Justice Homework Assignment Questions & Answers

  1. What are your thoughts on the Justice system in general? The State of Texas compensates wrongfully convicted persons with $80,000 for each year they served in prison.

Generally, there is no judicial system with perfect governance. Often, it is possible for a case to go astray and a person is wrongfully convicted. As Rodd (2017) elucidates, a wrongfully convicted individual deserves recompense to aid their healing and recovery process from the miserable life of incarceration.

Life behind bars is traumatizing and more unbearable when a person realizes that they did not deserve it. One is deprived of their total freedom, away from their families and friends, and worst of all, life stagnancy. After the imprisonment, it becomes even harder to relate with society since people within the community still regard them as culprits (Rodd, 2017). Hence, the relevant States should bear the responsibility of restoring the life of the wrongfully convicted person.

  1. Is this enough?

Monetary compensation is not enough. We are talking of a person whose life has come to a standstill. According to Innocence Project (n.d.), as much as the State offers the $80,000 compensation, the now innocent citizen should be helped in acquiring what they lost while in prison. They need assistance in securing affordable housing, resuming their studies and developing their skills, acquiring medical, psychological, counseling services, taking care of their kids, legal order to access public services, and expunging their data from the felonious records.

  1. Are these mistakes that happen to be expected or does the system need to be reformed?

From my perspective, the mistakes are not accidental. The judicial system needs reforming. From Timothy Cole’s case, it is clear that judges make their rulings without sufficient evidence. For instance, the judge reached their final verdict on Cole without clear forensic evidence. Unfortunately, they relied on the victim’s facial profiling as the sole evidence (Innocence Project n.d.). Weird enough, the photos used to identify Cole was Polaroid, and he was facing the camera.

In contrast, other suspects’ photos were mug shots, and they faced away from the camera. So, Mallin might have used the image that was clear to her to conclude that Cole was the perpetrator. The most important thing she would think about then was how she would obtain justice. A court requires ample time for the collection and scrutiny of evidence to ensure a fair judgment.

  1. What reforms do you suggest?

Precisely, Texas lawmakers should enact strict laws to ensure that the criminal justice system is reliable when passing trials. Fairness and justice to innocent persons should not be compromised. Mccullough and Dehn (2017) indicate that the Texas legislature has adopted various measures to curb wrongful convictions. These measures require Texas Legislature to adopt a compulsory policy involving the electronic recording of interrogations amidst serious felonies. Strict adherence to this rule will restrain fabricated confessions.

  • The legislative bodies in Texas should incorporate written eyewitness identification procedures based on best practices and science to improve the accuracy and the reliability of these identifications.
  • An Innocence Commission should be created to conduct investigations on future wrongful convictions. The commission will ensure a follow-up on cases to prevent delayed justice.
  • Discovery procedures should be enhanced as per the terms of an advisory panel to ensure that defense lawyers can access all the evidence they need against a defendant (Mccullough & Dehn, 2017). Additionally, it is also necessary for lawmakers to come up with a way to improve the quality of legal representation for those who cannot even afford to hire a lawyer.
  1. In chapter 10 you learned that judges in Texas are elected. Do you think this has any impact on the justice system in Texas?

Most decisions made by judges affect the lives of the criminal perpetrators that appear before them awaiting their verdicts. The voters elect judges and entrust them with these decisions. Berry (2017) shows how the pressures of re-election and retention of the judges influence their decision-making, forcing them to pass punitive punishments to the defendants.

Where death sentence is involved, these judges tend to support death sentences over life imprisonments during the election period. However, some media houses portray some candidates as soft on crimes and others as tough on crimes. With such publications, voters elect the candidate they believe is harsh on criminal dealings (Berry, 2017).

 

 

 

References

Berry, K. (2015). How judicial elections impact criminal cases. Brennan Center for Justice. Retrieved March 4, 2021, from https://www.brennancenter.org/sites/default/files/publications/How_Judicial_Elections_Impact_Criminal_Cases.pdf

Innocence Project. (n.d.). Compensating the wrongly convicted. Retrieved March 4, 2021, from https://innocenceproject.org/compensating-wrongly-convicted/

Mccullough, J., &Dehn, J. (2017). How some see Texas as the “gold standard” against wrongful convictions. The Texas Tribune. Retrieved March 4, 2021, from https://www.texastribune.org/2017/09/20/texas-lawmakers-hope-prevent-wrongful-convictions/

Rodd, S. (2017). What do states owe people who are wrongfully convicted? Pew Trusts. Retrieved March 4, 2021, from https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2017/03/14/what-do-states-owe-people-who-are-wrongfully-convicted

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