Streams

Ordinary Injustice

Friday, October 02, 2009

Lawyer and journalist Amy Bach talks about the failures and systematic problems of the American criminal justice system. In her book Ordinary Injustice: How America Holds Court, she argues that because the people affected tend to be poor or minorities, they are often overlooked, and because problems are so pervasive they’ve become invisible to defenders, prosecutors, and judges.

Guests:

Amy Bach

Comments [7]

perri from Brooklyn

Paula re: your last sentence...wow.

Oct. 03 2009 09:46 AM
Paula

Amy has done a very extraordinary justice by reporting on this topic. I was a social worker at a maximum security jail and worked very closely with inmates who were trying to cope with the whole court system as well as their own psychological, psychiatric, family and financial problems. The poor young blacks were mostly encouraged by their legal aid lawyers to plead guilty while those white young men whose families could afford private attorneys, went to trial. I will never forget a particular young white male who, after his murder trial verdict came back "not guilty", sat in my ofice and said "I just got away with murder".

Oct. 02 2009 01:12 PM
Joan from NY

I have a friend in jail who is there becuase he could not get the right meds for his depression. His wife tried for 6 months to get help from social services, to no avail. He had a psychotic episode, attacked his wife and child (neither were hurt although the press had a field day) and now he has been in for 4 months with no idea what will happen next.

Oct. 02 2009 12:58 PM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

Even with your own attorney, it is just a crap shoot to get "justice." It's NOT about justice. It's what the guest says, routine, being buddies, and keeping your mouth shut.

We have been misled by happy-ending movies & TV to believe that in the end, truth will out. That is such a fantasy and so far from the Kafaesque world of the courts. This is true in civil courts as well as criminal.

Some judges are sooo arrogant, and act as if they are running a business for their own benefit, instead of serving the public.

Shameful.

Oct. 02 2009 12:58 PM
Brutus from NYC

The guest is totally right. I saw this first hand in the Bronx County Court. The Machine just grinds people through it. Unless you have your own attorney, you're screwed with a public defender.

Oct. 02 2009 12:55 PM
hjs from 11211

our courts are there to protect property not people

Oct. 02 2009 12:40 PM
Jemal from Jamaica

Amy
Could you address the issue of privatized prisons. The whole idea seems at odds to me: we want to reduce prison populations and recidivism, but the only way for a company to increase profits is to increase sales - ie, have more prisoners.

Also, please address the issue of free prison labor for for-profit corporations like L'Oreal.

Oct. 02 2009 12:38 PM

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