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Factors That Can Influence Justice in America

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There are several factors that can influence justice in America. I find that you can read and look up information all day on justice in America as far back as history goes. The constitution of the United States and the Supreme Court help set laws and regulations of factors that influence America. Factors that can influence justice in America can vary in topic from race, crime, prisons, policing, even courts. Organized crime is one of the factors that can influence justice in America. Organized crime may be defined as systematically unlawful activity for profit on city wide, interstate, and even international scale. Crime organizations keep their illegal operations secret, and members confer by word of mouth. Gangs sometimes become sufficiently systematic to be called organized. The act of engaging in criminal activity as a structural group if refined in the United States as racketeering (u-s-history.com).The criminal organization depends in part on support from the society in which it extends.

Therefore, it is frequently expedient for it to compromise some of society’s upright members – especially people in the judiciary, police forces, and legislature – through bribery, blackmail, and cultination of mutually dependent relationships with legitimate business. Thus a racket is integrated into lawful society, shielded by corrupted law officers and politicians – and legal counsel. It’s revenue comes from narcotics trafficking, extortion, gambling, and prostitution, among others (u-s-history.com).The Supreme Court is another factor that ensures justice in America. “Equal Justice Under Law” – These words are written above the main entrance to the Supreme Court building, express the ultimate responsibility of the Supreme Court of the United States. The Court is the highest tribunal in the nation for all cases and controversies arising under the Constitution of laws of the United States. As the final arbiter of the law the Court is charged with ensuring the American people the promise of equal justice under law and, thereby, also functions as guardian and interpreter of the Constitution (supremecourt.gov).The unique position of the Supreme Court stems, in large part, from the deep commitment of the American people to the Rule of Law and to constitutional government.

The United States has demonstrated an unprecedented determination to preserve and protect its written Constitution, thereby providing the American “experiment in democracy”, with the oldest written Constitution still in force. The Constitution of the United States is a lawfully balanced document. It is designed to provide for a national government sufficiently strong and flexible to meet the needs of the republic, yet sufficiently limited and just to protect the guaranteed rights of citizens; it permits a balance between society’s need for order and the individual’s rights to freedom (supremecourt.gov). The complex role of the Supreme Court in this system derives from its authority to invalidate legislation or execute actions which it the court is considered judgment, conflict with the Constitution. This power of “ judicial review” has given the Court a crucial responsibility in assuring individual rights, as well as maintaining a “living constitution”, whose broad provisions are continually applied to complicated new situations. While the function of judicial review is not explicitly provided in the Constitution, it had been anticipated before the adoption of the document.

Prior to 1789, state courts had already overturned legislative acts which conflicted with state constitutions. Moreover, many of the founding fathers expected the Supreme Court to assume the role in regard to the Constitution. When the Supreme Court rules on a constitutional issue, that judgment is naturally final; its decision can be altered only be the rarely used procedure of constitutional amendment or by a new ruling of the Court. However, when the Court inter puts a statute, new legislative action can be taken (supremecourt.gov).Criminal investigations are needed to help the American justice system as well as the Courts. Consider the goal of the American Criminal Justice system for a moment. The primary goal can be categorized into two very distinct missions:1. The need to enforce the law and maintain social order.2. The need to protect people from justice. A cursory examination would appear to reflect that the two goals represent a common and consistent ideology. However the two goals are generally considered to be in conflict with each other. The first goal is referred to as the crime control model and was developed by Herbert Parker and presented to the academic world in his analysis of the criminal justice system in the 1960’s.

This model places an emphasis and priority upon the aggressive arrest, prosecution, and conviction of criminals. The second goal is quite the opposite focusing on protecting the individual rights of the accused and is commonly referred to as the due process model (Kenneth J. Peak, 2001).Many would argue that the two positions would always be in conflict with each other forcing the American justice system to either make a choice or remain ineffective. Unfortunately, such a perspective is a common symptom of political influence. Consider the various methods to preserve the crime control model. The term “war on Crime” is commonly referred to by politicians and law enforcement as a means to identify, persue, isolate, and ultimately eliminate the criminal element in our society. Such strategy may include targeting high crime areas, increased patrols, traffic stops, profiling, undercover and sting operations, wiretapping, surveillance, and aggressive raids and searches designed to break the back of criminal activity. Proponents argue that certain individual rights must be sacrificed for the common good. The positive effects of the strategy are obvious in that criminals and criminal activity become the direct target of law enforcement (Frank Schmallegar, 1999).

The strengths and weaknesses of the crime control model have been demonstrated but not about due process! Should the American Justice system be focused solely upon the fundamental freedoms and individual rights of each citizen? The due process model demands a careful and informed consideration of the facts of each individual case. According to the model, law enforcement agents must recognize the rights of the suspect during arrest, questioning, and handling. In addition, the constitutional guarantees must be considered by judges and prosecutors during trials. The primary mission of the process model is to protect innocent people from wrongful conviction. It is doubtful that many would argue against the fact that we must engage in sufficient efforts to protect those who may be falsely accused. However, many argue that while the due process model focuses upon the rights of the accused it ignores the rights of the victims (Brandon A. Perron,1998).The standard model of policing help to influence justice in America by using strategies to suppress crime and continue to be the dominant form of police articles in the United States today.

The standard model is based upon the assumption that juvenile strategies for crime reduction can be applied throughout a jurisdiction regardless of the level of crime, the nature of the crime, or other variations. Such strategies as increasing the size of the police agencies, random patrol across all parts of the community, rapid response call for service, general applied to follow – up investigations, and general applied intensive enforcement and arrest policies are all examples of this standard model of policing. Because the standard model seeks to provide a generalized level of police service it has been criticized as focused more on the means of policing or the resources that police bring to bear the effectiveness of policing in reducing crime, disorder or fear. “Enforcing the law” has also been criticized because of its reliance on the traditional law enforcement powers of police in preventing crime (Frank Schmalleger, 1999).Police also help the Juvenile Justice system by making arrests.

The rehabilitation model of juvenile justice seemingly thrived during the first half of the twentieth century, but began to unravel during the 1960’s. Youth advocates challenged the constitutionality of informal delinquency proceedings, and in 1967, the Supreme Court argued, holding, in In re Gault, that youths in juvenile court have a right to an attorney and other protections that adult criminal defendants receive. But the sharpest attacks on the juvenile court came from another direction. As youth crime rates rose during the 1980’s, consecutive politicians ridiculed the juvenile system and pointed to high recidivism rates as evidence that rehabilitation was a failure. According to some observers, the juvenile court may have met the needs of simpler times when juveniles go into school yard fights, bit it was not up to the task of dealing with savvy young criminal who use guns and commit serious crimes (future ofchildren.org).The politics of contemporary juvenile justice law reform leaves little reason to be confident about government of the new regime – or even to believe that it reflects stable public desires for harsh policies. Although politicians claim that the public demand tough policies, moral powers tend to dissipate when crisis passes. Juveniles need to face tougher sentences.

The number of juvenile crimes has risen and is growing. The police are not only dealing with older criminals but younger as well. The revised policies and procedures of the Court system giving harsher punishment to juvenile, and trying them as adults in some cases is helping the system gain control (future of children.org).In 1970 Congress passed the Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). Congress’s aim was to neutralize the deleterious effects of organized crime on the national economy. According to its criteria, the target of the RICO Act (defendant) is the kingpin. The racketeering activity is the unlawful activity in which the Mafia is involved. Thanks to the Mafia families’ long – term involvement in that activity, it constitutes a pattern of racketeering. The government can therefore prosecute the kingpin under RICO and send them to prison – even if he has never directly been involved in a criminal behavior (u-s-history.com).The structure of recent organized crime including juvenile gangs resembles that of multinational corporations; indications are that it has diversified and even cultivated a multinational commodities market.

Chinese, Latino, and other ethnic groups have broken into organized crime with sales of phony phone cards, stock swindles, and health insurance fraud, and have been added to the Mob’s traditional loan shark, and gambling activities. Meanwhile, such blue – collar crimes as rackets and extortion apparently are on the wave. The latest crimes of choice are racketeering theory are identity theft and online extortion (u-s-history.com). Some professional criminals specialize in crimes such as burglary, safecracking, shoplifting, and other theft crimes. This type of a criminal acquire skills that reduce the likelihood of arrest, conviction, and imprisonment. These types of criminals have long careers in this profession. Edwin Sutherland (1937) wrote on the insights of the behavior of professional criminals by publishing an account written by a professional thief. Unlike the person who engages in crime only once or twice, professional thieves make a business of stealing. They devote their entire working time to plan and execute a crime. Criminals will even travel across the nation to pursue their duties as a professional thief. Professional thieves consult with their colleagues concerning the amount of work, and the demands of the job and how it will be done.

They exchange information on places to burglarize, on outlets for unloading stolen goods, and on ways of securing bail bonds if arrested (Richard T. Schaefer 2012). We consider organized crimes to be the work of a group that regulates relations among criminals. Organized crime dominates the world of illegal business just as large corporations dominate the conventional business world. It allocates territory, sets prices for goods and services, and acts as an arbitrator in internal disputes. A secret conspiratorial activity will generally evade law enforcement. They take over legitimate businesses, gains influence over labor unions, corrupts public officials, intimidates witnesses in criminal trial, and even” taxes” merchants in exchange for “protection”(National Advisory Commission on Criminal Justice 1976). In 1976 government report devotes three pages to defining the term organized crime. We consider organized crime to be the work of a group that regulates relation among criminal enterprises involved in illegal activities, including prostitution, gambling, and the smuggling and sale of illegal drugs. Organized crime is a world – wide illegal business (Richard T. Schaefer, 2012).

More and More scholars and police officials are turning their attention to transnational crime. Transnational crime is crime across multiple national borders. In the past international crime was often limited to the shipment of goods across the border between two countries. Now it is increasingly not restricted any more than the legal shipments are. Rather than concentrating on specific countries, international crime now spans globally. They are even known for crimes such as trafficking in child pornography and slavery. Bilateral cooperation in the pursuit of border criminal such as smugglers has been common for many years. The first global effort to control international crime was the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol), a cooperative network of European police forces founded to stem the movement of political revolutionaries across borders (Richard T. Schaefer, 2012).

Crime statistics are not as accurate as social scientists would like, especially since they deal with an issue of grave concern to the people of the United States. Unfortunately, they are frequently cited as if they were completely reliable. Such data do serve as an indicator of police activity, as well as an approximate indication of the level of certain crimes. Yet it would be a mistake to interpret these data as an exact representation of the incidence of crime. Because reported crime is very high in the United States, the public regards crime as a major social problem. There has been significant decline in violent crime nationwide following many years of increases.

In fact, reported rates in the United States are the lowest in about 40 years. Several explanations have been offered, including these:1. Community-oriented policing and crime prevention programs. 2. New gun control laws. 3. A massive increase in the prison population, which at least prevents inmates from committing crimes outside prison.It remains to be seen whether this pattern of decline will continue. Even with current declines, however, reported crimes remain well above those of other nations. Sociologist Elliot Currie (1985, 1998) has suggested that our society places greater emphasis on individual economic achievement than other societies. At the same time, many observers have noted that the culture of the United States has long tolerated, if not condoned, many forms of violence. Coupled with sharp disparities between poor and affluent citizens, significant unemployment, and substantial alcohol and drug abuse, these factors combine to produce a climate conductive to crime (Richard T. Schaefer, 2012).


Kenneth J. Peak, Justice Against Administration, third edition 2001, Prentice Hall, page 14. Frank Schmallegar, Criminal Justice Today, fifth edition 1999, Prentice Hall, page 28.www,defenseinvestigator.com/article 10.html Brandon A. Perron, Undercovering Reasonable Doubt, Morris Press 1998, page iii.www.u-s-history.com Princeton-Brookings, The Future of Children, 1999www.futureofchildren.org Richard T. Schaefer, Sociology, thirteenth edition 2012, McGraw Hill, page 172-177.

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