Justice comes in many forms. Justice (at least in the short term) comes when an individual is wrongfully accused and a competent defense ensures the accused is acquitted on unjust charges. Justice is served when a crime has been committed and an appropriate punishment/imprisonment is imposed based on the severity of the crime.
What stood out to me was how each of the academic assessments were so interdependent on one another. We so often see bias driven traditional/social media and fictitious portrayals of the criminal justice which greatly influences our perception on how the legal process works. By seeing how the stages of prosecution are structured, where every step has to be met before proceeding, it lends itself to ensuring that cases are fact and evidence driven, rather than emotional. This, in turn, lends itself to the aforementioned justice and the great disproportion of cases that are adjudicated in a plea bargain instead of going to trial.
This also ties into how the members of a courtroom work. If each person responsible is playing their part, (for lack of a better term) then its more likely that justice will be served.
I was shocked to find out that such a large percentage of crimes avoid trial through the plea bargaining system. That, to me, is justice in some instances… but could be detrimental in others.
Looking at the role of the defense attorney, it becomes apparent that, yes, while they represent their client, the fact that so many felony charges end up as please is significant. Fiction on television shows a consistent process where the defendant rarely pleas and the defense is left to maintain the innocence of their client, even if they don’t believe it to be true. Reading up on mandatory minimums for sentencing (after a trial) may have actually reduced the power of the judge and placed that same power in the prosecution’s hands, which may be why plea bargains are at an all time high. Additionally, there’s some areas of the country where going to trial and maintaining innocence can actually lead to stiffer penalties, due to costs. ” Worse still, judges and prosecutors tend to become upset if a defendant maintains his or her innocence and demands a trial. This is especially true due to cuts to the courts’ and district attorney offices’ budgets, which makes judges and prosecutors increasingly determined to avoid costly, time-consuming trials. Of course defendants are not supposed to be penalized for exercising their constitutional right to a jury trial even in difficult budgetary times.” (
). This actually seems to fit the “Crime Control Model” more than the due process model, whereas, Constiutionally, each individual is inherently entitled to a fair and speedy trial. But this doesn’t sound like that typically happens. Crimes seemingly now, more than ever, are designed to punish at the lowest level or potentially face stiff penalties. This can lead to innocent individuals to plead guilty, whether to avoid further jail time or to have a crime reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor. Its a case of weighing the risk vs. the potential reward.
Clarke, M. (2013, January 15). Dramatic Increase in Percentage of Criminal Cases Being Plea Bargained. Retrieved May 18, 2016, from