Judicial review

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The following generic story happens in the United States.

A lawyer working for the federal government becomes a judge and hears a case in which a defendant behaves in accordance with a law as it is written but is then prosecuted for breaking that law. The defendant can lose merely because the judge misinterprets the law. This can happen even when there is a jury.

In this case, the defendant, if he has enough money, may appeal the decision in which case some other judges, also working for the federal government, hear the case. These judges can decide that the original decision stands.

The last legal recourse for the defendant so wronged is to apply to the Supreme Court for a write of certiorari. In many cases, the Supreme Court declines to hear the case, and sometimes they hear the case and affirm the decision.

In this way, the effective law is rewritten by the judges. This is the meaning of "judicial review." Criminal cases in the United States are required to be jury trials, but juries are generally instructed (erroneously, many argue) that they may not decide whether or not the law as it is applied is just. They are often told that the law they are to apply to the case is what the judge says rather than anything written in the law books. Members of juries often believe judges simply because the judges are perceived as authorities.

The tie between judicial review and the institution of government generates tyranny and injustice. Awareness of this problem is one of the main goals of CHOSE.