Example Of Essay On Race And Criminal Justice In America

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Criminal Justice, Law, Justice, Supreme Court, Crime, System, Public, Police

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/12/24

No one could have predicted that a single shooting incident on August 9, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri would reveal just how large a role race plays in law enforcement in Missouri and throughout the nation. To be sure, the incident not only became the focus of nation but also captured the attention of much of the world. The shooting death of Michael Brown and the massive protests, marches, clashes and chaos that emerged after the shooting accident all were based on the perception that Ferguson police specifically discriminated again minorities, especially African-Americans; and law enforcement in general had a tendency to work against by public they are sworn to serve and protect. In contrast, much of the initial discussions, case details, witness testimonies, and investigations by the authorities into the shooting found none of the racial tensions protesters had identified. Official explanations, rather suggested that the shooting was simply an unfortunate incident that happed with little or no racial influences. This paper will discuss the dilemma facing police force in Ferguson and around the nation, namely the gap in perceptions between the public and the police in what effective policing is and the influence of race in developing those perceptions.
Contrary to the common belief of most people believe that an independent and impartial criminal justice system is the cure for chronic social disease; the fact remains that even in a criminal justice system as autonomous and developed as the one in the Unites States, police actions in certain case can produce strong public opinion against it. Without a doubt, under ideal circumstances, an impartial justice system will work to discover the truth, protect the innocent from harm or injury, and ensure that criminals are apprehended and punished. In this way, true justice can be achieved in society. The reality, however, is that most criminal justice systems are subject to the frailties and weakness of the people who are tasked with its implementation and administration. Every individual working within the criminal justice system must make their own decisions based on their personal judgment and individual circumstances. Policy, law and rules, such as due process, are designed to eliminate, as much as possible, any artificial influences and systemic interference that may result in an unfair system. But decisions that are based solely on the personal judgment and conscience of the individual when the facts and evidence are in dispute is often much more difficult to ensure impartiality and fairness. In the case of the shooting in Ferguson, personal judgment might have been affected by both Brown’s and Wilson’s personal experience, perception, motion and preference. In short, the gap in perception between Brown and Wilson was the cause of the incident.
This begs the question; can the criminal justice system satisfy everyone? When race is involved, perhaps not. To be sure race is perhaps the most important reason for the contradictory opinions between public and the state in regards to the decisions that are made in criminal justice. The question of race and its influence in many areas of American life has always been a sensitive subject of analysis. Indeed, racial discrimination is a systematic factor of American society (SCIO, 2013). Race is factor that has been shown to influence minority civil rights (SCIO, 2013). Accordingly, the repeated examples of white police officers berating, shooting or assaulting African-Americans has been a clear source of tensions with the public especially minorities. Consequently, even when police or law enforcement officers make fair and just decision in how they deal with African-American or minority suspects, the automatic response from the public is that law enforcement has acted in a racially disrespectful manner. Under these conditions, the public response is to protest the injustice.
Besides race, there are other police activities that contribute to the deep distrust of the public on the promise of police to “protect and serve” the community. For example, in the case of Ferguson, it was the St. Louis prosecutor’s decision to initiate an investigation of Brown’s shooting to the grand jury initialing seemed lie the right move to make. However, based upon the jury’s personal understanding of the evidence presented by the prosecutor, it was the grand jury's decision to not indict Officer Wilson on any criminal charges related to the shooting incident (Eckholm, 2014). The grand jury’s decision raised many questions. There were those who believed that there were substantial problems in how the jury panel was selected, its organizational method, and working mechanisms. Since the jurors are normal citizens without must expert knowledge of the law, many argued that their decisions could have been easily influenced by the prosecutor. Since the jury system is a central part of the U.S. criminal justice system, many criticized the effectiveness of the jury system as a whole. Indeed, in the decisions of juries in other controversial cases such as the acquittal of O.J Simpson in 1995 and Casey Anthony in 2011illustrate how strong public opinion against the criminal justice system may influence the outcome of a case.
However, there are few better alternatives to the jury system. The purpose of jury system is to protect the defendant’s right to prove his innocence while at the same time preventing the state via the judge from willfully influencing the outcome of the case. According to Gustave Le Bon, the power of a crowd is formidable, but the power of some status groups is more terrifying (Le Bon, 2009). The history of justice shows the important role that a jury system can have in maximizing the amount of justice a defendant is guaranteed.
But how should the criminal justice system face public opinion pressure? What can be done to balance juridical decision and public opinion? In modern countries, the direct purpose of the criminal justice system is to not only refrain from causing unnecessary disturbances, but also to discover and realize justice. Justice is not only for public satisfaction, but also to withstand the trial of history and produce the truth in a manner by which people will have the confidence demand justice and require that society will be steady. The pursuit of justice just should become our only goal.
Meanwhile, public opinion and social cleavages must be critically dealt with. Social policies are just as important and caring for minorities. They help guarantee the basic civil rights of all minorities. Racial misunderstandings must be eliminated through constant communication. When public emotions are high, the appropriate access and methods should be provided to allow for the reasonable expression of differences. However, when citizen’s rights are violated, only an independent and fair criminal justice system can guarantee that justice will be upheld. In practice, when public opinion conflicts with the state over the criminal justice system, only a communicative, comprehensive and supportively coordinating system can guarantee that the authority of the criminal justice system will whole-heartedly consider playing to public opinion.
In conclusion, in my opinion, though problems exist in the criminal justice system such as those that sometimes create conflict between the public and police forces; it is an undeniable fact that current the criminal justice system is the most effective way to uphold justice. What is needed is a coordinating system that balances both sides and avoids conflict as much as possible.

Works Cited

Eckholm, Erik. “Witnesses Told Grand Jury That Michael Brown Charged atDarren Wilson, Prosecutor Says.” New York Times. The New York Times, 24 Nov. 2014. Web. 10 Feb. 2015.
Le Bon, Gustave. Psychology of Crowds. London: Sparkling Books Ltd., 2009. Print.
“Human Rights Record of the United States.” State Council Information Office. State Council Information Office of China (SCIO), 2013. Web. 10 Feb 2015.

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WePapers. (2020, December, 24) Example Of Essay On Race And Criminal Justice In America. Retrieved June 01, 2023, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-essay-on-race-and-criminal-justice-in-america/
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Example Of Essay On Race And Criminal Justice In America. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-essay-on-race-and-criminal-justice-in-america/. Published Dec 24, 2020. Accessed June 01, 2023.

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