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I Hope The Final Judgment’S Fair: Alternative Jurisprudences, Legal Decision-Making, And Justice, Michael L. Perlin Jan 2024

I Hope The Final Judgment’S Fair: Alternative Jurisprudences, Legal Decision-Making, And Justice, Michael L. Perlin

Articles & Chapters

At the core of any legal decision is an assumption that the decision will be “fair,” yet this is an elusive term. A close study of cases involving criminal defendants with mental disabilities shows that many (perhaps most) of the decisions involving this cohort are not “fair” in the contexts of due process and justice. If legal decisions reflect principles such as procedural justice, restorative justice, and therapeutic jurisprudence, the chances of such fairness will be significantly enhanced. This chapter explains why this goal of fairness, in the context of these cases, can never be met absent a consideration of …


Take The Motherless Children Off The Street: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome And The Criminal Justice System, Michael L. Perlin, Heather Ellis Cucolo Apr 2023

Take The Motherless Children Off The Street: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome And The Criminal Justice System, Michael L. Perlin, Heather Ellis Cucolo

Articles & Chapters

Remarkably, there has been minimal academic legal literature about the interplay between fetal alcohol syndrome disorder (FASD) and critical aspects of many criminal trials, including issues related to the role of experts, quality of counsel, competency to stand trial, the insanity defense, and sentencing and the death penalty. Nor has there been any literature about the interplay between FASD-related issues and the legal school of thought known as therapeutic jurisprudence.

In this article, the co-authors will first define fetal alcohol syndrome and explain its significance to the criminal justice system. We will then look at the specific role of experts …


In These Times Of Compassion When Conformity’S In Fashion: How Therapeutic Jurisprudence Can Root Out Bias, Limit Polarization And Support Vulnerable Persons In The Legal Process, Michael L. Perlin Jan 2023

In These Times Of Compassion When Conformity’S In Fashion: How Therapeutic Jurisprudence Can Root Out Bias, Limit Polarization And Support Vulnerable Persons In The Legal Process, Michael L. Perlin

Articles & Chapters

In this paper, I consider the extent to which caselaw has – either explicitly or implicitly – incorporated the precepts of therapeutic jurisprudence (TJ), a school of legal thought that focuses on the law’s influence on emotional life and psychological well-being, and that asks us to assess the actual impact of the law on people’s lives. Two of the core tenets of TJ in practice are commitments to dignity and to compassion. I conclude ultimately that, with these principles as touchstones, TJ can be an effective tool – perhaps the most effective tool - in rooting out bias, limiting polarization, …


"Insanity Is Smashing Up Against My Soul": The Fifth Circuit And Competency To Be Executed Cases After Panetti V. Quarterman, Michael L. Perlin, Talia Roitberg Harmon Apr 2022

"Insanity Is Smashing Up Against My Soul": The Fifth Circuit And Competency To Be Executed Cases After Panetti V. Quarterman, Michael L. Perlin, Talia Roitberg Harmon

Articles & Chapters

One of the open secrets of death penalty law and policy is the astonishingly high percentage of individuals on death row with serious mental disabilities. This is well known to lawyers who represent this cohort (and presumably, equally well known to the district attorneys who nevertheless prosecute them and the judges who try and sentence them), but is not generally discussed in the press nor, certainly, in political discourse. In the aggregate, this is far beneath society’s radar.

It is now over 14 years since the US Supreme Court decided a case that clarified the underlying issues. In Panetti v. …


Lawyering 'Twisties': Naming And Untangling Performance Anxiety, Heidi K. Brown Jan 2022

Lawyering 'Twisties': Naming And Untangling Performance Anxiety, Heidi K. Brown

Articles & Chapters

No abstract provided.


Trauma-Informed Forensic Mental Health Assessment: Practical Implications, Ethical Tensions, And Alignment With Therapeutic Jurisprudence Principles, Julie Goldenson, Stanley Brodsky, Michael L. Perlin Jan 2022

Trauma-Informed Forensic Mental Health Assessment: Practical Implications, Ethical Tensions, And Alignment With Therapeutic Jurisprudence Principles, Julie Goldenson, Stanley Brodsky, Michael L. Perlin

Articles & Chapters

The need for trauma-informed practice is well recognized across mental health and legal settings; however, relatively little has been written about its application in forensic mental health assessment. This paper focuses on trauma-informed assessment of criminal justice involved individuals, given the high rates of trauma exposure and related sequelae in this population. A trauma-informed lens allows forensic mental health examiners to assess examinees in the context of their developmental histories and lived experience. Such a lens also has implications for the entire assessment process in terms of interviewing, psychological testing, diagnostic conclusions, feedback, and the provision of testimony and educating …


Ineffective Counsel In Death Penalty Cases And The Promise Of Therapeutic Jurisprudence, Michael L. Perlin, J.D. Nov 2021

Ineffective Counsel In Death Penalty Cases And The Promise Of Therapeutic Jurisprudence, Michael L. Perlin, J.D.

Articles & Chapters

It is absolutely essential to consider the abject ineffectiveness of counsel in a significant number of death penalty cases involving defendants with serious mental disabilities and how such ineffectiveness is often (scandalously) accepted by reviewing courts. We must also assess all of the concerns raised in this excellent paper by Hiromoto and colleagues through the filter of therapeutic jurisprudence as a way to guide counsel to thoroughly investigate all aspects of such cases (especially those involving defendants with PTSD) and to present substantial mitigating evidence to the fact finders in the sorts of cases the authors are discussing.


"My Bewildering Brain Toils In Vain": Traumatic Brain Injury, The Criminal Trial Process, And The Case Of Lisa Montgomery, Alison Lynch, Michael L. Perlin, Heather Ellis Cucolo Oct 2021

"My Bewildering Brain Toils In Vain": Traumatic Brain Injury, The Criminal Trial Process, And The Case Of Lisa Montgomery, Alison Lynch, Michael L. Perlin, Heather Ellis Cucolo

Articles & Chapters

Individuals with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) have a greater risk of becoming justice-involved due to the role that many TBIs play in impulse control and judgment. Attorneys assigned to represent this cohort may not have encountered individuals with TBI before, and may not be familiar with behavioral manifestations that could be relevant as a defense or as mitigation in individual cases. In this regard, TBI is grossly misunderstood.

A grave example of this point, and a foundation for this article, is the case of Lisa Montgomery, who despite evidence of serious mental illness and significant brain damage, was convicted, sentenced …


“Some Mother’S Child Has Gone Astray”: Neuroscientific Approaches To A Therapeutic Jurisprudence Model Of Juvenile Sentencing, Michael L. Perlin, Alison Lynch Jul 2021

“Some Mother’S Child Has Gone Astray”: Neuroscientific Approaches To A Therapeutic Jurisprudence Model Of Juvenile Sentencing, Michael L. Perlin, Alison Lynch

Articles & Chapters

There is a robust body of evidence that tells us that the juvenile brain is not fully developed by age 18, and this evidence should and does raise important questions about the sentencing of juveniles in criminal cases. This evidence, though, must be considered in the context of public opinion (about certain juvenile crimes that have been subject to saturation publicity) in the context of judges’ decision-making (where such judges do not want to be perceived as “soft on crime”). The conflict between what we now know and what (false) “ordinary common sense” demands (in the way of enhanced punishments) …


Expanding Therapeutic Jurisprudence Across The Federal Judiciary, Benjamin Barsky, Heather Ellis Cucolo, Dominic Sisti Mar 2021

Expanding Therapeutic Jurisprudence Across The Federal Judiciary, Benjamin Barsky, Heather Ellis Cucolo, Dominic Sisti

Articles & Chapters

A patchwork of drug courts and other problem-solving courts currently exists to divert individuals with mental illness and substance use disorders away from the criminal justice system. We call for a broader implementation of problem-solving courts, particularly at the federal level, that would operate according to the principles of therapeutic jurisprudence (i.e., a framework that aims to maximize the health benefits of judicial and legislative policies and practices). Expanding federal problem-solving courts will better serve individuals with mental illness and substance use disorders in the federal criminal justice system and allow them to benefit from rehabilitation and diversion programs. This …


“I See What Is Right And Approve, But I Do What Is Wrong”: Psychopathy And Punishment In The Context Of Racial Bias In The Age Of Neuroimaging, Alison Lynch, Michael L. Perlin Jan 2021

“I See What Is Right And Approve, But I Do What Is Wrong”: Psychopathy And Punishment In The Context Of Racial Bias In The Age Of Neuroimaging, Alison Lynch, Michael L. Perlin

Articles & Chapters

Criminology research has devoted significant attention to individuals diagnosed either with antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) or psychopathy. While in the past, the two terms were used somewhat interchangeably, researchers today are starting to see that the two terms in fact represent two very different personality types and offending patterns. In this article, we examine this development from a legal perspective, considering what this might mean in terms of punishment for these two personality types based on the different characteristics they display in their actual offenses and their responses to punishment and rehabilitation. Specifically, we will focus on how the use …


"Man Is Opposed To Fair Play": An Empirical Analysis Of How The Fifth Circuit Has Failed To Take Seriously Atkins V. Virginia, Michael L. Perlin, Talia Roitberg Harmon, Sarah Wetzel Jan 2021

"Man Is Opposed To Fair Play": An Empirical Analysis Of How The Fifth Circuit Has Failed To Take Seriously Atkins V. Virginia, Michael L. Perlin, Talia Roitberg Harmon, Sarah Wetzel

Articles & Chapters

In 2002, for the first time, in Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304 (2002), the United States Supreme Court found that it violated the Eighth Amendment to subject persons with intellectual disabilities to the death penalty. Since that time, it has returned to this question multiple times, clarifying that inquiries into a defendant’s intellectual disability (for purposes of determining whether he is potentially subject to the death penalty) cannot be limited to a bare numerical “reading” of an IQ score, and that state rules based on superseded medical standards created an unacceptable risk that a person with intellectual disabilities could …


See This Empty Cage Now Corrode: The International Human Rights And Comparative Law Implications Of Sexually Violent Predator Laws, Michael L. Perlin, Heather Ellis Cucolo Jul 2020

See This Empty Cage Now Corrode: The International Human Rights And Comparative Law Implications Of Sexually Violent Predator Laws, Michael L. Perlin, Heather Ellis Cucolo

Articles & Chapters

From every perspective, our sexually violent predator (SVPA) laws are a miserable failure. In this paper, we present a new approach: a turn to international human rights law as a source of rights for the population in question, and a consideration of the matter from the perspective of comparative law.

To briefly summarize, many nations have enacted laws that both mirror and contradict early developments in United States civil commitment jurisprudence. In these nations, though, challenges to community containment and preventive detention laws have been more successful when based upon international human rights law. Also, registry notification is generally far …


You That Build The Death Planes: Bob Dylan, War And International Affairs, Michael L. Perlin Jan 2020

You That Build The Death Planes: Bob Dylan, War And International Affairs, Michael L. Perlin

Articles & Chapters

Several years ago, I wrote that Bob Dylan was “a scholar with a well-developed jurisprudence on a range of topics including civil, criminal, public, and private law” (Perlin, 2011, p.1396). In that article, I discussed and analyzed Dylan songs that dealt with, variously, civil rights, inequality in the criminal and civil justice systems, institutions, governmental/judicial corruption, equality and emancipation, and the role of lawyers in the legal process. (Id.). But I noted that I was omitting – for space considerations – any discussion of Dylan songs dealing with war and international affairs (Id., p. 1398, n. 15).

In this paper, …


Fool Me Once, Shame On You; Fool Me Twice, Shame On You Again: How Disparate Treatment Doctrine Perpetuates Racial Hierarchy, David Simson Apr 2019

Fool Me Once, Shame On You; Fool Me Twice, Shame On You Again: How Disparate Treatment Doctrine Perpetuates Racial Hierarchy, David Simson

Articles & Chapters

Title VII race discrimination doctrine is excessively hostile to workers of color, and many observers agree that it needs to be fixed. Yet comparatively few analyses of the doctrine weave together doctrinal and theoretical insights with systematic empirical findings from social science. This Article looks to Social Dominance Theory—a social psychology theory with a robust body of supporting empirical research—to take on this task and connect judicial interpretation of Title VII to the human tendency to create and maintain group-based hierarchies. In doing so, the Article questions the common view that Title VII race discrimination doctrine is symmetrical, protecting all …


A World Of Steel-Eyed Death: An Empirical Evaluation Of The Failure Of The Strickland Standard To Ensure Adequate Counsel To Defendants With Mental Disabilities Facing The Death Penalty, Michael L. Perlin, Talia Roitberg Harmon, Sarah Chatt Jan 2019

A World Of Steel-Eyed Death: An Empirical Evaluation Of The Failure Of The Strickland Standard To Ensure Adequate Counsel To Defendants With Mental Disabilities Facing The Death Penalty, Michael L. Perlin, Talia Roitberg Harmon, Sarah Chatt

Articles & Chapters

Anyone who has been involved with death penalty litigation in the past four decades knows that one of the most scandalous aspects of that process—in many ways, the most scandalous—is the inadequacy of counsel so often provided to defendants facing execution. By now, virtually anyone with even a passing interest is well versed in the cases and stories about sleeping lawyers, missed deadlines, alcoholic and disoriented lawyers, and, more globally, lawyers who simply failed to vigorously defend their clients. This is not news.

And, in the same vein, anyone who has been so involved with this area of law and …


There's Voices In The Night Trying To Be Heard: The Potential Impact Of The Convention On The Rights Of Persons With Disabilities On Domestic Mental Disability Law, Michael L. Perlin, Naomi Weinstein Jan 2019

There's Voices In The Night Trying To Be Heard: The Potential Impact Of The Convention On The Rights Of Persons With Disabilities On Domestic Mental Disability Law, Michael L. Perlin, Naomi Weinstein

Articles & Chapters

This paper carefully examines, through a therapeutic jurisprudence framework, the likely impact of the ratification of this UN Convention on society’s sanist attitudes towards persons with mental disabilities. We argue that it is impossible to consider the impact of anti-discrimination law on persons with mental disabilities without a full understanding of how sanism -- an irrational prejudice of the same quality and character of other irrational prejudices that cause (and are reflected in) prevailing social attitudes of racism, sexism, homophobia, and ethnic bigotry -- permeates all aspects of the legal system and the entire fabric of American society.

Notwithstanding nearly …


A Tj Approach To Mental Disability Rights Research: On Sexual Autonomy And Sexual Offending, Michael L. Perlin, Heather Ellis Cucolo, Alison Lynch Jan 2019

A Tj Approach To Mental Disability Rights Research: On Sexual Autonomy And Sexual Offending, Michael L. Perlin, Heather Ellis Cucolo, Alison Lynch

Articles & Chapters

We believe it is impossible to understand the development and the power of therapeutic jurisprudence (TJ) without acknowledging that its roots in mental disability law have continued to expand and flourish over the decades, and that there is no other substantive area of the law in which every aspect – substantive and procedural, civil and criminal, statutory and constitutional. domestic and international – has been weighed and evaluated using a TJ lens. In this chapter, we consider how those roots have shaped the last three decades of research and the implications of what has developed. We look carefully at two …


Temptation's Page Flies Out The Door: Navigating Complex Systems Of Disability And The Law From A Therapeutic Jurisprudence Perspective, Michael L. Perlin, Mehgan Gallagher Jan 2019

Temptation's Page Flies Out The Door: Navigating Complex Systems Of Disability And The Law From A Therapeutic Jurisprudence Perspective, Michael L. Perlin, Mehgan Gallagher

Articles & Chapters

This article considers the difficulties inherent in the navigation of the legal system and the disability system, difficulties made more complicated when these systems intersect. Although this problem is not a new one, remarkably, it has never been the subject of any legal scholarship. We argue here that it is futile to consider either system to be a uniform one, and that to make any sense of the underlying ambiguities, it is necessary to consider both the potential conflicts both between domestic and international law (using fitness to proceed to trial as a case example), and the conflicts between social …


Some Things Are Too Hot To Touch: Competency, The Right To Sexual Autonomy, And The Roles Of Lawyers And Expert Witnesses, Michael L. Perlin, Alison Lynch, Valerie R. Mcclain Jan 2019

Some Things Are Too Hot To Touch: Competency, The Right To Sexual Autonomy, And The Roles Of Lawyers And Expert Witnesses, Michael L. Perlin, Alison Lynch, Valerie R. Mcclain

Articles & Chapters

No abstract provided.


'The Pain I Rise Above': How International Human Rights Can Best Realize The Needs Of Persons With Trauma-Related Mental Disabilities, Mehgan Gallagher, Michael L. Perlin Jan 2018

'The Pain I Rise Above': How International Human Rights Can Best Realize The Needs Of Persons With Trauma-Related Mental Disabilities, Mehgan Gallagher, Michael L. Perlin

Articles & Chapters

No abstract provided.


'Your Old Road Is/Rapidly Agin': International Human Rights Standards And Their Impact On Forensic Psychologists, The Practice Of Forensic Psychology, And The Conditions Of Institutionalization Of Persons With Mental Disabilities, Michael L. Perlin Jan 2018

'Your Old Road Is/Rapidly Agin': International Human Rights Standards And Their Impact On Forensic Psychologists, The Practice Of Forensic Psychology, And The Conditions Of Institutionalization Of Persons With Mental Disabilities, Michael L. Perlin

Articles & Chapters

An earlier version of this paper was presented as the Lynn Stuart Weiss lecture at the American Psychological Association yearly conference, sponsored by the American Psychology-Law Society and the American Psychology Foundation, August 2016, Denver, Colorado.

For years, considerations of the relationship between international human rights standards and the work of forensic psychologists have focused on the role of organized psychology in prisoner abuse at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghirab. That issue has been widely discussed and debated, and these discussions show no sign of abating. But there has been virtually no attention given to another issue of international human …


Who Will Judge The Many When The Game Is Through: Considering The Profound Differences Between Mental Health Courts And Traditional Involuntary Civil Commitment Courts, Michael L. Perlin Jan 2018

Who Will Judge The Many When The Game Is Through: Considering The Profound Differences Between Mental Health Courts And Traditional Involuntary Civil Commitment Courts, Michael L. Perlin

Articles & Chapters

This paper is an expansion of a presentation given by the author at the annual Therapeutic Jurisprudence Workshop at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, October 15, 2016. There is a developing robust literature about mental health courts (MHCrts) in the United States, and researchers have begun to focus on a broad range of empirical issues, such as the extent to which defendants are competent to waive their trial rights in such settings, the significance of diversion, etc. Also, advocates and other scholars have engaged in vigorous debates about the value of these courts, and the extent …


She's Nobody's Child/The Law Can't Touch Her At All': Seeking To Bring Dignity To Legal Proceedings Involving Juveniles, Michael L. Perlin, Alison Lynch Jan 2018

She's Nobody's Child/The Law Can't Touch Her At All': Seeking To Bring Dignity To Legal Proceedings Involving Juveniles, Michael L. Perlin, Alison Lynch

Articles & Chapters

Recent Supreme Court decisions declaring unconstitutional both capital punishment (Roper v. Simmons, 2005) and life without parole (Graham v. Florida, 2010) in cases involving juveniles might lead a casual observer to think that we are now in an era in which dignity of juveniles is privileged in the legal system and in which humiliation and shame are subordinated. This observation, sadly, would be wrong.

Inquiries into a range of issues involving juveniles – commitment to psychiatric institutions; trials in juvenile courts; aspects of criminal procedure that, in many jurisdictions, bar juveniles from raising the incompetency status or the insanity defense; …


Who's Pretending To Care For Him? How The Endless Jail-To-Hospital-To-Street-Repeat Cycle Deprives Persons With Mental Disabilities The Right To Continuity Of Care, Naomi Weinstein, Michael L. Perlin Jan 2018

Who's Pretending To Care For Him? How The Endless Jail-To-Hospital-To-Street-Repeat Cycle Deprives Persons With Mental Disabilities The Right To Continuity Of Care, Naomi Weinstein, Michael L. Perlin

Articles & Chapters

There is a well-documented “shuttle process” by which individuals committed to psychiatric institutions (having been charged with minor “nuisance”-type criminal offenses) are often stabilized, returned to jail to await trial, and then returned to the hospital following relapse. This shuttling or cycling is bad for many reasons, not least of which is the way that it deprives the cohort of individuals at risk from any meaningful continuity of care. Continuity of care is crucial in order to reduce the rate of incarceration and institutionalization for persons with mental illness. Without this continuity, it is far less likely that any therapeutic …


On Desolation Row: The Blurring Of The Borders Between Civil And Criminal Mental Disability Law, And What It Means To All Of Us, Michael L. Perlin, Deborah Dorfman, Naomi Weinstein Jan 2018

On Desolation Row: The Blurring Of The Borders Between Civil And Criminal Mental Disability Law, And What It Means To All Of Us, Michael L. Perlin, Deborah Dorfman, Naomi Weinstein

Articles & Chapters

One of the great tensions of mental disability law is the unresolved, trompe d’oeil question of whether it is a subset of the civil law, of the criminal law, or something entirely different. The resolution of this question is not an exercise in formalism or pigeonholing, but is critical to an understanding of the future direction of mental disability law, the deeper meaning of US Supreme Court cases and important state legislative initiatives, and the whole array of hidden issues and agendas that lurk under the surface of mental disability law-decision making. As mental disability law has matured, a dual …


My Brain Is So Wired; Neuroimaging's Role In Competency Cases Involved Persons With Mental Disabilities, Michael L. Perlin, Alison Lynch Jan 2018

My Brain Is So Wired; Neuroimaging's Role In Competency Cases Involved Persons With Mental Disabilities, Michael L. Perlin, Alison Lynch

Articles & Chapters

In this article, we consider the therapeutic jurisprudence implications of the use of neuroimaging techniques in assessing whether a defendant is competent to stand trial, a topic that has been the subject of no prior legal commentary. Recent attention paid to neuroscience in the criminal process has focused on questions of mitigation and competency to be executed, but the potential of such evidence transcends these areas.

There has been almost no attention paid to its potential impact on a critical intersection between the criminal trial process and inquiries into mental or psychological status: a defendant’s trial competency. Less than a …


Life's Hurried Tangled Road: A Therapeutic Jurisprudence Analysis Of Why Dedicated Counsel Must Be Assigned To Represent Persons With Mental Disabilities In Community Settings, Alison Lynch, Michael L. Perlin Aug 2017

Life's Hurried Tangled Road: A Therapeutic Jurisprudence Analysis Of Why Dedicated Counsel Must Be Assigned To Represent Persons With Mental Disabilities In Community Settings, Alison Lynch, Michael L. Perlin

Articles & Chapters

This paper will be published as part of a symposium issue of Behavioral Sciences and Law.

Although counsel is now assigned in all jurisdictions to provide legal representation to persons facing involuntary civil commitment, such counsel is rarely available to persons with mental disabilities in other settings outside the hospital. In this paper, we strongly urge that such representation also be made available to this population in community settings. The scope of this representation must include any involvement with the criminal justice system that currently does not fall within the scope of indigent counsel assignment decisions such as Gideon v. …


God Said To Abraham/Kill Me A Son: Why The Insanity Defense And The Incompetency Status Are Compatible With And Required By The Convention On The Rights Of Persons With Disabilities And Basic Principles Of Therapeutic Jurisprudence, Michael L. Perlin Jan 2017

God Said To Abraham/Kill Me A Son: Why The Insanity Defense And The Incompetency Status Are Compatible With And Required By The Convention On The Rights Of Persons With Disabilities And Basic Principles Of Therapeutic Jurisprudence, Michael L. Perlin

Articles & Chapters

Interpretations of the General Comments to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) — that command the abolition of the insanity defense and the incompetency status — make no theoretical or conceptual sense, disregard the history of how society has treated persons with serious mental disabilities who are charged with crime, and will lead to predictable torture of this population in prison, at the hands of both prison guards and other prisoners. Such interpretation also flies in the face of every precept of therapeutic jurisprudence. Support of this position exhibits a startling lack of understanding of the …


The Insanity Defense: Nine Myths That Will Not Go Away, Michael L. Perlin Jan 2017

The Insanity Defense: Nine Myths That Will Not Go Away, Michael L. Perlin

Articles & Chapters

Writing about the insanity defense over a quarter of a century ago, the author of this chapter stated: "Until we 'unpack' the empirical and social myths that underlie our misconceptions about the insane and the insanitydefense and hold us in a paralytic thrall, we cannot begin to move forward." Some five years later, he began a full-length book on the insanity defense by alleging, "Our insanity defense jurisprudence is incoherent." Five years after that, he concluded that "we as a society remain fixated on the insanity defense as a symbol of all that is wrong with the criminal justice system …