Dean A. Strang


Imagine how our system of criminal justice might look different if one value ascended in the system's hierarchy of values: humility. Day to day, in my work, I do not see much humility among police officers, defense lawyers, prosecutors, probation agents, and judges. This is noteworthy, given how unavoidability uncertain--or at least contestable or close--many of the outcomes in our trial and appellate courts are to an objective eye. Even when the basic facts on guilt are fairly certain, the right sentence often is not. I propose that humility is an essential value that, properly understood, is tied to liberty; and because humility is tied to liberty, it should be intrinsic to our conception of justice.