The 13th Amendment to the American Constitution is celebrated and known as the amendment to end slavery. The amendment provides that, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction” (U.S. Constitution, Amendment 13). What is often overlooked is that this amendment abolishes slavery, unless you are a criminal. After the Civil War, this loophole was wildly used by slave owners, as they would convict African Americans of minor crimes to then use them as slaves again. This exception to the amendment is continually used today in the American prison system. The Criminal Justice System in America contains significant flaws that are detrimental to society. A few of these flaws lie within the actions and ideals of the prison system, the policies and laws surrounding the criminal justice system, and the American Legislative Exchange Council.
Within the criminal justice system, officials abuse their power. The officials of the justice system have a duty to protect and perform their duties with unbiased decision making. The abuse of power jeopardizes people’s lives who are not able to sustain oneself and their families. Some people do not understand that poorer people find themselves in jail more and once a person is released, that person is subjected to return to jail for the amount of money owed to the state. There are many obstacles for the poor, especially those of color. People of color are treated unfairly in the justice system, from the arrest, the sentencing, and the release. The criminal justice system is supposed to be just but that is not the case. The criminal justice system allows for the police, public defenders, and judges to bend the laws and not be punished for their actions or that apologizes can fix the wrong that has been done. This paper will discuss the abuse of power from the justice system and the solutions to rectify the damages.
During the period of the Great Depression (1920-1939), the criminal justice system reflected the same amount of struggle as the economy. At this point in America, there were many flaws within the structure of the criminal justice system. Inequality, developing system, and harsh realities of organized crime beat down the structure and credibility within trials. The need for reformation was evident. Minorities during this time period struggled overall for the same equal rights that the white majority was granted. African Americans were most called out on due to the fact they represent a different background, culture and have a unilateral political viewpoint. Although under the influence of the law, it was no different in court, when it came
Similar to how the accused is innocent until proven guilty, the rule states that the accused is assumed sane “unless the defense proved at the time of committing the act, the accused was laboring under such a defect of reason, from disease of the mind, as not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing or, if he did know it, that he did not know what he was doing was wrong" (Francone). This rule is now a standard in the United Kingdom and in almost half the states in America. The next test is the Model Penal Code, which states that “a criminal defendant must be found not guilty by reason of insanity if he is diagnosed with a relevant mental defect” (FindLaw). The mental defects could range anywhere from severe mental retardation to schizophrenia. The test was adopted in the 1970s, but it quickly became unfavorable after John Hinckley Jr. tried to assassinate President Reagan in 1981 and was found not guilty by reason of insanity because of the test’s loose rules. Soon after, the federal government went back to using the M’Naghten Rule because it was
The development of the American justice system is a captivating subject that can prompt to years of recorded study and investigation. A decent criminal justice graduate program will give you enough information to leave you wanting more as I gained from my time in school.
Myths are stories telling a part of the world view of a society or give an explanation of a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon. It is a popular viewpoint, embodying the ideals and institutions of a society or segment of society. Although myths are regarded as fictional representations, they often reveal underlying ideals. Myths often tell us more about our social and cultural values than they do about any particular circumstance. While myths seem to explain events, often times they instruct us on integrating an event an individual’s belief system and worldviews. The phrase crime myths does not stray too far from these definitions. These types of myths are usually created in nonscientific forums through the telling of sensational stories. These crime fictions often take on new meanings as they are told and retold, eventually evolving into truth for many people (Kappeler and Potter, 2005). The commonly held belief of the United States’ leniency within the criminal justice system is a crime myth, unfounded, and false.
The insanity defense was created to help protect people from the law, specifically those who due to serious mental illness could not be held accountable for their actions, regardless of how horrific they were. (Insanity, Religion, Terrorism 238) There should be no prejudice based on the mental deficiencies, incompetency, and mental illness of a person. Rather, the law should be malleable to be inclusive of everyone. The Constitution of United States represents the national framework of the government. The abolition of the insanity defense violates the Fourteenth Amendment, which is the Due Process Clause. Due Process Clause explicitly states no person shall be “deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law”, due process meaning fair procedures. Within the Constitution also lies the Eighth Amendment, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishments. To put a mentally ill or incompetent person on stand is a cruel and unusual punishment. Therefore although the public does not have a full comprehension of how the insanity defense works, in order to abide by the United States Constitution insanity defense MUST be available in a criminal matter.
Champion, D.J. (2009). Leading U.S. supreme court cases in criminal justice: Briefs and key terms. Upper Saddle river, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Some may ask themselves, “Who is John Hinckley Jr.?” For most people, they know him as being the man who tried to assassinate former President Ronald Reagan. But why did John feel the need to kill the president and what drove him to do it. While doing the research to answer those questions into why the crime was committed, some information and fact were brought up to the surface that is quite disturbing.
In Section 190.1, the trial would happen in three stages. First, the accused individual's guilt will primarily be examined, and if they are found guilty, in certain circumstances where they were previously accused of murder, they would be considered guilty for those crimes as well. Second, If the defendant was charged previously of first or second degree murder, those previous convictions will have to be investigated. Third, if the individual is found guilty of murder and other previous convictions were proven true, and he is trying to plead not guilty by reason of insanity, his sanity should be examined. If found sane, his punishment should then be
Jonathan Simons “Mass imprisonment on trial: A remarkable court decision and the future of prisons in American landmark”, focuses on the decision made from case Brown v. Plata, where it was discovered that the overcrowding of prisoners was causing prisoners to suffer from chronic illness and inhumane treatment. As per the 8th amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment the court ordered the release of more prisoners than ever before. Mass incarceration resulted from laws like the three strikes laws or use a gun and you’re done created situations on inhumane treatment such as denial of healthcare which caused death behind bars this calls for reforms. In Massachusetts the three strike laws must be enforced with a different approach
The insanity defense finally received harsh critism from the public until the 1981 assassination attempt on President Ronald Regan. On March 30, 1981 John Hinckley shot the president and several of his aids on live television. The whole world saw the shooting. There was no doubt that he did the shooting. On May 4, 1982, after a seven-week trail, in which a ton of psychiatrist testified for Hinckley's defense, Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity. He was sent to a mental hospital in Washington D.C, where he remains today. This verdict outraged American's, as it should have. How can a man who shoots another man on national television be given a not guilty verdict(Gado)?
A criminal background check revealed Richard Brown was negative for CANTS/LEAD (5/3/16). His criminal background check from the Illinois State Police (5/3/2016) and FBI (5/3/2016) were positive. In 1986, Richard was charged with contribution of delinquency to a minor. The girl told Mr. Brown she was 18, but she was only 14. For his restitution Richard paid a $100 fine and served six months of supervision. This is Richard's only run in with the law; he has not been in trouble with the law since 1986. He has since been a model citizen. Inquiries into the National Sex Offender Registry (5/2/2016) and the Illinois Sex Offender Registry on (5/2/2016) revealed no offenses for Richard Brown. A criminal background check revealed Vickie Brown was
that their argument does not aim to diminish the rehabilitation of mentally ill, but focus more on preventing people without mental illness from using the defense. Conservative states such as Idaho have been successful in abolishing the insanity plea due to a general agreement of personal responsibility of its citizens (Geis & Meier, 1985). These states have yet to see backlash from the repeal of an insanity defense mostly due to the idea that these regions are predominantly conservative and the general population shares conservative ideals. In larger states repeal may be impossible due to the variety of different cultural and political beliefs.
Since no system created by humans is perfect, some individuals are convicted and punished for a crime they did not commit. This is known as a wrongful conviction or a miscarriage of justice. The adversarial trial attempts to prevent this outcome by requiring that the guilt of the accused is proved beyond reasonable doubt. For every single individual affected, every miscarriage of justice is a very serious matter, but for the legal system as a whole they only make up a very small amount of all the criminal law judgements. Factors like false accusations or confessions, misleading or inadequate police investigation, flaws in the trial process and problems of appeal all lead to miscarriages of justice.