Thursday, September 16, 2010

Porteous Impeachment - Using Prior Testimony to Impeach

When Court TV first started, I watched it almost endlessly. And the more I watched, the more disenchanted I began with the legal system on show. Instead of trials being designed to find the truth, to reach justice, it turned out that trials were games with bizarre rules and the winner wasthe team that played the game better, that manipulated the rules better. No wonder so many citizens do their best to avoid jury duty.

Future major trials (such as Simpson's and Clinton's) simply reinforced my opinion. And these hearings confirm them.

In particular, I hate, nay loathe, the way prior testimony is used to impeach current testimony. Heaven forbid that your answer to a question today differs by so much as one word or two from one's testimony 5 or 10 years ago. One doesn't need to be an expert on how memory works to know that it is flawed, and this legal fiction that any variation in one's words from one time to another is proof of dishonesty or perjury is absurd, unfair and makes a mockery of the idea that our legal system cares about justice.

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