D. The Players

The adversary system of justice utilized in federal courts is designed to promote discovery of the truth. By vigorously representing the government’s interests, the prosecution will ensure that every effort is made to see to it that the guilty shall be punished for their transgressions. By vigorously defending the criminal defendant, defense counsel helps to ensure that no innocent person is convicted and that no person, be he guilty or not, is deprived of due process of law. The trial judge’s function is to make sure that in their zeal to pursue their own interests, neither side unfairly prejudices the ability of an impartial jury to discover the truth in a given case. He/she is governed in this function by established rules of evidence and procedures designed to make sure that only reliable information is presented as evidence before a jury. His/her function is also to instruct the jury on the law that governs the facts of the case. Finally, the trial jury, a 12 member body of the defendant’s community peers, must judge the evidence impartially and base its verdict solely on the evidence admitted in court and analyzed by the law given them in charge.  This system of counterpoise, adversarial in nature, is that which decides whether an individual charged with an offense against the United States will potentially lose his liberty or remain free from restraint.

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