Bias in the judical system

Apr 2018
311
The Ting, Sweden
#41
Nature doesn't care what you want, if you want to change something then it requires action. If you want to protect the crippled infant antelope from the pride of lions, then step in and save it.

If you want to protect biologically unintelligent people (<85 IQ), the poor, those ignorant of the law and court legalities, the confused elderly, or anyone else you think doesn't have the ability to have a fair trial, then you kick up your money and pay for it. Donate money to foundations that provide quality legal assistance pro bono to the "disenfranchised."
I understand your point, and you are no doubt somewhat right - in a purely descriptive sense. The problem I have with your position is that it seems to me people are unlikely to behave better towards one another by simply taking this as a given. In fact, the more we reason like you do here the less pleasant things seem likely to become.

Yes, the laws of nature might state that self-interest usually prevails and that all order decays... but, surely we can have some influence over this process? Perhaps we could make life slightly more pleasant for those unfortunate enough to be born with disabilities, and try to behave in a more broad minded and fairer way than nature. Would an anemic somewhere on the autistic spectrum like Mark Zuckerberg constitute prime breeding material in hunter-gatherer society? Clearly not. And yet today he seems to be on top of the food chain. What nature deems "fit" is not always the same as what is useful for society, or not even what is remotely desirable. All of civilization is really quite artificial in some ways, isn't it? Holding on to at least an approximation of fairness and justice is important, or we can dispense with the legal "fiction" alltogether.

We cannot revolt against nature, but sometimes we can try to steer its direction, and if not we can at least construct a shelter against the wind and rain. The point of a legal system is to maintain social stability, yes. It is a necessary condition, but I don't buy that it is a sufficient one.
 
Jul 2016
7,151
USA
#42
I understand your point, and you are no doubt somewhat right - in a purely descriptive sense. The problem I have with your position is that it seems to me people are unlikely to behave better towards one another by simply taking this as a given. In fact, the more we reason like you do here the less pleasant things seem likely to become.

Yes, the laws of nature might state that self-interest usually prevails and that all order decays... but, surely we can have some influence over this process? Perhaps we could make life slightly more pleasant for those unfortunate enough to be born with disabilities, and try to behave in a more broad minded and fairer way than nature. Would an anemic somewhere on the autistic spectrum like Mark Zuckerberg constitute prime breeding material in hunter-gatherer society? Clearly not. And yet today he seems to be on top of the food chain. What nature deems "fit" is not always the same as what is useful for society, or not even what is remotely desirable. All of civilization is really quite artificial in some ways, isn't it? Holding on to at least an approximation of fairness and justice is important, or we can dispense with the legal "fiction" alltogether.

We cannot revolt against nature, but sometimes we can try to steer its direction, and if not we can at least construct a shelter against the wind and rain. The point of a legal system is to maintain social stability, yes. It is a necessary condition, but I don't buy that it is a sufficient one.
There is no such thing as a perfect legal system that is perfectly fair. It doesn't happen, it cannot happen. Anyone saying otherwise is a 1) Dreamer 2) Liar.

Crying that the rich have it better in the legal system is useless, they have it better in nearly everything. They're rich, they have wealth, better networks, better connections, better access to better products and services, and there is absolutely zero possible way to give that to everyone.

Next time there is a trial that anyone in Historum finds unfair, here is what you do. Sell your house, sell your car, donate all your money to their legal defense. Or do the legwork to get a good legal firm to do pro-bono work.

But let's be real, none of you will do that, instead you'll all just complain. That requires work, and its far easier to complain about it and vote for the corrupt liars who will sell promises of fixing social inequality.
 
Apr 2018
311
The Ting, Sweden
#43
The Constitution? What does that have to do with Historum members complaining that they think its an unalienable human right to have identical privileges as the rich?

Everyone gets a lawyer, equal opportunity under the law, due process, etc. Nothing in the Constitution, or common sense, remotely suggests that everyone should get multiple top performing lawyers. That concept isn't "fair," its unrealistic nonsense.

Nice use of Godwin's Law, BTW.
Ah, but the constitution was designed at a time when mostly propertied men could be called to jury duty (I am not saying this is necessarily a bad thing either) and the federal register was.... how many times smaller? Besides, there seems to have been a consistency in constitutional interpretation back then (unlike today, with this twist between "living constitutionalists" and "originalists", if I am not mistaken). The whole point of equality before the laws is that it is actually enforced in practice, and if party A:s lawyer can just find 1000 loopholes in overly complex legislation and party B cannot (or won't, because of lack of interest and perhaps ability), how do you have equality before the laws?

I accept your point in principle though, I just think given the fact that the US has what, half of all the world's lawyers (and then we actually have to deal with Brussels) that says something about the state of the rule of law. In a healthy system, surely the law would not be so open to interpretation as to provide that oversized marketshare for the legal profession?

I generally admire the decentralized Anglo-Saxon approach to justice - the whole "organic" case based point of it all, it seems to me to have degenerated somewhat - I might argue partly due to leftist infiltration of your legal system... so perhaps the problem is actually political, and about political incentives (congress making to many laws etc.).

Take jury duty for example. How well does it work today - really? I appreciate the principle of decentralizing judicial power somewhat, and having some real world influence over the judges... but really? In corporate matters? In complex highly technical proceedings? In administative matters? What the hell is the point, its not like people are going to understand anything about it anyway. You'll just end up swamping the senior courts with endless litigation, thus violating the fundamental point of any legal system - efficiency.

There was this one time when I went to law school here in Sweden and tried opening the US tax-code... Here we go again with the previously mentioned "rule of lawyers".
 
Apr 2018
311
The Ting, Sweden
#44
There is no such thing as a perfect legal system that is perfectly fair. It doesn't happen, it cannot happen. Anyone saying otherwise is a 1) Dreamer 2) Liar.

Crying that the rich have it better in the legal system is useless, they have it better in nearly everything. They're rich, they have wealth, better networks, better connections, better access to better products and services, and there is absolutely zero possible way to give that to everyone.

Next time there is a trial that anyone in Historum finds unfair, here is what you do. Sell your house, sell your car, donate all your money to their legal defense. Or do the legwork to get a good legal firm to do pro-bono work.

But let's be real, none of you will do that, instead you'll all just complain. That requires work, and its far easier to complain about it and vote for the corrupt liars who will sell promises of fixing social inequality.
I agree that you should do something instead of just complain. Part of the reason I'm a member of a political party, and debate with people in my immediate viscinity. This debate is just for fun and intellectual stimulance though, so sorry if that doesn't quite fit the bill for "usefulness".

I don't think I have to do any of the things you mentioned though, because honestly, I'm quite satisfied with how much we pay public defence lawyers over here through our taxes, and I think that poor people aren't too disadvantaged in the system.

But we have bias as a problem too - I just think it is a different kind of bias, and in some ways more dangerous. For example there was this one example of a muslim co-judge (we have co-judges appointed by the parties in local government as a sort of "semi-qualified" jury... or that's the idea anyway) in one of our district courts (absurd that she was even allowed to sit on it... the word treason, seems vaguely appropriate...) who - contrary to the rest of the court - wanted to free a Muslim immigrant charged with rape. We also have a problem of judges being effectively semi-directly appointed by government, but hey, that's 50 years of one party rule for you.
 
Jul 2016
7,151
USA
#45
Ah, but the constitution was designed at a time when mostly propertied men could be called to jury duty (I am not saying this is necessarily a bad thing either) and the federal register was.... how many times smaller? Besides, there seems to have been a consistency in constitutional interpretation back then (unlike today, with this twist between "living constitutionalists" and "originalists", if I am not mistaken). The whole point of equality before the laws is that it is actually enforced in practice, and if party A:s lawyer can just find 1000 loopholes in overly complex legislation and party B cannot (or won't, because of lack of interest and perhaps ability), how do you have equality before the laws?

I accept your point in principle though, I just think given the fact that the US has what, half of all the world's lawyers (and then we actually have to deal with Brussels) that says something about the state of the rule of law. In a healthy system, surely the law would not be so open to interpretation as to provide that oversized marketshare for the legal profession?

I generally admire the decentralized Anglo-Saxon approach to justice - the whole "organic" case based point of it all, it seems to me to have degenerated somewhat - I might argue partly due to leftist infiltration of your legal system... so perhaps the problem is actually political, and about political incentives (congress making to many laws etc.).

Take jury duty for example. How well does it work today - really? I appreciate the principle of decentralizing judicial power somewhat, and having some real world influence over the judges... but really? In corporate matters? In complex highly technical proceedings? In administative matters? What the hell is the point, its not like people are going to understand anything about it anyway. You'll just end up swamping the senior courts with endless litigation, thus violating the fundamental point of any legal system - efficiency.

There was this one time when I went to law school here in Sweden and tried opening the US tax-code... Here we go again with the previously mentioned "rule of lawyers".
The Constitution doesn't decide how to run a federal govt. It restrains it. It provides checks on it to prevent it from infringing on the rights of its citizens. When it comes to criminal law the Bill of Rights and the rest of the Constitution of specifically enumerates numerous rights the accused might have, and what the federal (or state, since they are constrained by it too) are not allowed to do. And its not outdated, in fact in the present time, with the power preserved by the US federal govt, easily the most powerful entity that has ever existed on planet Earth, and how easy it is in the age of information to trample on an individual's rights, its more important then ever.

Was it always practiced properly? Nope, nothing ever is. But just because something in the past wasn't done properly doesn't invalidate one of the niftiest political documents ever agreed to, that led to the highest overall standard of living in human history, especially for a nation as large, complicated, and diverse as the USA is.

Equal outcome is not the same as equal opportunity. Equal outcome is Marxist territory, its impossible to achieve, its utopian garbage. Equal opportunity is real and because of the Constitution we have it. But its not going to make life fair, its not designed for that, it just prevents the govt from trampling on natural rights. Its not going to be fair because life isn't fair and no document or set of laws or govt is ever going to make a poor person with, for example, a drug habit, an IQ of 85, no family or societal network to help with bail, getting a good lawyer, advice, who gets stuck with an overworked public defender paid for by the overly taxed citizens and who doesn't really care about his client, and then comparing that to what a rich person, or middle class, or anyone who has any one of the abilities the other person doesn't have, for whatever reason. Yep, that's not fair.

Anymore then I got cancer, lost a bunch of kind-of-important internal organs, and now have terrible health, while other people around the world are perfectly healthy and might not deserve it because they treat their bodies like sewers. That's not fair either. Its not fair I'll die younger. Its not fair my quality of life is worse. Its not fair I blow a ridiculous sum of money every year on top of insurance. Its not fair that, God forbid, I lose my job and insurance that I'm screwed royally. That's all not fair. But that's also life. I'm not jaded, I'm alive and I got that going for me and it does me absolutely no good to covet what I don't have and others do, it wont fix anything and only breeds hate and discontent. I have what I have, others have what they have, its not societies responsibility to equalize that.

And if any slick weasel promised me he could fix my issues, I'd wonder immediately what he's selling, or what he's planning on stealing. Rest of society should probably wonder the same thing.
 

martin76

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
5,776
Spain
#46
The Constitution doesn't decide how to run a federal govt. It restrains it. It provides checks on it to prevent it from infringing on the rights of its citizens. When it comes to criminal law the Bill of Rights and the rest of the Constitution of specifically enumerates numerous rights the accused might have, and what the federal (or state, since they are constrained by it too) are not allowed to do. And its not outdated, in fact in the present time, with the power preserved by the US federal govt, easily the most powerful entity that has ever existed on planet Earth, and how easy it is in the age of information to trample on an individual's rights, its more important then ever..

I agree with you. USA the most powerful entity only because it is the last. In 2050 likely the most powerfull entinty on Earth will be China...or EU... who knows...
Each new Power is more powerful than the fornmer one. It is logic... USA 1942 is less powerful than.. for example...Denmark 2018. The Danish F-16 would sunk the US 1944 aircraft carriers from 300 miles distance!
So USA is the most.. but it is a declining Empire...China is back... in 40 years...we can see

Was it always practiced properly? Nope, nothing ever is. But just because something in the past wasn't done properly doesn't invalidate one of the niftiest political documents ever agreed to, that led to the highest overall standard of living in human history, especially for a nation as large, complicated, and diverse as the USA is.

USA have been the less aggresive Empire... and for sure, the less evil politican system....but it is not the highest human standar of living... only i tis necessary to see the list of Human Deveolpment to see USA are very far from the head. 13th Possition... Nordic Countries, Low Countries, Germany, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, Canada etc have higher HDI than USA

Equal outcome is not the same as equal opportunity.

I agree with you. Equal outcome is enemy of freedom and the base for the dictatorship. However USA have more pockets of poverty that Europe and a very poor public health system...
 
Apr 2018
311
The Ting, Sweden
#47
The Constitution doesn't decide how to run a federal govt. It restrains it. It provides checks on it to prevent it from infringing on the rights of its citizens. When it comes to criminal law the Bill of Rights and the rest of the Constitution of specifically enumerates numerous rights the accused might have, and what the federal (or state, since they are constrained by it too) are not allowed to do. And its not outdated, in fact in the present time, with the power preserved by the US federal govt, easily the most powerful entity that has ever existed on planet Earth, and how easy it is in the age of information to trample on an individual's rights, its more important then ever.

Was it always practiced properly? Nope, nothing ever is. But just because something in the past wasn't done properly doesn't invalidate one of the niftiest political documents ever agreed to, that led to the highest overall standard of living in human history, especially for a nation as large, complicated, and diverse as the USA is.

Equal outcome is not the same as equal opportunity. Equal outcome is Marxist territory, its impossible to achieve, its utopian garbage. Equal opportunity is real and because of the Constitution we have it. But its not going to make life fair, its not designed for that, it just prevents the govt from trampling on natural rights. Its not going to be fair because life isn't fair and no document or set of laws or govt is ever going to make a poor person with, for example, a drug habit, an IQ of 85, no family or societal network to help with bail, getting a good lawyer, advice, who gets stuck with an overworked public defender paid for by the overly taxed citizens and who doesn't really care about his client, and then comparing that to what a rich person, or middle class, or anyone who has any one of the abilities the other person doesn't have, for whatever reason. Yep, that's not fair.

Anymore then I got cancer, lost a bunch of kind-of-important internal organs, and now have terrible health, while other people around the world are perfectly healthy and might not deserve it because they treat their bodies like sewers. That's not fair either. Its not fair I'll die younger. Its not fair my quality of life is worse. Its not fair I blow a ridiculous sum of money every year on top of insurance. Its not fair that, God forbid, I lose my job and insurance that I'm screwed royally. That's all not fair. But that's also life. I'm not jaded, I'm alive and I got that going for me and it does me absolutely no good to covet what I don't have and others do, it wont fix anything and only breeds hate and discontent. I have what I have, others have what they have, its not societies responsibility to equalize that.

And if any slick weasel promised me he could fix my issues, I'd wonder immediately what he's selling, or what he's planning on stealing. Rest of society should probably wonder the same thing.
I agree that the US constitution is a very impressive document - I'd love to have some of rights you have stipulated with as great certainty in my country's constitution - my position is simply that social reality, bad legislation as well as the structure of the american legal system seems to make the US legal system (and therefore some aspects of the rights set up in the constitution) more susceptible to certain kinds of abuse, compared with continental European legal systems. I do fear that it is outdated in practice though, simply because it focuses too much on abstractions like "rights" rather than concrete ways to limit government power (seen very clearly in the way your NSA treats you, as well as the rest of the world for example).

Here I think the Swiss have a better system - by combining federalism, a constitutional court with binding popular initiatives and referenda they have, I think, a superior model.It is always easier for special interests to influence a small elite (like your Supreme court, or your senate) than to influence an entire population. Besides, government, be it legislative, executive or judicial often seem to have more in common with its other arms than it does with the rest of the population...

I also don't believe in either equal opportunity or equal outcome as principles - one easily leads to the other. In concrete situations I think you can speak of equality though, and in this case I just think it's a principle of any free society that the government should strive to ensure its citizens are treated more or less equally before the laws. Since the government is responsible for the operation of the judicial system - even if you want a slightly smaller government, like I do - it stands to reason that the government ought to try to mitigate factors which might unduly influence the right to a fair trial. This is not massive social engineering legitimized by vague allusions to Equality with a big left-liberal E we're talking about, this is a highly concrete problem.

In your system, juries, individual judges and precedent have much more power than in ours (broadly speaking) and it is generally easier (and more encouraged) to press charges. These things are structural, and not the result of particular political decisions. There are advantages to your system and disadvantages to it, but when it comes to upholding the particular aspects of the rule of law that have to do with guaranteeing everyone equal access to at the very least a functional defence regardless of income you seem to not do very well compared with us.

Suppose you have two sets of situations, which are identical, when looking at the legally relevant facts. In your system, the factors I mentioned above make it much easier for wealthy people to game the system than they would have in say, Sweden, simply because the law is much more open to interpretation (which is why you have half the world's lawyers, a point I made but you didn't address).

The american system of course has other advantages that our legal system doesn't... but that wasn't what we were discussing...
 
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Fox

Ad Honorem
Oct 2011
3,805
Korea
#48
An interesting article from 2014: How many people are wrongly convicted? Researchers do the math. Note that this article is about death penalty cases specifically. Given death penalty cases involve the most severe punishment, the most rigorous process, and receive the most attention after the fact, one would expect them to have the lowest rate of false convictions, so if that 4.1% figure in the article is even close to the truth, it bodes poorly for those accused of other sorts of crime, especially if they end up being pushed into a plea bargain.

Another article from 2016: Jailed but Innocent: Record Number of People Exonerated in 2015.

In all, 149 people spent an average of 15 years in prison before being cleared last year, according to a new report (.pdf) out Wednesday from the National Registry of Exonerations, a project at the University of Michigan Law School.


The convictions ranged from lower level offenses, such as 47 drug crimes, to major felonies, including 54 murder convictions that were overturned. Five of the convicts were awaiting execution, and were saved last year when courts ruled they didn't belong in the prison in the first place.


Of the people wrongly convicted for homicides, the report notes, "more than two-thirds were minorities, including half who were African American."
Twenty-seven of the innocent convicts falsely confessed to their crimes, a group comprised mainly of children or the mentally handicapped, according to the report.

...
Note that while certain minority groups being over-represented among criminals and convictions does not necessarily imply bias, certain minority groups being over-represented among incorrect convictions which lead to exoneration is much more difficult to dismiss.

Finally, an interesting article linked in the above article: Why Innocent People Plead Guilty.

In 2013, while 8 percent of all federal criminal charges were dismissed (either because of a mistake in fact or law or because the defendant had decided to cooperate), more than 97 percent of the remainder were resolved through plea bargains, and fewer than 3 percent went to trial. The plea bargains largely determined the sentences imposed.

While corresponding statistics for the fifty states combined are not available, it is a rare state where plea bargains do not similarly account for the resolution of at least 95 percent of the felony cases that are not dismissed; and again, the plea bargains usually determine the sentences, sometimes as a matter of law and otherwise as a matter of practice. Furthermore, in both the state and federal systems, the power to determine the terms of the plea bargain is, as a practical matter, lodged largely in the prosecutor, with the defense counsel having little say and the judge even less.

It was not always so. Until roughly the end of the Civil War, plea bargains were exceedingly rare. A criminal defendant would either go to trial or confess and plead guilty. If the defendant was convicted, the judge would have wide discretion to impose sentence; and that decision, made with little input from the parties, was subject only to the most modest appellate review.

After the Civil War, this began to change, chiefly because, as a result of the disruptions and dislocations that followed the war, as well as greatly increased immigration, crime rates rose considerably, and a way had to be found to dispose of cases without imposing an impossible burden on the criminal justice system. Plea bargains offered a way out: by pleading guilty to lesser charges in return for dismissal of the more serious charges, defendants could reduce their prison time, while the prosecution could resolve the case without burdening the system with more trials.
...

Thus, plea bargains came to account, in the years immediately following World War II, for the resolution of over 80 percent of all criminal cases. But even then, perhaps, there were enough cases still going to trial, and enough power remaining with defense counsel and with judges, to “keep the system honest.” By this I mean that a genuinely innocent defendant could still choose to go to trial without fearing that she might thereby subject herself to an extremely long prison term effectively dictated by the prosecutor.

All this changed in the 1970s and 1980s, and once again it was in reaction to rising crime rates. While the 1950s were a period of relatively low crime rates in the US, rates began to rise substantially in the 1960s, and by 1980 or so, serious crime in the US, much of it drug-related, was occurring at a frequency not seen for many decades. As a result, state and federal legislatures hugely increased the penalties for criminal violations. In New York, for example, the so-called “Rockefeller Laws,” enacted in 1973, dictated a mandatory minimum sentence of fifteen years’ imprisonment for selling just two ounces (or possessing four ounces) of heroin, cocaine, or marijuana. In addition, in response to what was perceived as a tendency of too many judges to impose too lenient sentences, the new, enhanced sentences were frequently made mandatory and, in those thirty-seven states where judges were elected, many “soft” judges were defeated and “tough on crime” judges elected in their place.

At the federal level, Congress imposed mandatory minimum sentences for narcotics offenses, gun offenses, child pornography offenses, and much else besides. Sometimes, moreover, these mandatory sentences were required to be imposed consecutively. For example, federal law prescribes a mandatory minimum of ten years’ imprisonment, and a maximum of life imprisonment, for participating in a conspiracy that distributes five kilograms or more of cocaine. But if the use of a weapon is involved in the conspiracy, the defendant, even if she had a low-level role in the conspiracy, must be sentenced to a mandatory minimum of fifteen years’ imprisonment, i.e., ten years on the drug count and five years on the weapons count. And if two weapons are involved, the mandatory minimum rises to forty years, i.e., ten years on the drug count, five years on the first weapons count, and twenty-five years on the second weapons count—all of these sentences being mandatory, with the judge having no power to reduce them.

In addition to mandatory minimums, Congress in 1984 introduced—with bipartisan support—a regime of mandatory sentencing guidelines designed to avoid “irrational” sentencing disparities. Since these guidelines were not as draconian as the mandatory minimum sentences, and since they left judges with some limited discretion, it was not perceived at first how, perhaps even more than mandatory minimums, such a guidelines regime (which was enacted in many states as well) transferred power over sentencing away from judges and into the hands of prosecutors.

One thing that did become quickly apparent, however, was that these guidelines, along with mandatory minimums, were causing the virtual extinction of jury trials in federal criminal cases. Thus, whereas in 1980, 19 percent of all federal defendants went to trial, by 2000 the number had decreased to less than 6 percent and by 2010 to less than 3 percent, where it has remained ever since.

...
It is fairly easy to see how an innocent person, faced with this regime, could be persuaded that pleading guilty was their best chance of being able to recover their life after a short stint in prison; trial by plea bargain could almost be called the "subprime mortgage of justice" given the predictably negative (and statistically demonstrable) impact it has had, does have, and will have on less affluent and less educated individuals. Even if one divorces notions like ethics and "fairness" from the equation, forcing the taxpayers of America to bear the costs of incarcerating the innocent -- both directly through tax dollars, and indirectly by making up for the tax dollars lost when anyone with a regular income loses their job due to incarceration and struggles to acquire one in the future due to a criminal record -- seems unreasonable.

Ultimately, the question of whether the justice system in America is biased or not is difficult; there are no doubt individual cases of trials where bias played a role, but that is not the same as the system itself being biased. Nonetheless, it's fairly clear that system-wide defects do exist within it, and whether those system wide defects impact innocent people in a disparate fashion or a roughly equal fashion is less important than the fact that innocent people qua people are being impacted. Framing this matter not as, "Black and Latino Americans are suffering," but rather as, "American citizens are suffering," is probably a more productive framing, and if the systematic defects can be largely corrected, it will quite possibly result in the windows through which bias can incidentally impact the proceedings being largely closed in the bargain.
 
Apr 2018
311
The Ting, Sweden
#49
An interesting article from 2014: How many people are wrongly convicted? Researchers do the math. Note that this article is about death penalty cases specifically. Given death penalty cases involve the most severe punishment, the most rigorous process, and receive the most attention after the fact, one would expect them to have the lowest rate of false convictions, so if that 4.1% figure in the article is even close to the truth, it bodes poorly for those accused of other sorts of crime, especially if they end up being pushed into a plea bargain.

Another article from 2016: Jailed but Innocent: Record Number of People Exonerated in 2015.



Note that while certain minority groups being over-represented among criminals and convictions does not necessarily imply bias, certain minority groups being over-represented among incorrect convictions which lead to exoneration is much more difficult to dismiss.

Finally, an interesting article linked in the above article: Why Innocent People Plead Guilty.



It is fairly easy to see how an innocent person, faced with this regime, could be persuaded that pleading guilty was their best chance of being able to recover their life after a short stint in prison; trial by plea bargain could almost be called the "subprime mortgage of justice" given the predictably negative (and statistically demonstrable) impact it has had, does have, and will have on less affluent and less educated individuals. Even if one divorces notions like ethics and "fairness" from the equation, forcing the taxpayers of America to bear the costs of incarcerating the innocent -- both directly through tax dollars, and indirectly by making up for the tax dollars lost when anyone with a regular income loses their job due to incarceration and struggles to acquire one in the future due to a criminal record -- seems unreasonable.

Ultimately, the question of whether the justice system in America is biased or not is difficult; there are no doubt individual cases of trials where bias played a role, but that is not the same as the system itself being biased. Nonetheless, it's fairly clear that system-wide defects do exist within it, and whether those system wide defects impact innocent people in a disparate fashion or a roughly equal fashion is less important than the fact that innocent people qua people are being impacted. Framing this matter not as, "Black and Latino Americans are suffering," but rather as, "American citizens are suffering," is probably a more productive framing, and if the systematic defects can be largely corrected, it will quite possibly result in the windows through which bias can incidentally impact the proceedings being largely closed in the bargain.

Those articles are incredibly interesting, thank you for finding them.

I was "away swimming" to use a Swedish expression for when one is out in the woods drawing mistaken lines of causality focusing on the jury system etc. That final 4% statistic about actual cases that go to court is quite worrying.

You are right that bias might be too strong a word, still, there seem to be disadvantages that are structural more or less built into the system, as you say. What to about it is of course difficult, but had I been american I agree that your position of focusing on the collective experience of all American citizens rather than certain minority groups is probably a much better course of action.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
2,553
Sydney
#50
.
There could be a wealth effect ,
being able to afford a good lawyer would definitely influence the stats rather than having a hack plea bargaining every case and leaning on his "client" to take it or get worst
 

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