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Whether Ethnicity Influences Courtroom Proceedings Essay

Ethnicity has a major impact on courtroom proceedings and judicial practices from all angles of the criminal justice system. Whether it is from the initial intake to the moment of sentencing, ever participant in the judicial proceeding has a duty to perform their duties to the best of their ability and provide fairness to each and every person that is involved in the proceeding. This is not always the case when the person is racially, ethnically or of a different gender or race. It has been proven through statistical research for the past 20 years that there is still much bias within the court system.

These factors are not only true when dealing with the suspects, but also with personnel. It is still visibly clear that Whites are predominant in the roles of judges nationwide. As a matter of fact, since 1789 the Chief Justice has been White and this fact still remains true since the current Chief Justice is John G. Roberts, Jr. Currently, there is only one black Associate Justice, Clarence Thomas and one Latino Sonia Sotomayor.

There has been progress in the realm of judicial proceedings within the past years thanks to civil right activists, but there is still much bias going on. Sometimes certain occasions of racial bias are not heard of because they are kept quiet and the people are not made aware of through the media or other sources. Where we most see these instances have been in capital crime cases, wherein a minority usually will have a higher risk of receiving than a white person.

Conclude by choosing a position for or against ethnicity-based jury nullification and defend your decision “Jury nullification, of course, is a time-tested practice that goes back to before the American Declaration of Independence. Essentially, it occurs when members of a jury decide to free somebody even though prosecutors prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused did indeed violate a criminal statute.’’ (Newman, Alex 2012)

Having a spot on a jury panel is one that is very conflicting. Having to decide the fate of an individual is a job that most people try to avoid if they could. Having said this, members of a jury are sometimes touched by the events on a particular case and this may have a huge impact on their individual decisions. Whether it is a case of a father that killed a person that was attacking his family or a person in a community that attacked a drug dealer to keep him off the streets, these are hypothetical of scenarios that a jury may have to make a decision on.

In situations like this, it is ethical, but basing an opinion based on race or ethnicity is just as biased as delivering a harsher sentence for the color of ones skin. Defending a person or justifying his actions based on his ethnicity is not right and shouldn’t be consider because what is being said with this notion is that you can get away with a crime using the race card. The evidence is what matters, not the color of your skin, and until this is respected by the courts, things are never going to change.

References
The Criminology and Criminal Justice Collective of Northern Arizona University. (2009). Investigating difference: Human and cultural relations in criminal justice (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

MacNamara, R. H., & Burns, R. (2009). Multiculturalism in the criminal justice system. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

http://www.judicialselection.us/judicial_selection/bench_diversity/index.cfm

http://www.sentencingproject.org/doc/publications/rd_sentencing_review.pdf


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