Blind justice (concept)

Blind justice (concept)

Blind Justice is the theory that law should be viewed objectively. That means that determination of innocence or guilt should be made without bias or prejudice. It is the idea behind the United States Supreme Court motto “Equal Justice Under Law”. However, it has not always been indicative of fairness. Blind Justice is by nature an antilogy.

In ancient times an administrator would hear a charge and dispense the law as written. The Hammurabi code is probably the oldest and most famous example of what was called lex talionis, or an eye for an eye. The accused would literally sit behind a blind and an official would declare a pre-determined punishment without influence of opinion on the individual. Neither would that official have knowledge of the details of the alleged crime. The presumption of guilt was automatic. Punishment was often draconian and unavoidable.

Justice that is blind to both circumstance and status can have an oppressive effect. It is therefore prudent for a jurist to be both judge and mitigator of circumstance. It is commonly agreed in modern times that status of the accused should not be considered. In this way justice becomes pragmatic, progressive and liberal.

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