Criminal Justice

Conrad Black: U.S. Justice System "Totalitarian"

Prosecutors lead submissive jurors by the nose


An article in the Wall Street Journal last week having pointed out that 97% of U.S. criminal prosecutions are now guilty-plea bargains, and that 85% of the remaining 3% are trials that return guilty verdicts, I return to the spavined bête noire of the justice system. These are totalitarian percentages. I have referred here before to an American "prosecutocracy."

The United States has 5% of the world's population, 25% of its incarcerated people, and almost 50% of the world's lawyers. These figures hold, even if it is accepted that some undemocratic countries, probably including China, do not reveal the full numbers of detained people, and provided we exclude the countries where the practice of law is not a learned profession requiring serious academic formation.