As a practicing attorney I must respond to your tale of your friend Stokes (Old Dogs and Hard Time). First, the vast majority of lawyers and judges in this country are just as appalled at the hijacking of our system of "justice" as are you and your readers. Stories like that of Mr. Stokes are now just every day occurrences in courts all over the country.
The cause of this is the legislature. During the 30 years of my practice, Congress and the state legislatures have propounded the largest, most mind numbing plethora of rules and regulations with such draconian penalties that practically everyone is risking their freedom for violation of something or other all the time.