The But, the judge is looking for facts.

The Adversarial System
of justice can be defined as, “Judicial system of trial in the English
legal system. In this system, a case is argued by two opposing
sides that have the primary responsibility for finding and presenting
facts. The prosecutor tries to prove the defendant is guilty, and the
defendant’s attorney argues for the defendant’s acquittal. The case is then
decided by a judge (or a jury) who does not investigate the facts but acts
as an umpire” (Dictionary, 2016).  This system has clearly been
around for centuries and not much has changed about
it. The Adversarial System is long overdue for a tune
up.  Some issues surrounding the Adversarial system
are that it uses a process that is quite
tedious, it might result in lawyers wanting to win rather than finding
the truth, and it might lead to injustice. The first thing about this
system that needs to be considered for change is
the long process. 

            One?criticism?of?the?Adversary?System?is?that?it?is?slow?and?cumbersome
(The Adversary System 2017). ?A main part of going through the Adversary system
means having a judge (or jury) to help decide the verdict. But, the judge is looking
for facts. To the judge it doesn’t matter how long this takes, just that the “truth”
is found or justice is served. As stated the judge ?can?do very
little?to?make the trial move at ?a faster pace?and?procedural?and?evidentiary?rules?slow?the?process
(The Adversary System 2017). Another factor slowing the process down is the?wide?availability?of
appellate?review?means?that?a?final?determination?can?take?years (The Adversary
System 2017). The Adversarial System states when a crime is
committed and an officer of the law is notified. A crime can be described as
any act or omission of an act that violates the law (Laws fall into two major
groups: criminal and civil 2015). There are all sorts of crime; it doesn’t
always have to be under the Criminal Code but can be a civil crime as
well. As an example, one could look at the flow of a criminal trial. Using
someone who has had an indictable charge laid against them will be best for
this example. First, the jury is selected, Crown presents opening statement,
Crown examines witness (direct and cross examination), Defence opening
sentence, Defence examines witness (direct and cross), Crown rebuts,
Defence presents rebuttal, Counsel delivers closing arguments, the
judge gives charge to the jury, the jury deliberates, and
the jury returns a verdict ( Antonacci 2016). As you
can imagine this process is/can be very tedious. This process
can also be very lengthy; for instance, in 1973 in the case of Peter
Demeter, he was charged with murder in the first degree after he
bludgeoned his wife in their family garage. The incidents happen on
July 18th, 1973 and Demeter wasn’t convicted till December 6th,
1974. This was the longest trial in Canadian history taking a year and a half
to complete. This is a perfect example of how long it can take for the
full process to complete (Haunch 2017).

 Those
who are opposed to this system point out that this is a system of procedural justice
and not substantive justice; whereas substantive due process is a real justice.
Procedural process only goes through the motions of what looks like
justice (Procedural law vs. substantive 2017). Another criticism of the Adversarial System
is that a higher value is placed on winning, than actually finding
the truth. Lawyers are more likely to hide the evidence that is not favourable
to their side regardless of whether it would prove the innocence or guilt of
the person on trial. Another criticism is that while we all have the right to
be heard in a court of law and in front of a neutral judge and a
jury, we apparently do not have the right
to equal representation. In general, the more money a
client has, the better the attorney that can be hired, and
thus the better the chances are of winning the case. Some even
feel that too many poor and minorities are in prison because of the
inequity within this system (Walsh 2016).  

There
have been many wrongful conviction stories in the news over the
years. Many would say that those in the news are
the lucky ones; what about the individuals who
are doing time in prison for a wrongful conviction? Even the
Justices’ agree that there is a problem with
the Adversarial System, “People who are well represented at
trial do not get the max penalty … I have yet to see a max penalty case
among the dozens coming to the Supreme Court on eve- of- execution stay applications
in which the defendant was well represented at trial.”(Ginsburg 2001). There
may not be a better system available at this time but that does not
mean that change is not necessary. Even some judges who hear criminal cases are
in favour of change. If there is evidence that becomes available and
proves an individual’s innocence it must be heard – a person should be
exonerated no matter when the truth is found. No person who is innocent
should ever be sentenced to life in prison when there is
evidence that proves their innocence. But in the meantime, another person
proclaiming his innocence creeps closer to their days of dying in a
federal prison; and we still see more and more people being exonerated
after serving years and even decades in prison, wrongfully convicted (Slifer
2014).

In
conclusion I feel that the Adversarial System of trial is in need of
a tune up.  The focus of this tune up should help
to alleviate the tedious, drawn out process that is currently in
place.  In addition, efforts should be taken to ensure that all
of the available evidence is able to be presented so that the chance of
wrongful convictions is greatly reduced or eliminated altogether.  The
Adversarial System should have guidelines in place so that all prosecuted
individuals are treated the same regardless of their financial means. So,
with all of this evidence racking up, one could say the Adversarial System is
need of a change.