General Question

stanleybmanly's avatar

Is there any hope for reducing the gross inequities defining our criminal justice systems?

Asked by stanleybmanly (23837points) June 4th, 2015 from iPhone

I mean following combined social welfare programs, it’s the criminal justice apparatus where the poor interact most with goverenment.

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9 Answers

filmfann's avatar

Who told you I was on Jury Duty (true!).
It might be helpful if you mentioned some of those gross inequities.
I think Body Cameras are a big step forward, as were the existence of all these cell phone cameras.
Last month, a man claimed his brother was innocent when the cops assaulted him, shooting him in the back. A cell phone video apparently shows him lunging at the cops with a knife. The claims and evidence didn’t get a lot of media play.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I’m going to disagree with your premise.

Yes, there are inequities. No question.

But I would argue that, in general, they are (a) not gross inequities and (b) they do not define our criminal justice system.

To a large degree – even to an overwhelming degree – the criminal justice system works. The bad cases get more publicity, which is why you use terms like “gross inequities”. But by and large, justice is done.

If you narrowed your generalization – maybe by asking “why are minorities seemingly the victim of inequities in the justice system?’ you might get me to agree. But as asked, your question is far too broad, and in my mind, inaccurate and unfair to the justice system.

marinelife's avatar

I don’t think so. It is pervasive. I once moved twice in two years and did not change my address with the DMV. I got a ticket in another state which I put in a drawer and forgot to pay and my driver’s license was suspended, but I didn’t get the notice so I didn’t know it.

When I went to court armed with an attorney and wearing professional clothing I was struck by how differently the system treated me and others. A young, poor, under-dressed woman who was in the same situation was sentenced to a large number of hours of community service, which she would have to complete or go to jail, and she now had a felony on her record. My offense (a felony) was reduced to a misdemeanor and I got only a fine.

Justice is definitely not blind when it comes to race, class and money.

Coloma's avatar

Death row inmates should have a cap on their appeals, 1–2, and their sentences carried out within 12 months, not 30 years later. The death penalty means nothing, just semantics not action. I also agree with @marinelife as well, the inequity between the well heeled and the extremely poor. A crime is a crime and there should be no favortism based on class of race.

Actually, if you come right down to it, some of the worst offenders, sexual predators, serial murderers, rapists, are predominantly caucasian, while theft, robbery, drug crimes and gang violence make up the majority of black incarceration. If one wants to play the race card when it comes to the death penalty, the majority of deaths would be those of deviant white males.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@elbanditoroso. Every other Summer like clockwork I get my summons for jury duty. This year the wife & I received our notices a week apart. The one effect the process has on me is that it turns my mind to the question of equal justice. I haven’t been picked to serve on a jury since 1979, and merely relating my experiences in that trial has been enough to send me on my way smokin from the courtroom ever since.

Coloma's avatar

@marinelife Is it possible the other women may have had a prior record or perhaps warrants or other circumstances that might have contributed to her punishment? 1st time offenders are always granted some leniency unless it’s a violent offense, murder, etc.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@stanleybmanly – I have lived in this county (in this house) for eight years, and I have never received a jury summons.

In fact, the last time I was called – anywhere – was in 2005. And before that, 1994.

I’m not sure what the message is, but it’s interesting how different areas of the country have different experiences.

Coloma's avatar

I’ve had many summons but all were group cancellations at the last minute. It has now been at least 3–4 years since my last call to JD that was cancelled yet again.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Something’s going on, and I’m a bit suspicious. When I was in my 20s and 30s, Id get hit maybe once a decade,

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