Right or wrong is as simple as black and white, right? Not so much unfortunately. You either break the law or you are a law abiding citizen, correct? You either live your life morally or you do not, that’s what movies try to make you believe. Black or white, right? Unfortunately, the law lives in the gray. And so do the people who work in the judicial system. From elected judges down to practicing attorneys to lay people, they are all part of the gray judicial system.
Laws were created mainly from popular morals. You shouldn’t steal, because it is bad and unkind. You shouldn’t physically hurt another human being. You get the idea. But people are not perfect.
The idealistic vision of the judicial system is one that executes justice. The bad criminal gets caught by the heroic police officer. The enthusiastic prosecutor intelligently displays his case and the wise judge sentences the bad criminal to what he deserves. Justice is served! On to the next case… But anyone who has knowledge of the judicial system too often knows that the system is not perfect, and the square outcome does not always fit perfectly into the round judicial hole.
But that doesn’t stop the wheels of justice from spinning. Black or white. Right or wrong. The system keeps moving. And well-meaning people keep doing their job, whatever that may be, day by day and that’s the only way the system can work. The world is colorful. People don’t fit into a neat little category, and they shouldn’t. So why should the judicial system?
For a relatively small county of only a little over two hundred thousand people, Washington County handles a higher-than average amount of criminal law, Protection from Abuse cases, child and spousal support cases, custody actions, divorces and adoptions, and termination of parental rights cases. Due to the high volume of cases, the Washington County Jail holds, on average, three hundred and twenty inmates who are awaiting trial or have been sentenced within the Washington County judicial system to less than two years.
The truth is, it’s possible that one of those inmates in the Washington County Jail is serving time for a crime that he/she did not commit. It’s likely that someone who has committed a crime has not been arrested yet, and probably never will. That’s not justice. That’s not what those who dream of being a lawyer or a judge dream of, but it’s reality. Humans are the imperfect creatures who try to carry out the imperfect system of justice. Black or white, right or wrong, good or bad, somehow these ideas end up getting mixed together in this world, and that turns out ok, because when you mix black and white, a little of each, you get gray.
Post Courtesy of: Jessica Roberts, Esquire, Neighborhood Attorneys, LLC, Attorneys and Counselors at Law, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org