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If you don't follow the criminal justice rules when you start off, you face a nontrivial chance that a judge will make rulings that result in acquittal (even of the guilty).

Absolutely. That however, is and always has been a risk of our system which requires preserving the rights of accused. For example, rules of evidence have to be followed or else that evidence cannot be used in court (usually). That's true even if the evidence provides conclusive proof of guilt. Undoubtedly, numerous guilty people have been released on technicalities like that one. However, as a society we accept that preserving our rights means occasionally guilty people go free. The solution is not to reduce or eliminate our rights. The solution is to work to reduce procedural errors, such that the guilty are punished and the innocent are protected. That goal means more work on our part as well as some risk, but is certainly worth striving for.

Some years ago, I spent an interesting evening reading the combat status review tribunals for GTMO detainees when they were released online. A couple things jumped out at me. One was that some of the detainees were arrested in obviously compromising circumstances, like holding a rocket launcher or something. But several of them seemed to be held only because of the brand of wrist watch they were wearing. And several reported initially being relieved when they found out they were being turned over to the Americans because they thought they finally thought they would get a chance to prove their innocence. Those CSRTs were very hard to read.
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