How much do you believe that the American criminal justice system treats everyone fairly, regardless of their wealth, social status or race? If you’re not a big believer that everyone gets equal treatment under the law these days, you aren’t alone. In particular, if you think that the rich and famous get better treatment than the poor and anonymous, you’re definitely not alone.
Even worse, you may be right. The argument that money and class often play a large role in who sits in prison for months or years waiting on a trial and who is able to post their bail, continue their jobs and live their lives while their cases are pending is not new. It’s a major reason that many states and government officials are pushing to end the cash bail system — or, at least, drastically revise it.
Many Americans above the age of 50 are still reeling from the Recession of 2008. They watched banks go belly up, and many lost their homes and savings — but the bankers who set the whole recession in motion with illegal mortgage practices never went to jail. That shook the belief in an “equal justice for all” criminal system to the core.
Recent high-profile cases involving public figures with considerable bankrolls have fueled the fires of mistrust in the legal system, making the situation even worse.
Take, for example, the case of Jeffrey Epstein. The billionaire was given an outrageously light sentence after being convicted of molesting teenage girls back in 2007 — a deal that only recently came to light.
The rapper known as A$AP Rocky was convicted of assault in Sweden — and was quickly championed by celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Kanye West and the President of the United States. Would an ordinary individual receive that kind of attention? Probably not.
In general, you’re wise to distrust a criminal justice system that is geared to favor some people more than others. That’s why it’s so important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney in your corner if you’ve been charged with a felony of any sort. That’s the best way to level the playing field, and protect your rights — and your future.