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Judicial system ‘fueled by greed and self interest’

Our justice system used to be the envy of most nations and all Americans. Our justice system was based on the concepts of equal justice, due process and innocent until proven guilty. Yet today, we have one of the largest prison populations per capita in the world. If you follow the local news or have been to any courtroom in Culpeper, the original ideas of our justice system have been perverted into an industry that favors the rich, prosecutes the poor, lacks fairness and punishes those in need of help. Our justice system has come to reflect the capitalist model. Everything has a price.

Justice, like all products, gets sold to the highest bidder. Punishment by prison is the court’s mindless answer to every infraction and has become detrimental to a free society. Our Juvenile and Domestic Courts systematically dismantle our families, turn family problems into crimes and have become the greatest threat to our liberties in Virginia.

The state has usurped the authority and natural rights of parents. In juvenile and domestic courts, lawyers press for convictions against fathers and mothers in order to gain advantage in divorce and custody cases. The system we have today is fueled by greed and self interest.

If our justice system is supposed to be fair and unbiased, why does our state only have a prosecutors office? Why don’t we have a defense office that is equally funded and equally staffed? If we think it important to prosecute the guilty, isn’t it just as important to defend the innocent? Allegations are prosecuted by tax payer funded commonwealth's attorneys but a defendant defending himself against an allegation pays out of pocket. Fools will say that the indigent have access to court appointed attorneys. Turns out, court appointed attorneys are so incompetent no one else will hire them.

My experience with Culpeper Courts brings the following remedies to mind.

1. The Commonwealth needs to rotate its judges throughout the state every three years. Similar to the way the Army rotates its soldiers and officers every few years. This method insures the integrity of the system and prevents the institutionalization of wacky judges in one spot. Good judges get shared and bad judges are rotated out so they don’t destroy entire communities.

2. Elected officials, including commonwealth's attorneys should only serve one term.

3. Jail time should be reserved for predatory criminals. Drug use and isolated incidents of improper behavior by ordinary citizens should not be reasons for incarceration.

4. Finally, and most importantly, Virginia needs to put as much money behind the defense of her citizens as it does into the prosecution of her citizens.

These are just a few simple steps we could take to make the practice of justice more in line with the ideas of justice, those noble concepts being equal justice, due process and innocent until proven guilty.
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