The American Judicial System: Does It Favor the Criminal?

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OUTLINE

I. Introduction

II. Youthful Offenders

A. Mistaken Notion of Leniency

B. Proof of Increased Effort to Criminalize Youthful Offenders

1. Stronger Penalties

2. Prison Population

C. Preventative Affects

III. Drug & Violent Crimes

A. Mistaken Notion of Leniency

B. "Get Tuff" Attitudes

IV. Incarceration Issues

V. Conclusion

Table of Contents

Abstract……………………………………………………………………v

Statement Of Purpose……………………………………………………..1

Youthful Offenders…………………………………………………….….1

Drug & Violent Crime Cases……….………….………………………….4

Incarceration Issues………………………………………………………..6

Works Cited………………………………………………….…………….7

The American Judicial System: Does it favor the criminal?

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The American Judicial System: Does it favor the criminal?

Statement of Purpose

As crime in America seems to be decreasing, reports from law enforcement experts state that: violent crimes are expected to increase (Butterfield 6). Many people feel that the American Judicial System treats the criminal as a victim, therefor, favoring the criminal. The American judicial system, however, has taken an attitude that "Perpetrators not only deserve blame but are worthy of it, in the fullest, most human sense of the word" (Reidinger 98). Despite the popular belief that the American Judicial System favors the criminal, in reality, this system imposes strict penalties in the majority of criminal defense cases in this country.

Youthful Offenders

Crime in the United States appears to be increasing and gives the general public

a mistaken notion of leniency toward youthful offenders. Underage students on college campuses, for instance, continue consuming alcohol at alarming rates; yet, some colleges merely fine students rather than demanding them to face their legal punishment. Most psychologists maintain the theory that a young child who commits a cold-blooded rape and murder cannot tell the difference between "fantasy and reality" leaving the public to feel this child has gotten away with murder (Adler n.pg.). According to a report from the Justice Department, all states may now charge juveniles as adults giving judges and prosecutors the power to file major youth felony cases in adult courts (Adler). These new changes in law have, in fact, led to stiffer penalties and increase prison sentencing.

The judicial system has also proven its effectiveness by the rise in the number of juveniles convicted as adults between 1985 and 1997 (Johnson 1A).

In 1997, the state of Michigan also enacted a law that permits the state to prosecute children of any age as an adult when the crime is violent and has met certain criteria (Leinward 3A). Most recently, California has claimed the "nation's toughest crackdown on juvenile crime" by allowing prosecutors rather than judges to make the decision as to whether children as young as 14 should be tried as adults (Booth A03). Many states have approved that juveniles who commit minor offenses can be held liable for maximum penalties and mandatory jail sentences. Massachusetts, for instance, passed An Act to Provide for the Prosecution of Violent Juvenile Offenders in the Criminal Courts of the Commonwealth effective October 1, 1996, which allows for rapid prosecution of crimes committed by juveniles (Young 42).

All [14-, 15- and 16- year-olds] charged with first and second degree murder will be automatically tried in adult court, and receive an adult sentence if convicted; a first-degree murder conviction results in life without parole; a second-degree murder conviction results in life with parole eligibility after 15 years. These sentences will be served in adult correctional facilities. However, thanks to the state-based, nonpartisan group, Citizens for Juvenile Justice (CJJ), juveniles convicted of...
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