I have recently noticed a failed case of peer review at The Astrophysical Journal (ApJ). It is a solid journal in which researchers of astrophysics can present good science without worrying about the topic being fashionable (as opposed to, e.g., Nature and Science). The peer-reviewed paper in question was published in ApJ but retracted by the journal within a week after it was reported as a case of plagiarism.
However, the issue I'd like to raise is not about plagiarism but about the review process of the journal. In the aforementioned paper, there are obvious technical errors that do not even pass a basic sanity check. I believe that had it been properly reviewed, the paper could in no way have been accepted in the first place, plagiarized or not.
(For more information, see my comment on Jeffrey Beall's blog post about the incidence of plagiarism. Moreover, my Astronomy SE post contains some technical details. The latter was posed as a question but I'm now sure that my suspiscion---that there are blatant errors in the paper---is well-founded. I had at first shied away from the obvious conclusion just because I have no expertise in astrophysics.)
It is disturbing that the acceptance rate of the journal is very high (between 85--90%) while only a single referee participates in the review process. (ApJ seeks an additional opinion only if the acceptance decision cannot be made without one.) As the low quality of the retracted paper demonstrates, any such a single-reviewer model falls apart when a referee hastily signs off the paper.
This incident seems to show the poor review process of ApJ. Could this be justified simply on the grounds that no better practice is available in the field? Or is this worrysome even after acknowledging that academic customs greatly vary across different fields?