What are the pros and cons of the assembly line justice?

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"Assembly line justice" is a colloquial term used to describe a patterned, or template, approach to criminal cases. Each case is prosecuted, judged, and punished in a similar manner regardless of the individual circumstances or complexities of the matter at hand.

Despite the ominous sound of the term "assembly line justice," such an approach is useful in guaranteeing the equal application of the law to all persons, regardless of their circumstances. Equal protection being a cornerstone of the modern, liberal democracy, "assembly line justice" may be analogous to "blind justice," a jurisprudential ideal.

On the other hand, however, the real world application of "assembly line justice" may not be in the equal application of the law to all persons but in the equal application of the law to all persons of a certain class, such as the poor. By not allowing for consideration of the unique factors and circumstances of every criminal case, "assembly line justice" risks becoming a draconian type of enforcement mechanism.

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The only real pro for assembly line justice is the fact that it does not cost as much or take up as much time as "true" justice might.  This means that society can have some measure of justice without having to pay too high a price.

The cons are more apparent.  Assembly line justice, one can argue, denies true justice to many defendants.  It treats defendants as if they are guilty and disposes of them as quickly as possible rather than giving them the same kind of chance to defend themselves that people get when they are able to afford their own attorneys who will ensure that they get a full trial.

So, assembly line justice represents a trade off in which society gives up protections for the accused in order to get more efficiency and in order to pay less for its system of justice.

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