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Legal system needs to be revamped

Out on a LimbRoss L. TalbottGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Over the years, I have had many opportunities to deal with the legal system, everything from a traffic ticket where they called for backup, to a stint in federal court. So far, I have not been Tasered into submission, but my level of frustration continues to rise. This is particularly true of the municipal, county and district court systems.Common sense, rational thinking and compassion seem to be sorely lacking. In fairness, I sat through a hearing with a recently widowed lady and found the judge who was relatively new to the bench, to be thorough and fair. Unfortunately this is rare.Judges wield incredible power that can cause you incredible difficulty and humiliation. Lawyers can complicate your affairs and cost you thousands of dollars. In many contested estate battles, the heirs end up owing the attorneys more than the value of the estate. The biggest heresy of the court system is time delay. I have attended hearings to set hearings.I have known of people caught in the act and who subsequently pleaded guilty, but still faced as much as six months before a sentence was pronounced. I thought the foundational legal principle was “justice delayed is justice denied.” This is a major reason our jails are jammed and overcrowded and our court system is clogged.Consider the problem when a convicted person is released or paroled. He has already lost his job (if he had one) and is set out on the street, if lucky at the door of the Salvation Army. He is charged by the day for his jail time. He often owes a fine or monetary judgment, his lawyer, and his bail bondsman. They take your driver’s license and then tell you to keep your nose clean, get a legitimate job and not come back. According to Colsons Prison Ministry, more than 50 percent of released prisoners commit a crime within a week of release.When you’ve slept in an alley for a few nights, jail looks really good. Three hots and a cot, a warm place to sleep, television, no responsibilities and no bills. Sounds like what we all want.There is an alternative. You can move into a crackhouse or a meth lab and actually make some money. With a little participation in the product, you don’t care about anything else.Restoration and rehabilitation programs seem to be rare. In past years, many young men were sent to the military instead of jail. Others were strongly urged to join the Army by local officials who saw problems coming. These lads profited greatly from the discipline, responsibility and work, and came back to be decent citizens.But guess what? The Army doesn’t want to deal with the hoodlums, so that is no longer an option.So why don’t we develop a more effective system that creates restoration and rehabilitation rather than recidivism? Follow the money. The judicial system and lawyers are the greatest consumers of the Gross National Product that create absolutely no product of value to our economy.Do you hear a sucking sound eating away at your income: district attorneys, judges, public defenders, jailers, parole boards, jail construction and maintenance, etc.? Notice what the grandest buildings in town are? They ain’t churches!By the way, has anyone heard any accountability from the local district attorney’s office since the vendetta? Even recall elections cost you, the taxpayer.Some 54 percent, of the entire job market is government jobs and the legal/judicial system is a huge part of that.Did any of them ever thank you, the taxpayer, for their job and income? Don’t hold your breath. This is just the tip of the iceberg.Ross L. Talbott lives in New Castle.


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