05/23/13 — Not answer: Racial Justice Act not the way to make justice system fairer

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Not answer: Racial Justice Act not the way to make justice system fairer

The Racial Justice Act is front and center again as legislators try to decide what steps should be taken next.

The measure was created on the premise that prejudice was the guiding principle in sentencing for some of the men and women who currently sit on death row.

Bottom line, according to the act: Black defendants got tougher sentences than they deserved.

There is no guarantee that every defendant who has been found guilty and been sentenced to jail is where he or she deserves to be. There are mistakes made in the justice system.

That is why there is an appellate process.

But the problem with the Racial Justice Act is that it is based on the theory that sentencing against minority defendants is fundamentally flawed -- and that they receive a preponderance of the most severe penalties.

It is a fishing expedition. It is a blanket statement, and it presumes that prejudice is part of nearly every jury and courtroom.

And, worst of all, it is being manipulated by inmates who are now clogging the courts with bogus claims -- including white defendants who killed white victims.

Justice is a must in this society -- and making sure we have it should be a priority.

We should make every effort to make sure that all those who are accused or who might have been adjudicated unfairly have their chance before a judge to plead their cases.

We should be vigilant for cases where perhaps an innocent person might have been convicted for a crime he or she did not commit.

But "feel righteous" pieces of legislation that do nothing other than slow down that adjudication process and muddle it solve nothing and are just plain wastes of time.

The Racial Justice Act is one of those.

Published in Editorials on May 23, 2013 11:28 AM