The Moving Parts of Justice

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The Moving Parts of Justice

Dec 13, 2018

Brandon Harper

While in the process of making a film, a production in swing often has an innumerable number of moving parts, all happening concurrently. This is an incredible feat to see, as teamwork exudes and critical thinking and problem solving must be used to tackle adversity. So, what would happen if you removed the Director from set on the day to shoot? Consequently, nothing would get done because the authority and plan to perform it, is now gone. I draw this comparison as a means to highlight the importance of a leader in these productive environments, as one who exudes strong confidence and character while executing their objective. Such leadership is evident in judges, in their own, imperturbable temperament.

I find in modern day America, a problematic component of our overall court and hearings process, is one of a disproportionate understaffing and lack of qualified personnel. Given how much time it takes to build a civil or criminal case, I am convinced that a large amount of productivity and efficiency falls through the cracks due to this national understaffing of court personnel, who simply do not contain the resources to handle the quota of cases they are presented with. For an American in the judicial system, this personnel deficit, by default, diminishes one's due process, and especially so, their expressed right to a quick and speedy trial.

Our U.S. Constitution is a sacred, supreme law protecting established rules as well as the exertion of our freedoms to exercise the very rights that you and I are both performing at this very moment while reading and writing this. Paired with this is our Judicial branch, holding a third of the power in the collective whole that regulates power within the United States Government. I feel strongly that more judges, lawyers, law clerks and staff shall be employed to incur the processing of more cases in a timely manner.

A fundamental principle of Media Production at Pepperdine is inclusivity. As an educational institution, our university highly values learning how to adjust and react in demanding situations. Similarly regarded, a film production can most definitely be a scene of organized chaos, through inclusivity. On set, there are many different jobs to be had, the most notable being the Actors, and Producers, and Director. But just like an iceberg, what you see on screen, (the surface), is a much subsidized version of what went into making the movie, demonstrated by the mile long list of names in a film's credits, (the rest of the iceberg).

Although, it may be quite obvious that America's judicial system could benefit from an influx of existing staff positions, I also stand by the hopeful assertion that the opportunity of implementing new jobs within these legal fields has the tremendous ability to expedite and improve the overall functionality of the United States judicial system. From my own experience in the courtroom, I became rather anxious, watching dead time pass. More likely than anything, it is to be attributed to my restlessness and consistent energy, but at the same time, it also motivated me to search for path to improvement.

Similar to a film set's Production Assistant, I ponder the court's acceptance of the addition of an Assistant Judge, implemented to expedite the handling of court documents. In filmmaking, a Production Assistant is often grunt work, a true assistant that is applicable to the entirety of the production process. Whether that be retrieving food, equipment, or belongings for any cast and crew members ranking higher on the totem pole. However, on the contrary, I envision the Assistant Judge would act as an assistant to only the presiding judge of the court. This newly introduced Assistant Judge would strive to save time, initially allotted for the organization and presentation of physical documents or media.

Brandon Harper, a student in Jon Pfeiffer's Fall 2018 Media Law class at Pepperdine University, wrote the above essay in response to his visit to the Los Angeles Airport Courthouse.

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