Thursday, April 5, 2012

Maryland Courts: its time for an overhaul

Maryland Courts: it is time for an overhaul

Justice in Maryland is very expensive. Thirty three thousand lawyers maneuver through Maryland’s legal system daily, earning billions in the process. Added to these costs are the maintenance and support of a multitude of judicial settings with a price tag nearing a billion dollars. Perhaps the time has come for judicial reform in the state of Maryland. To purify a judicial system replete with judges whose ideologies are less then centric in their origins, citizen arbiters or referees could be instituted at minimal costs to the state. This group of people would have training in basic legal concepts and applicable law to which they are assigned to arbitrate. To enable these citizen referees to function, all laws and mandates emanating from Annapolis will be required to be written in simple English, a concept whose time has come. Complex legal structure already in place will be reconstituted to conform to the simple English approach. As legal case structure becomes more complex an appellate division will be available with appropriately trained people to perform its functions. Since the greatest majority of cases will be managed in these lower citizen courts the Appellate division will be pared down appropriately. Lawyers who want to practice in Maryland will be required to follow a fee schedule similar to that inflicted on physicians. Marylanders may not be aware that legal functions in many other countries are performed by administrative type personnel not lawyers. Contracts, wills, divorces, estate planning and more are managed by government functionaries for pennies when compared to their American counterparts. Utilizing the services of a lawyer in other countries is reserved for extremely complex civil cases and criminal violations of the law. Japan has approximately 30,000 lawyers for a population of 128,000,000. America has 1.1 million lawyers who hoover over a populous of 312 million. Maryland has instituted processes entangling its citizenry in legal complexity beyond which is necessary to manage a civilized society. Judges have forgotten who they serve. Antiquated rules and procedures from administrative domains through the Appellate divisions have been established to deny due process to those who come before them. This regulatory system needs to be revamped, simplifying a system that is begging for an overhaul. Unless a commission is established to revitalize the judicial system in Maryland justice will continue to be expensive and remain very blind. Mark Davis MD, author of the very popular book Demons of the Democracy.

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