Judge Kozinski’s “Must Read” Article On Criminal Justice (Or Injustice)

Judge Alex Kozinski is one of our nation’s most thoughtful appellate jurists, having sat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for decades.  He is generally considered to be a libertarianish conservative. His new article, “Criminal Law 2.0,” recently published in the Georgetown Law Journal, is a must-read for anyone interested in a realistic assessment of our nation’s criminal justice system.

UCLA Law School professor Eugene Volokh, a former Kozinski law clerk, has been serializing the article (with his old boss’s permission) on his blog, The Volokh Conspiracy, published through The Washington Post.  Here are the topics Judge Kozinski discusses:

Judge Kozinski bursts a lot of bubbles in his article.  Do you think eyewitness testimony is reliable? Fogetaboutit.  Finger print and DNA evidence foolproof? Fogetaboutit. Do you think innocent people never confess?  Human memory is reliable? Fogetaboutit.

To his great credit, Judge Kozinski does not just tear down; he builds up.  He offers concrete suggestions for improving the operation of the justice system.  Here are just a few of the many recommendations:

  • judges should enter Brady compliance orders in every case
  • when prosecutors misbehave, judges should not keep it a secret
  • abandon judicial elections
  • abrogate absolute prosecutorial immunity
  • treat prosecutorial misconduct as a civil rights violation

I highly commend the article to every member of the bar, every sitting judge, and every legislator in Connecticut.  Of course, readers may disagree with some of Judge Kozinski’s observations and recommendations, but none can be dismissed with the back of the hand.

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