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    Justice in the Courtroom

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    1. Racial minorities make up a very small proportion of the lawyers and judges in the United States. What accounts for this? What difference, if any, would it make if more of the lawyers representing criminal defendants were racial minorities? Support your answer.
    2. Evidence suggesting that prosecutors use their peremptory challenges to preserve all-white juries in cases involving African American or Hispanic defendants has led some commentators to call for the elimination of the peremptory challenge. What do you think is the strongest argument in favor of eliminating the peremptory challenge? In favor of retaining it? Make informed arguments for both sides.

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    https://brainmass.com/law/history-and-philosophy-of-law/justice-in-the-courtroom-115929

    Solution Preview

    Please see response attached, which is also presented below. I hope this helps and take care.

    1. Racial minorities make up a very small proportion of the lawyers and judges in the United States. What accounts for this?

    This is somewhat controversial, as some argue that it is due to exclusion based on racial prejudice, while others argue that racial minorities do not pursue legal jobs, such as lawyers and judges, as often as the 'white' population do. It is probably a little of both.

    b. What difference, if any, would it make if more of the lawyers representing criminal defendants were racial minorities? Support your answer.

    Ideally, it should not make a difference, because the evidence should guide the legal process. However we do not live in an ideal world, and since racial prejudices are real, it might prevent (or lessen) the potential for racism from entering the courtroom and impacting the verdict. Prejudices are often deep rooted and operate at the unconscious level, so it might be more fair to the defendants who are of a racial minority to have a lawyer to be tried in a courtroom where diversity was embraced and celebrated. This often brings biases and prejudices to conscious awareness, as diversity often brings different ideas to the table, which often challenge people to face their biases.

    2. Evidence suggesting that prosecutors use their peremptory challenges to preserve all-white juries in cases involving African American or Hispanic defendants has led some commentators to call for the elimination of the peremptory challenge. What do you think is the strongest argument in favor of eliminating the peremptory challenge? In favor of retaining it? Make informed arguments for both sides.

    This question is straightforward. It is asking you to consider both sides of the argument.

    The use of prosecutors peremptory challenges?that is, to eliminate the jurors they didn't want without giving a reason?has both opponents and proponents. When exercising their peremptory challenges, most lawyers master the stereotypes, and then go with her or his gut feelings and hope for the best. Abramson explains, "Unlike challenges for cause, peremptory strikes require no justification, no spoken word of explanation, no reason at all beyond a hunch, an intuition." Most lawyers simply play their hunches, which are based either on shopworn stereotypes or on outright bias. (1) These hunches are often biased and lead to eliminating many (or all) African American or Hispanic, since many stereotypes exist about racial minorities due to the past racial relations.

    Indeed, critics of peremptory challenges claim peremptory challenges result in inaccurate verdicts, waste court resources, create a negative public perception of jury system, and reduce acceptance by the community of the jury's verdict. For example, Toobin (2003) argues that the elimination of peremptory challenges would result in the jury system saving time and money, reducing racial and gender bias, enhancing its efficiency, and adding to the public perception that it yields fair results. Yes, according to Toobin, all it would take is the elimination of ...

    Solution Summary

    This solution debates aspects of justice in the courtroom e.g. lack of representativeness of judges and lawyers from racial minorities and eliminating the peremptory challenge or not, etc.

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