A well-known American federal appellate judge, Alex Kozinski, has written a commentary on systemic biases and institutional myths in the criminal justice system.

The basic thrust of his criticism will be familiar to readers of the sequences and rationalists generally. Lots about cognitive biases (but some specific criticisms of fingerprints and DNA evidence as well). Still, it's interesting that a prominent federal judge -- the youngest when appointed, and later chief of the Ninth Circuit -- would treat some sacred cows of the judiciary so ruthlessly. 

This is specifically a criticism of U.S. criminal justice, but, ceteris paribus, much of it applies not only to other areas of U.S. law, but to legal practices throughout the world as well.

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Your link is a 42 page document. It's probably very interesting and it's certainly an area that interests me in particular, but summary would have been nice to see alongside the link. I doubt you're going to see much discussion here, because of that reason.

Let's cut to the reforms, listed below with their headers.

  1. Require open file discovery.
  2. Adopt standardized, rigorous procedures for dealing with the government’s disclosure obligations
  3. Adopt standardized, rigorous procedures for eyewitness identification.
  4. Video record all suspect interrogations.
  5. Impose strict limits on the use of jailhouse informants.
  6. Adopt rigorous, uniform procedures for certifying expert witnesses and preserving the integrity of the testing process.
  7. Keep adding conviction integrity units.
  8. Establish independent Prosecutorial Integrity Units.

C. Judges

  1. Enter Brady compliance orders in every criminal case.
  2. Engage in a Brady colloquy.
  3. Adopt local rules that require the government to comply with its discovery obligations without the need for motions by the defense.
  4. Condition the admission of expert evidence in criminal cases on the presentation of a proper Daubert showing.
  5. When prosecutors misbehave, don’t keep it a secret.

D. Miscellaneous

  1. Abandon judicial elections.
  2. Abrogate absolute prosecutorial immunity.
  3. Repeal AEDPA § 2254(d).
  4. Treat prosecutorial misconduct as a civil rights violation.
  5. Give criminal defendants the choice of a jury or bench trial.
  6. Conduct in depth studies of exonerations.
  7. Repeal three felonies a day for three years.

Might be a case where posting a summary reduces the chance people will read the article sufficiently that it's best not to post a summary.

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