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Life of a Law Student, University of Houston Law Center

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Some Thoughts on Reforming the American Criminal Justice System

By: Luke Gilman | Other Posts by
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From Tom Kirkendall, One of Houston’s Clear Thinkers comes an interesting post on reforming the criminal justice system, inspired by this post from Mark Steyn who has been live-blogging the Conrad Black trial.

I’ve summarized the list of suggestions. See both Tom and Mark’s posts for further commentary.

  1. End universal reliance on plea bargains
  2. End reliance on technical charges such as “mail fraud” and “wire fraud” rather than the underlying crime.
  3. End prosecutors’ ability to seize a defendant’s funds and assets, depriving him or her of the means to hire good lawyers and rebut the charges.
  4. Allow the defendant the last word in closing arguments.
  5. End endless counts that result in compromise verdicts.
  6. End statute creep (citing RICO).
  7. End to de facto double jeopardy (criminal v. civil, prosecution by other agencies, etc).
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