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IS JUSTICE A COMMODITY The topic of an unequal almost a binary system of justice for those able to afford private counsel and those who cannot is not a new subject The fact that nationwide almost 75 of inmates in state prisons and 58 of defendendants sentenced to prison in the Harris County court system relied on a publicly provided attorney warrants further inquiry Is justice a commodity If not the disparity is so extreme that it would require a plethora of evidence to prove otherwise The ability to afford an attorney does not seem to be the only ingredient in sentencing but the perception of social class provides for a disturbing influence in and of its self Justice may indeed be blind but her pockets are deep Judge Lois G Forer addresses the problem of unequal justice in Money and Justice who owns the Courts If the courts are not available equally to all then the fundamental basis or our jural society is seriously flawed LF 14 Commenting further the author suggests that Justice cannot be classified with food and shelter as a necessary of life The vast majority of people in the world today and almost all people throughout history have been denied what Americans consider justice and due process of law For all these people past and present accusation of wrong doing has been tantamount of conviction LF 16 On Sunday October 17 1999 the Houston Chronicle published an article titled Defendants Jail Likelihood often matter of Money In the article the Harris County court system was labeled as a conviction machine The author of the article Bob Sablatura researched the court records from 1996 the last year available He found that of the defendants that relied on court appointed attorneys 58 were sentenced to jail or prison in contrast to the 29 that were sentenced to incarceration that were represented by
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