Reality and Fiction: the True View 1 Reality and Fiction: the True View Americans rely a great deal on their entertainment to educate them about life. In many ways Americans live vicariously through the experiences of fictional characters and believe themselves to learn many things from fictional characters. For example, many persons have said they learned CPR by watching medical shows on television or believe they can assist in a medical emergency because they have seen “experts” on television handle similar situations. This same belief extends to Americans’ knowledge about the law and the judicial system of the nation. There are many things that fictional accounts of lawyers, judges, and courts confuse or create simply to meet the needs of the fiction or make a specific point. Because the intricacies of the legal profession are not well known or explained in school or by the media, unfortunately, people often only have fictional accounts of the law to educate them. The result, unfortunately, is that the majority of Americans have incorrect beliefs of the law, judges, courts, and the persons that interact with them. One of the main differences between fictional portrayals of the court process and real court processes is how the trial is portrayed. In reality, trials are long, boring procedures where attorneys debate, present evidence, and ask questions that have legal value for the judge or jury to arrive at a decision (CA). Many things are said and many witnesses may be brought in to make statements (CA). Only rarely in that process will anything exciting happen. If one were to believe the portrayal of the trial sequence, however, seems as if every minute is interesting or exciting. Trials presented in movies such as My Cousin Vinny or To Kill a Mockingbird, although one is a comedy and one a drama, represent trials as a place where shocking facts are discovered and quick thinking attorneys make major differences in trial outcomes. Perry Mason and...
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