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Perceptions of Minority Treatment in Law

Wallstreetatheist
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1/22/2013 1:06:33 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
GENERAL PERCEPTIONS ABOUT THE TREATMENT OF MINORITY LITIGANTS

Many minorities, some lawyers and a few judges hold similar perceptions about the treatment of minority litigants. These general perceptions, however are not necessarily shared by all persons working in the courts. The Task Force lists below the more significant and disturbing perceptions held by minorities, some lawyers and a few judges:
1. Minorities believe that bias pervades the entire legal system in general and hence they do not trust the court system to resolve their disputes or administer justice even-handedly.
2. There is a perception that in criminal proceedings, minorities receive disparate treatment and harsher sentences despite the guidelines set out in the Sentencing Reform Act (especially with regard to the first offender waiver and the exceptional sentence provisions.
3. There is a perception that a lack of uniformity exists in prosecutorial decision-making regarding criminal cases involving minority persons.
4. Minorities believe that some law enforcement officials tend to treat minority persons with disrespect and engage in offensive behavior toward minority persons.
5. Those working in the judicial system believe that the quality of justice delivered to minority litigants who require the services of an interpreter for legal proceedings are adversely impacted by the unavailability of a sufficient number of competent and trained interpreters int he court system.
6. Those minorities who must rely on public defender organizations perceive themselves to be disadvantaged because those agencies remain understaffed, poorly funded, and lack sufficient available resources.
7. There is a perception that minorities are underrepresented, if represented at all, on most juries.
8. There is a perception that some judges, lawyers, other officers of the court, and court staff have made offensive remarks and have demonstrated other biased attitudes toward minorities appearing in court.
9. Minorities perceive that they do not have access to rehabilitation programs as readily as non-minority defendants.
10. There is a perception that the criminal justice system provides inadequate protection, access, support, and services to minority victims of crime.
https://lib.law.washington.edu...

Thoughts?
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malcolmxy
Posts: 2,855
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1/22/2013 1:38:15 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I don't know all minorities, but blacks are:

5X more likely to be convicted of a crime

4X more likely to receive the death penalty

subject to sentencing 61X (that's not a typo, it's sixty-one) longer than white offenders for similar crimes.

Some of that sentencing dependency was due to the ridiculously longer mandatory minimum federal sentencing around crack cocaine, which is one of the few good things Obama has fixed, but that will, I'm guessing, only drop it to 55X the sentence of a comparable white felon.

They're pissed because they have legit beef with the system and their treatment within it.
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Stephen_Hawkins
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1/22/2013 2:18:01 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
We may say that "oh, the legal system makes everyone equal so it's fine!" but this rational-only approach to the system is flawed: our reasoning can be clouded with doubt and ideology, but the facts and figures do not lie.
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tmar19652
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1/22/2013 2:36:14 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Don't the minorities in question commit more crimes though?
"Politics is supposed to be the second-oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first." -Ronald Reagan

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drafterman
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1/22/2013 2:38:09 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/22/2013 2:36:14 PM, tmar19652 wrote:
Don't the minorities in question commit more crimes though?

Knowing that would require shedding light on the Dark Figure of Crime
http://en.wikipedia.org...
YYW
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1/22/2013 3:36:03 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Statistically speaking, it's hard to argue that minorities don't have it worse in the US system of criminal justice. But it's important to understand what those statistics tell us, rather than jump to conclusions based on our own perceptions.

Minorities are more likely to be arrested, receive longer sentences and re-offend. Why? Some argue that the problem is with the justice system itself. Some argue that it's just because minorities are more likely to actually commit crimes, and therefore it is proper that they be arrested more. Both are true, and neither are mutually exclusive. Here's why:

The criminal justice system has a sort of 'revolving door' phenomenon that continues because of the various sociocultural implications that come with being a convicted felon. Think of Jean Valjean's yellow passport. While we don't have actual cards like that in the United States (which serve that function), what we do have is a system that stigmatizes criminals based on a culturally adopted perception of criminality.

Criminology, penology, etc. give rise to notions of a 'criminal mind' and on a moral level attach a judgement of the individual's 'nature' based on prior acts. This essentially creates a self-fulfiling prophecy in that because we expect criminals to re-offend, they meet expectation, and we confirm the logic that "person X has offended, therefore they will reoffend" and when they do, behavior becomes an identity.

The question, then, to answer is how can/could that cycle be broken? Do we increase punishments? Politicians love that option because it makes them appear 'tough on crime.' Do we rehabilitate? It's a very hard thing to do, because that requires essentially retraining an individual to function in society -and (common) people hate the idea of rehabilitation because they think that it doesn't hold the offender accountable for their actions -because rehabilitation, they believe, is not and can not serve as punishment. Personally, I more prefer the word "consequence" as opposed to punishment, but I don't want to get into the semantics of the issue beyond that.

The whole debate hinges on the idea of what the criminal justice system 'ought' to do. Punish or restore? Condemn or rehabilitate? And the broader question of what we value: ends or means.
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malcolmxy
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1/22/2013 3:44:49 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/22/2013 3:36:03 PM, YYW wrote:

The criminal justice system has a sort of 'revolving door' phenomenon that continues because of the various sociocultural implications that come with being a convicted felon. Think of Jean Valjean's yellow passport. While we don't have actual cards like that in the United States (which serve that function), what we do have is a system that stigmatizes criminals based on a culturally adopted perception of criminality.

Let's just discuss capital crimes, then. White people, far and away, dominate the stats when it comes to the commission of capital crimes, and yet black people are 4X more likely to receive the death sentence as compared to their white counterparts.

This isn't revolving door...chances are, the cracker is getting a life sentence, or 25-life, or thereabouts. This isn't 1 year here, 1 year there. It is the felon's final stop in the criminal justice system of any consequence.

Why do blacks get dead and whites get leniency? The revolving door does not even address this.
War is over, if you want it.

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tmar19652
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1/22/2013 3:52:40 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/22/2013 3:44:49 PM, malcolmxy wrote:
At 1/22/2013 3:36:03 PM, YYW wrote:

The criminal justice system has a sort of 'revolving door' phenomenon that continues because of the various sociocultural implications that come with being a convicted felon. Think of Jean Valjean's yellow passport. While we don't have actual cards like that in the United States (which serve that function), what we do have is a system that stigmatizes criminals based on a culturally adopted perception of criminality.

Let's just discuss capital crimes, then. White people, far and away, dominate the stats when it comes to the commission of capital crimes, and yet black people are 4X more likely to receive the death sentence as compared to their white counterparts.

This isn't revolving door...chances are, the cracker is getting a life sentence, or 25-life, or thereabouts. This isn't 1 year here, 1 year there. It is the felon's final stop in the criminal justice system of any consequence.

Why do blacks get dead and whites get leniency? The revolving door does not even address this.
I would also bet that whites (generally) can afford better lawyers, no offense to public defenders.
"Politics is supposed to be the second-oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first." -Ronald Reagan

"The notion of political correctness declares certain topics, certain ex<x>pressions even certain gestures off-limits. What began as a crusade for civility has soured into a cause of conflict and even censorship." -George H.W. Bush
Lordknukle
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1/22/2013 3:55:10 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/22/2013 3:44:49 PM, malcolmxy wrote:
White people, far and away, dominate the stats when it comes to the commission of capital crimes,

Stats plox, since this is so obviously false.
"Easy is the descent to Avernus, for the door to the Underworld lies upon both day and night. But to retrace your steps and return to the breezes above- that's the task, that's the toil."
Lordknukle
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1/22/2013 3:56:55 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Blacks are about 5-10x more likely to commit homicide, which is what I assume you mean by "capital crimes."

http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov...
"Easy is the descent to Avernus, for the door to the Underworld lies upon both day and night. But to retrace your steps and return to the breezes above- that's the task, that's the toil."
malcolmxy
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1/22/2013 4:23:13 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/22/2013 3:56:55 PM, Lordknukle wrote:
Blacks are about 5-10x more likely to commit homicide, which is what I assume you mean by "capital crimes."

http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov...

No, it isn't. Killing someone isn't a capital crime. Killing MANY people, or treason, or serial rape.

A murder must be premeditated to be considered even worthy of capital punishment. Manslaughter could get you out in 2 years.
War is over, if you want it.

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malcolmxy
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1/22/2013 4:40:16 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov...

White people comprise about 55% of society and 56% of people on death row. Black people comprise about 14% of society, but they comprise 42% of people on death row (men...women only make up 1.5% of people on death row, so their numbers are inconsequential).

http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov...

And, this is awesome. Basically, if you kill a white person, you have a ridiculously higher chance of getting the death penalty than if you kill someone of another race -

http://filipspagnoli.files.wordpress.com...

Maryland Study Finds that Race and Geography Play Key Roles in Death Penalty - According to the findings of a Governor-commissioned death penalty study conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland, the state's death penalty system is tainted with racial bias, and geography plays a significant role in who faces a capital conviction. The study, one of the nation's most comprehensive official reviews on race and the death penalty, concluded that defendants are much more likely to be sentenced to death if they have killed a white person.

his study, the most comprehensive ever conducted on the death penalty in North Carolina, was released by researchers from the University of North Carolina. The study, based on data collected from court records of 502 murder cases from 1993 to 1997, found that race plays a significant role in who gets the death penalty. Prof. Jack Boger and Dr. Isaac Unah of the University of North Carolina found that defendants whose victims are white are 3.5 times more likely to be sentenced to death than those with non-white victims. "The odds are supposed to be zero that race plays a role," said Dr. Unah. "No matter how the data was analyzed, the race of the victim always emerged as an important factor in who received the death penalty." The study's findings will be presented to the North Carolina General Assembly which is currently considering moratorium bills in both the House and Senate.

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...

There...happy now, douchebag?
War is over, if you want it.

Meet Dr. Stupid and his assistants - http://www.debate.org...
malcolmxy
Posts: 2,855
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1/22/2013 4:47:21 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
The reason my stuff isn't sourced is because I'm not reading it for the 1st time, and I don't feel like going out and finding information for people who aren't going to read it. In this case, you found something you (incorrectly) thought refuted what I stated.

Cool...now my statement is controverted (kinda). NOW I'll prove what I already knew to be true. I'm right.

You want back-up? Competently refute me and I'll go get it. I already know it exists. You're the one working off assumption, not me.

Know why the death penalty was deemed "cruel & unusual" for a while?

They still use the same electric chairs, so it wasn't the means. It was the application...just like today.
War is over, if you want it.

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YYW
Posts: 36,282
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1/22/2013 4:47:30 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/22/2013 3:52:40 PM, tmar19652 wrote:
At 1/22/2013 3:44:49 PM, malcolmxy wrote:
At 1/22/2013 3:36:03 PM, YYW wrote:

The criminal justice system has a sort of 'revolving door' phenomenon that continues because of the various sociocultural implications that come with being a convicted felon. Think of Jean Valjean's yellow passport. While we don't have actual cards like that in the United States (which serve that function), what we do have is a system that stigmatizes criminals based on a culturally adopted perception of criminality.

Let's just discuss capital crimes, then. White people, far and away, dominate the stats when it comes to the commission of capital crimes, and yet black people are 4X more likely to receive the death sentence as compared to their white counterparts.

This isn't revolving door...chances are, the cracker is getting a life sentence, or 25-life, or thereabouts. This isn't 1 year here, 1 year there. It is the felon's final stop in the criminal justice system of any consequence.

Why do blacks get dead and whites get leniency? The revolving door does not even address this.
I would also bet that whites (generally) can afford better lawyers, no offense to public defenders.

That's an incredibly relevant factor too. White people are more likely to have the economic means to afford good legal representation, whereas non-white offenders are incredibly morel likely to depend on the representation appointed to them. And let's be fair, few public defenders are quite as good as privately contracted attorneys.
Tsar of DDO
YYW
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1/22/2013 4:48:56 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/22/2013 2:36:14 PM, tmar19652 wrote:
Don't the minorities in question commit more crimes though?

Generally yes, but the problem runs deeper than that. The question to answer is 'why' do non-whites commit more crimes than whites. Many have speculated, but no one can really find a good solution.
Tsar of DDO
YYW
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1/22/2013 4:51:14 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/22/2013 3:44:49 PM, malcolmxy wrote:
At 1/22/2013 3:36:03 PM, YYW wrote:

The criminal justice system has a sort of 'revolving door' phenomenon that continues because of the various sociocultural implications that come with being a convicted felon. Think of Jean Valjean's yellow passport. While we don't have actual cards like that in the United States (which serve that function), what we do have is a system that stigmatizes criminals based on a culturally adopted perception of criminality.

Let's just discuss capital crimes, then. White people, far and away, dominate the stats when it comes to the commission of capital crimes, and yet black people are 4X more likely to receive the death sentence as compared to their white counterparts.

This isn't revolving door...chances are, the cracker is getting a life sentence, or 25-life, or thereabouts. This isn't 1 year here, 1 year there. It is the felon's final stop in the criminal justice system of any consequence.

I was talking about non-capital crimes rather than capital crimes. I should have specified. Ex: panhandling, theft, burglary, simple possession, etc.

Why do blacks get dead and whites get leniency? The revolving door does not even address this.

I think that it would be hard to speculate to that end, and recognize that I was referring to non-capital crimes.
Tsar of DDO
Lordknukle
Posts: 12,788
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1/22/2013 5:51:09 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/22/2013 4:23:13 PM, malcolmxy wrote:
At 1/22/2013 3:56:55 PM, Lordknukle wrote:
Blacks are about 5-10x more likely to commit homicide, which is what I assume you mean by "capital crimes."

http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov...

No, it isn't. Killing someone isn't a capital crime. Killing MANY people, or treason, or serial rape.

A murder must be premeditated to be considered even worthy of capital punishment. Manslaughter could get you out in 2 years.

This is exactly why I put "capital crimes" in quotations. If you have to resort to such a narrow definition to attempt to gain a victory (although you have no evidence to support it), it's pretty clear that your position is fail. Homicide and murder rates are a much more effective way to measure crime rates.

Furthermore, the definition of "capital crime" actually states that its any crime that can be punished by death. Not only is this misleading because nearly all developed countries don't have the death penalty, but murder could easily result in the death penalty in many countries that do have it.
"Easy is the descent to Avernus, for the door to the Underworld lies upon both day and night. But to retrace your steps and return to the breezes above- that's the task, that's the toil."
Lordknukle
Posts: 12,788
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1/22/2013 5:52:49 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/22/2013 4:40:16 PM, malcolmxy wrote:
http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov...

White people comprise about 55% of society and 56% of people on death row. Black people comprise about 14% of society, but they comprise 42% of people on death row (men...women only make up 1.5% of people on death row, so their numbers are inconsequential).

http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov...

And, this is awesome. Basically, if you kill a white person, you have a ridiculously higher chance of getting the death penalty than if you kill someone of another race -

http://filipspagnoli.files.wordpress.com...

Maryland Study Finds that Race and Geography Play Key Roles in Death Penalty - According to the findings of a Governor-commissioned death penalty study conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland, the state's death penalty system is tainted with racial bias, and geography plays a significant role in who faces a capital conviction. The study, one of the nation's most comprehensive official reviews on race and the death penalty, concluded that defendants are much more likely to be sentenced to death if they have killed a white person.

his study, the most comprehensive ever conducted on the death penalty in North Carolina, was released by researchers from the University of North Carolina. The study, based on data collected from court records of 502 murder cases from 1993 to 1997, found that race plays a significant role in who gets the death penalty. Prof. Jack Boger and Dr. Isaac Unah of the University of North Carolina found that defendants whose victims are white are 3.5 times more likely to be sentenced to death than those with non-white victims. "The odds are supposed to be zero that race plays a role," said Dr. Unah. "No matter how the data was analyzed, the race of the victim always emerged as an important factor in who received the death penalty." The study's findings will be presented to the North Carolina General Assembly which is currently considering moratorium bills in both the House and Senate.

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...

There...happy now, douchebag?

I honestly don't care how minorities are treated under the legal system and this has very little effect on me. I was arguing against your premise that whites commit more crimes than blacks, which is plainly false.
"Easy is the descent to Avernus, for the door to the Underworld lies upon both day and night. But to retrace your steps and return to the breezes above- that's the task, that's the toil."