It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.

 

Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.

 

Is the justice system biased against the poor?

page: 2
10
<< 1   >>

log in

join
share:

posted on Sep, 13 2013 @ 08:14 AM
link   
reply to post by Chickensalad
 


As a law student, I can agree with this. I have seen the case loads of public defenders, and the way in which charges are brought against people, the goal being to get the Defendant to make a plea deal. Only 10% of all charges are ever brought to trial due to plea deals. There is an argument regarding this tactic though, even among professionals. However, just like all portions of society at our current stage it seems less and less attention is given to the arguments of the indigent, and more procedures are erected to assist the legal mechanism to continue to function. More powers are given to courts, and less and less time is given to each case.

This issue cannot be summed up with just a single reflection on a specific way of doing business in our legal system. The issue involves a gross cross-section of legal policy that intersects in such a way that binds the indigent to a substandard form of justice. While we have long ago recognized the right for indigent Defendants to obtain a lawyer at the public's cost, the public attorneys are under an obligation to attempt to plea deal to reduce the overall cost to the tax payer. Some states do not have public defenders so they contract out this function to local criminal defense attorneys, albeit at a set rate which requires the attorney to handle the case by only doing what is necessary to defend. A private attorney however, might attempt many novel legal theories and test these all the way to the Supreme Court and get their client off on a technicality.

There is also the issue of social justices. Attorneys are the vassal through which common folks obtain justice, be it from private parties or corporate, or government outlets. Outside of only a few states, all attorneys are required to attend an American Bar Association school, which physical locations are set in stone literally. This requires potential attorneys to have to pick up and move to a specific area to attend, and generally cost upwards of $30,000 on the very low end per year to attend. Most of the people who have this kind of money are in fact wealthy individuals or students who obtained student loans sufficient to cover not only their tuition and books but the cost of living as well. These students then go on to practice law, but must pay off their debt and also secure a living style as an attorney.

When attorneys charge $250 + an hour, how in the world will any working class person afford such rates? 2-weeks of work for an attorney at 50 hours if they worked continually would net an attorney $25,000 which is equivalent of most lower economic class income for an entire year. This pattern needs to be offset somehow. Social injustices occur not only by crimes committed, but by the lack of representation of indigents in other areas of the social spectrum. If an indigent person gets laid off, what help is there for them if they believe they were laid off only due to their age? If a landlord evicts an indigent, what attorney will help for very little money? If an indigent cannot resolve a dispute with a neighbor in a legitimate and legal way, what attorney will step up to help? The ability to address social issues through legal mechanisms would greatly assist the lower economic class avoid participating in crime to begin with. If those people feel like they have some sort of power, some sort of legal mechanism to assist, I believe they would be less inclined to take matters into their own hands and commit crimes.




posted on Sep, 13 2013 @ 08:53 AM
link   
reply to post by ExPostFacto
 


Great critique! Especially the point about how only the affluent, or seriously invested, are able to attend law school. Say a young man or woman from the lower end of the middle class decides they'd like to enter into practicing law. They may be motivated by a desire to help the disadvantaged or reform some systemic corruption, but by the time they get out of law school they are so in debt and worn out (from working full-time jobs alongside a full school load) that they are forced to enter corporate law.

Here they are worked like a mule into their late 30's/early 40's until they pay all of their dues, and debts, and can move on to something they feel is "more worthwhile". Many have already given up on their a-priori dream and succumbed to a life of 'doing whatever for a buck'. Few will continue forward towards their dream of helping the disadvantaged or reforming some systemic corruption, and out of those few, even fewer will have that initial zeal or fire that once drove them towards this profession.

So what your left with is a shrinking stock of law professionals that actually care deeply about social justice and societal well-being. The above is the story of some of my friends and family members, while I headed in the opposite direction. Despising the legal system, I rebelled and lived among the "criminal classes" in the poorest of neighborhoods. I watched as my peers were systemically targeted, harassed and victimized on a daily basis, effectively having their already difficult lives thrown into a whirlwind of even greater difficulty and chaos. Seemingly, there is no end.

Welcome to a culture in decline.



posted on Sep, 13 2013 @ 08:57 AM
link   
The justice system is certainly biased when it comes to socioeconomic status.
Here in Dallas County, District Attorney Craig Watkins will eliminate any lawyer that represents indigents if they do not plea bargain or go before a judge for their clients. Court appointed attorneys are effectively prohibited from providing easonable counsel to their clients. Some of them have described being "scared of the DA".

ganjoa



posted on Sep, 13 2013 @ 06:27 PM
link   
reply to post by ganjoa
 


The bar association should be addressing these issues, but they never do. The standard of proof to hold a professional accountable in the legal industry is Clear, Cognizant, and Convincing Evidence. This standard of proof is more then in civil cases, but less proof then in a criminal case. Look up the disciplinary actions for attorneys and you will find most if not all of them revolve around an attorney committing a crime and being convicted, or an attorney mismanaging client funds, in rare cases attorneys might engage in some form of trading legal services for sex. Almost never will they be disciplined for things such as you described because even if one suspects and has reason to believe that professional is creating fear on other attorneys in the manner you described, it must be proved with such a high level of proof, outside of a confession by the offending party there will never be anything done.

In fact, I have spoken with attorneys off the record who recognize that the legal profession is sort of like a professional gang. You cannot speak out against those who hold the most power otherwise they will destroy attorney careers. Like any system that is self-regulated, there must at the very minimum be a way to interject regulations into it from the outside, where the regulators of that profession fail to provide any safeguards.



posted on Sep, 13 2013 @ 06:29 PM
link   
reply to post by openlocks
 


You might consider a legal career, as you would not be so easily led astray. You might actually be able to help. If enough people do so, things can change in a hurry.



posted on Sep, 13 2013 @ 07:51 PM
link   
reply to post by ExPostFacto
 


You're joking, right?


I've been around long enough to know better than to be so dreamy eyed and optimistic. Not saying you shouldn't continue on... just that, well how can I say this without offending you... it's a profession I wish not to contribute to.



posted on Sep, 16 2013 @ 12:02 AM
link   
Here's one that's a little closer to home for me.



The former state senator pleaded guilty to federal wire fraud charges Thursday as part of a plea deal that calls for her to get probation rather than prison


Brenda Council pleads guilty to wire fraud

edit on 16-9-2013 by Chickensalad because: (no reason given)



new topics

top topics



 
10
<< 1   >>

log in

join