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Is the Justice System Failing?

So as the title hints, is the justice system failing?


  • Total voters
    31

LadyYunaFFX2

Pulsar
Joined
Nov 1, 2012
Location
Boone, NC
It's as the title asks, simply put. Are people being let off far too easy for what they've done?

It's sad but personally ... I'd say yes.

The last time I can personally say I wholeheartedly agreed and was grateful for hearing a proper verdict was in the Scott Peterson trial. Links provided below as it was a while ago ... but my memory remembers it perfectly somehow.

Scott Peterson Links:
#1 - Wiki
#2 - CNN facts including his said trial

It was a big deal back then because he didn't just kill his wife but unborn child. And ... it was one of the first major steps toward including that a pregnant woman could be counted as two lives (or more if carrying multiple unborn children).

So to have seen that the jury and judge all agreed with that mindset ... I was ecstatic.

But nowadays ... it's like values and just the term 'justice' has been slipping the minds of our juries and the judges. And it's so damn upsetting.

Zimmerman should have been convicted .. but he wasn't.

So should this guy ... but he hasn't. Not yet. And I realize no official 'guilty or not guilty' has not been reached.

But the mere possibility he may be found innocent genuinely sickens me.

Granted, it also hints in the article that he may still face up to 60 years which even without the yes or no on the murder is ... better than what Zimmerman wound up getting.

But all in all, the system seems more to me like it's failing.

So main topic: Do you agree? Disagree? Why or why not?

Feel free to provide other cases to include in your posts if you wish as I did.

And again, as with my other topics, those from outside the US -- feel free to contribute. Any and all input is appreciated.

But this was an incredibly personal topic for me just because I used to - well, still am - a firm believer in justice. And to see it steadily dying down is truly, genuinely saddening my heart and soul.

So .... go.

-LadyYunaFFX2
 

captain_jay_conrad

Super-Earth
Joined
Aug 23, 2012
Location
Courthouse.
I know that my answer may not seem satisfactory, but it is something that I feel must be addressed with respect to the American Criminal Justice System. It may seem that the American Justice system allows far too many criminals to get away with heinous crimes. However, the vast majority of those accused do not get away with the crimes they committed. Rather, the system usually puts away a vast majority of the people who are funneled through the criminal justice system.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, between the years 1994 and 2004 the rate of felony convictions in State courts increased by 24%. 94% of convictions occurred at state courts, while remaining 6% occurred at Federal Court. On top of this seven out of every ten convicted wind up incarcerated. (See).

This demonstrates that the system has increased itself in power and funding, it has increased the number of convictions, despite the fact that the burden of proof in criminal cases is the highest standard of proof, known as "beyond a reasonable doubt".

In other words, if a person has any reasonable doubt as to what has occurred on the date of the incident in question, then you must acquit. The reason for this, is as previously stated, the state is the one who carries the burden of proof, they usually have near-unlimited funds to proceed with a case, and they hold the power of life and death, or at the very least, freedom and incarceration within their hands.

Throughout history, the criminal justice systems throughout the world were based off of a system of guilty until proven innocent. In Tudor England, an accused didn't even have the right to counsel. They stood accused, and were forced to defend themselves, in a trial which always resulted in guilt. This practice was similar to the sort of law in early colonial America. Ghastly images of the Salem Witch trials come to mind.

I mention the horrors of these past courts, to help serve as a form of balance for the rage that is being vented at the system today. At the inception of America, the Founders sought to include a system which required the state to prove, with irrefutable evidence, that the individuals charged with a crime, actually committed that crime, before conviction could occur.

Even with the numerous safeguards put in place by this Constitution, we still have cases where an innocent man or woman has been incarcerated for a crime that he or she didn't commit. And, judging by the increased statistics for conviction rates, this is something that has been on the increase. While it may seem hopelessly wrong that the man in the most recent case had a mistrial, it isn't all that uncommon.

Furthermore, a mistrial doesn't allow the notion of double jeopardy to kick in. In other words, this man could be tried again. The state has their court fees payed for, the man who did shoot recklessly, nevertheless, does not have that sort of financial backing. The justice system has been stacked like that from the very beginning.

I'm reminded of John Adams, a venerable old lawyer out of Boston Massachusetts. After the Boston Massacre occurred, the British soldiers involved were hauled in front of the Colonial Courts. No barrister in the area dared take the case. After all, these men were clearly guilty. Okay, John Adams said he would take the case. He did so on the principle that if we are all equal, then we all must have a right to counsel and defense, before a court of law.

Well, let's take the case of George Zimmerman. George Zimmerman was charged with second degree murder in the state of Florida. The prosecution refused to go after him on the much more reasonable ground of manslaughter. In fact, if I had been the District Attorney, I would have pursued the case under manslaughter. But, because like those other colonial attorneys in the case of the British Soldiers, the prosecutors were convinced by media hysteria, that their case was right, and that it was worth the risk of losing a greater chance of conviction on Second Degree murder as opposed to manslaughter. The system doesn't allow the prosecution of both, because it is a balancing mechanism to prevent the state from throwing out a wide net, and not having to prove everything to the highest standard. Does it always result in the desired outcome? Not at all, but it is better than affording the accused no protections against prosecutorial abuses.

They move forward, as the crown prosecutor did in Boston, all those years ago. The evidence is displayed before a jury. And the question comes down to, did the state, prove beyond ANY reasonable doubt that the defendant unlawfully killed the victim, without malice aforethought (or ill intent). In both the cases of Zimmerman, and of the Boston based British Soldiers, the answer was no. And the result was the same.

What does that mean? It means that the state must meet the highest burden of proof. If there could be any doubt as to whether the killing was justified or not, then a guilty verdict cannot be handed down. On the other hand, manslaughter allows for their to be a justification for the killing, just a misguided one. Yet, when media hysteria, and the court of popular opinion take over the court of law, then we run into a severe problem.

Vigilante or mob justice, is no justice at all. We adhere to the principles of our legal justice system, because, even though it is imperfect, it does serve the purpose of ensuring that over zealous prosecutors cannot deny each and every one of us our rights to a fair and public trial, before a jury of our peers.

I may surprise you now, in saying that I also think the result in the O.J. Simpson trial was correct. Why? Because, again, the prosecution failed to meet the standard necessary to gain a conviction. They could not show, beyond a reasonable doubt, that O.J. Simpson had killed Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. On top of this, the prosecutions own experts failed to demonstrate that the blood work done in O.J.'s Ford Bronco had not been contaminated.

We require such stringent standards, because it is very easy to point the finger and accuse, without fully analyzing the facts. It is also very easy to simply state that some one should be arrested, just to placate the desires of the many, to keep the peace. But, if we adhere to such a system, then I contend that we have given up to the tyranny of mob rule, and sacrificed any pretense to claim we seek justice at all.

Please forgive me if I cam off as sounding over passionate about this. I'm a criminal defense attorney for a living, I see people get crushed by the overbearing might of the prosecution on a daily basis. So, it's very hard for me to sit back and think that the system is failing in the few cases where the system looses. If the system were truly failing, ask yourself this...would our prisons be overcrowded?

No, because the prosecutors aren't failing. They are succeeding more and more often, gaining more and more convictions, and in many cases, they're not even examining the mitigating factors that may explain away the alleged crime. Or, worse yet, as happens all the time in my county...they press charges even when the alleged victims do not wish to press charges.

When you have a system divested with such power, is there any wonder why we should have a strict standard? Otherwise, we'd fall back to the courts of Tudor England, where the accused always stood convicted, and was always put to death. I, for one, prefer giving even the guilty a chance to defend themselves. For as the renowned legal scholar William Blackstone once said, "It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer."

I believe in that principle. It's one of the driving forces which made me enter the profession of law to begin with. It is hard, at times, especially knowing when my client is guilty as sin. But, that system must go through that process, and must not skip ANY corner...lest it be you or me sitting in the chair of the accused, without a hope of a true and zealous defense!

Again, I hope none of my words here come off as disrespect. I have nothing but the utmost respect for your opinions, and your ability to share them. I just wished to add my voice to this marketplace of ideas, to the discourse of the standing of our system. And, I hope I helped to shed some light on the reasons why our justice system is the way that it is.
 

LadyYunaFFX2

Pulsar
Joined
Nov 1, 2012
Location
Boone, NC
Nah. You're one of the most respectful people who reply to the Blue Moon Academy threads. Honestly, I posted this in recalling you were directly associated with law and hoping for your input because of the more .. professional knowledge than what I have [or don't technically but still].

And actually, I never thought OJ to be guilty myself. So no, that doesn't amaze me.

Yes, I do remember through being taught in history how old trials went, especially during the Salem Witch trials era. I do, though, recall some of Tudor England albeit not as much.

True, corners shouldn't be skipped nor would I wish for it. But especially with Zimmerman and the most recent one, I just ... can't help but feel the wrong calls were made. Especially Zimmerman though. There were so many factors against him. If I'm not much mistaken, wasn't he told even to wait for back-up rather than confronting the teenager? And yet he blatantly disobeyed?

To me, that's already making a lot of alarms going off in my head about the man. But ... again, that is just myself.

And with the loud music case ... I still don't get how one feels threatened by loud music without being paranoid or schizophrenic. Annoyed, certainly. I would be after a while probably. But if I asked them to turn it off/lower the volume only for some teens to just turn it back up and shout insults like 'cracker' at me, that's my cue to get the cops .. not face them. Common sense should hint this.

But I suppose should is the keyword, hm?

But no, you weren't at all disrespectful. In fact, the insight is greatly appreciated. Thank you very much.

-LadyYunaFFX2
 

captain_jay_conrad

Super-Earth
Joined
Aug 23, 2012
Location
Courthouse.
I'll admit that the system seems stilted or slanted due to the tough standards. But a crime always requires three elements to be proven. Actus Reus (guilty act) plus Mens Rea (guilty mind) concurrence of time (must be while the intent and action were occurring, otherwise it's not a crime). And, all of this must be met beyond a reasonable doubt.

In Zimmerman's case, if they had gone with manslaughter, instead of Second degree murder, Zimmerman would be in prison right now. The jurors polled after the trial said as much. That was greed on the part of the prosecutors, thinking that the self-defense element wouldn't be strong enough. This guy over the loud music...no, I think he has much less of a chance of acquittal after retrial. Maybe there's an insanity defense in there, but I doubt it. He knew what he did was wrong, and he's going to wind up in jail even without a murder conviction.

It's funny though, the accused, especially the ones who get court appointed attorneys (That's me, I do the work for $100 per client, no matter how many hours I put in), they think we don't fight hard enough for them. It's really painful at times too, because I'll spend hours and hours, sometimes a night without sleep, trying to broker a deal with it, and the judge, just because he doesn't like them, or wants to set an example of them, sentences them to jail, disregarding a plea deal brokered between the prosecution and myself. The client blames me, and in some cases, maybe they're right, and I didn't look at it the right way.

But, 90% of my clients plead guilty, and most of the time they're lucky if I can get their sentences reduced. The worst case was this respectful young woman who fled here from New Orleans. She was in a committed relationship with another woman, had adopted a child, and they hit some hard times. Not knowing any better, through lack of education, and being in the spur of the moment, she stole over $450 worth of food from Walmart to keep her family fed. The Judge gave her 13 months, and fines she couldn't afford. I managed to get him to drop it to 180 days, and no fine. But I still remember her tears, because she can't see her little boy. That image haunts me, constantly. In that case, yes, the justice system failed. But, worse yet, I failed her.
 

LadyYunaFFX2

Pulsar
Joined
Nov 1, 2012
Location
Boone, NC
I don't question attorneys directly like you. Hopefully I wasn't giving that impression. It's some of the verdicts more than anything I can't help but wonder about. But yeah, if that came off as inquiring people with your jobs or similar enough .. no. Far from it, if anything. I have little to no doubts you all do what you can no matter your occupation.

But just some of the end decisions are really hard to agree with.

And personally, the guy with the music has likely missed any opportunity to plead insanity. In fact, I was more astounded he didn't try that in the very beginning with his arguments and everything. Sounds like he is ... or something that could work for that dispute (pleading insanity). But yeah, as a lover of music ... I can say it's given me tons of emotions when I hear it. Fear is not one of them ... not even with rap.

Granted, I don't listen to much, mainly Eminem because he is one of the better ones. But I still don't feel like I need to fret for my life or well-being.

I understand and can only begin to imagine the haunting images. I have some from my own past albeit not at all because of job-related flashbacks. But I understand the point you're making and sympathize in some forms and fashions. I hope it counts, even if only a bit.
 

captain_jay_conrad

Super-Earth
Joined
Aug 23, 2012
Location
Courthouse.
It does count. Actually, I didn't find that you insinuated that we attorneys are the shortcoming at all. But, in all honesty, in some cases we really are part of the problem. There are some very lazy and sloppy attorneys out there, and it gives the rest of us a very bad name. They don't take on the client's case with the sort of seriousness it needs. On the other hand, there are some clients whom make it very difficult for you to want to help them. I remember one client who already had an FTA (failure to appear) warrant out, and I called him up to let him know that he had a new court date, that I managed to get the warrant dropped, but he had to be at court that Friday morning.

His response? "Man it A'int fair! You get over here and give me a ride to the court, I ain't got no car. You just wana lock me up like the Prosecutor!" In not one of my finer moments, I remember how I responded.

"I tell you what, I'll call the DA right now, tell him you decided not to cooperate, that you are at home, because I called you there, and I'm sure we can arrange for the police to provide you with a free ride to the courthouse, after they give you the free ride to the jail, where you'll spend your time until Friday morning, and we get this little matter taken care of."

We had given this guy three months time to be ready. Nah, he didn't want to. I was glad when that little episode was finally over. Honestly, I don't know how you break into 18 cars in the span of 10 days like he did, but he did, and the police had tape of him hitting the last two cars. He admitted he did it on the day of court. I wanted to hide under the Defense desk, that was not a fun experience!
 

Hahvoc The Decepticon

Singularity
Joined
Mar 4, 2009
I do have to say, the "acting in self-defense" ploy is far too loosely interpreted. In some states, there is no such thing as a self-defense law or stance and in other states, far too many things are considered self-defense. There isn't a consensus on what constitutes self-defense so that's where the line of justice can be blurred.

It doesn't mean it is right, but that's some of what it is. I see the system failing in certain ways, like protecting it's victim from media slaughter, but it's always been something that has rubbed me wrong.
 

captain_jay_conrad

Super-Earth
Joined
Aug 23, 2012
Location
Courthouse.
Well, the standards really can never be set in a uniform way. The reason for that is the style of government we have. Our federalist system, as established in the Constitution, allows the states to have the power to handle most criminal proceedings. (I would hate to imagine what Federal misdemeanor traffic offenses might look like, as they attempt to create a "one size fits all" sort of system). That being said, there are Federal offenses, but even then, the Federal courts leave the guidelines to running particular jurisdictional rules to the states in which the Federal District Court sits. To get around that we'd have to amend the Constitution, and I don't see that happening any time soon.

Is it a mess? Sure, but I think any court systems are going to be a mess. They're bureaucracies plain and simple, and bureaucracies will always leave plenty to be desired. Unfortunately, coming up with a better solution proves far more difficult in practice than in theory. Such is life though.
 

Dogged

ousted for showing someone's a bully
Joined
Apr 23, 2013
Location
hiding from bullies who delete their posts
Definitely voting a strong YES.
The simple facts are that politics and political maneuvering like their 'deals' with criminals for lesser sentencing or even immunity for their crimes is appalling. As if that weren't enough, there are people using a fine tooth comb (dirty judges/district attorneys/reelections) to manipulate technicalities of race, creed, religion or circumstances to suit themselves and let the dirt bags get off scot-free! Then we move on to the asses who have the unmitigated gall to assume that everything is a case of 'let them eat cake!' Where the rich are so selfish and ignorant and blind that their only consideration is how much more money they can keep in their pockets and fuck the rest. Ok maybe just one more example like the idiots who manage to turn a simple black and white, right and wrong issue into something the media chooses to grab hold of and manipulate into juicy story fodder, twisting every angle of sensationalism from a story of solid meaning into a subjective and highly individualized interpretation so that all are confused about the main issue. Then it's just dinner table conversation and taking sides in the press while the guilty party walks off without even a slap on the wrist. Sorry if this is disorganized and a bit dogmatic, but it's a topic that's very close to home and it bothers me hugely! :mad:
 

captain_jay_conrad

Super-Earth
Joined
Aug 23, 2012
Location
Courthouse.
The problem is, that the judicial system is supposed to be devoid of politics all together, judges are supposed to sit in judgment of the entire case without reference, or reliance upon their personal feelings. There is no way to really do this, we are all human beings, and the officers of the court (myself included) are no different. Nevertheless, I do believe that our Criminal Justice system is one of the better ones in the world. And certainly one of the best that we have, historically speaking. As I mentioned in a previous post, could you imagine an accusatory system, as opposed to one without the right to representation? Well, that's the sort of system that existed in the early part of America's History. That's how such gruesome and terrible outcomes, such as the Salem Witch Trials happened. The United States Constitution created the right to not only face your accused, but the right to have an attorney.

Let's step back in time, to a period before the ruling in Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966). If you've ever watched any of the lawyer shows on television, such as Law & Order, I'm sure you remember the police always informing the suspect: "You have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford one, then one shall be provided for you". In a nutshell, those are the Miranda warnings, informing the suspect that they have the right to remain silent, that any and all interrogation by the police must stop, once the suspect requests an attorney. A line up cannot go forward, without an attorney present. etc, etc.

One of the lesser known aspects of the Miranda case, was that it also served to prevent and halt abusive interrogation practices, including but not limited to: (1) Using the lit end of a cigarette to force a confession from the accused; (2) Sleep deprivation of the accused, for a period of forty-eight hours; (3) Telling the accused that he/she cannot have access to an attorney until after they confess.

The facts of the Miranda case are as follows. On March 13, 1963, Ernesto Miranda was arrested by the Phoenix police department. The arrest was based on purely circumstantial evidence linking Miranda to the kidnapping and rape of an 18-year-old girl some ten days earlier. After two-and-a-half hours of interrogation by police officers, Miranda signed a confession to the rape charge on forms that included the typed statement: “I do hereby swear that I make this statement voluntarily and of my own free will, with no threats, coercion, or promises of immunity, and with full knowledge of my legal rights, understanding any statement I make may be used against me.”

Yet, at no time during this process, was Miranda informed of his right to counsel, and he was never advised of his right to remain silent, or that his statements during the interrogation would be used agianst him before being presented with the form on which he was asked to write out the confession he already gave orally. Of course, at trial, when prosecutors offered Miranda's written confession into evidence against him, his court-appointed lawyer (in a role much similar to that played by me, as I am a court appointed attorney for the indigent, and fight tooth and nail for them), Alvin Moore, objected because the confession could not truly have been coluntary, and should be excluded.

Moore's objection was overruled and based on this confession, Miranda was convicted of rape and kidnapping, sentenced to thirty years imprisonment on EACH charge, with the sentences to run concurrently (meaning sixty years). Moore appealed to the Arizona Supreme Court, on the grounds that Miranda's confession was not fully coluntary and should never have been admitted into the court proceedings. The Arizona Supreme Court affirmed the trial court's earlier decision to admit the confession. In affirming, the Arizona Supreme Court emphazed heavily the fact that Miranda (an immigrant from Mexico), never specifically requested an attorney.

Ultimately, it was the Supreme Court of the United States which decided this issue, and ensured that future criminal defendants would have some protections. It also led to a reduction of many of the aforementioned police abuses which occurred with respect to interrogation tactics. It ties in with the Civil Rights movement which was on-going at the time. And, I for one, have managed to get several cases thrown out due to a law enforcement officer failing to administer the Miranda Rights.

These rights were always available to criminal defendants, via the Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the United States Constitution, respectively. However, many people are not aware of their rights, and law enforcement relied upon this lack of knowledge. However, it was our justice system that stepped in to correct this problem.

Is it perfect? By all means, no. I regularly battle unreasonable demands by Prosecutors, and unreasonable sentences, such as the one I mentioned earlier about that young woman who survived Hurricane Katrina, and suffered a financial set back, and was caught stealing food for her adopted child. Yes, what she did was wrong. However, she had no prior criminal record, and the sort of punishment leveled against her was wrong. On the other hand, when she was arrested, she opted to have an attorney, and so I was able to step in, ensuring that a confession they attempted to root out of her was excluded, as per Miranda.

No, the system isn't fair. That being said, it is a damn sight better than it was two-hundred years ago, and it's continuing to evolve, and in most cases for the better. Without it, the authorities could swoop in, and make arrests without any accountability whatsoever. It is always easy to hate those whom appear guilty on the surface. But remember, it is easy to also become accused of doing something wrong. For example, I had a client who had prescription medication from his doctor, in a Ziploc baggy, because he didn't wish to carry his prescription pill bottles with him, wherever he went. The police pulled him over, for a burned out tail-light,(what we call a pretextual stop), noticed the baggy of pills in the cup holder, tested the pills, and because he was unable to provide a copy of his doctor's prescription he was charged with felony possession of a controlled substance. The police attempted to force him to confess to unlawful possession of controlled substance, with intent to distribute. They arrested him, and held him for a period of forty-eight hours. I was able to track down his doctor, get a copy of the prescription, as well as photographs of the bottle, and got the case dismissed.

However, if he was never informed of his right to an attorney, I could have never done any of those things for him. Worse yet, he had no money to afford me. I was appointed, and I still went the extra mile for him. I know I may seem overly critical in my response here. However, there are many instances within the Justice system, that the general public simply does not see, because it is not covered by the media.

We require such a strong standard of proof for the prosecution, in order to prevent cases like my client with his legally prescribed medication, turning into convictions. The state possesses all of the funding necessary to pursue people, thus, it is only right that they are required to meet the highest standards, since we are talking about significant amounts of time for incarceration. Even today, there are instances of wrongful incarceration.

This case represents a clear cut example of what I'm talking about. I often go the extra step that my colleagues do not go through. I check up on former clients, after the fact, to ensure that they are not languishing in jail, when they shouldn't be. Yes, the system has its short comings, but I don't think it is nearly as bad, when it comes to allowing "guilty people" to go free, as many claim. Simply because the vast majority of cases that even go to court, result in convictions. Also, it makes defense attorneys, such as myself's, jobs increasingly difficult, when we are already fighting an uphill battle with the jury, when it is claimed that the system merely lets the guilty walk away scott free.

I know it's a frustrating issue. I know we all want to see justice served, but there is the other side of the system, which simply isn't displayed to the public all that often.
 

Cydramech

Planetoid
Joined
Jan 22, 2014
Location
Savannah, Georgia, U.S.A.
Mercy Without Justice Is the Mother of Dissolution; Justice Without Mercy Is Cruelty.

I won't be the first and I won't be the last to say it, but I find that it's always better to side with the possibility of a criminal being let free rather than having innocent people locked up.

On the other hand, what is justice? Blatantly, another manner of morality or righteousness (url=http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/justice]Dictionary.com definition[/url]). Of course you won't see justice being served, that it's failing; I do too. But for different reasons (though I know I'm in the minority by even acknowledging that).

Just the other day north-west of Atlanta, a kid was shot by the police upon opening the door (the police knocked, he asked behind the door who was there and got no response, then opened the door and just got shot while holding a Wii-mote controller). All that'll happen? Probably a demotion, and this kid was part of his school's JROTC to boot. (The police were there with an arrest warrant for the kid's father.) No, you don't mistake a Wii-mote controller for any kind of weapon; even someone not trained would have instantly recognized the difference and cops are supposed to be trained for this crap? Yeah.

Which reminds me of another issue recently. Supposedly this old man got into a domestic dispute which led to him holding someone hostage, and with what? A fucking 22-caliber gun, which is hardly any different from a BB gun or pellet gun, which we refer to as a peashooter since any pistol below 25-cal can be shrugged off without much effort. The local PD called in the SWAT just to take care of the situation. I'd sooner be dead from laughing about someone thinking they could hold me hostage with a 22-cal than from being shot by one, and I'd imagine the SWAT team (I mean, the PD did manage to identify the gun being used prior to calling them in) had to be thinking, "why you guys gotta be trolling us? We got more important shit to worry about than some senior with a 22-cal peashooter."

There are good cops and bad cops, I won't deny that (after all, I know several officers and have a sheriff for an uncle).
 

Starkweather

Meteorite
Joined
Mar 3, 2014
I voted 'no' because, to me, the question is too broad. I think some improvements could be made but I don't think it's utterly "failing" the entire country
 

BlackestKnight

Super-Earth
Joined
Dec 23, 2013
Location
East Gotham
Without a doubt. The Justice System does a good job at convictions but most of those convictions are low hanging fruit, it's easy to criminalize poor people because they can't fight back. What you have is a predatory system where who you can buy is more important than the facts of the case a lot times. A good attorney is the difference between guilt and innocence. That is an obstruction of justice. I don't like how privatized the system has become. I don't think justice and profit go hand in hand.

Imo the justice system is deeply flawed and the only thing that can change that is top-down overhaul. I'm not even getting into all the criminal industrial complex theories, well it's not a theory, it's a fact. They're trading stocks on wallstreet to keep prisons at peak capacity.
 

Umbreon

Planetoid
Joined
Mar 7, 2014
Location
Belgium
People who run over children with their cars and then flee the scene only have to pay money and have their drivers license taken and maybe have to sit for a few years. Rapists are able to get less then 20 years over here. The system is so broken that it isn't even funny anymore. Or when taking someone's entire life only takes away 30-40 from yours then you just know it isn't a good system. Yes it does a good job at certain things but there are certain flaws that should not be tolerated.
 

Ivory11

Star
Joined
Sep 13, 2013
Location
Australia
well the Justice system is flawed, however the American justice system is fucked.

The American prison system is made in such a way to ONLY punish, and not re-educate or rehabilitate criminals, so if a simple guy accused of tax fraud (intentional or made a mistake on his tax returns) goes in, he's either gonna come out as a hardened, viscous criminal destined to go back in, or he's not coming back out at all (shanked to death) honestly the American system should just increase executions for repeat offenders, because many who go in will only go back in again and cost the state money.

not to mention in America, the prisons get like, 50x more funding than old folks homes, and is in fact the highest funded "public housing" the American government has done... now THAT is horrific.

For the unconvicted guy, even though he no doubt did it, the fact is "innocent until proven guilty" is what separates us, from North Korea or Iran where anyone that is suspected of breaking the law just goes into a hole and never comes back out without a trial.

With Zimmerman, I never got caught up in the hype of everyone screaming "He's guilty! guilty!" however if you look at the situation...
He followed Trayvon Martin, maybe it was a hate thing, maybe he was just going that way by coincidence, however the fact is Martin was in fact the first one to attack, he tackled zimmerman to the ground and began beating him, which is when he then pulled out his gun and killed Martin. by the "stand your ground law" Martin was in fact the one to attack Zimmerman which under the state's laws he was within his rights to shoot Martin. Even IF he was following Martin out of racism, the fact is Zimmerman wasn't the one to strike until after he'd been attacked, and as unpleasant as racism is, merely being racist isn't a crime, nor is walking down a sidewalk when someone is in front of you, and with the "stand your ground law" if the person in front of you turns around and attacks, it's not illegal to shoot them.

and honestly, if that Trayvon kid was the kind to just jump and attack any white guy who happened to be walking behind him out of a racist paranoia of white people, then the world is better off without him, just imagine that was you, imagine you were just walking home or something at night, happened to be walking behind this kid, he turns around, tackles you and starts beating the shit outa you just for being behind him, wouldn't you pull out a gun if you had it and fire?

seriously, the hype says "he's guilty" however given the circumstances and the law, he was legally innocent.
 
V

Vic Rattlehead

Guest
Lady justice is supposed to be blind, yet the rich and elite of the country are treated much differently than the average person. There was that teenager in Texas, that was driving while drunk when hes not even twenty one who killed four people who got probation. Now theres a man who raped his own daughter, but instead of being locked up got you guessed it probation. http://iacknowledge.net/multimillionaire-spared-jail-for-raping-3-year-old-daughter-as-wouldnt-fare-well-in-prison/
 

Tierhund

Super-Earth
Joined
Nov 30, 2014
Location
UK
In the most concise way possible, absolutely yes.

The very simple reason why is because criminalisation and incarceration is leading to the degredation of human rights, and the far too easy destruction of lives. Criminalisation and incarceration does NOT work, its just a ego jack off at best.

Education, interception, rehabilitation and intergration ALL the way
 

Lurker

Goofball
Joined
Mar 14, 2015
Location
A magical fantasy
The justice system cannot fail, simply because, labels notwithstanding, there isn't one.

There is however a legal system that is concerned with laws, rules, procedures, et cetera, but not with justice.
 

Manic

Banned
Banished
Joined
Dec 15, 2014
Tierhund said:
In the most concise way possible, absolutely yes.

The very simple reason why is because criminalisation and incarceration is leading to the degredation of human rights, and the far too easy destruction of lives. Criminalisation and incarceration does NOT work, its just a ego jack off at best.

Education, interception, rehabilitation and intergration ALL the way
Yes, we must worry about and defend the rights of the criminal who has stomped all over the rights of the innocent. This is exactly why the legal system is a failure, SJW's worrying about the wrong people while the good suffer and the Police are held back because we wouldn't them to hurt anyone during the arrest process would we?
 

Mitsu

Supernova
Joined
Oct 22, 2009
Prisons are just meat-space Facebook for criminals. It's the largest networking and training organization to put criminals back on the street with more knowledge and connections than they had going in. History has also told us that prison has done very little to slow down some criminal organizations, because the leader can just run it in jail. The problem is that sticking them all together in a room, cut off from the luxury of society, is the best way we know how to deal with them. We cannot just kill them all off.

So what do we do? I don't know. The best answer is to find some way to punish them for their crime, and then return them to society with an education and good footing to lead an honest life. That's a pipe dream, however. While many criminals are criminals out of necessity, there are plenty that are criminals, because they enjoy the lifestyle. It's fast money, thrills, and a sense of freedom from the government that THEY feel is oppressing them in some way. Why work a 9-5, crushingly exhausting job when you can work from home and get more money? We naturally look for the best way to accumulate the most resources in the easiest and quickest way. Criminals are just doing it in the way they know how.

There is no best way to deal with crime. The justice system that we have, as flawed as it may be, is the best way we have of sorting it all out. There isn't a system on this planet that people won't find a way to cheat, manipulate, or circumvent.
 

Lurker

Goofball
Joined
Mar 14, 2015
Location
A magical fantasy
http://www.prisonpolicy.org/scans/e199912.htm

The TL;DR summary:

Fifty studies dating from 1958 involving 336,052 offenders produced 325 correlations between recidivism and (a) length of time in prison and recidivism or (b) serving a prison sentence vs. receiving a community-based sanction. The data was analysed using quantitative methods (i.e., meta-analysis) to determine whether prison reduced criminal behaviour or recidivism.

The results were as follows: under both of the above conditions, prison produced slight increases in recidivism. Secondly, there was some tendency for lower risk offenders to be more negatively affected by the prison experience.

The essential conclusions reached from this study were:

1. Prisons should not be used with the expectation of reducing criminal behaviour.
 

Brigid

Meteorite
Joined
Apr 6, 2016
Three things I don't think anyone has really mentioned when it comes to the American criminal justice system.

1) Having for-profit prisons changes everything. As soon as you have a profit motive to lock people up, more people will be locked up. This is part of the reason (one part of many) that the U.S. has more prisoners per capita than any other country. There was even that scandal a while back where judges were sentencing youth offenders maximums regardless of the actual offense because they were getting bribes from the for-profit youth detention facility. source

2) The war on drugs has been a huge waste of time, money, human potential, and everything else. Even though drug usage rates are more or less the same between whites and blacks, black people and latinos make up over half of those in prison for drug offenses. I wonder why. source

3) The whole "Tough on crime" thing is really bullshit when you think about it. If you take away college grants from people because of a drug offense (or any offense really), take away public housing, take away the ability to get food stamps, make them check a box that they are a felon on every job application they get, what are they supposed to do but go back into (or never come out of) crime? I'm from a poor neighborhood and it isn't uncommon for people to be unable to pay their legal/court fees after they are put on probation, so what do they do? They sell drugs to try to make money, put food on the table, and pay rent. Because what else can they do?

However, despite all this I wouldn't say that the justice system is "failing." It was made by rich white men to benefit rich white men and it generally does. Poor people, people of color, and other minorities are often screwed when it comes to navigating the mess that is the justice system. And as bad as that has always been I find it very hard to believe that it wasn't by design.
 

Sync

Customised Bastard.
Supporter
Joined
Dec 29, 2011
Location
Australia
Brigid said:
However, despite all this I wouldn't say that the justice system is "failing." It was made by rich white men to benefit rich white men and it generally does. Poor people, people of color, and other minorities are often screwed when it comes to navigating the mess that is the justice system. And as bad as that has always been I find it very hard to believe that it wasn't by design.
Sorry...but I find that comment, there, to be typical of the "raaaacciiiiiissstt!" crowd. As soon as you start putting race into your argument, your argument dies.

You want to know how to not go to prison? It's dead-set simple, really. Even a moron should be able to understand it.

DON'T BREAK THE LAW.

See how easy it is? That way it won't matter what damned colour you are.

So many times here in Australia I hear whiners trotting out how more coloured people seem to be in jail than whites. Maybe it's because more coloured people break the law and get caught, perhaps? Just putting the idea out there.

Yes, no system is perfect. It relies on the human condition, therefore it's subject to mistakes and manipulation. But generally...don't break the law and you'll be fine; and putting race into the argument is just crap.
 

Lurker

Goofball
Joined
Mar 14, 2015
Location
A magical fantasy
Sync said:
As soon as you start putting race into your argument, your argument dies.
Not race, class.

Sync said:
You want to know how to not go to prison? It's dead-set simple, really. Even a moron should be able to understand it.
DON'T BREAK THE LAW.
La majestueuse égalité des lois, qui interdit au riche comme au pauvre de coucher sous les ponts, de mendier dans les rues et de voler du pain.
-- Anatole France

Translation for the French impaired:
The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread.
 
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