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Courtroom Fact Checkers

Litigate this
  [vote for,

Volunteers selected by an independent commission to sit in on court cases and fact check each participant's statements for the presiding judge or commissioner.
21 Quest, Mar 19 2021


       You already have this, in the person of the apposing councils & their teams, it's not like either one is going to let any blatant lies that damage their case slip by is it, pretty much defunct as an idea as a result.   

       [-] unless you can give some plausible reason why this adds value to the system.
Skewed, Mar 19 2021

       Opposing council is often an overworked, uncaring public defender who doesn't bother to show up half the time, let alone do a good job.
Voice, Mar 19 2021

       & this would be different how? & why?   

       Public funded the same as they so I see no plausible reason this would help.   

       Probably make it worse actually because the funds they get now would likely be split, you know that's how it would go eventually, yes I know he said volunteers, they'll still need funding though unless you expect them to use their own money on resources to do their fact checking with.
Skewed, Mar 19 2021

       It would largely negate or at least reduce the need for plaintiffs or defendants to hire attorneys. In Washington State they've already taken some steps to make things easier for pro se representation, such as changing court forms to "Plain Language" versions that are much easier to understand and fill out. Having someone who's neutral and has nothing to do in the courtroom BUT research factual claims being made AS they are being made would go a long way toward holding attorneys accountable for trying to take advantage of an ignorant defendant with lies they know the defendant isn't educated enough to call them out on.
21 Quest, Mar 19 2021

       OK, persuasive enough for me to cancel my [-], not persuasive enough to get a [+] though.
Skewed, Mar 19 2021

       I'll take it!
21 Quest, Mar 19 2021

       How do they check these facts?
calum, Mar 19 2021

       //How do they check these facts?// Let's say you're on trial for murder. The prosecution stand up and say you murdered someone. You then say you didn't. At this point, if in fact you did murder this person, the fact-checker will stand up and say "Actually, [calum] did commit this murder", and then sit down. Simple. Oh, wait, that didn't answer your question.
hippo, Mar 19 2021

       //How do they check these facts?//   

       The only plausible way I can think of to do it in real time (& it will be in real time) is internet searches (& as the internet can't really be trusted all the time, especially if the prosecutor or defence team play dirty & deploy agents to edit Wikipedia pages & otherwise game the system) coupled with the standard who wants to be a millionaire cheat method .. bluetoothed to a buddy in a good sized library ready to go look things up.   

       More than one buddy if you want it to work fast.   

       You'll also most likely want a string of specialist experts in fields appropriate to the case available so the fact checker can ask a friend, & it's doubtful they'll come free.   

       I cant see it being cheap.   

       If it's cheap it won't be any good.   

       You can have cheap or you can have good.   

       Pick one.
Skewed, Mar 19 2021

       You could issue press buttons to the jury & public gallery for an ask the audience option as well.
Skewed, Mar 19 2021

       //bluetoothed to a buddy in a good sized library// - it might be a challenge building libraries within bluetooth range (10 metres) of all courtrooms, but not impossible, given sufficient funds.
hippo, Mar 19 2021

       //might be a challenge building libraries within bluetooth range (10 metres) of all courtrooms//   


       You know what I meant ;p   

       Your Bluetooth connects to your mobile which connects to your buddies mobile which connects to their Bluetooth.   

       Leaving your hands free for internet searches & theirs free for flipping through books.   

       I think extant mobile phone mast coverage probably suffices.   

       [Raises an eyebrow]   

       Don't you?
Skewed, Mar 19 2021

       I guess I was thinking more of factual claims of a non- legal character. Judges are usually sufficiently versed in relevant case law, but lawyers often make false claims about timelines and statements made by the other party.   

       Prosecutor: "When the defendant said 'I did this!' what else could he have possibly meant' your Honor?"   

       Fact checker: "Your Honor, he didn't say that, I'm looking at the transcript right now as the scribe is typing it and he never said it".   

       So I guess sort of an observational fact checker?
21 Quest, Mar 19 2021

       Ah, OK, differed sort of facts entirely to what I was thinking, more like instant-action replay for referee decisions in football.
Skewed, Mar 19 2021

       Right, or if they misquote things like crime statistics which are easily searchable on the internet.
21 Quest, Mar 19 2021

       They could put up the top ten pertinent facts/reasonings, two colours, on a gigantic OLED courtroom leader board. A trial duration reminder to both lawyers but mainly the jury.   

       Maybe three colours.
wjt, Mar 20 2021

       PREAMBLE: In my life, I have been in a court room exactly once (during my post-grad training) and a court-house twice. I have never set foot in an American court house, though I have seen My Cousin Vinny twice and usually refer to young people as "yoots" when I see them out and about. This preamble is intended to serve as a clear disclaimer about this being an appeal to my, uh, professional expertise when I say the following:   

       I am a lawyer and I don't get this idea. There are two things I don't get:
First, what facts are being checked? Is it inconsistencies within testimony or evidence? Is it just factual inaccuracies? Both? Because depending on the answers to this, I have more to say (sorry).
Second, what function is being carried out here that would not - in the proper operation of a courtroom - be carried out by (a) the opposing lawyer, (b) the judge or (c) the jury? Each of these three have role to play in managing and assessing the integrity of the evidence. If they cannot do that, then how is an equally human (and potentially more straightforwardly corruptible) individual going to be either better at this than (a), (b) and (c)? How are they not going to be susceptible to the same lapses in attention or difficulty in following what's going on?

       I don't mean to swoop out of my mahogany office, robes flying, and wig askew to shit on this idea, I just don't understand how it would work. It feels like adding another layer with the same inherent problems to solve the problems of the lower layers.
calum, Mar 20 2021

       I keep reading this as Courtroom Fat Checkers which makes me laugh +
xenzag, Mar 20 2021

       We design systems knowing parts may fail. This is a fail-safe. Just like you add a safety margin when you build.
Voice, Mar 20 2021

       Calum, think of it as sort of an impartial judge's aid who helps the judge in determining the veracity of both parties' statements. Sort of a leveller who helps even the playing field for a plaintiff or defendant who might not have been able to afford as expensive and oily an attorney as the other guy.
21 Quest, Mar 20 2021

       I don't think this is the court's job (or an independent commission acting for the court). It should be the job of the prosecution or defense to point out inaccurate facts.   

       I might even go so far as to say that the accuracy of facts is not germane to the cases before the court (unless the lawyers say it is, in which case see previous paragraph).
tatterdemalion, Mar 20 2021

       I think what this idea is suggesting is an inquisitorial system of justice like they have in France, in contrast to the adversarial system used in the UK and USA
hippo, Mar 20 2021

       Hippo, could you elaborate on the French system? I've never heard of it.
21 Quest, Mar 20 2021

       Maybe, The Judges should be stating their thoughts, via a reasoning leader board, in jury language, as the trial unfolds. Lawyers had the the judge dynamic before but this would link the judge and the jury more effectively.   

       Soften the adversarial and lean towards trying to find the crux of the case. The goal is a better society right?
wjt, Mar 21 2021


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