Crime stories: posnerian pragmatism, Rawlsian pure procedural justice, and the fictional problem
journal contributionposted on 2004-01-01, 00:00 authored by John MorssJohn Morss
There are many different ways in which law and truth may be said to be related. It is perhaps in the criminal trial that connections between them are of most significance. An orthodox way of describing a criminal trial is that the criminal procedure is seeking to establish the truth concerning some past event, and that success of the procedure is measured by how close its outcome converges with that truth. Criminal justice presents the community with challenging dilemmas in this regard, such as those arising from the notion of double jeopardy. This paper discusses the Rawlsian notions of 'imperfect', 'perfect' and 'pure' procedural justice, and suggests against Rawls that it is pure procedural justice that best represents what we want from a criminal justice system. Good procedure makes good criminal law. A comparison is made with the writings of Habermas and Posner, and given that pure procedural justice eschews transcendental truths, some brief comments are made on the convergence of that position with the realm of the fictional.