The American Judiciary: Effectiveness and Affordability

Introduction

The American judicial system is firmed on the constitution that seeks to uphold equality for all citizens regardless of their race, ethnicity, class, and literacy levels among other demographic characteristics that divide the American people. However, like in many other parts of the world, the judicial system is only as inclusive on paper. The sample population found in the criminal justice system is not in any way representative of the American population, with people from minority groups having a higher chance of ending up in jail than their counterparts. In 2015, the US Supreme Court awarded police officers ‘qualified immunity' in cases of extra-judicial killings, thus protecting police officers from the constitutional implications of taking a life (Lyle & Esmail, 2016). This ruling especially crippled the judicial system regarding the lives of the African-American citizens who find themselves at loggerheads with police officers, usually due to racial profiling.

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Similarly, when wealthy people are in trouble with the law, they get some of the best lawyers to argue their case. The poor people, on the other hand, have to rely on court-appointed attorneys who have neither the motivation nor the resources of their high-end counterparts. In the end, the high-end lawyers win more cases than the court-appointed ones, leaving the less privileged members of the society exposed to a judicial system that cannot offer them the kind of legal representation that they need to win a case. The ensuing interpretation of such realities is that the effectiveness of the judicial system in America is relative at best, favoring some and not others. Being poor or belonging to a different ethnicity is in many instances considered a risk for incarceration despite the argument that race and socioeconomic status are not definitive indicators of criminal behavior.

With numerous statistics showing that America’s black and poor population has a higher risk of being incarcerated at some point in their lives than their white counterparts; one would have to question whether the American judicial system is rigged against the poor and minority ethnicities, thus compromising its effectiveness. While the constitutional edicts in America emphasize equality and justice, institutional racism and white privilege often deny justice to ethnic minorities and the poor, consequently rendering the American judicial system ineffective and unreliable.

The Effectiveness and Affordability of the American Judicial System

Robison (2010) posits that social justice should be based on the circumstances involved and yet, the poor and the rich are placed through the same demanding system. This presents unfair advantage to the rich while leaving the fate of the poor to chance rather than effective pretrial processes. For instance, pretrial costs are considered responsible for a lot of out-of-court settlements in civil cases, with the plaintiffs preferring to settle out of court rather than having to foot incredibly high bills while risking a loss. Most attorneys even cite the pretrial costs as a reason for forcing a settlement on indigent plaintiffs. Consequently, many victims in business, criminal and civil cases are unable to seek justice through the American judicial system. The major reason is the financial constraints that make many people unable to afford the services of a good lawyer to offer the right kind of advice on whether or not to settle out of court or to comfortably cater for the pretrial costs despite the risk of losing the case. These limitations make it easier for such clients to lose their cases even when they have all the merits for winning.

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Simon (2012) affirms that even in the post-trial phase, a wealthy convict has a better chance of being acquitted through appeals and other post-conviction proceedings. A poor convict, however, remains on lockdown even if he/she were innocent, to begin with. Consequently, many poor people believe that the judicial system does not favor them and in some ways, they are right. When one cannot afford the pretrial costs, one will not risk going to court. The high pretrial costs alone serve as an effective deterrent that inhibits the effectiveness of the American judicial system from being experienced indiscriminately. While the rich can easily afford the pretrial costs and the best lawyers in the country, the poor are left intimidated to the point that they have to turn away from the system. Without affordability, the American justice system cannot be considered universally effective.

Resolution

To lower the cost of accessing the American judicial system, three possible alternatives can be considered. For each consideration, the goal is to reduce the cost of accessing the judicial system so that even the poor can effectively be served when seeking justice. Some of the reasons for the high cost of justice in the US are embedded in the regulations that were meant to make the process faster and less taxing for the citizens.

Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

The first step towards an accessible judicial system is having the rules of civil procedure revised to reduce the cost of a civil lawsuit. In the recent past, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure were reformed to include some provisions meant for a ‘speedy and inexpensive judicial process.' The first reform involved shortening the discovery deadlines and thus limiting delays in the court case. A short discovery period translates into a short pretrial period, thus minimizing the cost for the clients who cannot afford long cases. However, it is still notable that an affluent plaintiff would be at an advantage compared to a poor one since he/she has the resources to make the most of the short discovery period (Levin, 2017). Without the huge capital, a poor plaintiff may not be able to fund an effective discovery session within the designated time. In such a situation, it can be expected that the rules will be ineffective in ensuring that justice is indiscriminately meted out regardless of socioeconomic contexts. The unseen benefit in this regard is that several states are testing out many pilot reforms that will effectively reduce the cost of a civil lawsuit, with a focus on the pretrial expenses that are often used to discourage the poor from seeking legal recourse when they have been treated unfairly.

Plausible examples of the options being considered include the setting of court dates that are reasonably early and mandatory disclosure to counter the need for parallel discovery sessions that could prolong a fight over merits in court. According to Almqvist (2015), the efficacy of any judicial system resides in the court's ability to dispense justice even to the downtrodden. Consequently, even though a court case incurs some bills that must be paid, the judicial system must be made more affordable by reducing the unnecessary expenses necessitated by outdated rules that define the process. More efforts must be made to come up with the right rules that enable justice and fairness at a reasonably low cost so that even the poorest people can afford to go to court and get justice when aggrieved.

Laws against Capital Investment in Law

Another possible avenue through which the affordability issue can be resolved is concerning capital investment. Currently, the ABA’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct stipulate that only lawyers be allowed to obtain interests in law firms, making it improbable to get credible legal advice through cheap avenues, such as traditional shopping malls and convenience stores (Wolanek, 2017). Many service providers have opened their markets by enabling capital investment in non-traditional avenues. For example, one can find a qualified pharmacist at a convenience store when he/she needs pharmacy services. Similarly, accounting services can be easily accessed through companies that are not necessarily owned by trained accountants. This flexibility has so far enabled individuals to access accounting and medical services cheaply and at their convenience. When one needs legal counsel, however, he/she must visit a law firm that is managed by licensed lawyers and is thus limited in its capital. The costs are thus passed on to the client, making legal services very expensive.

If the rules were revised on this front, anyone could be allowed to hold a stake in a law firm, thus expanding the company's capital base. In addition, non-lawyers are likely to accept lower returns in the field, meaning that they are more inclined to allow lower pricing in their firms than the lawyers who prefer to overvalue their expertise based on how much they invest in their education and practice. Opening up law firms to investment and ownership by non-lawyers will, in this case, make the profession more affordable, thus reducing the cost of accessing the judicial system effectively. Cheap lawyers will no longer be associated with low-quality work since they still get to make much money from their stipends while their investors take the cut on their returns.

Regulation of Legal Services

Legal advice is currently only considered acceptable if it comes from a licensed lawyer, locking out otherwise acceptable legal aid and thus protecting the lawyers from external competition that could be useful and cheap. Regulations touching on the Unauthorized Practice of Law (UPL) continue to stifle even experienced non-profit organizations that are meant to offer legal advocacy to those in need (Hadfield, 2008). The ability of lawyers to use the UPL laws as a shield for their position in society gives them a monopoly, enabling them to maintain the high cost of legal advice that continues to keep the poor out of the American justice system.

The non-lawyers are capable of offering credible legal advice provided they have the knowledge of and experience in the matter in question. Besides, allowing the non-lawyers to dispense the advice as needed reduces the cost of accessing the judicial system significantly by eliminating the fees charged for legal consultation before a case (Hadfield, 2008). If the non-lawyers continue to offer legal advice, more poor people will be able to learn the parameters of their legal problems so that they can easily decide on whether or not to seek justice through the courts. The matters related to wills, and landlord-tenant disputes are often commonly left unresolved due to the individual’s inability to pay for legal consultation, and yet many non-lawyers can offer the required information free.

The training of lawyers can also be considered as an avenue to explore when seeking to lower the cost of justice in the US. Lawyers are mostly expensive because they go through a tough training system, which requires them to pay over $200,000 just to get a law degree (Hadfield, 2008). Consequently, this leads to the accumulation of substantial student loans when combined with the tuition fees for their undergraduate, leaving lawyers with a too heavy burden that eventually steers them towards corporate law and other well-paying avenues. The result is that very few lawyers are willing to work with poor clients, as they need the high fees to pay off their debts. Reducing the cost of a law degree is equal to lowering the barriers to entry for the legal profession and thus encouraging more people to train as lawyers. Having more lawyers will reduce the cost of legal advice, making the judicial system more affordable to all US citizens.

Operations of the American Criminal Justice System as Related to Its Effectiveness and Affordability

The American criminal justice system may have been designed to cater to the entire population indiscriminately, but once the nation acquired capitalistic inclinations, the system was rigged in favor of the wealthy. This is an assertion that can be proven by looking into some of the main processes related to the criminal justice system.

Crime Scene Investigation Techniques and Security

In most cases, crime scene investigation requires expert investigators working with the detectives on a given case. Both detectives and investigators will then be responsible for tabling the evidence that is used to prosecute the defendant. However, in reality, it can be noted that crime scene investigations are not always as thorough and unbiased as they should be. There are times when the investigators are biased based on their personal opinion regarding the case and are thus likely to disregard some of the pieces of evidence obtained from the scene. When the investigation is conducted independently and devoid of personal biases, the findings may be considered fair and accurate compared to if the detective is willing to omit any piece of evidence to close the case and convict whomever he/she deems guilty (Bulbul, Yavuzcan & Ozel, 2013).

There have been some cases where detectives were later on accused of tampering with the evidence to favor one party. The detectives or officers in charge offer direction to the crime scene investigators, thus giving them the mandate to determine the kind of corroborative information the investigators will be looking for. Wealthier perpetrators can not only influence the bias of the detective but also motivate them to tamper with the evidence and thus rig the case in their favor. In addition, affluent plaintiffs can hire their investigators and table parallel findings, thus enabling them to point out any malpractice that the detectives may indulge in. Poor plaintiffs do not have access to highly qualified private investigators, leaving their cases at the hands of the detectives. In such a situation, the plaintiff's or the defendant’s socioeconomic status will play a role in determining the effectiveness of the crime scene investigation techniques and security.

The cases that involve rich and famous individuals also tend to get a higher budget that can be used to fortify security around the crime scene before and during the crime scene investigation, thus limiting the possibility of tampering with the pieces of evidence before they are collected. Similarly, the collected evidence is likely to be stored more securely as the case is accorded all the importance that it deserves. The same value is, however, not placed on the cases involving people who are not wealthy and famous.

Collection, Preservation, and Presentation of Evidence

There are standard procedures used in the collection, preservation, and presentation of facts in a court of law. The investigative team often relies on the proceedings elucidated above to ensure that all the pieces of evidence collected are admissible in court. However, it can also be noted that the prosecutor or defense lawyers are often not expected to share any evidence that could compromise the case against their side of the argument. As a part of the disclosure, the evidence released to the opposing team is often supportive of the claims, leaving the opposing counsel to seek out their testimony or argue by merit. This implies that without their system of collecting, preserving, and presenting evidence in court, a poor plaintiff or defendant will not be effectively represented in the case. In many cases, the pieces of evidence collected and presented by the prosecutor, through the law enforcement officers and detectives, are meant to convict the defendant.

It remains up to the side of the accused to find contrary evidence or risk losing the case even when they are innocent. Without the resources to collect, preserve and present different pieces of evidence, the defendant does not stand a chance in court (Bunakov, Jones, Matthews & Wilson, 2014). Unfortunately, the process of gathering, preserving, and presenting evidence autonomously is rather expensive, and the criminal justice system cannot be trusted to conduct double investigations that could lead to an unsolved cases. The system seems more concerned with closing cases than serving justice, thus leaving the poor suspects at a high risk of conviction even when they are innocent.

Correctional Institutions

The United States has one of the largest prison populations in the whole world, with almost 90% of the prisoners reporting an annual income of less than $8000 in the year before their arrest (Bichler & Nitzan, 2014). In the state of New York alone, over 4000 people are in jail, not because they should be but simply because they cannot afford to pay their bail (Gottschalk, 2015). An individual who cannot pay his/her bail is not likely to afford a good lawyer, meaning that he/she will rely on state-appointed attorneys and if he/she is successful, pro bono services from affluent law firms. The common factor amongst America's prison population is poverty, with both the white and black people in penitentiary reporting very low-income brackets before being in the correctional institutions. The rich not only have better lawyers but also get to pay their bail and avoid conviction, thus keeping them out of the criminal justice system even when they are guilty. For example, in 2013, a teenager arraigned for killing four people while drunk driving was spared from prison based on the argument that he was suffering from ‘affluenza’ (Bichler & Nitzan, 2014).

A teenager from a poor background would not have received a similar pardon even for the same crime. A poor teenager arrested for drunk driving is likely to spend a long time in jail even before he is convicted. The teenager’s parents may not even afford a psychologist to establish the teenager’s state of mind as a way of getting a defense strategy as was the case in the example above. This is despite a common understanding that poverty has more real psychological implications than ‘affluenza’ and that the challenges faced by a poor teenager can easily be understood and related to by a majority. Excusing wealthy people for behaviors that get disadvantaged individuals in trouble all the time simply implies that the American society operates different standards for the rich and the poor, with the judicial system staunchly supporting if not propagating the double standards.

Incarceration

Once incarcerated, equality is an ideal expectation that is often met with disappointment. The American prison system does not operate on the premise of social justice, fairness, and equality. Most of the prisons are, in fact, renowned for being dangerous and even deathly for the convicts based on race, social status, and other demographic characteristics, including religion and sexual orientation. The number of human rights violations, including rape and assault that go unreported, remains horrifying at best. Muslim, black, female, gay, and transgender inmates often suffer a double tragedy once in prison, with money being one of the things that can buy them some restitution (Gottschalk, 2015).

The affluent members of society who end up in reformatory are often protected from these horrors since they can still access the conveniences associated with their money from outside the prisons. They get to afford luxuries, such as security, in exchange for material wealth or favors on the outside through their existing networks. An inmate may, for example, help to get a guard's child a scholarship at a reputable school in exchange for some freedoms and favors within the prison. These wealthier prisoners are thus often not only respected but also protected by the system, while the poor ones are forced to fight for their survival. Without the money to buy one’s way through one’s prison sentence, a prisoner’s chances of survival reduce significantly.

Release

One of the conditions for release from prison within the American judicial system is the ability to pay one’s supervision fees. Depending on the nature of the crime, the ex-convict may also be expected to pay restitution to the victims and attend anger management classes, alcohol, drug counseling, or mental health counseling and treatment programs (Gottschalk, 2015). The individuals who are unable to afford these requirements have a lower chance of being released from the system. When it comes to parole hearings, the prisoners who have good lawyers also stand a better chance than those who cannot afford the best legal minds in the country. Simply put, getting out of prison is easier for wealthy prisoners than for poor ones, with the latter also not being likely to get parole if they cannot afford a good lawyer to argue in their favor. An analysis of the American judicial system shows many such discrepancies that indicate how the poor are the most marginalized part of the American population concerning access to justice in courts is concerned. In prison, whether people are white or black, provided they do not have the money for a good parole lawyer, a rehabilitation program, and a place to stay, they are likely to stay for longer than is necessary.

Criminal and Social Justice Theories Related to Effectiveness and Affordability

There are about three theories that can be used to define the effectiveness of criminal and social justice concerning affordability. These theories include retributive, rehabilitative, and restorative justice theories. Under retributive justice, the government seeks retribution on behalf of the victims by punishing the perpetrator. According to this theory, any offenses committed within a state's jurisdiction require that the given government takes charge to demand accountability from the aggressor (Strelan, Feather & Mckee, 2011). It is under this theory that one would argue against the cost of seeking justice. If it is the government's mandate to punish crime, why are the individuals charged when they seek justice through the judicial system?

One would argue that the court processes are demanding and the services rendered in the quest for justice must be compensated. The reality, however, is that these legal fees could be a hindrance in dissipating justice within a given society. This is especially true in cases where the victim is too poor to pay for the services. Thus, under the retributive justice theory, the judicial system is not effective unless it is affordable, with affordability, in this case, being hinged on the capacity and willingness of the government to take responsibility for the case on behalf of the victim.

Under the retributive justice theory, one of the most notable Supreme Court landmark rulings was in the Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335 cases of 1963 (JUSTIA US Supreme Court, 2017). When Gideon could not hire an attorney to represent him after he had been arraigned on a charge of breaking, the Florida court denied him the services of a court-appointed attorney because he was not being charged with a capital offense. The Supreme Court, however, found that by the Sixth Amendment, all suspects arraigned in court are entitled to a court-appointed attorney if they are unable to hire one for themselves. Gideon's case was later assigned to a prominent attorney although he chose a different attorney for himself at the second trial. In this case, it can be noted that if the government had not intervened to seek justice, then the wrong man may have been convicted. Gideon was found not guilty after new evidence emerged and the earlier witness accounts were discredited in court.

The rehabilitative justice theory takes on a somewhat different approach to justice, by requiring the government to be more lenient in the demand for justice through punishment. Under rehabilitative justice, the court is more of an institution that delivers the needed punishment meant to correct the wrongs of society (Mcgeer & Funk, 2017). When it comes to affordability, the charge rests with the government since it is the government's responsibility to clean out the society by meting out punishment as needed. Conversely, the offenders with alcohol and drug problems, mental challenges, and anger management issues are all entitled to treatment within the judicial system, at the expense of the respective government. When considering the effectiveness of the judicial system under this theory, one may point out that the American justice system is not always as effective in its rehabilitation approach.

For example, most convicts are unable to find gainful employment once they complete their prison terms, thus leading them back into their criminal ways as they seek to make a living. This is despite having learned new employable skills while in prison. Most employers are uncomfortable with hiring convicted felons. Similarly, the government does not always pay for the best counseling sessions when it comes to alcohol and drug addiction, mental health, or anger management. The poor offenders are left with the lowest quality services that are meant to help them in their recuperation, recovery, and reform. In the end, there are limited chances of rehabilitation within the American judicial system unless the perpetrators are capable of paying for the programs that they need once out of custody.

Restorative justice is mostly an ideal within the US. The premise of this theory is forgiveness and reconciliation, with the perpetrator being encouraged to seek forgiveness by atoning to the people that they have offended. Under restorative justice, the government focuses on giving both the victims and the perpetrators a mechanism for closure. In so doing, the perpetrators can begin to understand the implications of their actions and the victims can forgive and possibly move on. In many instances, restorative justice demands that the perpetrator pay restitution to the victim (Mcgeer & Funk, 2017). In many cases, however, perpetrators may not be able to accomplish this requirement due to one reason or another. The government can, in such a situation, not step in because it beats the purpose of the system if the restitution does not come from the perpetrator. Besides, concerning the aspect of effectiveness, it can be argued based on this restorative justice theory that the government does its best even though it often comes up short. In most cases, the crime is considered irreversible and thus very hard for the offender to atone for and for the victims to forgive and move on.

Social Equality and Fairness for All in Social and Criminal Justice

Social equality and impartiality are a set of ideas propagated within the American society while in practice; there are far too many obstacles, especially within the judicial system. Some of the more important issues that determine how an individual is treated within the American social and criminal justice systems include poverty, racism, and religion.

Poverty

Almost every inmate in the US comes from a poor background, having reported an annual income of $8000 or less in the year before his or her incarceration (Gottschalk, 2015). While this is not something that is always openly discussed in the mainstream media, the American prison system is considerably rigged against the poor as the wealthy not only get to go to white-collar prisons but also pay their bail and get the most expensive lawyers to get them out of trouble. Having money places an American criminal at an advantage even if the judicial system is not directly corruptible. Concerning the resolution of affordability, it may be difficult to eliminate the advantage that money accords criminals without restructuring the expenses incurred in court cases. Lowering the fees for attorneys or ensuring that court-appointed attorneys are just as well trained, practiced, and motivated as their high-end counterparts may eliminate the advantage. Similarly, bails may have to be thought through once more to ascertain that they do not keep poor people in prison while the rich roam free regardless of whether they are guilty or innocent.

Racism

At least half of the people in American prisons are black, despite this population making up less than 10% of the total American population. While there are many white males in prison, the black male population is rather interesting (Eason, 2017). Other than a majority of them being poor, most of them are in for the offenses that they could have been penalized for instead of being incarcerated, while a large number of these inmates also argue that they are innocent. A jury is more likely to convict a black man of violent crimes regardless of the evidence due to a wide array of preexisting biases that taint the social fabric of America. Even without admitting to racism, a large portion of the American public has stereotypical views of blacks. This means that a jury of one's peers mainly consists of individuals who have a tainted view of the black community. Considering that, the jury is in charge of making decisions on whether a defendant is guilty or not, there is no guarantee of social equality or fairness in the system. In most cases, being black is on its own the main crime committed by the defendants, thus leading to their conviction.

Religion

Along with racial profiling, the US has also had to deal with many cases of religious profiling where Muslim defendants are readily convicted in cases involving terrorism. Radicalization is a global challenge within the religious communities across the globe, but within the US, Muslims do not get much of a chance when they are arraigned as suspects in terror-related cases. This is even worse for the Muslims who have spent time in the Middle East during a vacation or for business or school. As such, people’s religious affiliation limits them from enjoying social equality and fairness within the judicial system. Religion can thus be added to the list of things that limit the effectiveness of the American justice system.

Khan, Dang, and Mack (2014) highlight the existence of gender biases within the American judicial system, citing that correction for bias within social justice systems is not always as effective as one may expect. Depending on whether the bias is traditional or egalitarian, and on whether the instructions to correct the bias were subtly ambiguous or blatantly negative and thus labeling the individual as prejudicial, the individuals may or may not correct their bias. This affects the jury system significantly, especially in a mainly egalitarian society, and no one likes to openly or even discreetly admit to his or her prejudices.

Centralization of the Criminal Justice Agencies

Centralizing criminal justice in the US implies having one set of rules to be used across the board in place of the current state-specific system. One of the benefits that this move may have on the effectiveness of the judicial system would concern fairness, such that all crimes are treated similarly across the nation (Lyle & Esmail, 2016). The reality, however, is that the centralized system may not be as well funded and may thus lead to the closure of many viable courtrooms which are otherwise cheaper and relevant for small cases including landlord-tenant disputes, divorce decrees, and child custody cases among other things. A centralized criminal justice agency would lead to the centralization of investigations, thus making discovery easier, but the government must be prepared to increase the budget for the judicial system to make such a move workable. The judicial system will, in return, benefit through equality and fairness provided the centralization involves the use of the same lawyers for both wealthy and poor. Having separate classes of lawyers means giving one portion of the population advantage over the other, thus nullifying equality and fairness.

The Patriot Act and the US Homeland Security Act

The Patriot Act enables government agencies to discreetly investigate individuals suspected of affiliation to terrorism regardless of whether or not they have a connection to the known terrorist groups. The reality is that while this act is meant to improve the security of the US and the rest of the world as related to terrorism, it has provided a justification for profiling based on race and religion. Arabs, North and West Africans as well as Muslims are constantly at risk of being under surveillance, with a jury of their peers being more likely to find them guilty if they are ever arraigned in court. The current biases related to the terrorism narrative make it impossible to expect objectivity when it comes to the judicial system.

This challenge is worsened by the fact that most of the Arabs and Africans implicated in such situations are poor immigrants with limited access to expert legal counsel (Eason, 2017). The Homeland Security Act is also meant for the safety of the American people, but it could in some ways be interpreted as a threat and encouragement for racial profiling. With the existing biases, it becomes more difficult for the judicial system to exercise impartiality in these cases, thus limiting their effectiveness except in the cases where the accused can afford very competent high-end lawyers to defend them.

International Aspects of Social and Criminal Justice

A recent study shows that the American justice system is among the lowest ranking systems in the world, with the US being in the bottom 15 out of 35 nations, along with countries like Kenya, Pakistan, and Nigeria. Social and criminal justice in many developed countries is about the government being in charge of creating a society that is fair and just for its citizens without favoring any particular portion (Beaudetter, 2015). For the US and its capitalist orientation, the wealthy members of the society are constantly favored based on their position of power, thus unless the US government is willing to create an incorruptible judicial system, affordability and thus effectiveness will remain compromised in the long haul. The people with the power to change things in the justice system are the same ones benefiting from its lop-sided justice.

Careers in Criminal Justice

To resolve the issue of affordability and effectiveness in the criminal justice system, two careers must be created. The first career is that of a legal advisor in a commercial capacity. These can be retired lawyers and judges or simply individuals who have taken a profound interest in law but are not otherwise qualified to practice. Legal advisors would be in charge of providing legal counsel for small cases such as will disputes, landlord-tenant scuffles, and other minor consultations that could determine whether the individual in question would need to go to court.

Many Americans do not have easy access to the judicial system owing to the high legal fees that they must part with to see a good lawyer (Eason, 2017). As a solution to this problem, law experts can be made accessible the same way dentists, accountants and pharmacists have become available in American malls and convenience stores. A qualified lawyer is unlikely to offer cheap services due to the high cost of a law degree. Moreover, while it may not be easy to lower costs by limiting the accreditation requirements for law schools in the country, lower-level courses can be offered to the interested parties who are willing to serve as social lawyers with no access to participating in actual cases in the real courts unless otherwise stated in the laws. Such lawyers would be a welcome alternative to making the judicial system more accessible to the poor.

The second career in the judicial system would be that of a licensed broker charged with paying and recovering bail for poor suspects awaiting trial. In the state of New York alone, more than 4000 people are in custody while awaiting trial simply because they cannot pay their bail (Eason, 2017). To avoid this, the government should consider a system where people who are unable to pay their bail get to be released nonetheless. The legal broker would, however, have to ensure that the individuals being released without bail do not end up disappearing before their trial. The broker will keep an eye on the released suspects for as long as they have to, provided that when it is time for trial, they can ascertain that the latter is available.

Conclusion

The effectiveness of the American judicial system is limited by its affordability or lack thereof. For a system that preaches social fairness and equality in the dissipation of justice, one must note that the American judicial system favors the rich more than the government would admit. The rich get away with many injustices meted out against the poor due to the steep costs of a court case and the fact that the former can get the best legal minds to manipulate the laws in their favor. If the poor were accorded similar advantages, the American prison system would not even be half as populated as it is. The gaping disparity between how the judicial system works for the poor and how it works for the rich is a cause for concern as it contributes significantly to the flawed distribution of wealth in the country.

When the poor are incarcerated, they are sentenced to a life of poverty along with their families, as the rich remain free to acquire more wealth despite their criminal orientations. As such, the judicial system cannot be considered as effective since the criminal elements remain out in the society while some innocent people get locked up merely because they cannot afford good counsel. Many other cases are settled out of court because the victims with their limited resources cannot be adequately protected by the law. To remedy this problem, the American judicial system must consider becoming fair and just in its handling of cases. The steep costs for discovery and high-end lawyers must be reconsidered, along with the ability to get cheap but credible legal advice. Improving accessibility in the judicial system will contribute significantly to making the system more practical provided the accessibility translates into affordability. However, as long as the system favors those who have much money, the poor will always be the victims of the elite American judicial system, while the rich offenders remain free to commit more crimes.

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