Criminal Justice System

Abstract

The Criminal Justice System in the country has been facing criticism due to acts of discrimination that can be attributed to it. There have been concerns that racial, age, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic classes have made many people fall, victims of discrimination and biasness, with their cases taking longer to be resolved, denial of bails or high bails, and serving loner jail terms than their white counterparts. The essay is divided into four parts, where each part examines different aspects that are associated with the criminal justice system. They include the form of biasness that might be found in these systems, the reforms that can be put in place to ensure that no one is privileged in such system as every person would be treated as one, the differences between Adversarial and Inquisitorial justice systems and lastly discuss some aspects associated with why lawyers would defend their clients even if they know that the client is a criminal.

Criminal Justice System

Question 1

            Several theories can be used to address the issues of discrimination in the American Justice System. The two theories that will be looked at a glance are; intentional, explicit discrimination, and subtle, automatic discrimination.

Intentional, Explicit Discrimination

            This was a theory that was proposed in 1954 by Gordon Allport and articulated the crucial steps that are utilized by individuals who are targeting discrimination on a person from another race (Blank, Dabady, & Citro, 2004). These steps include verbal antagonism, which can be described as disparaging racial utterance, either in the presence of the target person or not (Blank, Dabady, & Citro, 2004). These comments can be a target of hostility. While combined with nonverbal antagonism, they can create a hostile environment in the workplace or any other place. Other crucial steps include avoidance, segregation, extermination, and even physical attacks. Avoidance involves a situation where one sees comfort in their own in-group or the same race against interacting with people from another race or out-group. In the basis of discretionary contact, people from disadvantaged racial groups tend to be isolated. They can also be forced in lower ranks at work; their careers be undermined or worse, they can be excluded from their formal job. At a glance, for example, avoidance might seem like harmless conduct in any means. Still, when it is cumulated across different situations, it can lead to long term segregation and exclusion.

Subtle, Automatic Discrimination

            Some people hold prejudicial attitudes, even when national consensus that acts against discrimination bases racial hostility as abhorrent. Persistence of this kind of approach would result in an unconscious and subtle form of discrimination in places (Banks, 2013). Subtle prejudice can be analyzed psychologically as the situation where unconscious associations and beliefs can affect the attitude of one race towards another (Blank, Dabady, & Citro, 2004). For example, members of one in-group like whites or Hispanics against members of the outside group like the blacks or another disadvantaged group. There are several forms of subtle discrimination that can be found within the criminal justice system. They include automatic, indirect, ambivalent, and ambiguous. Indirect can be explained as a situation where members of the inner group blame members of the out-group (Hellman, 2018).

            Subtle prejudice can also be automatic and unconscious. For example, when in-group members can unconsciously categorize out-group members based on their racial profile, age, or gender. Their reaction can also include anxiety responses and primitive fears and adverse stereotyping responses and associations.  In a justice system, the main effect of subtle discrimination is the fact that it appears to favor the in-group more than the out-group. In most cases, such prejudice can be seen as ambiguous and not unambiguous. This means that discrimination can indicate a great liking from the majority of the people rather than the disliking of the minority (Blank, Dabady, & Citro, 2004).

Question 2

            Some reforms can be put in the bail system that can significantly reduce the discrimination process in the order. Some of these reforms would include advocating against such a system both at the federal, state, and even city level. There is the need to amend changes for defendants that awaits trials as many lose their property before even the trial period (Banks, 2013). For example, it is highly undeniable that the current bail system in most states is discriminatory to the poor, where it leaves the poor in a state of financial anguish but has. At the same time, wealthier and possibly even dangerous counterparts roam freely. In research conducted in 2009, it showed that many of the felony defendants remained in jail simply because they were unable to post their bails (HERRING, 2016). Many cities have, in recent past, began implementing the risk-based alternatives to bail systems. For example, in New Mexico, voters saw it necessary for bar judges not to detain low-risk arrestees who are not able to post bail if they pose little danger to the society (HERRING, 2016).

 It would also be pertinent to come up with a solution that undermines discrimination in the bail system both when starting a case and in later stages as the discrimination can even happen in such stages. Blacks are likely imprisoned for drug trafficking are likely to serve jail time like whites who have been imprisoned for violent conduct and can serve a longer-term if found guilty of violent behavior. A study suggests that black Americans are jailed around ten times more than their whites’ counterparts on drug dealing (Abrams & Sherman, 2018). In short, racial minorities and disadvantaged are jailed ten times more than the whites who have conducted the same crime. The system is also biased against the poor (Abrams & Sherman, 2018). The poor, homeless, and lower social, economic classes face increased risks of harassment, search, and arrest. 

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Question 3

            Adversarial Justice System-this is a form of a legal system where two advocates can represent their part’s case before an impartial group of people, like a judge or a jury, who will continue the trial to ascertain the truth and pass the judgment consequently (Spencer, 2016). On the other hand, the inquisitorial justice system is a legal system where a part of a court or a court is the one that is actively being involved in determining the details of a case (Banks, 2013). This is the main difference between the two systems in that the adversarial system reduces the work of the court to just acting as an impartial referee between the defense and the prosecution (Perkins, 2015). Another significant difference between the two is that in the adversarial system, the previous decision that might have been passed by the high court may act as a precedent and would bind the lower courts. In contrast, in inquisitorial order, they work and tend to be free to make their own decisions on a case-to-case basis (Perkins, 2015).

            Inquisitorial justice system examines all evidence available to make a sound judgment, exempts nobody, the system does not treat anybody in a particular manner, every person gets to know the truth, and the system asks questions to every person and verifies whether the pieces of evidence are genuine and with equal vigor. On the other hand, the adversarial justice system entails a situation where each lawyer will do their best to defend their client. Through defense, they find any loophole in the order that would enable their client to escape. It uses arcane technicalities, and the prosecution tries to block these loopholes (Perkins, 2015). The law treats both prosecution and defense equally, i.e., each side gets equal access to witnesses, evidence, etc.

Question 4

            The main work of lawyers and defense attorneys is to make sure their clients are not in jail for whatever reason or mistakes they committed. They are ethically bound to defend all clients, both innocents and the guilt. In many instances, the duty of the judge and the citizens should be to decide whether the person is guilty or not and not the police. As such, there is a need to have an established (The Morales Law Firms, 2013). The work of the defense attorney is to ensure that his or her client is well protected and versed with the proceedings of the court and possibly get bail or roam free even if guilty. 

            Another reason that we can view this is that many lawyers or defense attorneys is never versed as to whether the defendant is guilty or not of the crimes they are being accused of. Just because it was reported that the defendant did it does not mean it is true (Banks, 2013). Defendants might be lying or might be guilty of a different and lesser crime than the one they are being prosecuted for (The Morales Law Firms, 2013).

 Lastly, the main difference and the key one is legal guilt or what the prosecutor can prove and the factual guilt what the defendant did (The Morales Law Firms, 2013). For example, a good lawyer would not ask, “what did my client do?” but instead would ask, “What is the government capable of proving?” Until the prosecutor finds enough evidence to convince the jury or the judge, the defendant is not guilty of any crimes that might be attributed towards him or her.

References

Abrams, L., & Sherman, J. (2018, August 17). The Bail System Is Racist and Unjust. It Needs to Be Reformed. Retrieved February 21, 2020, from Real Clear Policy: https://www.realclearpolicy.com/articles/2018/08/17/the_bail_system_is_racist_and_unjust_it_needs_to_be_reformed_110764.html

Blank, R. M., Dabady, M., & Citro, C. F. (2004). MEASURING RACIAL DISCRIMINATION. Washington DC: THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS.

Hellman, D. (2018). Indirect discrimination and the duty to avoid compounding injustice. Foundations of Indirect Discrimination Law, 2017-53.

HERRING, A.-L. (2016, December 17). States And Cities Take Steps To Reform ‘Dishonest’ Bail System. Retrieved February 18, 2020, from npr.com: https://www.npr.org/2016/12/17/505852280/states-and-cities-take-steps-to-reform-dishonest-bail-system

Perkins, A. (2015, October 01). DIFFERENCES BETWEEN AN ADVERSARIAL AND AN INQUISITORIAL LEGAL SYSTEM. Retrieved February 18, 2020, from ashfords.com: https://www.ashfords.co.uk/news-and-media/general/differences-between-an-adversarial-and-an-inquisitorial-legal-system

Spencer, J. R. (2016). Adversarial vs inquisitorial systems: is there still such a difference? The International Journal of Human Rights, 20(5), 601-616.

The Morales Law Firms. (2013, February 01). How Lawyers Defend a Guilty Client in a Criminal Case. Retrieved February 18, 2020, from The Morales Law Firms: https://sfcriminallawspecialist.com/blog/how-lawyers-defend-a-guilty-client-in-a-criminal-case/