How to Unclog the Court System

by Robert Coambs
Last update: June 1, 2010
Created - Autumn, 2009

There are three distinct segments to the legal system.

First, we have apprehension which is the domain of the Police
Secondly, we have the deciding of guilt and punishment which is the domain of the legal system.
Third, we have incarceration which is the domain of the Prison system.

This idea concerns the second phase, which is the legal system.There is a real problem with time it takes to maneuver through the legal system, the costs of convicting someone, and the time and resources it takes for a case to work itself through the legal system. The resources spent on the paper work alone are phenomenal.

Here is an idea to cut down on the paper work and time it takes to get through the court system.

Let’s use the example of traffic tickets. Currently you get a traffic ticket and on the back side you are offered the choice to go to court or to pay thetraffic_ticket.jpg set fine (punishment). What you do is sign the back of the parking ticket, pay your fine, and the matter is over. Why not use the same system for more serious offences? If you get caught shoplifting, the 1st offence is 10 days in jail to be served on weekends. Sign the back of the ticket and you move on to the Incarceration system. For each offence the punishment is clearly stated. All the person has to do is sign the back and serve the punishment.

The idea here is to a) make the punishments clear and b) it needs to affect the person who has committed the crime, c) it must be less than if convicted in a court of law, so there is no advantage to plea bargaining and wasting everyone’s time. Finally it says if you do the crime then you have to do the time or experience some sort of consequence. This allows people to take responsibility and not try to fiddle the system.

Now the consequences are up to the creativity of the government. In many cases it could be incarceration, but it could also include other forms of consequences, including successful completion of courses, restitution, community work or anything else that looks like it might work and decrease the probability of doing the crime again.

Americans will not like this because they are so keen on punishing people way out of proportion to the seriousness of the crime, but many more benevolent countries may like this. Lawyers will really not like this because it cuts into their income potential.

We are very interested to hear all comments and suggestions on how to make this system a reality.

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