CCJ 101: Intro to Criminal Justice
1.) The different types of indigent defense systems include: states public defender agencies; state public defenders without commissions; state public defender agencies commissions with a director; states with a public defender commission with partial authority; state appellate commissions or agencies; and states without commissions (del Carmen, Vollum, Cheeseman, Frantzen, and San Miguel, 2010, p. 194). These public defender agencies derive funding from the states to provide full state funding and to expand the funding capacity of the state for indigent defense services. All these different types rely mainly on statewide resources. Each of the state public defender organization is composed of one or more permanent lawyers who shall receive salaries and remunerations pertinent to their positions. Each of the public defender organizations is headed and supervised by a Federal Public Defender within a particular district, who has been appointed by the Court of Appeals of the Circuit. The Federal Public Defender shall be appointed on the basis of good recommendations from the district court or courts to be served. “Under the law, the federal public defender will render service for 4 years, unless he shall be removed from office by the Court of Appeals for the ground of misconduct and incompetence” (United States Code, 2006).
2.) Both the 6th and 7th of the Constitutional aim to ensure equal protections during the criminal prosecution process and which governs the trial phase. The moment the court has filed the appropriate case against the defendant, through grand jury indictment in a criminal case. The 6th amendment guarantees the accused a fair hearing on the question of guilt and innocence by requiring: adequate notice of the charges, geographical setting where the crime occurred; the right to confront and cross-examine the witnesses; compulsory process to obtain defense witness; the right to a counsel; and trial by impartial jury (Morrison, 1996, p. 109).
Morrison (1996) stated that the 7th amendment of the Constitution shall ensure that a trial by jury is in place, especially if it covers majority of civil cases that are filed in the federal courts, rather than those cases that have been filed in state courts. Actions in federal court asking for damages should be tried by a jury unless both parties of the case waive their rights under the 7th amendment (Morrison, 1996). In the event that damages and injunction are sought the preliminary hearing is tried by a judge, but the final disposition of contested issues must be tried by a jury. Under the 7th amendment, judges may freely direct verdicts in favor of either party if during the completion of evidence, no reasonable jury can find otherwise (Morrison, 2006),
In my opinion, these protections are not equally applied to the poor. Reiman’s book, “The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison” will give a short gist involving the American criminal justice system in America that has prejudiced the destitute while they are being “arrested, undergoing trial and during time that a judgment or service of sentence shall be promulgated by the court” (Reiman, 2006, p, 4). He also identified the main causes of crime which includes poverty, lack of education, and discrimination. Social inequality between the rich and the poor is still present in most of criminal justice systems all over the world. Neckerman (2004, p. 783) has stated dominant groups have actively utilized the government’s legitimate violence against those who are powerless, which is typical in American criminal justice system.
3.) Article 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) stated that every human being must be given the chance to enjoy the rights of justice, fairness and equality while there is a public trial being heard in courts, bodies or tribunals to will identify the responsibilities of the defendant for the allegations of offense that will be filed against him.
Article 11 of the UDHR, stated that an individual charged for a violation of criminal law must be afforded the right to be presumed innocents based under court processes, except there is a concrete evidence that the law will recognize and be permitted by the court to be presented at public trial. This right shall include the securities required in defense of the accused. At the same time, no person will be considered guilty for committing an offense for an act or omission that cannot be considered as a penal violation.
Yes, there are instances when Articles 10 and 11 of UDHR violates the rights of the indigent under the constitution. There are three identified mechanisms that link social and economic disadvantage to criminal justice supervision and these are: First is that the law makers lean towards characterizing the poor and marginalized sector as unruly and dangerous people and enact laws to their disadvantage; Second, the police officers have the tendency to arrest the poor more frequently than the rich offenders; Third, once they are in the court system, the poor defendants usually receive harsh treatment from the judges (Neckerman, 2004, p. 783).
4.) No, the poor are not afforded the same legal protections compared to other citizens. The criminal system must be designed in such a way that there should be equality of treatment of all prisoners, regardless of social standing. The current practice in place is that optimal fines are applied equally to the rich and poor offenders. As an effect, the rich are given preferential treatment since the higher they pay, the inability of the poor to pay the same amount of time will mean that they will have to face longer prison time (Miceli, 2009, p. 285).
del Carmen, R.V., Vollum, S., Cheeseman, K., Frantzen, D. & San Miguel, C. (2010). The Death
Penalty: Constitutional Issues, Commentaries and Case Briefs, 2nd ed. New Jersey:
Neckerman, K. M. Social Inequality. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
Reiman, J. H. The Rich Get Richer and The Poor Get Prison. USA: Pearson, 2006.
Miceli, T. J. (2009).The Economic Approach to Law. California: Stanford University
Morrison, Alan B. (1996). Fundamentals of American Law. New York: Oxford.