Barriers to Receiving Justice When You Find Yourself in the U.S. Criminal Justice System

LANSING, Michigan. In the age of racial profiling, stop and frisk, and mandatory sentencing, is it possible for individuals to receive a fair trial after being charged with a crime? A private eye writing for the Nation says “no.” Without proper legal counsel, many individuals face major challenges when they find themselves in the criminal justice system.
A recent Supreme Court ruling found that evidence gathered in an illegal search may actually be admissible in court. This means that even individuals who can show that they were racially profiled, or unconstitutionally searched, may still face jail time for any incriminating evidence found. Many critics of the ways the police are trained to search and stop suspects believe that this is another blow to civil rights. Justice Sotomayor, who dissented on the ruling showed deep concern that the state can now search or invade a person’s privacy at any time. The reality is that the ruling will impact poor defendants disproportionately. Unlike wealthier or middle class Americans, these individuals can’t always pay a parking ticket or fix a broken tail light, meaning that they are more likely to face police scrutiny and searches. So, a search precipitated by an unpaid parking ticket can lead to the discovery of illegal drugs, which can then lead to incarceration. Furthermore, wealthier Americans can afford to hire a private criminal defense lawyer who can devote the time and energy to the case. Poorer individuals are assigned public defenders who may have only minutes to review their cases.
The reality is that if you’re facing criminal charges in Lansing, Michigan, it is wise to speak to a criminal defense attorney. Stuart R. Shafer, P.C. is a criminal defense attorney who may be able to help you fight for your rights if you’re facing charges. For instance, the firm can review the legality of your stop and protect you if your civil rights were violated.
The reality is that many criminal defendants face an imbalance of power at every step of their cases. Police departments have teams of investigators who can find witnesses to testify, while suspects may only be assigned one private investigator by the state. Poor individuals facing a jury trial also seldom receive a jury of their peers. Poor individuals often don’t appear on jury rosters because they either have not registered to vote or because they don’t hold driver’s licenses. In fact, according to one Business Insider article, many jurors simply are not equipped to understand the complex legal and socio-cultural issues at play in high-stakes trials. For instance, few prosecutors would allow individuals with gang pasts on a jury, even as these very individuals may be the best equipped to understand the intricacies of a gang related shooting.
So what can you do to protect yourself if you’re facing criminal charges? For one, it’s important to seek the advice of a criminal defense attorney. A lawyer can help you map out the best course of action, whether that means taking a plea deal, asking for a jury trial, or pursuing another course of action. Visit www.stushafer.com to learn more today.

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