The Silence of the Lawyers

As another grand jury has let a cop walk away for gratuitously killing an unarmed black man, a loud silence reverberates through the country, just at it has for many years. It is the silence of the nation’s lawyers.

The fact is, we operate two criminal justice systems in the United States. One is for affluent white people, who when accused of crime are treated as citizens, as people with rights. They get the benefit of the constitutional protections we boast about in textbooks and television shows, protections like due process and trial by jury and proof beyond reasonable doubt. And they are often shown great leniency for very serious crimes, including homicide.

The other system is for poor people and racial minorities, who are treated more like trash to be removed from the streets. They are policed as if they enemy combatants; churned through overcrowded, underfunded courts that traffic in guilty pleas and long prison sentences for minor offenses; and harassed or killed by cops whose brutality would never be tolerated against those whose wealth and skin color entitles them to the privileges and protections of the first system. (Source: Read more)

 

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