I have just finished reading the the book 'Injustice' by the British author Clive Stafford Smith. The bi-line has it that the book deals with "Life and Death in the Courtrooms of America". It centres on his campaign as a 'crusading lawyer' to free British businessman man Kris Maharaj, arrested for the brutal murder of two ex-business associates in Miami, and defended by a less than adequate lawyer with the result that he was found guilty and sentenced to death in the electric chair.
The book details a whole raft of evidence that was either tainted by the prosecution or not presented in court (nor revealed to the Defence) because it would have cast doubt on the Prosecution case. The author also highlights major issues around the sentencing procedure.
The death sentence was quashed on Appeal but Maharaj remains in prison.
But the bit that got me was his thesis that the Democrats themselves in the influence they exert over the American justice system (and wider) differ only slightly from Republicans. That distance colours perspective. He argues that President Obama doubtless believes himself to be far to the left of George Bush Jr and that from where he sits he probably is. However from the vantage point of Europeans he is seen as very closely aligned (with the Republicans) as are all Democrats.
He points to a study where he reviewed the voting patterns of Margaret Thatcher as contrasted to Teddy Kennedy on the principle that she was vocally on the right wing of the Conservative Party while he was deemed to be the most liberal member of the Senate. The study showed that Kennedy's votes were consistently less moderate than Thatcher's. He made the point that, for the most part, American politics begins at the right wing of the Conservative Party and that, with limited exceptions, American political discourse is all to the right of all European debate.