Criminal Lawyers, Informants and Evidence Essay
Lawyers to some extent may guarantee fairness in the hearing of a case. In some jurisdictions, the lawyer participates in the jury vetting process to ensure that the jury panel consist of individuals of high integrity is not bound to lean on one side (Dworkin, 1972). It helps select a board that would not compromise the verdict and comprises of people who can listen to the defendant. Secondly, lawyers can and help prove the innocence of the defendant (Kate, 2005). Lawyers also conduct their investigations and come up with evidence that may be used in court to prove the circumstances under which the situation occurred.
However, the fairness of a trial may be compromised by other factors. Faulty eyewitness identification, especially when the eyewitness to the crime is not able to properly recollect the perpetrators identity during the and the justice processes may affect the verdict of a case. Secondly, witnesses may be coached beyond the lawyers ability to prove otherwise. Finally, some cases are affected by the presumptions held by the judge.
Informants may sometimes provide valuable and reliable information or tips that can be used by police officers to make the right arrests or initiate investigations. However, they may not be relied upon to present 100% information. They may sometimes frame up innocent people by making false statements to the police for reasons best known to them. They may frame other people to protect themselves and so use the other person as a scapegoat. Thus they obstruct justice instead of providing leading information that may help achieve justice. Besides, some of the information they provide is based on hearsay and rumors.
According to Dean and Whyte (1958), it may be difficult to judge whether an informant is telling the truth especially if the informant is an experienced research worker. They usually push aside questions given the experience they have in conducting researches. The validity of the information that they give to police officers or the courts may only be proved after properly investigating the informant to understand the motive of the informant.
Investigations on the reported crime by the informant may also help understand whether the informant was telling the truth or had provided false information or was making false allegations. For inexperienced informants, the level of consistency in their statements may be used to gauge the truth in their statements.
In a case where the defendant is proved by the court to be indigent, the state is supposed to provide the defendant with a lawyer. However, by the state do not provide the same representation as those represented by privately hired defense lawyers. They do little to guarantee a fair trial to those they represent. Defense lawyers provided by the state are usually overwhelmed by the number of caseloads awaiting their responsibility and therefore have little time to meet their clients on time or regularly (Champion, 1989). They also lack the time to or even to conduct trials.
Besides, the state may who do not have adequate resources to conduct pre-trial investigations. Thus the indigent defendant may be left to rot in jail for a long time without meeting with his or her defense lawyer. When the defense lawyer finally gets the opportunity to meet the indigent defendant, he or she convinces the defendant to plead guilty even though the defendant might be innocent. Pleading guilty may result in convictions of innocent defendants. Moreover, they may meet harsher sentences as compared to those represented by privately hired defense lawyers.