real justice
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join the discussion: What are your reactions to this report on the real life world of ass't da's and defense lawyers?  Do you have a  story to share about  the criminal  justice  system at the state court level?

Dear FRONTLINE,

You should be congratulated on putting together such a condensed documentary of the day "in the life" while capturing all the emotions and drama that does occur.

When I was eighteen I sat on a jury trial for an insurance claim that lasted 21 days. It was dull but gave me the perspective of my own involvement in the legal process. I do enjoy fictional legal shows on television but I am tired of the clich speeches, reactions, and statements that they offer as drama. Thank you for an informative and entertaining program.

In response to Joe Bacso who felt that because of defendants being arrogant and ungrateful perhaps they should have to meet with the prosecutors when being made an offer - I would have to disagree. One of the greatest achievements of your series was to document the justice served by prosecutors and defense attorneys even in spite of their clients knowledge or ignorance of the laws. While passionately arguing their cases both Vik and Lisa were able to remove personal emotions from the cases and help their clients through the system. While I am pleased to see proof that this part of the system really works, the depressing fact is the lack of knowledge and tools we enable jurors with. I question our use of jurors that are not trained in legal situations - otherwise how can you explain a jury that finds a person, who was witnessed to be using anti-gay remarks, not guilty or on a grander scale the acquittal of OJ for murdering his wife.

Michael Weber
Milwaukee, WI

Dear FRONTLINE,

I am a Staff Solicitor with the Legal Aid Commission in this province. I caught Part I of "Real Justice" this evening.

While the procedure differs somewhat, watching Lisa Medeiros in action was like watching my typical day in our criminal courts, right down to the attitudes of the clients. I appreciated seeing her deal with the too-common situation of the client wanting to be told which choice to make. Make even a recommendation and the next Counsel will be told, "My lawyer made me plead Guilty", as the client sloughs off any personal responsibility for the consequences of his/her actions.

I have to count as a victory the cases where I get a decent sentence for my client. And, as with Ms. Medeiros, I don't hear "Thank You" very often, either.

Alan Henry
St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada

Dear FRONTLINE,

Bravo on a great Frontline. I worked as an assistant district court clerk in a small northeastern state right out of college; I was actually considering going to law school. Your portrayal of the process is a dead-on equivalent with my experience.

The prosecutors are hideously overworked, and so are the defending attorneys. Left out of this equation is the court staff, who are completely understaffed and underpaid. Based on budget considerations, I could not be paid for overtime even though I left my desk with piles of motions that needed to be processed on a daily basis. Add to the fact that there is a general shortage of judges, and that the one governmental institution that has the most direct impact on people's lives is the least funded of the three, there is no surprise that our criminal justice system struggles just to operate on a daily basis. I have an enormous amount of respect for the people who work within this flawed system, and who have to deal with its many stresses on a daily basis.

I congratulate Frontline on a balanced and accurate story.

Christopher Campion
Marlboro, MA

Dear FRONTLINE,

I was overwhelmed with the physical labor and tremendous amount of soul Lisa puts into her cases. She is truly a heroine and deserving of so much more gratitude from her clients than she gets. To say I admire her guts and determination would be a great understatement. Hmmm...are you married?

Mike Payne

Dear FRONTLINE,

As a criminal defense attorney in a small comunity it is difficult to explain what my life and practice is like. "Real Justice" was real. Front Line put my daily life and the lives of my colleagues on the screen. No Perry Mason. Thanks!

Steve Bratten
Jefferson City, Missouri

Dear FRONTLINE,

I am Canadian and the reason I created www.saveonlegalfees.com is because Canadian Justice suffers from the same overloaded as your courts.We have to change the way we do things or the innocent will suffer and the guilty will go free! Thank you for truly shedding light on how the world works!

tony slavin
Oshawa, Ontario

Dear FRONTLINE,


This was one of the most moving Frontline programs that i have seen.
A few of the aspects that really struck me included the amount of the caseloads for both Lisa Medeiros and Mr Theiss and the competence that they showed in what must be an extremely frustrating position at times.
Also, the way both people were able to make the system work for them but also to be able to accept losses such as Ms Medeiros with Mr Sharma or the advocacy of Mr Theiss with the gay couple who were threatened and nearly bashed. Those were such eloquent testimonies to their skill and the cases they deal with on a daily basis.
Congratulations on a great series and an eye-opening look into the legal system and it's day to day workings.
It makes me less cynical to know that there are people in the "system" like Ms Medeiros and Mr Theiss.



Brian Delaney
San Diego, Ca, 92105

Dear FRONTLINE,

As an undergrad majoring in criminal justice and plans of going to law school I feel that the show really help me decide which side of the law that I want to be on. i think that more shows like this should be shown. However the t.v. dramas that are shown are very informative as well, I think that we regular viewers know that justice could never be served in an hour's time frame.

Jamila Wilson
Philadelphia, PA

Dear FRONTLINE,

Despite seemingly good plea bargaining deals, many of the defendants on your show "Real Justice" were arrogant and ungrateful. It occurred to me, having the advantage of getting to know these people a little, that there should be a law that a prosector cannot accept a plea without meeting and talking it out with the defendant involved. After getting to know the mindsets of these individuals perhaps the prosector would be better served as to accepting or rejecting the plea offered.

Joe Bacso
Titusville, New Jersey

Dear FRONTLINE,


With regards to Lisa's masterful defense tactics; her protection of an individual from their own tendency to self-incriminate is truly impressive! In the name of the client's rights, she often extinguishes a natural instinct to admit guilt.

Does this single-minded approach misdirect some clients into a continued pattern of crime and denial?

Nathan Luedtke
San Diego, CA

Dear FRONTLINE,

Thank you for creating and showing real life. I am happy that tonight I turned on the TV. Philadelphia's WHYY Channel 12 is on most of the time. This show captivated me and inspired me.

My career is not involved in law or public service, but I will start my day tomorrow with an enhanced outlook on the power we have if we harness it. Our 50 states are better off with the passion of Ms. Medeioros and Mr. Theiss.

Mike Tumas
Moorestown, nj


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