Opinion

What the legal system can learn from CSGO

In CSGO, when someone is suspected of cheating they are put into “Overwatch” which is a system that lets other players review their demo and vote to ban them.

In Overwatch, experienced players watch a “demo” or a replay of the suspected cheater playing and they can then mark down whether they think the suspect used wall hacks, was killing their own team mates or used aim assistance.

When the player watches the demo, all identifying information has been removed.

When you are playing CSGO, you have a custom username but when reviewing a demo all that information has been removed.

If you are reviewing a demo, the suspect’s username simply reads “The Suspect”.

This prevents bias from effecting the decision to indict someone of cheating or not.

Suppose the suspect had a username that showed they support or did not support a certain sports team, politician or controversial topic.

The person deciding if they cheated or not may be bias in support of them or against them based on their views.

By stripping away all the irrelevant information and just focusing on The Suspect’s gameplay, the user is able to judge them without bias.

Bias can heavily affect a person’s decision making. While that may not be the end of the world in the a video game, it becomes much more serious in the legal system.

What if the amount of time you spent in jail was determined largely by how hungry a judge felt before he sentenced you? According to Scientific American, judges give harsher sentences before lunch time (when they are more hungry).

If something as simple as how hungry a judge feels can impact sentencing imagine the other details that could potentially effect judgement. Hundreds of details about the way a defendant looks or sounds could effect the way they are perceived in the same way that a controversial username could affect the way a CSGO suspect is treated in an overwatch case.

What if there was a way to remove the personal details of real life defendants that have no impact on a case.

In CSGO this is easy as it is a simple technical feat- you just change the suspects username to “The Suspect” during the “trial”.

This would be harder in real life. Could the defendant be kept behind a one way screen during the trail so that the judge and the jury cannot see them?

If the judge and the jury never sees what a defendant looks or sounds like, they will be more free to judge them purely on the facts and evidence presented by both sides.

Some may argue that the jury will want to see the defendant on the stands so they can look at them and see how genuine they appear.

But deciding if someone is guilty should not be determined on a “gut feeling” about how genuine they appear. Some innocent people behave in a nervous manner so it is not a valid reason to convict someone. A conviction should purely be the result of the evidence showing that there is a beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty.

By never seeing a suspect, a judge and jury would be in a better position to objectively adjudicate the case.

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