Stories are central to what lawyers do; yet, to the average member of the legal community, they exist only inconspicuously. In actuality, all cases start with a story. As lawyers do their work, that initial story grows and evolves. When judges enter the picture, the story is revised and, ultimately, the final chapter is written; then, the process begins again with an entirely different cast of characters. This Article advocates against impersonal, mechanized systems of justice that are built upon defendants, dockets, cases, quotas, formulas, and rapidity. This Article calls for the justice community to see cases in a highly personal way-to see cases as stories written about humans. This Article also calls for a developed consciousness when it comes to stories, for stories do so much more than just shape our understanding about an event. Stories justify our empathy or lack thereof. When this thinking is applied to the practice of law and the administration of justice, the old, formula-driven, fast-paced, impersonal system becomes unacceptable. This is so because there is a recognition that the stories are in fact the people who are embedded into the social landscape along with each of us. This new model requires a cognizance about the fact that docket numbers and cases involve actual humans-just like us-who just happen to dwell in a different place in our local, national, or global environment and whose truths, pains, and burdens are as real as ours. Doing this work will not be for naught. The advocated method of administering justice will lead to more meaningful judicial outcomes and will result in a more trusting public and a society that is not marred with social unrest.
Allen-Bell, Angela A.
"How The Narrative About Louisiana's Non-Unanimous Criminal Jury System Became a Person of Interest in the Case Against Justice in the Deep South,"
Mercer Law Review: Vol. 67:
3, Article 9.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.mercer.edu/jour_mlr/vol67/iss3/9