The American Judicial System Essay, Research Paper
The judicial system of the United States allows all Americans to receive a fair criminal trial regardless of personal wealth, gender, race, and ethnic background. Courts of law are used in an attempt to administer justice by the application and interpretation of the law. Due to the provisions established by the Constitution it is therefore believed that the Judicial System is operated to the benefit of every citizen, not a select few. The most obvious evidence of the efforts to uphold justice is apparent in the United States Court System. These courts enforce that which must be obeyed and followed by citizens subject to sanctions or legal consequences: a body of rules of action or conduct prescribed by controlling authority , and having binding legal force. (The Black s Law Dictionary) Their usage expands the capability of the government to more fairly and adequately govern the people. Not only do the courts aid in the punishment of criminal offenders but they also ensure and preserve the rights of all victims. The United States Constitution most accurately demonstrates the promises that the founding fathers hoped to provide for the benefit of future generations. It is a document that guarantees individual rights and freedoms for all citizens regardless of their differences. Primarily it focuses on correcting any and all foreseeable injustices. Amendments such as the fifth amendment set the guidelines for the conduct of the judicial system. It states No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law… (The Black s Law Dictionary). Similar to many criminal laws and procedures these amendments must strictly be adhered to in order to ensure the truth the delivery of justice. Processes such as the reading of Miranda Rights upon arrest and the necessity of a Writ of Habeas Corpus provide a form of protection for the American public. Proper procedure aids in the preservation of the rights and freedoms granted to citizens of the United States. Anomaly Unfortunately exceptions to even the rules of democracy arise. America is by no means the picture perfect society. Injustices and unfair rulings decidedly do occur thus detracting from the freedoms and right associated with democracy. Advantages such as personal wealth can often times give a person an unfair advantage over their less prosperous peers. The O.J. Simpson case is a prime example of wealth affecting the treatment of an accused criminal. Due to his athletic abilities O.J. Simpson was able to acquire an incredible amount of personal assets. This money enabled him to hire a team of the best lawyers available. Oftentimes an average citizen is unable to afford proper representation and is appointed a lawyer by the court. These lawyers are sometimes ill-prepared and unqualified to represent traffic violations let alone murder trials. Being paid on a menial salary basis they have less incentive to totally dedicate themselves to each case. O.J. s panel of lawyers on the other hand were given almost unlimited financially and educational resources. Obviously having a handful of the greatest legal minds at his disposal gave O.J. a certain edge that is not available to everyone. His case is not the only one. Money talks in America. It is hard to believe that justice and special favors can be bought but it is reality. When an exorbitant amount of money is involved it is possible to sway a person s moral beliefs and convictions. Money can easily leads to greed and corruption as demonstrated by the failure of the American judcicial system to effectively and equally protect and defend the general public. Regardless of similarities no two court cases are ever exactly identical. Varying factors affect the outcome of each seperately. In the recent trial of a 19 year old nanny, the personal beliefs of the presiding judge had a drastic effect on the outcome. After being convicted of murder by a jury the young woman s fate rested solely in the hands of an extremely compassionate judge. He reduced her murder conviction to manslaughter in the death of 8 month old Matthew Eappen and sentenced her to time already served thus the purpose of trial by jury was defeated and the distribution of justice was placed solely in the hands of the judge. Judges must follow their oaths and do their duty, heedless of editorials, letters, telegrams, picketers, threats, petitions, panelists, and talk shows. In this country justice is not administered by plebiscite. A judge, is a public servant who must follow his conscience, whether or not he encounters the manifest wishes of those he serves; whether or not his decisions seem a surrender to the prevalent demands. Due to the fact that not every defendant can be tried by the same judge it is reasonable to believe that not everyone receives the same kind of treatment. Convictions based on different standards obviously detract from the equality under the law guaranteed to all citizens. It is simply one factor in a list of many that prevents complete parity for all regardless of their achievements, background or influence. Crisis To the displeasure of many American citizens the United States judicial system does not always function as expected or hoped. Not everyone is treated fairly or receives that which they deserve. The fact that justice is not always served is unpleasant but true. Absolutely nothing in life is without flaw including the United States system of laws and courts. Occasionally an innocent person is convicted of a crime they did not commit and conversely a person guilty of a crime is able to walk away without penalty or punishment. It is not always possible to absolutely determine the guilt or innocence of a suspect. Judges and juries receive all of the pertinent information and are left on their own to make a decision. Perhaps the number one issue that adversely influences the judicial system is that of personal bias. Facts are not simply entered into a computer or fit into a formula to result in an answer. Decisions are made by human beings so personal prejudices and mistakes cannot be avoided. Juries and judges are screened before assuming such prestigious positions but not every issue can be confronted and resolved. Human instincts and beliefs tie into the thought process involved in such procedures. Laws are interpreted differently by different people. There is no way to create a completely uniform structure with which to judge a supposed criminal. Basic guidelines have been created to give some direction to those people who undertake the responsibility associated with the judgment and perhaps punishment of a future human being but even these are left up to interpretation. The founding fathers of the United State of America hoped that the provisions they had created would preserve their newfound freedoms for future generations. After an excessive period of imperialistic rule the colonists greatly appreciated these neoteric privileges. They wrote numerous documents in an effort to establish a sound basis for their freshly formed independent nation. The judicial system now enjoyed by the American society was just one of the numerous provisions they envisioned upon the construction of these United States. Due to the fact that these men were not infallible they did make some mistakes and were not able to foresee the future. Therefore our judicial system does not allow all Americans to receive and enjoy fair criminal trials regardless of personal wealth, gender, race, and ethnic background.