Americans think ‘justice is for sale’

October 29, 2013
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Money talks, the saying goes, and many Americans think it’s telling judges how to rule on cases, according to results of a poll released Thursday.

Justice at Stake and the Brennan Center for Justice commissioned the poll that found nearly 9 out of 10 Americans believe campaign donations affect courtroom decisions.

“They’re worried that justice is for sale,” Bert Brandenburg, executive director of Justice at Stake, said in a news release.

The poll asked 1,200 registered voters about campaign donations made directly to judges’ campaigns as well as about “independent spending,” in which outside groups spend their own money on TV ads and other election materials for or against a judicial candidate. The poll revealed that 87 percent of voters believe both kinds of spending have either “some” or “a great deal” of influence on judges’ decisions.

A judge should step aside, 92 percent of voters said, when one party in the case has either donated directly to the judge’s campaign or spent significantly on election materials designed to help elect the judge.

According to a new report by the two groups, independent spending on judicial races by special interest groups hit a record high in 2011-2012 of $15.4 million.

Randall T. Shepard, former Indiana chief justice, is a member of Justice at Stake’s board of directors. The group’s focus is keeping courts fair and impartial.


 

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  • agree justice is for sale
    I had 3 judges say NO to my case and one judge that is not in the same county and really no attorney understands why he making a judgment on a case from a different county says it is in the best interest but the counselors and psychiatrist says NO he is the only one who says Yes and don't care how it is effecting the most important subjects of the case shame on you judge so yes money talks favors called in however you spin it

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  1. It's a big fat black mark against the US that they radicalized a lot of these Afghan jihadis in the 80s to fight the soviets and then when they predictably got around to biting the hand that fed them, the US had to invade their homelands, install a bunch of corrupt drug kingpins and kleptocrats, take these guys and torture the hell out of them. Why for example did the US have to sodomize them? Dubya said "they hate us for our freedoms!" Here, try some of that freedom whether you like it or not!!! Now they got even more reasons to hate us-- lets just keep bombing the crap out of their populations, installing more puppet regimes, arming one faction against another, etc etc etc.... the US is becoming a monster. No wonder they hate us. Here's my modest recommendation. How about we follow "Just War" theory in the future. St Augustine had it right. How about we treat these obvious prisoners of war according to the Geneva convention instead of torturing them in sadistic and perverted ways.

  2. As usual, John is "spot-on." The subtle but poignant points he makes are numerous and warrant reflection by mediators and users. Oh but were it so simple.

  3. ACLU. Way to step up against the police state. I see a lot of things from the ACLU I don't like but this one is a gold star in its column.... instead of fighting it the authorities should apologize and back off.

  4. Duncan, It's called the RIGHT OF ASSOCIATION and in the old days people believed it did apply to contracts and employment. Then along came title vii.....that aside, I believe that I am free to work or not work for whomever I like regardless: I don't need a law to tell me I'm free. The day I really am compelled to ignore all the facts of social reality in my associations and I blithely go along with it, I'll be a slave of the state. That day is not today......... in the meantime this proposed bill would probably be violative of 18 usc sec 1981 that prohibits discrimination in contracts... a law violated regularly because who could ever really expect to enforce it along the millions of contracts made in the marketplace daily? Some of these so-called civil rights laws are unenforceable and unjust Utopian Social Engineering. Forcing people to love each other will never work.

  5. I am the father of a sweet little one-year-old named girl, who happens to have Down Syndrome. To anyone who reads this who may be considering the decision to terminate, please know that your child will absolutely light up your life as my daughter has the lives of everyone around her. There is no part of me that condones abortion of a child on the basis that he/she has or might have Down Syndrome. From an intellectual standpoint, however, I question the enforceability of this potential law. As it stands now, the bill reads in relevant part as follows: "A person may not intentionally perform or attempt to perform an abortion . . . if the person knows that the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion solely because the fetus has been diagnosed with Down syndrome or a potential diagnosis of Down syndrome." It includes similarly worded provisions abortion on "any other disability" or based on sex selection. It goes so far as to make the medical provider at least potentially liable for wrongful death. First, how does a medical provider "know" that "the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion SOLELY" because of anything? What if the woman says she just doesn't want the baby - not because of the diagnosis - she just doesn't want him/her? Further, how can the doctor be liable for wrongful death, when a Child Wrongful Death claim belongs to the parents? Is there any circumstance in which the mother's comparative fault will not exceed the doctor's alleged comparative fault, thereby barring the claim? If the State wants to discourage women from aborting their children because of a Down Syndrome diagnosis, I'm all for that. Purporting to ban it with an unenforceable law, however, is not the way to effectuate this policy.

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