Is our justice system just?
6th Amendment- “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.”
I have not been to a state or district’s court, but I have to to the Supreme Court. Though the proceedings are different than in a lower court, the idea is the same: “Everyone has a right to a fair trial.” Have you ever heard those words? I have. This quote is based on the Sixth Amendment and was boiled down to this eight-word statement. The Sixth Amendment also states that everyone has a right to a “speedy” public trial with an impartial jury from people within the area of where the crime was committed, and the right to know who the people accusing you are. You also have a right to a lawyer. If you cannot afford one, your lawyer is appointed by the court. If you deem this lawyer unfit to argue your case, they will grant you another one. This was not always the case. Adding this concept of “deeming a lawyer unfit” is one of the things that makes me believe that the Justice System has gotten a lot better, though it is still very flawed in many ways. To me, a “fair trial” means what the Sixth Amendment promises.
There are still many problems with America’s Justice System. Not everyone can have a good lawyer. Many of the court-appointed lawyers are unfit but aren’t considered as such by the people who assigned them. If you have more money, you can be bailed out of jail for minor offenses, while if you don’t have the money, you must stay in jail. The poor and most of the middle-class have to stay in jail while people with more money can just leave. Is this really fair? There is a lot of corruption in our justice system, so I ask again, is our justice system just? Statistics show that a person of color is more likely to be sentenced to death than a white person for the same crime. That is unarguable because it is based on stats. What do you think about the Death Penalty?
Can anyone be completely unprejudiced? I don’t think so. I’m sure I am prejudiced in some way, and I’ll admit that (though I don’t know what/who I am prejudiced against). I believe that many/most judges are biased. I read a book once about someone being confident that they were going to win a case due to the fact that her friend was the judge. Things like this happen all the time in real life. But who chooses the jury? Apparently, the jury is randomly picked from a pool of people. After a discussion with my parents, I learned that each juror is questioned in order for the judge to glean any information about your ties to the case. If you don’t have any ties, you are allowed to continue and participate as a juror in the case. Does everyone get asked the same questions? I’m sure there is some corruption there. When a juror comes to an opinion, they are influenced by their fellow jurors. Does peer pressure play a role in the jurors’ consensus?
I have seen court proceedings a few times in the Supreme Court. People dress elegantly to hear the nine justices–now eight–speak mouthfuls of new vocabulary to them. The beauty of the Supreme Court is supreme and breathtaking. I plan to take a trip to the county courthouse to see another type of trial in real life. I have seen some of a case in “Bones” and other crime T.V. shows. Because they are crime shows, they are mostly based on science. Also, there is always someone who’s clearly in the wrong, while real life has more of a gray area.
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