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Unformatted text preview: Voters believe that the justice system is unfair Belden Russonello & Stewart , The Price of Justice: Money, Fairness and the Right to Counsel Analysis of Focus Groups on Indigent Defense, September 20 00 http://www.nlada.org/Defender/Defender_Awareness/Defender_Awareness_Indigent Americans do not need convincing that low-income people accused of crimes receive unequal justice . The public believes that there are inequalities in the justice system that center on access to quality counsel. Focus group participants cite the O.J. Simpson trial and current reports about the faulty administration of the death penalty as examples of how money and the lack of money for counsel result in injustice. When voters in our most recent focus groups think about how we treat people who are accused of crimes, they immediately raise several issues: _ First and foremost is the feeling of unequal justice for rich and poor, directly related to a persons ability to hire a lawyer. _ Second, they feel that the news media convicts people with images and the presumption of guilt that accompanies those images. _ Finally, voters in our discussions express the view that minorities are treated worse than whites a view offered mostly but not exclusively by black and Hispanic participants. Regardless of race or ethnicity, these voters agree on one thing above all else the criminal justice system treats people differently based on economic class. Voters raise this opinion spontaneously in all the discussions of criminal justice. Voters strongly support expansion of indigent defense Belden Russonello & Stewart , The Price of Justice: Money, Fairness and the Right to Counsel...
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