Legal System

What’s the purpose of a criminal trial? We might naively say it’s to find out whether the defendant actually committed the crime he’s on trial for. But that’s obviously wrong. There are rules of evidence, which forbid the jury from hearing testimony obtained improperly, even if it might help them accurately determine the defendant’s innocence or guilt. The purpose of a court is not truth, but justice.

  • We have rules, the rules must be obeyed, and when we say that a defendant is “guilty” we mean, if we are careful about our words, not that he committed the crime he’s accused of, but that he was convicted fair and square according to those rules.