Error And Criminal Law: Film Analysis

1496 Words 6 Pages
Throughout Truth, Error, and Criminal Law Larry Laudan presents aspects of the law that he believes should be changed to maintain an epistemic goal of the criminal justice system. He argues that the court system frequently maintains rules that seek to distribute the verdicts so that we have less false convictions than false acquittals whether these rules will aid the system in seeking the truth or not. One of the primary principles currently in place that he believes should be amended is the “Silent Defendant” rule, as he calls it, which allows the defendant the choice of whether to testify or not, and their choice to not testify cannot cause negative inferences from the jury. He believes that allowing the defendant not to speak as well as …show more content…
If defendants were forced to testify they wouldn’t only have access to answering the questions from the defense attorney, possibly explaining the evidence against them, but they’d also be vulnerable to the cross-examination of the prosecution. The prosecution is supposedly supposed to uphold justice, meaning if they don’t have a strong enough case to convince the jury beyond a reasonable doubt of the defendant’s guilt, then they should drop the charges. However, we can imagine that that rarely happens, even if the defendant is innocent. Therefore, if an innocent defendant is being cross examined, the prosecution should be convinced of their guilt, otherwise, they should have dropped the charges. It’s also important to note that an overwhelming majority, almost two-thirds, of those convicted of crimes haven’t graduated high school. Because of the large educational disparity between the typical person convicted of a crime and a prosecutor, it seems fair to conclude that with their extensive experience in the court system they could easily confuse the defendant, who is unfamiliar with the court system compared to the lawyer. This could lead to innocent parties to seem as if they’re implicating themselves. Not only is this a possibility, but it’s the primary goal of the lawyer. Having a defendant forcibly cross-examined by an experienced lawyer who’s aware of how to even make an …show more content…
He claims that these historical and “constitutional” examples serve as evidence to his claim. However, it’s curious that he never actually quotes the Fifth Amendment which is what should be the foundation of what we’re arguing. His failure shows he’s wary of allowing readers to see that compelling the defendant to testify is unconstitutional. So, no, not being compelled is not a “right”, surrounded by air quotes as if it were recently invented, but a right supported by the Constitution. Laudan’s stronger argument is that there are epistemological reasons to rid the law of “Lobotomized Jurors” as he calls the rule. He believes that this practice primarily protects guilty defendants and that we should revert our practices to pre-Griffin trial times where jurors could consider the defendant’s choice to testify or not, and that there were also clear instructions given by judges to make sure that jurors would give this piece of evidence the weight that it deserves, and no more. Laudan thinks that this would decrease false acquittals in the system, and I agree with that statement. In fact, I also agree with the following statement Laudan also made, “We are comparing a current policy (allowing Lobotomized Jurors), that is bound to produce many erroneous

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