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Racial Discrimination And The Judicial System

1939 words - 8 pages

“The Ethical Issues of Racial Discrimination and the Judicial System. Does it Exist?” By Captain Jerry K. Craig Marion County Sheriff’s Office

This commentary is designed to examine whether or not racial profiling exists in our judicial system. The affects that it may have and if it does exist, where are its origins. Watch the news or read the newspaper and you will find people killing people based on their ethnicity or religious beliefs. Here in America we have a Constitution and a multitude of amendments which protect all citizens from these type of abuses. We have the freedom of religion, innocent until proven guilty, all men are created equal and the right to legal ...view middle of the document...

If racial discrimination does not exist, it certainly has a solid historical foundation for its existence. Slavery was deeply rooted in the southern parts of the United States and played a huge role in the division of the north and south during the Civil War between the Union and the Confederacy from 1861 to 1865. Following the Civil War came years and years of segregation, the Ku Klux Klan, Civil Rights movement, Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., etc… John Wilkes Booth assassinated even President Abraham Lincoln because he was a southern sympathizer for the southern cause for slavery. In the 1990’s the possibility of police brutality and racism were brought to the for front, when in California, a high-speed chase was caught on camera by news helicopter. The chase involved the Los Angeles Police Department and a black motorist by the name of Rodney King. The video of the chase and the subsequent beating that King took at the hands of the police were shown nationwide. Several of the officers were indicted on civil charges and sentenced

to prison. Because of all the publicity, a major investigation took place within the Department. It also forced other agencies across the country to take a long hard look at their own practices. “Following the Rodney King incident, the Report of the Independent Commission on the Los Angeles Police Department (1991) (also called the Christopher Commission) found that there was excessive use of force by LAPD officers and that this was compounded by racism and bias. One-quarter of the 960 LAPD officers surveyed by the commission agreed that officers held a racial bias toward minorities and more than one-quarter agreed that this racial bias could lead to the use of excessive force” (Banks, 2004). Another report in that same year was conducted by the New York State Judicial Commission on Minorities. The commission put together a panel to look into the justice system within the courts. The panel was made up of judges, attorneys and law professors. Their findings found two justice systems, one for whites and the other for minorities and the poor. More and more judges and prosecutors are starting to speak out on this issue. “When I was a state prosecutor in Nashville just out of law school in the early 1970’s, it seemed that something less than half of the defendants I faced were African American. Why is it then, that when I go to court in Nashville these days it seems that virtually all of the defendants I see are people of color?” (E.E. (Bo) Edwards, 2004) Prosecutor Edwards goes on to say, “My observations are obviously unscientific, but not far from the mark. Racial disparity in the criminal justice system has increased dramatically over the past 30 years. There are over two million people behind bars in America and 70% of these people are minorities.” There is strong evidence of racial discrimination all through the justice system from racial profiling, jury selection, specific drug laws...

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