We need an Amish judge or a new court system

Morley Lymburner
March 16, 2015
By Morley Lymburner
Startling news that the Canadian Police Information Centre database was 400,000 records behind from 2013 was made even more crushing when it was learned the backlog will be cleared by 2017. Then, presumably, staff will begin tackling the 2014 records. This reminds me of a police car passing an Amish carriage. In the midst of a world moving in fast forward, in spectacular reverence to science and technology, it is nice to take a break and catch a glimpse of this mode of transportation from another age. Invariably it is being drawn by a slick looking mare with a shiny coat. Its pace is a healthy trot on a good day and the rhythmic beat of the hoofs are simply inspiring to watch. A splendorous modern day glimpse of the past viewed in real-time through the eyes of the modern-day beholder. The only other place you can get this same experience is by sitting in a courtroom.

Startling news that the Canadian Police Information Centre database was 400,000 records behind from 2013 was made even more crushing when it was learned the backlog will be cleared by 2017. Then, presumably, staff will begin tackling the 2014 records.

This reminds me of a police car passing an Amish carriage. In the midst of a world moving in fast forward, in spectacular reverence to science and technology, it is nice to take a break and catch a glimpse of this mode of transportation from another age. Invariably it is being drawn by a slick looking mare with a shiny coat. Its pace is a healthy trot on a good day and the rhythmic beat of the hoofs are simply inspiring to watch. A splendorous modern day glimpse of the past viewed in real-time through the eyes of the modern-day beholder.

The only other place you can get this same experience is by sitting in a courtroom.

The fast-paced, science driven prosecutions of today proceed at blinding speed with the aid of modern technology and police officers who know how to wield it. The officers are educated to a degree never before seen in policing. Their training is consistent and the processes used are studied and practiced to a science. The methods of detecting and apprehending criminals would make Sir Arthur Conan Doyle shrink away from even thinking about writing Sherlock Holmes novels. Yesterday's fiction has not only become today's reality but has been left behind in a technological dust bin.

The huge avalanche of paper and data bits are funnelled into a court house that teems with the hustle and bustle of likewise trained clerical staff and prosecutors who process the information and schedule it for the courts. The cases are then shoehorned into the courtroom door. As it creaks open to receive the material everything suddenly moves in slow motion, as if the air has become the same consistency of water and Newton's law of inertia is suspended. The material slowly flutters to a stop before the judge's bar.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to a 21st century Canadian courtroom. Notice the rules of order and decorum. It is exactly the same pace and quality of life our ancestors experienced more than 150 years ago. It was a time of relative peace and tranquility where nothing on the roads moved faster than a horse drawn carriage û and it was thought that nothing ever should.

In this realm the judge is king and the rule of law sacred and followed to the letter. It is a world that takes a long and sobre look at the actions of an accused through the eyes of police and witnesses. There's philosophical debate between sparring partners who possess enough knowledge of this old order to know how to manipulate it to their own ends. It is a world that sanctifies truth and honour and prides itself in stridently maintaining its traditions and decorum.

This system will never realize that we can no longer afford it. The pillars and walls are staunchly guarded by a legal profession with no incentive to change. The system is nicely cushioned by a firmly entrenched law school system that encourages little or no background checks on its students. It encourages its members to become politicians, who then ensure only laws supportive of the system and training are tolerated. All of this is fed to a propaganda machine that convinces the public it is in their best interest to have an 11th century system of justice.

The world has changed greatly since 1066. We have new age crime set in a new age world. Many criminals are far more organized than the court system that judges them. They know the system they are manipulating which, thanks to modern information sources, is not as opaque as it once was. Criminals know the system is supported entirely by a process of delay and plea bargain, the jails are bursting at the seams and the courts are backlogged to the gables. They know the true value of their crimes in society and rely on the sluggish process to keep themselves free and circulating at maximum capacity.

Come to think of it I don't think the Amish would appreciate this court system. At least they have the integrity of knowing why they have not changed and do not try to force-feed the rest of society into validating their existence.

We need to at least streamline the court processes and get more judges, courtrooms and records keeping technology to keep up with our higher level of policing.

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