to prove their innocence, a judge must decide if any new evidence warrants a new trial or overturning of the conviction. In a legal world where a prosecutor can appeal for a new trial because they didn’t like their approach, the emotional toll on the defendant is immense. We’re seeing it right now in the Italian Court ordering a new trial for Amanda Knox, an American accused of murdering her college roommate. Knox has already been convicted and acquitted in the slaying, and now the prosecution wants a third crack at it. That’s not justice – looks more like a baseball game.
Getting it Right the First Time
Peoples’ lives are at stake in the criminal justice system. We don’t have two or three tries to get it right because it’s important – both the victims and the accused deserve our best efforts. The last thing our justice system needs is a rule that makes a criminal trial look like the warm up for a marathon. One chance to convict, and if the state does not prove its case beyond a responsible doubt, the defendant is free to go about their life in peace without the sword of further prosecution hanging over them.
If you, or someone you love, is facing criminal charges, you need the services of experienced trial attorneys to preserve your rights and ensure your fair treatment. Contact our law offices today for an immediate consultation to discuss your situation. We make jailhouse visits round the clock and in emergencies.