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Who is the customer in a court of law?
– by Ron Kaufman
What do we mean when we say “justice has been served”?
Our definition of service is taking action to create value, usually for a customer or a colleague. But in a court of law, many different people come together, each with different ideas of what constitutes “value”. When values conflict, not everyone will leave the court content.
Defendants value vigorous representation from the defense attorney, and a fair trial from the judge and the court.
Defense and Prosecuting Attorneys both value enough time to prepare a case, full access to information, and a fair assessment of innocence or guilt by the judge and jury.
Victims of Crime value compensation, restoration, rehabilitation, and sometimes retribution.
The Judge values orderly conduct of a trial, professional service from court administrators, police, and attorneys.
The Jury values an accurate presentation of the facts, persuasive arguments from both sides, clear instructions from the judge, and enough time to deliberate completely.
The Police and Regulatory Agencies value judgments to enforce the law, encouraging everyone to follow the law.
Court Administrators value the people, processes, procedures, and budget to conduct an efficient judiciary system.
The Media values access to up-to-date information, opinions, and outcomes.
And we the people, Society at Large, value a combination of all these that help build a civilization where laws and rules are upheld with predictability, clarity, and humanity.
So, who is the customer in a court of law? We all are. Our precious social practice of defending rights, prosecuting wrongs, and settling claims has evolved over generations, and will continue to evolve. For civilization is not static in nature, and as we grow together our laws will also change so that justice can be served.