Experiencing Technical Difficulties (resonant) wrote,
Experiencing Technical Difficulties
resonant

Let's move to online courtrooms

poliphilo mentioned buying a copy of Browning's "The Ring and the Book". This is a twelve-volume epic poem about a court case. At the time the poem was set in, court cases were held by writing letters, instead of arguing face-to-face.

This seems like something we should bring back today. It's often inconvenient and expensive to bring lawyers, plaintiffs, witnesses, defendants, judges, and jurors all together in the same place at the same time. Trials might be delayed due to scheduling conflicts. And in cases where racism, sexism, or other factors may result in bias, face-to-face trials can lead to injustice.

So, if both parties in a court action agree, let's have them carry out the trial by posting to an online forum. Instead of standing up and speaking, everyone would just type their comments. Unlike the current video-conferencing trials that are being held in some cases, a text-based forum wouldn't need to be in real-time. Parties would be allowed a reasonable time, perhaps a day or two, to respond. Lawyer fees would be reduced, as typing (and copying-and-pasting) and reading is usually faster than speaking and listening. Lawyers and judges would be able to handle multiple cases at the same time. The jury wouldn't need to miss days of work to listen; they could just read the whole thing from home after all arguments were complete. A trial might take more time to complete, but it could be held more promptly because scheduling problems wouldn't lead to month-long delays. There might be a few cases where a courtroom experience would be necessary, but that'd still be an option if any party to the case wanted it.

And most importantly, court outcomes would not be influenced by the age, sex, ethnic background, physical ability, or other factors affecting the physical appearance of the parties involved. From the BBC:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/6478659.stm

Juries trying criminal cases are likely to be more lenient when the person in the dock is physically attractive, psychologists say.
[...]

“ Attractive defendants are, it seems, rated less harshly than 'homely' defendants, so perhaps justice isn't blind after all ”
Dr Sandie Taylor, lead researcher.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/health/6478659.stm
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