Personally, I don’t like the term “Justice System” – it’s too theoretical and idealistic. I just refer to it as the “Court” – a concrete term that describes a place where a bunch of humans try to sort out really difficult problems.
Last weekend, the Denver Post ran an article about a court employee who was disillusioned with the way the court handled her daughter’s murder. She was upset that the court system did not achieve justice in her eyes and did not provide her with peace or closure.
I understand her frustration because we all want to see peace and justice. We were taught from an early age that the American court system was created to be just. However, I’ve worked as a criminal attorney for seventeen years and the goals of peace and justice are rarely achieved. Frankly, they are rarely taken seriously. The court system is a bureaucracy that is governed by laws, rules and policies. Sometimes it is governed by norms and traditions (i.e. “that’s just the way we’ve always done it here”. )
In Colorado Courts, Does Justice Equal Fairness?
Our concept of justice is tied up in the idea of fairness; and fairness is tied up in the idea that everyone should be treated equally. We’ve created laws and rules and policies to try and make sure that everyone is treated the same. These are admirable attempts to prevent corruption and impose statistical justice, but they get in the way of seeking justice for individual humans.
The reality and depth of human relationships, experiences and losses can’t be healed by the application of generic rules in a bureaucratic system. They require a far deeper resolution that is not attainable in a large scale operation. Our courts handle so many cases that they are overwhelmed processing people and paperwork.
This is necessary because most county courts handle thousands of cases per year. No one inside the system can take the time to really get to know the people involved in each individual case and to understand their history, their dynamics, their relationships, their background, and how they arrived at this point.
Enter the criminal defense attorney. We represent individual human people and do our best to make sure they are not just another number being processed by the giant cogs of the judicial machine. We get to know their stories and we help chart a path through the courts and into a brighter future. If you need help telling your story (whether you are charged with a crime or are a victim of a crime) … give us a call.
–Christopher Estoll, senior trial attorney