Race May Influence Opinion of Justice System – MDCLC

Kimberly2 1 Author:

Kimberly J. Benjamin, Founder & Managing Attorney

According to research from Pew, a Missouri resident’s view on the criminal justice system may be partially based on his or her race. Among African-Americans who were asked by Pew about their opinion of the criminal justice system, 87% said that it was unfair toward minorities. Only 61% of white Americans who took part in the survey said the same thing. Black Americans were also more likely to say that gun violence and violent crime in general were major problems in the United States.

In addition, black individuals were more likely to say that crime was a bigger problem where they lived. White Americans were more likely to have a positive feeling toward police officers compared to black Americans. White respondents to the Pew survey gave police a 72 on a feeling scale ranging from 0 to 100. Black respondents gave the police a 47 on the feeling scale, which meant that they felt neutral or slightly cold toward them overall.

While the majority of Americans overall supported the death penalty if a person was convicted of murder, a minority of black Americans support it. Black respondents were more likely than white respondents to say that minorities were more likely to be sentenced to death. Whites were relatively divided as to whether that was the case.

If a person is charged with a crime, he or she is entitled to the assistance of a criminal defense attorney. A lawyer will take steps to preserve and protect the rights of a defendant, who has the right to retain representation without incriminating him or herself. Legal counsel may take steps, such as casting doubt on evidence or getting it suppressed, to try to obtain an acquittal for his or her client.

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