The US legal system manages to incarcerate more citizens than any other country in the world including the nearly totalitarian state of Russia. Slowly the US government is working to make everyone in America a criminal by steady expansion of rules, laws and statutes that never expire or are reviewed. Laws at the Federal level are the basis for an unconstitutional expansion of Federal power and oppression. The system is literally out of control.
An indictment of why almost everything is wrong with the US legal system from Conrad Black:
The United States has five per cent of the world's population, 25 per cent of the world's incarcerated people, and 50 per cent of the world's lawyers (who account for nearly 10 per cent of the country's GDP, an onerous taxation of American society). [Wow!]
Almost everything about the American system is wrong. Grand juries are a rubber stamp for the prosecutors; assets are routinely frozen or seized in ex parte actions on the basis of false government affidavits, so targets don't have the resources to pay avaricious American counsel and are thrust into the hands of public defenders, who are usually just Judas goats for the prosecutors. The prosecutors poison the jury pool with a media lynching at the start; bail is often outrageously high, and prosecutions and ancillary proceedings from the SEC, IRS, etc., drag on for a whole decade, all contrary to the Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments. The plea bargain system, for which prosecutors would be disbarred in most other serious countries, enables prosecutors to threaten everyone around the target with indictment if they don't miraculously recall, under careful government coaching, inculpatory evidence. Prosecutors win 95 per cent of their cases, 90 per cent of those without a trial, and people who exercise their constitutionally guaranteed right to go to trial receive more than three times the sentence they receive if they cop a plea, as a penalty for exercising their rights.
Federal sentences are about twice as long as state ones, on average, for the same offence, and probably about a third of prisoners are in illegally crowded and inhumanely spartan or even unsanitary conditions.
Evidentiary and procedural rules are a stacked deck: the prosecutors speak last to the jury; most trial judges are ex-prosecutors who stitch up appeals in the courthouse lunch rooms; and the Supreme Court only takes 70 cases a year, is ostentatiously unconcerned with the facts and equity of cases, and only interprets and applies the law to ensure it is constitutional and uniform across the country. The sole defence the average American has against this evil, repulsive, and terroristic system is that America does not have the means or personnel to imprison more than one per cent of its adult population at any one time, though a stupefying 48 million Americans have a record.
The civil courts are the bread and butter of the vast medieval legal guild. Over 70 per cent of American cases would be inadmissible in Canada or Britain as frivolous or vexatious litigation, and the routine American practice of marketing contingent fees is just a tawdry racket.
Comparison to the World
Prison Population Information
|Correctional Populations in the United States 1980 to 2008 (Includes Probation Population)|
|Estimated Number of Inmates by Sex and Race For the Year 2009|
Rates of Incarceration
According to the US Bureau of Justice Statistics non-Hispanic blacks accounted for 39.4% of the total prison and jail population in 2009. According to the 2010 census of the US Census Bureau blacks (including Hispanic blacks) comprised 13.6% of the US population.
Hispanics (of all races) were 20.6% of the total jail and prison population in 2009. Hispanics comprised 16.3% of the US population according to the 2010 US census.
Crime by Type, Sex and Race
|Property Crime by Type (rate per 100,000 persons)|
|Property and Violent Crime in the US since 1960 (rate per 100,000 persons)|