George F. Will's column on the Central Park Five takes the predictable, parochial path regarding the legal system and five young black/brown males ("Central Park Five, Travesty of Justice," April 15). But a meta approach is needed; it is not the workings of the system, but the system itself that is outmoded and medieval.
Scholar Michael Lind wrote in the aftermath of the O.J. Simpson fiasco that the problem is the outdated, backward adversarial system we foolishly deify. When you have a system where both parties have a vested interest in distortion, half-truths and lies to win the case; where experts paid by each party say what their respective party wants; where rank, untrained amateurs called jurors are called on to make everything from social policy to life-death decisions with little background training in the wiles of the legal system; and where winning is all that matters, you will get travesties like the Central Park Five.
France abolished juries in 1941. Witnesses rarely testify and the system is inquisitorial -- and no one in France complains that they should adopt our bloated, inefficient, byzantine legal system about which volumes of criticism have been written.
To avoid travesties like the Central Park Five, our outmoded system needs to be overhauled to resemble the dispassionate form of inquiry of the hard sciences, where the search for truth (as demonstrated by the discovery of the Higgs boson) is paramount, not winning your case or making sure the other side loses.
It is the medieval byzantine system itself that is the problem; it wasn't handed down from God, and it needs to be overhauled top to bottom. Mr. Will's critique, while correct, is too parochial: The adversarial system produces a result, not anything close to the "truth."