The American justice system is in such sorry shape that even Conrad Black, the conservative former media mogul, can't defend it, notes CNN's Fareed Zakaria in a column in Investors Business Daily
Many young black men "are victims of legal and social injustice, inadequately provided for by the public assistance system, and over-prosecuted and vengefully sentenced," Black wrote in 2009. "The failures of American education, social services and justice (are) unaffordable, as well as repulsive.
"In tens of millions of undervalued human lives, as in the consumption of energy and the addiction to consumer debt, the United States pays a heavy price for an ethos afflicted by wantonness, waste and official human indifference," Black continued.
Black himself spent more than three years behind bars on a fraud conviction that he still vigorously defends himself against.
But Zakaria says that no matter one's feelings toward the Canadian-born Black, who now is a British citizen, his arguments against the American criminal justice
system are worthy of being heard.
"His lessons are worth taking seriously, since they come from a friend of America and a die-hard conservative," Zakaria writes.
Black cites the plea-bargain system in America for its 95 percent conviction rate compared to 60 percent in Canada and 50 percent in Great Britain.
American prosecutors aren't that much better than their counterparts in other countries, Zakaria writes, but, quoting Black, says they instead using bullying tactics that would get them "disbarred in most other serious countries, (and which) enables prosecutors to threaten everyone around the target with indictment if they don't miraculously recall, under careful government coaching, inculpatory evidence."
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