Discriminated Criminals Essay, Research Paper
The Criminal Justice system has always had discrimination in it. Discrimination can come from the police, courts, or even from lawyers. For example, in the Gideon vs. Wainwright case the court ruled that the state must provide a public defender but it did not rule that the public defender must be good or competent. (?Too Poor? N.Pag.). In most cases where a public defender is provided the defendant loses the case because the lawyer is new or incompetent. Thus the criminal justice system needs reform. The Criminal Justice System discriminates against the economically challenged and minorities because of police discrimination, unbalanced sentencing and incompetent public defenders.
Police discrimination is a major factor in the criminal justice system. Police can discriminate towards different people and in different places at anytime the officers want. White police discriminate in jails and on the streets, which can be called racial profiling. In jail a white officer could give a black man a harder time then he would a white man. On the streets a white officer will stop a black man for no reason, ask where the black man is going, and often the officer will search the black
man?s car of belongings (Cole 7.). White police will go through poor neighborhoods to stop and search anyone the white police want (Cole 7.). A black man has a chance of getting picked up by the police for a DWB, which is Driving While Black which is impossible for most white people to even comprehend (Cole 7.).
Another form of discrimination is from the black police. Sometimes the black police can discriminate just like the white police. Black police will discriminate against all ethnic groups like whites, blacks and other minorities. The black police discriminate against other blacks because the police believe that the black criminals are keeping the rest of the black community down. Black police also discriminate against the other minorities, not just the black criminals. Some black police feel the same way about Mexicans as some white police feel about blacks, that the Mexicans are what make this country bad.
Another reason why there is talk about discrimination in the criminal justice system is because of unbalanced sentencing. Black men are more often sentenced for a first offense and usually get a longer sentence for something that the white men would only be getting a fine for (?One-Third? 25.). A California study showed that one out of six of six hundred twenty-five thousand black men were arrested, black men make up three percent of the population but account for forty percent of the prison population (Miller N. pag.). Black men usually pay twice as much bail as whites and usually get jailed before trial (?One-Third? 25.). Twelve percent of the American population is black and thirteen percent of blacks have used drugs but blacks account for thirty-five percent of arrests for drugs possession, fifty-five percent of convictions and forty-four percent of prison sentences (?One-Third? 25.). Most crack users in the United States are white but most prosecuted are black (Carter 290+.). Only four of the first thirty-seven death penalty prosecutions from the Anti-Drug Abuse Act have been white (Carter 290+.).
Unbalanced sentencing, besides affecting black people wrongly, can also effect poor people wrongly. Poor people can get harsher sentencing just because a judge does not like the person for not being able to keep a job or for not paying taxes. Poor people could get a harsher sentence because the poor person does not have the money to pay a fine of a mere fifty-dollars. The judge knows that the poor person could not pay the fine. Even though misdemeanors and fines are small to most people, to a poor person it could mean imprisonment. Judges can also be swayed by the appearance of a person and a poor person cannot show up to court battered or in a suit.
Incompetent public defenders are the biggest form of discrimination in the entire Criminal Justice System. The biggest problem is the funding for the public defenders. Even though it is less than two percent of the total spending on law enforcement and only ten percent of spending on all judicial and legal sources, people can still get incompetent public defenders (?Too Poor? N. pag.). In nineteen eighty-six congress approved a rise in public defenders pay, but seventy-seven out of the countries ninety-four federal districts have not implemented that pay yet because congress is not giving any addition money (Too Poor? N. pag.). Many public defenders make forty-five dollars land hour but the cost for materials are greater (?Too Poor? N. pag.). Public defenders got a raise at seventy-five dollars an hour but this is still only half of what a private lawyer makes which is one-hundred fifty-dollars to two hundred dollars (?Too Poor? N. pag.). The lowest pay for public defenders is twenty dollars an hour but can go as high as one-thousand dollars an hour but it all depends on the type of case (?Too Poor? N. pag.).
For the privately paid lawyer it is a lot easier to get money but it is sometimes harder to earn it. Usually when a person can afford a private lawyer, the person gets
a new or quick-working lawyer because the person cannot afford a good lawyer. The courts will sometimes appoint a new lawyer first out of law school so they can pay the lawyer less than usual (?Too Poor? N. pag.). In some states a judge will appoint a lawyer on a case-by-case basis and pay the lawyer the same way so that the pay is very low (?Too Poor? N. pag.). A lawyer from Georgia County pleaded guilty to two hundred and thirteen cases and only took one to court (?Too Poor? N. pag.). Two defense lawyers fell asleep during death penalty cases (?Too Poor? N. pag.). (Cole 7.).
After all of the evidence, studies, and statistics are reviewed the evidence is clear that there is discrimination in the criminal justice system which must be rooted out. The discrimination can come from many different sources and in many different ways. People can be discriminated by police officers, incompetent public defenders, judges, and from unbalanced sentencing. Police officers can and will discriminate if the officers want to and against anyone they want too at any time, anywhere, and at any place. The courts will give a person-unbalanced sentencing because the court does not want to waste the courts time and the public?s money. Most of all the incompetent public defenders are the people that will get a person locked away for a longer period of time than that person should actually be.