How our criminal justice system got so out of whack

(c) 2013 Brenda Grantland
reprinted from Truth and Justice Blog, 11/22/2013
When I graduated law school and began my legal practice I had starry eyed notions about the adversary system and believed that it really worked the way it was supposed to.

On the one side there was a relatively conscientious and ethical prosecutor and the other side a relatively conscientious and ethical defense attorney, with a judge who would be relatively fair and unbiased and would follow the law most of the time.

Theoretically these systems would all mesh together into a system of checks and balances that should ensure that citizens are treated fairly and ethically by the criminal justice system, and that the results are equitable under the true facts and established law.

But it doesn’t work that way in real life.

After three decades practicing law, mostly in the criminal justice and asset forfeiture system, with the federal government as my opponent, I can see the system is way out of whack. It’s even worse under state law, where fundraising through lucrative asset forfeiture cases is used to supplement budget shortfalls.

Asset forfeiture has corrupted the criminal justice system and disrupted the system of checks and balances that previously kept law enforcement corruption and unjust prosecutions more or less under control.


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