U.S. Criminal Justice System


HSIN-CHIEH LIN
BLACK STUDIES 100
JANUARY 13, 1997


In order to keep a safe society, it is important to establish a nation with
good education to teach people judging from right or wrong , excellent police
force to keep our street safe, and most of all, a good criminal justice system
to carry out the justice. United States is a place with little crimes, a nation
with nice houses, beautiful beaches, and expensive shops without property just
like what I seen in the American movies in my opinion before I arrived here. The
very moment I stood in my dream street, Hollywood boulevard, I was shocked at
the scenario. I then realized that this is a place no different from other
countries The United States has many problems too, especially in crimes and its
criminal justice system.

The major feature of the U.S. criminal justice system is the jury system
which is found nowhere else in the world except here in the America. The jury
system originally was designed such that a decision of whether a person is
guilty or innocent will not fall only into one individual\'s hand but a group of
people. This feature gives the U.S. criminal justice system a lot of strength in
a way that in order for 10 people to agree on a person being guilty or not, the
court must supply sufficient amount of evidence so that no one will be punished
by mistake. Moreover, since the jury selection is done so secretly and strict
that it is not possible to judge any one in court in the favor of any side, it
is the decision of the jurors who were selected from regular citizens to find
any guilty or innocent. However, the major weakness of the jury system is that
will the defendant get the fair trial if jurors are being prejudice. As I
observe several years in the United States, racism do still exist in the United
States unlike what I though before coming here. It is impossible to get a fair
trial for African Americans who is being trial in a white neighbor and vice
versa. This weakness of this U.S. criminal justice system has cause many
problems that the jury system must be reformed. A rule should always be modified
and updated along with the change of the time and society, and jury system is
one of the rules that needs change.

Another major weakness in the criminal justice system of the United States I
observed is the slow speed of the process. Before coming to the United States, I
never know it would take about ten years for a death sentence to carry out. If
any person is given death sentence and fail to appeal, he should be executed
right away without hesitation, instead of wasting tax payer\'s money on feeding
and keeping them alive. Trials are also taking too much time too; for an example,
the famous O.J. Simpson trial which took more than 1 year to get a conclusion.
The longer a trial takes, the more tax money is wasted. Over 10 million dollars
spent on the O.J. trial has been estimated While making sure any one won\'t be
punished if he is innocent, the U.S. criminal justice system should be change in
such a way that it will speed up the process.

Another major problem with the U.S. criminal justice system is that the
punishments are not strict enough to stop or decrease the crimes. I saw the
other day in the news that a drunk driver who killed a kid was only sentenced to
1 year in prison with a fine of five thousand dollars. I was shocked at how a
precious life is only worth five thousand dollars and how many drunk drivers are
still out there. A rapist would get out of prison easily in just a few years;
for example, Mike Tyson. I was also surprised when I saw that ninety percent of
the rapists are those who committed the same crimes before. If all these rapists
are sentenced to life in prison, there will be ninety percent less of women who
will get rape out there. What is the use of law and a criminal justice system if
people keep repeating the crimes after punishment. When I was back in the
Singapore which is also called garden city, I was deeply impressed with the
clean and the low rate of crimes of the nation. The country is so clean that you
rarely find trash on the floor, and you