How can governments, particularly the American government continue to promote a Justice system that favours privilege and wealth over fair trial and direction of proper justice?
We’ve seen time and time again that justice has fallen short; that the system that originally asked for our faith and our trust in fairness has been overrun by a substantial level of privilege and unjust reaction to crimes where others have been punished further and harsher.
I am of course refering to the current systems in play that gave the likes of Jacob Walter Anderson a pass at jail for the physical abuse and rape of a woman back in February 2016. According to the BBC, the women stated that Anderson had taken ‘her virginity; her power over her body’ in her statement to Judge Ralph Strother, after he gave deal to Balfour University student Anderson for counselling and to pay a fine of $400 (£317). This of course not being the first time that Judge Strother has resided over and given weak judicial sentences to people of the same university as Anderson, and little justice for the victims which nowadays has become the people’s responsibility rather than the courts.
How does this constitute modern-day justice? How can you worth a woman’s body; the removal of her confidence and her empowerment to a measly $400 dollars? It goes without saying that this isn’t justice. There is no fairness to this case that would allow someone such disgusting power over another human being and get off with nothing more than a slap on the wrist and a small dent in their bank account.
This unfairness; the lack of decency in justice is solemnly due to several factors; two commonly practiced in America’s justice system where money affords you better access to resources, personnel and support to fight against an injustice, and your position based on factors like ethnicity and privilege in society, despite numerous claims to the contrary; these factors are still being seen practiced in modern day courts— pratell how is that fair? Why should those privileged enough to afford these services be better off than those denied the same access as such should be afforded to them through their protected rights to fair trial and representation in court?
The situation with Anderson reads much more in a similar way as the problematic case of Brock Turner; similar position and age in life who was protected by their privileges in court because they had a better position to stave off prosecution from their victims and get away with a slap on the wrist.
I think this post from Twitter best sums up my current thoughts on the problematic nature of the ‘justice system’
It’s no wonder that many people have lost faith in a system that is meant to protect them and uphold the law of the land, when people like Turner & Anderson are able to scrape by without a judicial scratch and leave their victims worse off. The imbalance in the American justice system especially is evidenced by the treatment of Cyntoia Brown who is to serve 51 years for killing her rapist when she was sold as a sex-slave at 16.
Tried back in 2004 for murdering the individual for fear of her life after recieving numbers beatings, assaults and sexual attacks from her captor, a Tennessee court and jury found her to be guilty of murder and sentenced her to 51 years before she could become eligible for release.
As of this year however, she has a meeting to call for clemency and freedom following changes to the law because of this initial case.
Despite this, as of May 2018 she has been denied freedom, with the Board of Parole split 2/2/2 on whether to accept her call for clemency following changes to the law; deny clemency or reduce her sentence down to 25 years.
While murder is a substantial crime; should judges and jurors not look into the context? Why is it that Cyntoia who acted within the bounds of self-defence following said fact of her captor is put behind bars, while people like Anderson & Turner are given freedom time and time again with little more than community service or not even a year behind bars?
The justice system, in America and in many other countries worldwide are definitive proof that there is no real justice for everyone on equal grounds. Yet people will continue to complain about commonalities; that women sexually assaulted or raped should come forward sooner — that abused should prosecute and demand justice. But how can that happen, when the current system doesn’t allow it?
To me, the system we live in has never been about the justice.