Monday, July 29, 2019

Racial Profiling within America’s Criminal Justice System Essay

The criminal justice system of America is deeply scarred with racial bias. Crimes are being committed and, in turn, are resulting with innocent people doing hard-time. Thankfully, newfound methods of appealing court rulings are finding justice for these minorities; however, the results are as shocking as the crimes being committed. When it was found that the majority of successful appeals were of minorities, the true defects of the system was apparent. The minority community is being critically judged for things they’re not doing. Throughout the last decade lawmakers have be aiding the racial profiling scene. Arizona legislature passed a law allowing for an officer to demand papers of any person that proved their legal citizenship. The law, intending to lower the illegal immigrants in Arizona, became a symbol for racial profiling within our government. President Obama strongly opposed the passing of the law saying that it threatened â€Å"to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and our communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe† (Archibold). It is a very rare occasion where the President speaks out about state legislature, proving the enormity of the law and its regards to human rights in America. The law, dubbed the â€Å"Show Me Your Papers† law, has Arizona residents furious. Faulting someone of being illegal, purely based on their appearance is a very subjective issue. Someone with a last name of Garcia or Rodriquez is much more likely to be suspected of being in the country illegally rather than someone with the last name of Smith. Because Smith has a very typically â€Å"American† last name, he, most likely, wouldn’t be asked to prove citizenship. This is a perfect example of the kind of profiling that Arizonians are concerned about. Not only have lawmakers been creating laws supporting racial profiling, but laws such as the â€Å"Stand your Ground† law in Florida are allowing for racial profiling to occur under a pseudonym. The â€Å"Stand your Ground† law allows for someone to use deadly force, if needed, in order to protect themselves from harm’s way. The recent slayings of teenagers Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis, two African American teenagers, have so far been defended under the law, bringing uproar to the state–especially among the black community. Even worse, it’s considered legal. Families and friends of these children defend them as being upstanding citizens killed due to their race. Although Martin and Davis have not been the only people murdered under the law, they are the ones bring publicity to it. Due to the media attention, the policy’s effect on different racial groups is finally being questioned. John Roman, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center, conducted a study intending to measure the racial bias within the policy. Roman focused his study on killings that were considered justified within the eyes of the court: the murder of people that just committed a felony. â€Å"Roman found that the killings of black people by whites were more likely to be considered justified than the killings of white people by blacks†¦. In non-Stand Your Ground states, whites are 250 percent more likely to be found justified in killing a black person than a white person who kills another white person; in Stand Your Ground states, that number jumps to 354 percent.† (Childress). Roman’s findings show that even laws that weren’t aimed to become a racial issue are. The issue, however, is that it’s not being stopped despite the blatantly obvious ramifications. Some might argue that people of color are being convicted for more crimes than other races because they’re the ones committing more crimes. A valid point, however, with the recent advancement of these races throughout society, it would be thought that these numbers would be heading in opposite directions. In reality, minorities are being served harsher consequences than their white counterparts despite their equal standing in society. Michigan State University (MSU) conducted a study revealing that there was often racial bias when selecting a jury—especially those involving minority parties. The study conducted by MSU examined jury selection as well as the decisions made by said juries. â€Å"The MSU study of capital charging and sentencing found that those who kill whites are more likely to get the death penalty than those who kill blacks. The MSU study found that a defendant is 2.6 times more likely to get the death penalty if the victim is white.† (ACLU). Following the study, North Carolina passed a law entitled the â€Å"Racial Justice Act†. This piece of legislature made it possible for inmates to appeal their sentences due to supposed racial profiling. Since the passing of the law last year, there have been 4 successful appeals. The law doesn’t guarantee that the whole sentence will be reversed; however, it puts in place a system that allows for flaws in the length/severity of the sentence to be readdressed. The passing of the law as well as the MSU study prove that although there are more minorities being charged for crimes, the charges are of ill-willed intentions. In addition to undeserved charges, DNA testing has exonerated hundreds of people for crimes in which they were convicted over the past few years. When DNA testing became readily available to the criminal justice system, crucial flaws began to surface. It was realized that people were serving hard-time for felony crimes they didn’t commit. University of Virginia Law professor, Brandon Garrett, studied the first 200 people exonerated through said DNA testing. He compared the demographics of the exonerees concluding that â€Å"[Of] the innocent group, all male save one†¦71 percent were minorities. The vast majority of exonerated rape convicts (73 percent) were black or Hispanic, while studies show only about 37 percent of rape convicts are minorities.† (Wood). These hundreds of people are provide valid evidence supporting that, although people of color are being convicted of more crimes, they are also being cleared of said crimes. Racial ethnicity plays a large factor when it comes to being convicted of a crime. Oftentimes, a person of color is automatically assumed to be more likely of committing a crime than a Caucasian person. People of minority races are being targeted as criminals purely based on their looks rather than their guilt. Laws have been passed both for and against said issue, providing for a government that is facilitating racism. Racial profiling isn’t an act that would be thought of as happening in the 21st century, following the Civil Rights movement of the mid 1900’s. Despite the advancements in society, America’s criminal justice system hasn’t quite advanced so far. Works Cited Archibold, Randal. â€Å"Arizona Enacts Stringent Law on Immigration† April 23, 2012. Web. New York Times January 30, 2013. Childress, Sarah. â€Å"Is There Racial Bias in ‘Stand your Ground’ Law?†, July 31, 2012. Web. UNC-TV January 30, 2013 ACLU. â€Å"North Carolina Racial Justice Act†, December 17, 2012. Web. American Civil Liberties Union January 30, 2013 Wood, Mary. â€Å"Study of First 200 DNA Exonerations Shows Flawed Criminal System†, July 23, 2007. Web. University of Virginia February 2, 2013

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