Fiction vs. Reality The Court System CJS/220 Final Project | Fiction vs. Reality In the United States of America we have three systems of government that each have their own specific role independent of each other but still heavily reliant on the other. These systems all work together in all aspects of the legal system, with the court system heavily responsible for “Enforcement, interpretation, invalidation and making law. (The US Legal System, 2009) This paper is going to discuss the legal system as the courts handle it, we will take a look at fictional portrayals and an actual court case that occurred. The purpose being to ascertain the difference between the two if there is any. Let’s begin with the fictional story of Law and Order, this show dramatizes the law system from when the crime occurred to when it actually goes to trial. The show’s objective seems to have been to bring to light issues that are presented in society in real time, or especially heinous or brutal crimes.
I for one enjoy the drama that unfolds throughout the hour that this show has my attention. Well I guess I have to get specific, as Law and Order is a series that has done really well so it has expanded, I personally like to watch the Law and Order Special Victims Unit but occasionally watch the other shows. In this series the crimes are always very bad, the victim is an unknown and the detectives in this unit must usually start from scratch to find the suspect.
I find it amusing that for every crime they always seem to come down hard on a registered sex offender that usually does not have anything to do with the crime, but the drama is still there and it keeps me tuning in. In any case they usually go through about half the show showing what the detectives are doing and then it gets turned over to the District Attorney, sometimes the District Attorney is involved from the beginning in some limited form, telling the Detectives what evidence is needed and what is not going to be admitted into court.
The District Attorney always gets the case after the middle of the show, the portrayal is always one where they stand in front of a judge and have most of the facts ready and the Attorney if he is paid getting a lot of respect from the District Attorney and the Detectives. If it’s a Public Defender they are usually portrayed as not being as deserving of respect, like they are not as good of attorneys. In any case the District Attorney takes the case in front of the Judge where depending on what kind of attorney the suspect received dictates what the outcome of the case is going to be.
Sometimes the suspect gets off and sometimes he is locked up. This show relies heavily on the acting of the cast, the drama that unfolds and how they draw you into the show. I must admit when I began watching this show a long time ago I believed that this is the way the legal system worked, because this is not the first show to capitalize on drama, there have been many others such as Matlock, A Few Good Men, CSI, and The Runaway Jury.
The list can go on and on, but in the end the court system is portrayed but the reality of it is not really shown to the public. I found it very interesting logging on to their site that they have really gone out of their way to make you feel like you are part of the system, even putting a method for you to give the verdict on cases. One case that I will utilize to give some idea to the public of how a court case is handled is a well known one; a lot of people around the world followed it.
The only difference between this real life case and the shows listed above specifically Law and Order is that it really occurred and we got on board during the trial, although we did get a glimpse of the detective work as it was unfolding it was definitely not as detailed as the series of Law and Order. The case I will bring to the table is the Orenthal James Simpson Case. This is the case that gave the world an eagle eye view of our legal system and the way it worked. Some may argue that it didn’t work the way it was supposed to in this case but I must remain behind the erdict even though I don’t agree with it and say that it worked exactly the way it was supposed to. This case is definitely reminiscent of a Law and Order show, the drama was definitely there, the lawyers were definitely not free Public Defenders and the District Attorney was after the justice that was supposed to come out. We as the interested viewers went through the whole case on TV; we were shown evidence, alibis and ultimately the verdict. I still find it amazing that the entire case hinged on the fact that OJ could not put his hands in the glove.
To me he looked so guilty just before he attempted to put them on, but when they didn’t fit and everyone was shocked it is funny to me that I thought he looked the most shocked in the room. I bring this case up because we got a good look into the motions that are made during a trial, the steps that are necessary to get to trial, the limitations that are placed on the District Attorney’s Office and the latitude that is given to the defense. Watching shows that depict criminal cases is a very interesting thing, but not one yet has come to the table and shown the boring legal steps that are necessary for trials to even occur.
Steps that are an integral part of the court system, such as the arraignment, docket call, status hearings, jury selections, plea negotiations and finally the one part that we all see the trial. But even in seeing this we only get a glimpse at what an actual trial involves, we get to see the opening remarks, some testimony and the closing but we never see the boring stuff, the stuff that actually keeps the court running, in a real courtroom the trials are rather boring if you ask me, the formality of it all is very interesting though.
I currently work for a Detention Center and have found myself in a few trials watching what is going on and have found that although these lawyers try to make it interesting and dramatic it is usually rather drab, but they do follow a really cool system that allows for each side to make their individual case while the presiding judge insures that this is done. I find that I really enjoy watching the shows a lot more than I do watching the real thing.
But I guess that’s what television is all about. Having said that it is my belief in talking with my spouse that people out there actually believe that what occurs on television is real, I don’t know if I disagree with that statement, I just know that its more entertaining watching the shows. I don’t believe that the shows show an unrealistic view of our legal system but in some cases it is a little out there. But the reality is that even in real day life cases like OJ go unpunished also.
Our legal system is not perfect, but it works pretty well and I for one am very happy being a part of it. References: Jones T. L. (2008). TruTv. OJ Simpson. Retrieved on April 5, 2010 from http://www. trutv. com/library/crime/notorious_murders/famous/simpson/index_1. html NBC. com (2009). Law and order. Retrieved on April 5, 2010 from http://www. nbc. com/Law_and_Order/ Radcliffe M. F. & Brinson D. (2009). FindLaw. The US legal system. Retrieved on April 5, 2010 from http://library. findlaw. com/1999/Jan/1/241487. html