Many concerns have been raised regarding the inability of the U.S. criminal justice system to promote fairness in its systemic operations. In one study that will be reviewed in this analysis, the American justice system is believed to offer incentives that undermine the process of justice. By evaluating the gaps in the U.S. criminal justice system, it will be easier for individuals to identify the best approaches that can be used at any given time to accomplish desired outcomes that promote the integrity of the justice structures in the country. From this realization, examining the people’s perspectives towards the criminal justice system as outlined in the different studies will help create a common understanding that reflects on the overall progress realized over the years.
Koppl and Sacks (2013) demonstrate in their findings how false convictions are influenced by the structural incentives that undermine fairness in the U.S. criminal justice system. In this research, the scholars focus on how different entities within the justice system benefit from the irregular financing of their operations. Importantly, the researchers establish how players such as public defenders lack the requisite resources to launch a competent defense for their clients. For this reason, the high convictions in the U.S. are largely attributed by the inconsistent incentives that encourage different individuals within the American justice system to promote and accomplish fair outcomes.
In the legal context, defense lawyers are supposed to lean towards their clients’ needs as opposed to the demands made by other players in the justice system. However, a research by Geis established that many defense attorneys are more responsive to the court’s demand for a smooth and lean process than their clients’ expectations (Geis, 2012). Representation in the American context is largely based on compliance to the court’s expectations and widely ignores the various aspects that expose clients to an enabling environment where their issues can be resolved. In the same vein, Lippke (2006) explores the growing preference for plea bargaining over regular trials during convictions. Hence, the overall conduct of the prosecution and how they coerce defendants to accept trumped up charges to demonstrate the efficiency of the justice system should be questioned.
In 1769, William Blackstone emphasized that it was better for ten guilty people to escape than one innocent person to suffer under wrongful conviction. In his assertion, Blackstone intended to demonstrate the importance of upholding the law to promote fairness and other aspects of existence that influence the changing needs of individuals within the criminal system. Halvorsen (2004) validates Blackstone’s concerns by emphasizing on the significance of upholding the law to prevent wrongful convictions to innocent people. In his research, Halvorsen prefers dropping the charges for guilty people than wrongfully sentencing innocent people, an outcome that appears to have been ignored in the modern American justice system.
Reviewing people’s perspectives towards the criminal justice system as outlined in the various studies in this analysis will promote a common understanding that reflects on the overall progress realized over the years. Importantly, the different authors have emphasized the importance of the rule of law and its influence in creating favorable outcomes that advance the rightful implementation of various legal policies. In this regard, the studies demonstrate the impact of wrongful convictions and the approaches that should be used to prevent the outcomes.
Geis, G. (2012). Revisiting Blumberg’s “The Practice of Law as a Confidence Game”. Criminal Justice Ethics, 31(1), 31-38.
Halvorsen, V. (2004). Is it better that ten guilty persons go free than that one innocent person be convicted? Criminal Justice Ethics, 23(2), 3-13.
Koppl, R., & Sacks, M. (2013). The criminal justice system creates incentives for false convictions. Criminal Justice Ethics, 32(2), 126-162.
Lippke, R. L. (2006). Retributivism and plea bargaining. Criminal Justice Ethics, 25(2), 3-16.
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