Example Of Research Paper On Flaws In The Criminal Justice System

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Crime, Supreme Court, Criminal Justice, Court, Law, Police, Innocent, Justice

Pages: 8

Words: 2200

Published: 2020/11/23


In the majority of criminal justice systems, there are flaws that hinder the ordinary citizen from accessing justice. Due to this flaws innocent citizens are imprisoned and even others executed. United States, for instance, there is a lot of injustice going on in the justice corridors; this is always on the basis of poverty that is when one is unable to pay their bill fees or any payment. Taking an example of the State of Ohio it illegally scores the poor citizens and throws them behind bars such as the case of Jacky Dawley had fines and cost in the Norwalk Municipal court of $ 1,500 and had a child support payment was thrown behind bars for three half years. This happens when the rich on Wall Street involved in fraudulent cases go free. This was on a report done by ACLU on an article ThinkProgres.com. Also to acquire justice your race matters, if you are of the colored race; that is the black Americans, Indians and the Arab-Muslims ,it will be difficult to get procedural fairness given to an individual. But this does not only happen in Ohio State or only in USA but also in most of the countries in the world. The flaws in the criminal justice system in some countries are worse than in America, but mostly our focus is in America. John Grisham argues that, “Justice cannot be equal where, simply as a result of his poverty, a defendant is denied the opportunity to participate meaningfully in a judicial proceeding in which his liberty is at stake”.  Due to prosecutorial misconduct innocent persons are taken to the prisons where they wait patiently for their time in the gallows. A defective criminal justice leads to deaths of innocent men and miscarriage of justice.

Treatment of Mental Health Patients

‘A refusal to allow help’.
When there is a case of mental health problems, the prosecution and the police may not allow help in a bid to fasten the prosecution process. For instance inmates who show serious mental health problems are supposed to be taken to a special care unit for check up and medication purposes. This facility (Special Care Unit) is only found in McAlester, and there are long-standing policies that deny many inmates the access and thus end up being competent for the matter before the court. In the John Grisham’ Innocent Man, Williamson was supposed to be taken to such place for mental help due to his confession of the murder which to him happened in dream but he was not allowed to access such services. The policies put to allow access of the services are used to deny inmates access due to the fear by officers of finding out the inmate condition.In some cases of mental health, the attorneys of the accused fail to bring the matter before the court and thus to allow their clients to be competent for trial. The trial judge also fails to bring the issue due to the failure of the attorney though he/she can see some characteristics of mental health problems. For instance Rob Williamson in the Innocent Man, he had shown some characteristics of erratic behaviour but the judge and the attorneys never brought the matter to the court’s attention and thus allowing him to be competent for trial. Police are failing investigating on the mental health problem of the suspect. The police mostly use the erratic behaviour of a suspect to charge of a crime committed, for them is one of their excuse of not intensively investigating the crimes committed. For instance, one of the reasons Williamson was charged with the murder of Debbie was the erratic behaviour he exhibited and thus a reasonable suspect for the police. The police could not take him first for medical check up to know the reason behind his erratic behaviour .

Unscrupulous police work

Failure in carrying out an intensive investigation
In the John Grisham’s Innocent man, it can be seen that the police only looked at small details of the accused Williamson and never investigated the murder of Debbie intensively. The evidence of the witness of seeing two men in the house of Debbie and Williamson’s dream of the murder of Debbie for the police it was enough to convict him. This shows the police investigation is shoddy and lacks weight to convict a suspect (John). In investigating crimes, the police look for the race and the social status of the individual and thus failing to investigate the matter fully. In Illinois and Indiana, 99% of the people detained for terrorism suspicion by the FBI were Arab-Muslims and thus imprisoning the innocent and letting the guilty free. In America, a black person suspected of any crime may end up being imprisoned though innocent, and this is due to his skin color. For an instant in 1990 where Clarence Brandley was released o Texas Death row for a crime that he didn’t do after service a sentence of 10 years was due to his race. The unscrupulous work in this case was due to the threatening of witnesses by the police and other officials’ misconducts thus denying Brandley a fair hearing and thus convicting of a crime not committed by him . Plea-bargaining of the suspects leads to shoddy investigation, the police only need one of the suspects to state that the other was the guilty one, and thus their work is made easy. This does not help in convicting or charging the right suspect and end up convicting the innocent person. The police are focusing on a particular suspect because of his/her previous activities or convictions. In the John Grisham’s Innocent Man, the police only focused on Williamson though one of the witnesses stated that he had seen Glen Gore with Debbie in the evening of murder, and she had pushed him away from her car at a night club. Two people even had confirmed that Debbie was afraid of Gore and one person had called the police reporting what had happened between the two. Unfortunately, the police never investigated the matter on the affair between Debbie and Gore and instead focused on Williamson after getting information that he had finished a short stint from a local jail three months after the murder. They mostly focused on him because he was a neighbor to Debbie, kept wee hours, acquitted of two rape charges, and he was involved in erratic behaviour.
[worst] MacAdams John argues that, “it is difficult to imagine that anything in the American legal system is administered with racial fairness.” This kind of conclusion by the police does not help in getting the criminal behind the crimes and leads to illegal charges against an innocent person. This is what happens mostly in America when the police only look at the activities of the suspect and brings charges against him/her. It does not mean that being charged with a crime or convicted once in your lifetime is enough evidence to convict of new crimes, and thus this hinders justice being done for the innocent (John). Coercing of the witness and instilling fear in them. When police have no enough evidence to charge a suspect in a crime committed, they may coerce the witness during the investigation to admit seeing or admitting the suspect is the one who committed the matter to the court. In the John Grisham’s Innocent Man, we can see one police person visiting one of the witnesses in his house, and instilled fear into him by showing him, his service reservoir and telling him that he would be lead poisoned if his memory did not improve. This is a way of pressurizing a witness to accept in helping the investigating officers in bringing up evidence that may lead to the conviction of the suspect. “This is though the suspect is innocent, showing that the police are unscrupulous, doing their work shoddily and allowing the innocent to be convicted”. In the case of the Innocent Man Williamson’s friend Fritz is used in a way to finding Williamson guilt and in the end they are both convicted of murdering Debbi. (John) The police develop a theory of the crime and search out evidence in supporting that the suspect did the crime. The mentality is to ensure the suspect is found guilty and not to let him walk free, the Chief Police of Pennsylvania Friel once stated that you block out anything that doesn’t fit in the evidence and thus punishing an innocent suspect. For instance in a case where a police officer’s son was murdered in 1978 two men witnessed that they saw Son Bernardo murders him but later changed the statements and said they saw nothing and letting an innocent man stay 13 years behind bar.
[best]Extensive appeal processes. Trial courts are vested with the powers and duty to hear and originally determine the legal and factual truths in a particular case. The trial courts determine punishments in criminal cases and remedies in civil cases. The trial courts can convict based on circumstantial evidence in criminal cases. In the case any of the parties to a legal suit is not satisfied with the judgment of a trial court; they have a choice to appeal to the Courts of Appeals or Circuit courts (Robert). The United States Courts of Appeal serve as the final arbiter in most federal cases because the United States Supreme Court chooses less than 1% of more than 10000 cases filed against it to review. This became the case after the Judiciary Act of 1925 was passed to abolish automatic appeals of courts of appeals’ judgments to the U.S Supreme Court. A party to a case may apply to the Supreme Court to review a ruling, but the application may very easily be rejected. The Supreme Court, on the other hand, can choose, on its accord to review any lower court’s ruling. The Supreme Court rarely chooses to listen to appellate cases based on circumstantial evidence. This is unjust for the people convicted on such evidence that is rarely ever beyond a reasonable doubt. This leads to a great deal of people who end up serving time in prisons for crimes they did not commit . The courts of appeals only possess appellate jurisdiction. As such, they do not hold trials and instead review decisions from trial courts for errors of law. They only consider the record papers filed by the parties and transcripts and exhibits from the trial court. They also consider the legal arguments presented by parties to the suit. In the case of any oral arguments allowed in court, only the parties’ lawyers speak to the court (John). Courts of appeal decisions are binding and form precedents. This is one of the flaws as they also give decisions based on the law in the states where they are situated as they are at the time of appeal and not at the time when the events in question occurred especially in criminal proceedings. “This is retrospective and portrays manifest injustice. The laws in different states as passed by Senate vary from time to time. It is, therefore, unfair to impose liability on a party who would not have incurred the loss at the time when the events that lead to the suit took place”. Only ex-post facto cases in criminal proceedings are free from the above rule of the courts of appeals. Appeals focus more on the process of what occurred rather than on the question of a person’s guilt or innocence. An example is in cases where the death penalty is given, and even when new evidence arises, the court is barred from hearing it due to the written laws. Courts of appeals should be able at least to have provisions for the introduction of new evidence before determining a case instead of just looking at the procedural flaws; if any. This is because a man’s life hangs on the determination of the courts and as such, the courts should be careful to give a decision that they are sure about beyond a reasonable doubt. Changing of attorneys from one court to another may hinder acquisition of justice. In The case of Innocent Man Williamson attorneys were changed from the trial courts to different ones in the appellant court and thus making the predecessor attorneys not to have enough knowledge of the case.


In acquiring justice, our judicial arm should revolve and take the matters serious so as to give each citizen a fair hearing. In the common law where natural justice is prime and especially procedural fairness in America which advocate for fairness should be practiced not only appear in our legal documents and books. The judges should allow all relevant evidence before them and try a crime using the evidence. I the case in the book Innocent Man the trial judge never looked into the videotaped evidence thus violating the ruling the Supreme Court in Brady v Maryland and thus leading to the conviction of Williamson. This shows that some evidence may be crucial in a trial and thus the judge must look into it before dismissing it. In finding justice, all government systems must take their duty serious and render justice to the innocent. The police should not just form a theory on a certain suspect and search for evidence against the person and thus convicting the innocent. The status of an individual should not be an excuse of the cost to pay in accessing justice. All persons living and born in America are citizens and should be treated equally by the law.

Works Cited

Cornford, Andrew. "Preventive Criminalization." New Criminal Law Review: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal (2015): 1-34. Online. 17 February 2015. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/nclr.2015.18.1.1?Search=yes&resultItemClick=true&searchText=flaws&searchText=in&searchText=the&searchText=United&searchText=states&searchText=criminal&searchText=justice&searchText=system&searchUri=%2Faction%2FdoBasicSe>.
Cotton, Michelle. "The Necessity Defense and the Moral Limits of Law." New Criminal Law Review: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal (2015): 35-70. Online. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/nclr.2015.18.1.35?Search=yes&resultItemClick=true&searchText=flaws&searchText=in&searchText=the&searchText=criminal&searchText=justice&searchText=system&searchUri=%2Faction%2FdoBasicSearch%3FQuery%3Dflaws%2Bin%2Bthe%2Bc>.
John, Grisham. Innocent Man. New York: Doubleday, 2006. Print.
McAdams, John. "Racial Disparity and the Death Penalty." Law and Contemporary Problems (1998): 153-170. Online. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/1192433?Search=yes&resultItemClick=true&searchText=Racial&searchText=disparity&searchText=and&searchText=the&searchText=criminal&searchText=justice&searchText=system&searchUri=%2Faction%2FdoBasicResults%3FQuery%3DRacial%2Bdispa>.
Robert, Burns P. The Trial"And American Criminal Justice". Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014. Print.

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