I realize that maybe not everyone is as scandalized as I am about the errors in Maryland’s sentencing calculations. As I blogged about yesterday, Slate reported that Maryland lawyers have been wrong about 10% of the time they do sentencing calculations.
Obviously, this is really not great press for Maryland lawyers. But, the more I think about it, I think it exposes a significant problem with how we think about criminal justice.
Our system is the adversary system. The idea is that if you have two sides who both present their version of the truth, the truth will come out. Yet, in the Slate article, we have a nice example of how the adversary system fails.
Whether it fails because lawyers are lazy, or not bright, or not motivated is kind of irrelevant. Lawyers are missing things when it comes to sentencing; what does it say about the error rate for these same lawyers when it comes to what happened in the underlying crimes?
If you have questions about how federal criminal charges are different than state criminal charges, please visit this page on Maryland federal criminal charges or Washington DC federal criminal charges.