Is it just me, or has the legal system in this country gone more to the dogs than Pavlov? Here's a list of cases I've come across in recent weeks.
- A federal judge has ordered the Treasury Department to come up with new currency because the current paper money allegedly discriminates against the visually impaired.
- A couple is suing Starbucks because their daughter got burned by hot chocolate. (I've commented on this one in more detail in a previous entry, but it bears repeating in this entry.)
- A man accused of having sex with a dead deer has a lawyer arguing that there was no crime committed because the deer ceased being an animal under the law because it was dead.
- Audience members who were targeted by Michael Richards during his now-infamous rant at a comedy club have sought legal representation from Gloria Allred to try to get Richards to apologize or get more serious punishment should a retired judge order it.
And these are just the higher profile ones. I'm sure there are others that are equally as inane, and all are putting a drain on our legal system. Do you think judges like sitting at the bench listening to two people whose legal knowledge could fit on one side of a gnat's Post-It Note, or giving a jury of 12 people who most likely don't want to be there instructions that will be forgotten two minutes after they go into separate chambers to deliberate?
The biggest problem facing our legal system today is, oddly enough, the lawyers who are part of it. The Constitution may guarantee us the right to counsel, but we've taken that right and run with it into areas that would make the Founding Fathers cringe. You know, if they were still alive and stuff. Lawyers are able to turn minor incidents of stupidity into major payoffs for their clients, which means they get paid big bucks while creating legal precedent that other lawyers can use in their own cases that are equally frivilous.
I'm not saying all lawyers are like that. A good number of them do strive to help people and not try to make the quick buck. Unfortunately, these lawyers aren't the ones people go to when they want to sue a chain saw manufacturer because the chain saw that cut off their hands didn't have a warning label saying "Do Not Juggle While Running If You're Clumsier Than Inspector Clouseau." People who want to play the Jurisprudence Lotto will seek out the ones selling the winning tickets. And that means they'll look to hucksters before they'll even glance in Atticus Finch's direction.
I know expecting sanity out of the American legal system is like expecting competence in Congress, but I think we can fix this. Next time you do something and some Johnny Cochran wannabe tells you "Let's sue! We could make a mint!" do something for me.
Tell him or her to hit the bricks because they're not in it for you or for the law. They're in it for the fat paycheck they'll get if they win.