The Unjust Justice System
As many people know, the criminal justice system is not always fair, considering that everyone is supposed to have the same rights when it comes to the law. However, I believe that one major problem with the criminal justice system is that high profile lawyers give celebrities special treatment in the court of law, which causes the criminal justice system to be unfair and unjust. While it is understood that celebrities probable pay their lawyers more than an average person, it is not lawful that celebrity criminals are treated better in court than an average person with a public defender.
Many high profile lawyers try to cheat the system and try to keep the press from knowing what is going on, however, this is not fair considering the people have the right to think and say what they want. Fancy lawyers ensure their clients are protected from media backlash, but, this is why “media advocates say today’s unmatched effort at secrecy cheats the public out of its First Amendment right to observe and criticize the system through its surrogates in the press. Ideally, public oversight is supposed to keep the system honest.” (44). It isn’t right that some people are protected from this especially. because it is a first amendment right. This is creating unequal treatment between criminals with money and expensive lawyers and regular criminals.
Although I do believe that special treatment of celebrities by lawyers is creating an unjust criminal justice system. An article titled “Dealing with the Press in High-Profile Cases, How to neutralize the 13th Juror” by Ellen C. Brotman helped me to understand that “high-profile cases have high-profile clients whose reputations can be ruined no matter what the outcome” (43) But, does this mean that the average persons reputation can’t be ruined as well? Definitely not. So why is it fair that high profile criminals with high profile lawyers are so easily protected from ruined reputations and the media, but regular criminals are not?
Another reason that I believe high profile lawyers cause there to be an unjust criminal justice system is because when a celebrity or lawyer of a high status is in the media, it can change the worlds perception towards the case. It is possible that people can find ways to side with this celebrity or lawyer based on their status or past reputation, “this combination of a susceptible jury, a strong media influence, and celebrity presence can cause the jury to render a judgment that is biased by the media at the expense of a fair judicial preceding…”(1 Carroll) This article shows how corrupted the system is by high profile cases.
In addition to the worlds perception being warped by the media, the world is also not shown the reality of the cases in many situations, this causes “the image [to become] as important as the substance-a bizarre and unsettling state of affairs to those of us who value reality.” (511 Furman). The best way to protect high profile cases being broadcasted in an untrue manner is by keeping these affairs in the courtroom and not manipulating a case to make the best story. As Furman states, “it is fine in Hollywood but not in a real courtroom.”(511). High profile cases cause the lawyers to sometimes not handle their cases in a professional manner due to media attention, “these [cases] are also precisely the cases which are most likely to tempt us into behaving out of character and unprofessionally.” (512) This is a cause of an unfair justice system because these high profile lawyers are actually not doing their jobs correctly and still usually getting justice for their clients. While lower payed lawyers and public defenders are doing their job regardless of distraction, which makes their job harder. This is unfair that people who are being paid more than others can just get away with things and have more privacy in their cases.
If the lawyers in our criminal justice system would find ways to make high profile cases be treated the same way as normal criminal cases then maybe the system would be equal. Celebrity criminals are able to protect their reputations while criminals that are represented by public defenders, other lawyers, etc… are forced to take on the media and public backlash with no defense. It is also heard that some judges will actually decide to make a deal with a celebrity criminal or high profile lawyer so that the case is kept out of the public eye as much as possible. Although there are so many advantages that these cases have, there are also disadvantages. Media coverage doesn’t always work in the criminals defense. Many of these criminals are destroyed by the medias stories and many opinions of people have been swayed in the opposite direction that is intended. These media stories can be manipulated and can cause jurors to have warped opinions on the case, also creating an unfair system. These high profile criminals aren’t the only ones that receive bad press, however, regular criminals, most of the time are also shown in the media in a terrible light. So, while criminals with more money are mostly protected by their fancy lawyers from a lot of the media backlash, normal people do not have this luxury. Regular criminals are forced to have their faces plastered on social media with untrue headings and have absolutely no one to pay these people to stop.
The criminal justice system was supposed to be built on amendments that protect the rights of every person, criminal or not, and we are all supposed to be treated equally in a court of law. So, why is this not happening? High profile lawyers cause our criminal justice system to be unjust by creating what seems to be a whole new government just for wealthy people, where they can be treated with more respect and privacy than the common person. People with a public defender, other lawyer, etc… should have the same treatment as these celebrity criminals. Just because they pay their lawyers more doesn’t mean that they are above the law. This is not how the criminal justice system is supposed to work as there should be one unified government that represents all people equally regardless of the amount of money they have in their bank account.