Blogs > HNN > More on the Non-Significance of Duke Lacrosse

May 1, 2006 5:33 pm

More on the Non-Significance of Duke Lacrosse

This article in today's Slate comes from the "great minds think alike"department. A quote:
Americans seem to have an insatiable appetite for criminal-justice stories. Unfortunately, with that appetite comes a certain measure of moral flabbiness. No one does the hard work of thinking or checking. They simply consume what they are fed. And the solution may just be a crash diet. Our Canadian neighbors have a fully functioning criminal-justice system that is as skeptical of press coverage as ours is amorous.

In Canada, no one talks or writes about the evidence in a criminal case until a verdict is rendered. And while adopting such a rule here might well be unconstitutional (and could put me out of business), some stricter rules limiting permissible attorney comment on pending cases are probably long overdue. Who knows, maybe if prosecutors were prevented from staging perp walks and making grandiose declarations in high-profile cases, the debate in DA campaigns might actually turn toward critical substantive matters like whether incarceration or drug treatment is more effective; or whether the purpose of punishment is rehabilitation, deterrence, or purely retribution.
Exactly. I never thought I'd write a blog post praising Canada, or even excerpting praise for it, but I guess I just did.

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