What is the Impact of Diversity on the Criminal Justice System ?
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Judge James Shoreman is up for reelection in 2 months. He has a full docket on Monday morning. Two of the individuals on this docket are Thomas J. Catalano and Abdul Hussein Jabari.
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Mr. Catalano has been charged with involuntary manslaughter. His prior record consists of breaking and entering, assault on a police officer, and possession of narcotics. Mr. Catalano has a “high-priced” lawyer with the discretionary funds for an additional investigation. Mr. Catalano has a wife and two children. He has been employed for 5 years for the local banking institution. Mr. Catalano has received a 10-year probation sentence with the stipulation that if he violates this probation, he will serve the remainder of the sentence in the state prison.
Mr. Jabari has been charged with the distribution of a controlled substance (prescription drugs). His prior record consists of possession of narcotics and falsification of identity. Mr. Jabari has a court-appointed lawyer who is on the pro bono list maintained by the judge. His funds are limited but the Muslim community has rallied to his financial aid, and there have been demonstrations at the courthouse. Mr. Jabari has a wife and three children. He has been employed for 8 years as the chief chef at a local restaurant. Mr. Jabari has received 7 years in the state prison, without the possibility of good time.
- Looking at the family situations, the employment situations, and community support, give a reason why you think the judge would render such decisions.
- How could the judge support his decisions?
- Do you think he showed any type of bias? Why or why not?
- If he did, what form of bias?
- Could the demonstration have had an adverse effect upon the sentencing? How? Why?
- Search the Web, and find 2 examples in which minorities were sentenced unfairly.
- Explain the reasoning behind this sentencing, and determine if the sentences were fair or biased.