When Ronda Morrison was murdered, Walter McMillian was at a church fish fry where dozens could confirm his presence. Prosecutors suppressed evidence and found informants that could testify against McMillian for them. Walter Myers, one of informants, created a wildly unbelievable story that connected McMillian to the murder which law enforcement officers knew would be
In an overarching summary, Stevenson begins with the story of Walter McMillan, a young black man who is put on trial for murdering an 18-year old white woman named Ronda Morrison. The chapters often alternates between narrating McMillan’s trial and his journey towards justice. Stories of other wrongfully persecuted individuals are recounted as well, with one case being that of a 14-year old boy named Charlie who was sentenced to life in prison for killing his mother’s abusive boyfriend. These two cases will be further discussed later.
Being just in the American criminal justice system is a topic that is highly debated. Some believe the system is just, while others believe it is a flawed. The truth however, is that humans are not always right. God is the only who can practice justice in complete perfection, because humans are not perfect. Although many people in the American criminal justice system have good intentions, sadly that does not necessarily mean they are always just. The American criminal justice system tries to be truly just and has been before, but humans are not perfect and cannot always be truly just.
Courts are a major evaluative stage of the criminal justice system and we rely on these courts to determine our outcomes based on the crime that was committed. Today, there is more diversity of leadership in the court system but, race still plays a role in the outcome of the offender. This could range from petty crimes being committed like traffic infractions or facing the death penalty based on the race of the offender or victim. This paper will examine the three types of disparities that cause biased sentencing in the courts. The three types of disparities are race, social class, and gender and these all play a huge factor when making a decision based off an offender.
“There is a strength, a power even, in understanding brokenness, because embracing our brokenness creates a need and desire for mercy, and perhaps a corresponding need to show mercy (Stevenson 109) .” This bold statement is one of many as Bryan Stevenson sets the tone for his renowned award winning novel Just Mercy. As a young lawyer from Georgia, built the foundation for his company, SPDC (Southern Prisoners Defense Committee) to help convicts that are on death row or in need a second chance. Bryan Stevenson, a young lawyer from Georgia who fought for justice on the behalf of inmates on death row, showed tremendous intelligence in becoming a successful lawyer, demanding for not backing down in moments of refusal, and was an overall advocate
In Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy, he writes to illustrate the injustices of the judicial system to its readers. To do so, Stevenson utilizes multiple writing styles that provide variety and helps keep the reader engaged in the topic. Such methods of his include the use of anecdotes from his personal experiences, statistics, and specific facts that apply to cases Stevenson had worked on as well as specific facts that pertain to particular states.
In “Intersectional Resistance and Law Reform,” Dean Spade proposes that the United States was founded through “racialization…(which) continues to operate under new guises… that produce, manage, and deploy gender categories and sexuality and family norms” (16). More over, these laws and norms tend to maintain the “status quo,” and employ an inherently flawed justice system that is only equipped to address single-axis discrimination issues (5). Thus, the intersectionality movement is largely dismissed by the social and justice systems, as it utilizes “critical intersectional tools… that are often (too) difficult for legal scholars to comprehend” (17). Interstionality’s progress is also impeded by advocates leaving to support single-axis issues. However, Spade warns that this approach is ineffective, as it fails to protect the most marginalized members of society.
In the eyes of Martin Luther King Jr., Justice within a society is achieved through the implementation of just laws. Furthermore, “just laws are regulations that have been created by man that follow the laws of God for man” (“Clergymen’s Letter”). Any law that does not correspond with the ideals of God and morality are considered to be unjust or a form of injustice. King identifies that injustice is clearly evident within the justice system. This injustice can truly be seen through the misconduct imposed toward the African American community. Michelle Alexander, similarly, points out the same truth that African American men are targeted substantially by the criminal justice system due to the long history leading to racial bias and mass incarceration within her text “The New Jim Crow”. Both Martin Luther King Jr.’s and Michelle Alexander’s text exhibit the brutality and social injustice that the African American community experiences, which ultimately expedites the mass incarceration of African American men, reflecting the current flawed prison system in the U.S.
Alexander, M. (2012). The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (Rev. ed.). New York, NY: The New Press.
In her book, The New Jim Crow Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander who was a civil rights lawyer and legal scholar, reveals many of America’s harsh truths regarding race within the criminal justice system. Though the Jim Crow laws have long been abolished, a new form has surfaced, a contemporary system of racial control through mass incarceration. In this book, mass incarceration not only refers to the criminal justice system, but also a bigger picture, which controls criminals both in and out of prison through laws, rules, policies and customs. The New Jim Crow that Alexander speaks of has redesigned the racial caste system, by putting millions of mainly blacks, as well as Hispanics and some whites, behind bars
This critical reflection will focus on the piece “African American Women, Mass Incarceration, and the Politics of Protection” by Kali Nicole Grass. Grass currently works at the University of Texas and Gross’ research focuses on black women’s experiences in the United States criminal justice system between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In this journal, Gross uses her historical research background and her research work to explain how history in the sense of race and gender help shape mass incarceration today. In this journal, Gross’s main argument is to prove that African American women are overpopulating prisons and are treating with multiple double standards that have existed for centuries. To prove this argument, first Gross starts off by
Coker gives great evidence that supports racial injustice in the criminal justice system. She discusses on the Supreme Court’s rulings and accusations of racial preference in the system. This article is helpful because it supports my thesis on race playing a role on the system of criminal justice.
Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow is a truly thought provoking book attempting to show the enduring issues of racial inequalities in our Criminal Justice system. Racial inequality in America is a huge and controversial topic, especially in reference to America’s system of Criminal justice. In “The New Jim Crow” Alexander focuses on the racial undertones of America’s “War on drugs”. Alexander uses the chapters of her book to take us on a journey through America’s racial history and argues that the federal drug policy unjustly targets black communities.
Through the years, the world has made substantial progress towards ensuring equal treatment under law for all citizens. However, the cycle continues, as disparities within the justice decision making process is growing at each level of the criminal justice system. Although the drug policies and sentencing guidelines that are put into place by our legislators are said to be “race neutral,” they have actually shown to be pervasively biased, affecting both innocent as well as guilty minority citizens.
Forty years have gone by and I think it’s finally time we acknowledge the inconvenient truth; Capital punishment is not a fair means of punishment and disproportionately affects minorities.