Criminal Justice Systemic Malignity Racial Journal

Excerpt from Journal :

Baker reviewed three landmark Supreme Court decisions on capital punishment and concluded that the death penalty is capriciously imposed on Black defendants and thus serves the extra-legal function of preserving majority group interests. He viewed discrimination in capital sentencing as deliberate and identified the primary reasons why Black defendants with white victims have been denied fairness in capital sentencing. These are prosecutorial discretion in the selective prosecution of capital cases, prosecutorial misuse of peremptory challenges to systematically exclude Blacks from juries, judicial overrides by trial judges, prosecutorial misconduct and the ineffective assistance by defense counsel (Emmelman).

Helen Taylor Greene used a colonial model to explore the effectiveness and limitations placed on the police in the past and in the present (Emmelman, 2005). This colonial model showed that the police, regardless of color, were an oppressive force in many communities. Lately, Black political empowerment and ascendancy in many law enforcement departments have somewhat lessened police colonialism. Drawing from the history of Black policing in the U.S., Greene contended that Black police chiefs impacted policing because they held the power to establish priorities within their agencies and thus affect law enforcement policy on a national level. Elissa Krauss and Martha Schulman discussed Black juror nullification, the jury's right to determine both the law and the facts of a case and to act contrary to law. Some believe that African-American jurors were likely to judge cases according to their race-conceived notions of justice rather than on evidence. But Krauss and Schulman contended that, contrary to this claim, Black jurors follow the law by holding prosecutors to the burden of proof that the defendant be proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt. On the other hand, whites reject Black jurors because of Black jurors' behavior, which tended to assume that their role is to convict the defendant and thus their failure to administer "color-blind" justice according to the logic and experiences of white, not Blacks. Black juror nullification was then proposed as a solution to racial inequity in the courts, although the authors said this has not been practiced. Hiroshi Fukurai proposed the use of affirmative action programs as an alternative method for selecting jurors. These programs can solve the problem of inadequate representation of minorities in juries or the failure of minority defendants to be judged by a jury of their peers or color. According to these programs, half of the jurors can come from the majority groups and half from minority groups. These suggested that the extent of juries' racial representative-ness reflected the proportion of majority and minority groups in the general population. The final jury would be chosen by affirmatively selecting from the eligible pool those jurors who shared racial, socio-cultural and other relevant characteristics as those of the defendants. Final comments were contributed by Robert Conners on whether restorative justice was actually restorative. He used an oppressive theory, or a framework of minority discourse on social inequity, in establishing that restorative justice held the offender accountable to the victim, the victim's primary social circle and the community. Conners presented the extent to which these methods can actually establish justice in the light of social, economic and political inequality. He found that there has been no attempt to solve or address the problems relating to a system of oppression. Thus, restorative justice as currently applied is mis-directed and only serves to reaffirm the status quo (Emmelman).#


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