The New York Times today ran a story today called Broken Bench. Look no further than this article to find what a “justice system” without proper safeguards can bring.  The list of legal horrors includes (but, as they say "is not limited to"): defendants being denied their right to counsel, the equivalent of debtor’s prisons, unsworn and unrecorded testimony, racial and sexual bigotry, and it goes on and on…

Checks and balances; those are what a system that includes a proper defense provides for.

And yes, this is in the United States of America.