Examine the laws discussed in Chapter 9, which protect individual freedoms and the implementation of criminal justice policies. Provide at least three examples of how the U.S. criminal justice system simultaneously advances notions of social justice, while also protecting the rights of the accused. Can the criminal justice system be more effective in advancing notions of social justice? How?
Your initial post should be at least 250 words in length. Support your claims with examples from the required material(s) and/or other scholarly resources, and properly cite any references. Respond to at least two of your classmates’ posts by Day 7, and use your previous course work and your personal experiences to either support or question your classmates’ positions
ASSOCIATED PRESS/AP Images Clarence Gideon’s case helped champion the Supreme Court ruling that mandated the right to legal counsel for all defendants, regardless of an individual’s ability to pay for it.
The Sixth Amendment provides that “[i]n all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence” (U.S. Constitution, 1791). All of these provisions apply to all defendants in any criminal trial, on any level (local, state, or federal), and are intended to assist the defendant in a criminal trial, in order to ensure that a fair and just prosecution is obtained. The provisions are provided without regard to the individual defendant or the nature of the crime.
Several U.S. Supreme Court cases have clarified the meaning and interpretation of these provisions. For example, the provision of confronting witnesses was addressed in Kentucky v. Stincer (1987) in which the Court, explaining what is known as the confrontation clause, stated that “the opportunity for cross-examination is critical for ensuring the integrity of the fact-finding process. Cross-examination is the principal means by which the believability of a witness and the truth of his testimony are tested.”
The U.S. Supreme Court has also addressed the assistance of counsel provision, most importantly with the landmark case of Gideon v. Wainwright (1963). In Gideon, the Court mandated equality for all defendants, regardless of ability to pay for counsel, which means that all defendants in felony (later expanded to include misdemeanor) cases are to be assisted in their cases with legal counsel, even if the state has to pay for that legal counsel. However, merely being assisted by legal counsel is not enough; competency is also important. In Strickland v. Washington (1984), the Court further interpreted this provision as guaranteeing the effective assistance of counsel. “Accordingly, when a lawyer’s performance falls so far below the standard of reasonable competence that the outcome of the case is likely to be unfair or unreliable, the Sixth Amendment provides a remedy for a new trial to occur” (Owen, Fradella, Burke, & Joplin, 2012, p. 224).
explain what some of the differences between the two passenger lists might tell us about those people or about the types of societies that each group of people was entering.