259: Phoenix Wright's Objection!

Phoenix Wright's Objection!

The courtrooms and investigations portrayed in the Phoenix Wright series may seem cartoonish or over-the-top, but, as Fintan Monaghan shows us, they accurately criticize the faults of the Japanese legal system and the series may actually bring about legal reform.

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3 reused articles this issue?

Milky_Fresh:
3 reused articles this issue?

Well it is a 'best of'

Bob_Bobbington:

Milky_Fresh:
3 reused articles this issue?

Well it is a 'best of'

Oh, haha. I didn't realise, hadn't looked at the email.

Bob_Bobbington:

Milky_Fresh:
3 reused articles this issue?

Well it is a 'best of'

Oh man, and here I thought people were being serious on their charges regarding journalistic integrity. Man I'm an idiot.

It's an interesting article, so hopefully it's not wrong to comment on its re-issue. For my part here in America, we seem to feel the exact opposite. Anyone that's watched Law and Order knows what I mean. When they catch a guy who's guilty as sin, what's the first words to come out of his mouth? "I want to see my lawyer". The juries are easily swayed by persuasive bouts of emotion, and the prosecutors often strategize how to "win them over" and circumvent the pervading, misguidedly humanistic attitudes of the damned peers.

The defense attorneys aren't much better. Scheming low-lifes always flinging BS precedents in order to let criminals walk the streets and make a buck, all under the flimsy excuse that "everyone deserves a fair trial". The judges, almost always, are passionless by-the-book types that, to quote Law Abiding Citizen, treat the law like "it's a fucking assembly line".

So overall cynicism, for my part. I find it hard to believe that, given the two opposing beliefs that men are either essentially good or essentially evil, one could have faith in the former, particularly if one has any experience with elementary school. And while I don't know how just Japanese law, as described is, I find it kind of hard to disagree with. Even if you shouldn't go to jail based on what you did, you almost certainly should be punished anyway because of who you are. At least, according to how a lot of shows portray legal proceedings. The wrongly accused are few and far between.

sleepykid:

Bob_Bobbington:

Milky_Fresh:
3 reused articles this issue?

Well it is a 'best of'

... Anyone that's watched Law and Order knows what I mean. When they catch a guy who's guilty as sin, what's the first words to come out of his mouth? "I want to see my lawyer"...

...Even if you shouldn't go to jail based on what you did, you almost certainly should be punished anyway because of who you are. At least, according to how a lot of shows portray legal proceedings. The wrongly accused are few and far between.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that anyone that is using Law and Order as their basis for their opinion of the American legal system would be so off-base. The reason defendants ask for their attorneys is that you've got a right to one here, and that's a very cherished right. There might be a number of things we could tighten up about the way our legal process works, but I'm not sure I've heard anyone actually advocate preventing the accused from having access to counsel.

However, that pales far and away to your last paragraph, about people going to jail because of who they are, and not for what they did. Do you really think that? You'd put someone in jail just because -you think- they're an undesirable? Is that a policy we should have, locking people up we don't like just, you know, because?

And how did you come to the conclusion that the wrongly accused are few and far between?

Wow...I'm amazed I didn't see this article in its original issue...all I can say is...f*** the Japanese court system...

Milky_Fresh:
3 reused articles this issue?

This week's issue is Best Of, The best articles of The Escapist Magazine from January - June 2010.

sleepykid:

Bob_Bobbington:

Milky_Fresh:
3 reused articles this issue?

Well it is a 'best of'

Oh man, and here I thought people were being serious on their charges regarding journalistic integrity. Man I'm an idiot.

It's an interesting article, so hopefully it's not wrong to comment on its re-issue. For my part here in America, we seem to feel the exact opposite. Anyone that's watched Law and Order knows what I mean. When they catch a guy who's guilty as sin, what's the first words to come out of his mouth? "I want to see my lawyer". The juries are easily swayed by persuasive bouts of emotion, and the prosecutors often strategize how to "win them over" and circumvent the pervading, misguidedly humanistic attitudes of the damned peers.

The defense attorneys aren't much better. Scheming low-lifes always flinging BS precedents in order to let criminals walk the streets and make a buck, all under the flimsy excuse that "everyone deserves a fair trial". The judges, almost always, are passionless by-the-book types that, to quote Law Abiding Citizen, treat the law like "it's a fucking assembly line".

So overall cynicism, for my part. I find it hard to believe that, given the two opposing beliefs that men are either essentially good or essentially evil, one could have faith in the former, particularly if one has any experience with elementary school. And while I don't know how just Japanese law, as described is, I find it kind of hard to disagree with. Even if you shouldn't go to jail based on what you did, you almost certainly should be punished anyway because of who you are. At least, according to how a lot of shows portray legal proceedings. The wrongly accused are few and far between.

Mate, I think you need to realise that media portrayals of the justice system in movies and TV shows hardly appropriate to real life settings, and the justice system is not the only case that this applies to.

Your last paragraph makes no sense to me. For one, why does man have to be inherently good or evil? Kind of a naive take on life don't you think? Two, "particularly if one has any experience with elementary school" has no meaning whatsoever. Are you talking about the rife bullying that happens in school? It's a learning process that almost everyone encounters, so it doesn't really measure up to a criminal activity like, say, murder.

And people should go to jail because of who they are? Sounds a lot like . . . .

mattaui:

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that anyone that is using Law and Order as their basis for their opinion of the American legal system would be so off-base. The reason defendants ask for their attorneys is that you've got a right to one here, and that's a very cherished right. There might be a number of things we could tighten up about the way our legal process works, but I'm not sure I've heard anyone actually advocate preventing the accused from having access to counsel.

However, that pales far and away to your last paragraph, about people going to jail because of who they are, and not for what they did. Do you really think that? You'd put someone in jail just because -you think- they're an undesirable? Is that a policy we should have, locking people up we don't like just, you know, because?

And how did you come to the conclusion that the wrongly accused are few and far between?

You misunderstand. I never said this was an expert critique, nor even one I held. I'm merely discussing the feelings produced by each system, or at least the system as relayed via the media. In the one you have the civil rights-celebrating US and the clash that makes (all it does is coddle criminals), and the "guilty till proven innocent" thing in Japan (all it does is bully citizens). For instance, I never said I wanted to waive the right to counsel. But here it can seem as though the much-cherished civil rights were made solely to put up roadblocks between crime and punishment. You attribute too much to my person.

As to the jailing, maybe some context would clarify. If you had strong and well-founded suspicions, but not hard proof that someone committed a crime, which would be better? Letting a highly probable criminal run free, or convicting him anyway because even if he didn't do it (and that's a large "if"), he's probably an asshole besides. Cynicism opts for the latter.

You might think that the media poisons what could be an otherwise sensible view on the matter, but I think it's more reflective on my culture's (however localized and small) dissatisfaction with the equal treatment of both just and unjust, particularly when skepticism regarding the average person's integrity puts most of the accused squarely into the "unjust" category. And it's hardly a surprising view when taking into account how OJ is felt to be a more grievous wrongdoing than, say, McCarthyism.

CKalvin:

Mate, I think you need to realise that media portrayals of the justice system in movies and TV shows hardly appropriate to real life settings, and the justice system is not the only case that this applies to.

Your last paragraph makes no sense to me. For one, why does man have to be inherently good or evil? Kind of a naive take on life don't you think? Two, "particularly if one has any experience with elementary school" has no meaning whatsoever. Are you talking about the rife bullying that happens in school? It's a learning process that almost everyone encounters, so it doesn't really measure up to a criminal activity like, say, murder.

And people should go to jail because of who they are? Sounds a lot like . . . .

Heh, thank you I realize that. I apologize if my attempts to make the description more flavorful indicated that I myself whole-heartedly believed in all of that. I just find it funny that if Japan's (as described) legal system were combined with the fictional crime dramas I'm familiar with, it'd become a heavenly utopia.

While I don't wanna hijack the topic with philosophy, as tends to happen on the Escapist, I meant that, as men, virtue must be taught. It comes from the outside, isn't "natural". What is natural is selfishness, pride, wrath, etc. That's why I mentioned elementary school, as that's when you see how man, before he can be too meddled with by authority or civilization, is rarely right with his fellow man. Or at least that's been my and many others' pervasive experience. I can hardly imagine a society where, from birth, a person was inclined to be generous, loving, just, humble, etc., all for their own sake.

And I'm curious, who -does- that sound a lot like? Or did you wanna refrain from Godwin's Law?

CKalvin:

Mate, I think you need to realise that media portrayals of the justice system in movies and TV shows hardly appropriate to real life settings, and the justice system is not the only case that this applies to.

However, Media is the thing that is right now corrupting the legal system more than the people actually corrupting it.

I recently read something regarding this, calling it the "CSI" effect, where prosecutors and defendants alike have to deal with a jury that is expecting some form of DNA evidence every time, or some other form of concrete evidence in which there is no way to get around it. This is an unreasonable standard in any court. Expecting everything to come with infallible evidence is usually quite rare, especially with all the crime that usually occurs.

I'll be with the first to say that this article can show how sometimes people turn things into real life games when they should not be. Always wanting a winning prosecutor or defendant record is not something one should be bragging about. If you can win all your cases, then something is obviously wrong with the legal system, or you are very good at getting clients who can be cleared.

For some odd reason, the "Chewbacca defense" came to mind as I typed that last part....

Milky_Fresh:

Bob_Bobbington:

Milky_Fresh:
3 reused articles this issue?

Well it is a 'best of'

Oh, haha. I didn't realise, hadn't looked at the email.

Of all their articles, why did they have to reuse this one though? It had me raging last time they put it up.

Yes, definitly a re-used article. However, this is a really interesting one. However, I already commented on every one of these, so I refrain from spoiling these ones with my illiterate text.

Straying Bullet:
Yes, definitly a re-used article. However, this is a really interesting one. However, I already commented on every one of these, so I refrain from spoiling these ones with my illiterate text.

Of course it's reused. It's a "Best Of" issue.

This was one of my favorites from recent weeks, though. Absolutely fascinating read.

I remember this from when it was first published, and I forgot to comment. As someone who has finished all five Ace Attorney games thus far, I found this an incredibly interesting article.

I just assumed that the trials always took place in Make-Believe-Land, and it's tough to fathom that Japanese law actually resembles the games. Seeing as how virtually all of the cases in the game are solved by random strokes of luck somewhere in there (somebody yelling "Hold It!" and presenting vital evidence or what have you), I can imagine the hopelessness of being a defendant in one of these cases.

Also...

sleepykid:

CKalvin:

Mate, I think you need to realise that media portrayals of the justice system in movies and TV shows hardly appropriate to real life settings, and the justice system is not the only case that this applies to.

Your last paragraph makes no sense to me. For one, why does man have to be inherently good or evil? Kind of a naive take on life don't you think? Two, "particularly if one has any experience with elementary school" has no meaning whatsoever. Are you talking about the rife bullying that happens in school? It's a learning process that almost everyone encounters, so it doesn't really measure up to a criminal activity like, say, murder.

And people should go to jail because of who they are? Sounds a lot like . . . .

Heh, thank you I realize that. I apologize if my attempts to make the description more flavorful indicated that I myself whole-heartedly believed in all of that. I just find it funny that if Japan's (as described) legal system were combined with the fictional crime dramas I'm familiar with, it'd become a heavenly utopia.

While I don't wanna hijack the topic with philosophy, as tends to happen on the Escapist, I meant that, as men, virtue must be taught. It comes from the outside, isn't "natural". What is natural is selfishness, pride, wrath, etc. That's why I mentioned elementary school, as that's when you see how man, before he can be too meddled with by authority or civilization, is rarely right with his fellow man. Or at least that's been my and many others' pervasive experience. I can hardly imagine a society where, from birth, a person was inclined to be generous, loving, just, humble, etc., all for their own sake.

And I'm curious, who -does- that sound a lot like? Or did you wanna refrain from Godwin's Law?

Haha but I love philosophical bantering! The Escapist is one of the few places where literate people can come together and discuss anything without someone saying LOLROFLFAGQQNOOB every minute. The other is when I'm drunk and in the mood for enlightenment hehe.

ANYWAY, I actually agree with you here. Man isn't a noble savage as depicted everywhere. To quote Kubrick who puts it quite succintly, "the opening sentence of Rousseau's Emile: 'Nature made me happy and good, and if I am otherwise, it is society's fault.' is based on two misconceptions: that man in his natural state was happy and good, and that primal man had no society... Rousseau's romantic fallacy that it is society which corrupts man, not man who corrupts society, places a flattering gauze between ourselves and reality"

But that's not an argument for correction. If man is naturally inclined towards selfishness, society shouldn't force it upon him to become virtuous and an upstanding citizen. Wanting perfect citizens leads to totalitarian societies and that's never a good idea.

Not to pile on sleepykid, but I'm Brazilian, and I remember reading some time ago that a Brazilian man, who suffered from mild mental retardation, was arrested and accused of murdering some children whose corpses the police had found, and because he didn't ask for a lawyer, the police just badgered on him for hours (over twelve hours if I remember correctly, details are fuzzy) until he confessed. Maybe you think that if you, A Upstanding Citizen, were ever wrongly accused, the police would simply ask you some nice questions and then immediately realize their errors and apologetically allow you to go free. I say, don't hold you breath.

I do think US law, like Brazilian law, gives to much leeway to criminals, but my criticism falls mostly on how they're jailed rather than how they're arrested.

The Random One:
Not to pile on sleepykid, but I'm Brazilian, and I remember reading some time ago that a Brazilian man, who suffered from mild mental retardation, was arrested and accused of murdering some children whose corpses the police had found, and because he didn't ask for a lawyer, the police just badgered on him for hours (over twelve hours if I remember correctly, details are fuzzy) until he confessed. Maybe you think that if you, A Upstanding Citizen, were ever wrongly accused, the police would simply ask you some nice questions and then immediately realize their errors and apologetically allow you to go free. I say, don't hold you breath.

I do think US law, like Brazilian law, gives to much leeway to criminals, but my criticism falls mostly on how they're jailed rather than how they're arrested.

That sounds strikingly familiar to a case somewhere in the US. Instead of murder, I believe it was battery, unlawful entry, and rape. Everything else sounds about the same.

very interesting article thanks for showcasing it on your best of issue.

These miscarriages of justice are what you expect in countries that doesn't conform to popular modern thinking. I don't really like to name names here, but military dictatorships and countries run by other systems of government than democracy would seem to be candidates here. I wouldn't have expected this to have happened in Japan, in all honesty.

I love the way that the video games industry is using this game to point out a thorny issue, that most western people are completely oblivious to - it is a very cunning ploy and a great use of symbolism. Does it mean that anything will happen to improve the lives of those currently tangled in the judicial system at present? Probably not, but they do need major reforms to a very corrupt system of legal procedure that seems too over burdened to continue in any sort of effective manner.

I was always a little disappointed with the localization efforts for this game. The game is, at it's core, so referenced to Japanese culture that it really seems weird to try to re-write it to act like the location is California instead. I guess it makes it more palatable (and pronounceable) to a western audience but I could never shake the feelings that the localization of it in that effect were rather "off".

Interesting article on the whole thing though. Glad I haven't had any run ins with the law here while I've been in Japan. Sounds like the reality of the Japanese court system that these games are parodying is pretty rough.

Also, to the guy who mentioned it before. Yeah, I think it IS good to have criminals walk the street if their guilt can't be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. I'd much rather have a few criminals walk free from their crimes rather than have a situation where innocent people can be convicted and have their whole lives wrenched away from them just because there is ample "suspicion". Don't think I don't dislike the idea of people walking free and possibly committing crimes again, but if they're that much of a criminal (even if they get away from the law once) they're likely to eventually be pinned down for something.

Never knew this about Japan. It's very interesting and will influence my vacation choices.
I agree with Yennick, absolutely. If you can't be proven a criminal, then you aren't a criminal. Presumed innocence is an important characteristic in a free state. If you're presumed guilty, it's very hard to question disappearances. With presumed innocence, you can have things like Habeaus Corpus.

If someone may be guilty, well, let them get caught. It encourages good police work to know that you have to PROVE wrongdoing.

Holy cow. I had no idea how messed up the Japanese court system was.

I have ten times more respect for Phoenix Wright now. And that's saying a lot!

I knew about the Japanese Legal system but what I found weird was the introduction of a Jury being so hammered on.

We don't have Juries here and I'm happy for it, the thing we have though is a more even-handed law system, it takes ages to get anything as is the case everywhere. But prosecutors aren't as highly regarded and have no such control over the police as in Japan.

9/10 times a jury member is an unwilling participant and undereducated on the subject of crime. Go watch 12 angry men to show you just how divided a single jury can be about the subject because of personal reasons.

Heck go see it just cause it's a great movie.

Point is that I don't trust juries. They are often highly influence by rumours because after all they are just common citizens. In fact in Belgium during 2 high stake cases traditional juries were abolished and the law about how juries were selected was amended because of the cases in question being so widely speculated on by the public and media.

Instead we have a judge make a decision or in higher (non-civil/capital/corporate law) cases there are multiple judges to make a decision.

I much prefer this over Beer Cap Joe deciding my fate according to the article he read in the fucking tabloids.

Interesting read, I had to stop myself and listen to the PW soundtrack, mainly Announce the Truth!

sleepykid:

mattaui:

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that anyone that is using Law and Order as their basis for their opinion of the American legal system would be so off-base. The reason defendants ask for their attorneys is that you've got a right to one here, and that's a very cherished right. There might be a number of things we could tighten up about the way our legal process works, but I'm not sure I've heard anyone actually advocate preventing the accused from having access to counsel.

However, that pales far and away to your last paragraph, about people going to jail because of who they are, and not for what they did. Do you really think that? You'd put someone in jail just because -you think- they're an undesirable? Is that a policy we should have, locking people up we don't like just, you know, because?

And how did you come to the conclusion that the wrongly accused are few and far between?

You misunderstand. I never said this was an expert critique, nor even one I held. I'm merely discussing the feelings produced by each system, or at least the system as relayed via the media. In the one you have the civil rights-celebrating US and the clash that makes (all it does is coddle criminals), and the "guilty till proven innocent" thing in Japan (all it does is bully citizens). For instance, I never said I wanted to waive the right to counsel. But here it can seem as though the much-cherished civil rights were made solely to put up roadblocks between crime and punishment. You attribute too much to my person.

As to the jailing, maybe some context would clarify. If you had strong and well-founded suspicions, but not hard proof that someone committed a crime, which would be better? Letting a highly probable criminal run free, or convicting him anyway because even if he didn't do it (and that's a large "if"), he's probably an asshole besides. Cynicism opts for the latter.

You might think that the media poisons what could be an otherwise sensible view on the matter, but I think it's more reflective on my culture's (however localized and small) dissatisfaction with the equal treatment of both just and unjust, particularly when skepticism regarding the average person's integrity puts most of the accused squarely into the "unjust" category. And it's hardly a surprising view when taking into account how OJ is felt to be a more grievous wrongdoing than, say, McCarthyism.

I've got to agree with you sleepykid. Most criminals get light plea bargains in America because prosecutors know that even with overwhelming evidence we have a bunch of incompetent nobodies on the Jury who may have their own reason for just giving a Not Guilty verdict.

The basic thought is this: 13 hours in a room with basic to light "torture" wouldn't convince anyone who is innocent to confess to the murder of a child, especially if they knew it would lead directly to conviction. Most people arrested even in America are probably involved in the crime somehow. Let 'em rot in jail.

 

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