William Manchee

Novelist


THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM

 

Tarizonís criminal justice system is quite different from what you knew on Earth. Justice is truly blind on Tarizon. The rich have no advantage over the poor as every accused is provided a citizen defender at no cost. What is different on Tarizon is that citizens do not have the right to obtain and pay for their own counsel. They must accept the representation assigned to them. This insures that everyone is treated equally. The prosecution and defense each have the same budget, time constraints, and access to the investigative arm of the judiciary, the inquisitors.

The inquisitors perform all criminal investigations and they do so in the interest of justice and not for the benefit of the prosecution or defense. This eliminates the common problem on Earth of tainted evidence being ruled inadmissible. It is rare for any evidence uncovered by the inquisitors is thrown out. The use of inquisitors, rather than the police or private investigators working for the defense, eliminates the necessity of imposing a heavy burden of proof on the prosecution. There is still a presumption of innocence but the standard for conviction is simply the greater weight of the evidence. The careful use by the inquisitors of truth serums and sophisticated lie detection devices further insures that the truth will be elicited from every witness.

Assignment of prosecutors and defenders is made after a comprehensive analysis by Central Computer taking into consideration each counselorís background, experience, education, and track record; the nature of the offense; the circumstances surrounding the crime; and the harm inflicted on the victim. This insures that each accused gets a fair trial.

For petty crimes one interpreter is assigned to the case and renders the final decision as to the guilt or innocence of the accused . For the more serious crimes a three to five interpreter panel is utilized. Juries are used in serious and capital cases only and consist of professional jurors selected by Central Computer from a professional jury panel. This computer selection insures that the jury is fair and unbiased. Jurors are well paid for their services so they will have a positive attitude about their work and will not be susceptible to bribery. On Tarizon jury security is considered fundamental to the integrity of the judicial system and therefore jury tampering is a capital offense.

Studies have shown that swift justice is imperative in order to deter crime. Accordingly, all cases must be closed within one cycle including all appeals. Extensions of this timetable are rare. Judicial studies have also shown that in the last ten cycles 98 % of all verdicts rendered were correct. This is an excellent achievement for our judicial system, but still not good enough since 2% of our defendants are wrongly convicted. For this reason all convictions can be appealed to the Court of Intervention and finally to the highest court on Tarizon, the Council of the Inquisitors.