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Does Money Matter in the US Criminal Law System?

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The US criminal law system was created the best intentions at heart: to protect the innocent and to punish those that were guilty of committing crimes.  The point was to keep the country running smoothly and for the court system to remain unprejudiced towards any accused or other parties entered into the system.  Today, however, it seems apt to ask whether monetary standing of any one person or corporation actually makes a difference in the American criminal law system. 

Why ask the question?  Too often it looks as if criminals are getting off the hook for crimes they have committed, be it murder or assault, rape or money laundering, because they have the cash to hire on great lawyers or their businesses have such a high standing in the community or the country on the whole.  Although for most of us in small claims court, hiring a high priced lawyer should really make no difference whatsoever in the outcome of the case so long as we have done our homework on the attorney and trust him or her to take the case, larger crimes are often different. 

If you are being taken to court over something like business tax evasion, and your company is quite large and takes in a lot of money each year, then you will probably need to think more carefully about how you proceed with the case.  This is not to say that a small-time lawyer would not be efficient and clearly apt to the situation, but depending on your plea and your stance on the case, a big-time lawyer may well suit you better.  Consider a businessman with everything to lose who has actually done wrong with his taxes and is now facing a court date.  If he wants to keep his business running exactly as it was, and to plead innocent in the accusation then there is clearly a certain pool of lawyer that he should be choosing from; namely, those not against evading certain questions to get their clients off the hook. 

Normally speaking, the lower-paid attorneys and certainly those provided by the court if you have no recourse to representation will be concerned with clear evidence and not with the insidious requests of their clients.  If you want to sidestep justice, you seem to have to pay dearly for it – in this respect, money matters in the US criminal law system because it pays for the lawyers willing to do anything to win, whether or not that means justice has been served. 

Although the criminal law system maintains that money has no influence over the proceedings of a court case, like all things there are ways out of the right way and if you have the money to pay, you are better off.  This may also be the case if your business can pull strings with the judge or jury, however neither of them would ever admit to as much and technically the criminal law system forbids anyone with an interest in the case to preside.  Nevertheless, these things do happen.  

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