To Tort Reformers: I Propose a New Road to Justice
I propose we overhaul the criminal justice system in the United States. We can save billions, possibly trillions, of dollars by simply instituting a new way of handling the criminal process:
YOU are now presumed guilty of any crime with which you are charged until YOU prove yourself innocent. In addition, when accused of a crime, YOU will be immediately jailed and no bail will be granted. YOU will not be released from jail until YOU can prove yourself innocent.
YOU have no right of privacy in your home if criminal officials believe YOU have committed a crime. Police are free to search YOUR home whenever they reasonably suspect YOU are (or probably are guilty) of a crime.
Think about all the money it would save if police and prosecutors do not have to spend the time and resources to prove YOU are guilty of a crime. Think about all that money saved if prosecutors do not have to spend their time proving YOU are guilty, they simply have to prove why YOU are not innocent.
How does that work for everyone?
What? You have constitutional rights?
But, as I have already told you, it will save billions, probably trillions, of dollars.
What? You are not willing to sell or compromise your constitutional rights simply to save money in the criminal justice system?
But, it’s a great deal of money we are talking about saving. I mean don’t you think you are being a little unreasonable? I mean it’s only a couple of constitutional rights and it will save so very much money.
What? You are worried that by giving up these rights the government might take advantage? You are worried that giving up these constitutional rights might make it that much easier for the government to steal the next constitutional right away from you?
But, “tort reformers” are eager, in fact nearly giddy, to require that Americans give up the constitutional right to access to the court system in civil matters. Why not go all the way and include the criminal side?
“Tort reformers” are very eager to deny Americans the right to trial of ALL their legal rights before a jury of their peers in civil court. Why not take it all the way and include criminals.
I mean its criminals after all, right?
What? You are afraid someone may be unjustly accused and be convicted because they do not have access to the courts and to competent representation; particularly if they are trying to accomplish all that from a jail cell?
But, It will save all that money!
Sound ludicrous and silly? Maybe, but we should not place ourselves in the position of choosing “which” constitutional rights we are willing to give up.
“Tort reformers” are currently proposing on a federal level; what they have sadly, but successfully accomplished on a state level in over 35 states. They want to compromise the constitutional right of access to the courts because they claim it will save money.
Now, they will tell you they are not affecting any constitutional rights and they provide spin for this proposition; spin that they have paid big money to produce. As far as their spin goes, it’s like my great aunt always said: “you can spray air freshener all over a pig, but it’s still a pig”.
The fact is they are lying. They have every intention of compromising constitutional rights in favor of saving money.
Who do “tort reformers” want to benefit? Consumers? No.
Tort reformers want to benefit corporations, insurance companies and other big lobby concerns.
Let’s look at a few FACTS:
- Fact: Tort reform on a federal level would not save more than one half of one percent (according to the Congressional Budget Office).
- Fact: Tort reform would do nothing to the 98,000 patients killed every year by medical negligence.
- Fact: Tort reform will do more to increase social burden than anything else. Injured people with no constitutional access to courts will be forced to use medicare, medicaid, unemployment, and social security more.
- Fact: Frivolous lawsuits are largely a myth. A May 2006 Harvard study demonstrated that 97% of all medical negligence claims are meritorious.
- Fact: Cases are not “flooding” the court system. In fact, lawsuits have decreased by 79% since 1985.
- Fact: Businesses and corporations are far more likely to file “frivolous” lawsuits than are individuals.
- Fact: Capping damage awards has no affect on reducing insurance premiums.
- Fact: Capping damages DOES result in increased profitability for insurance companies.