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Gender Bias In American Courts Essay

1591 words - 7 pages

Gender Bias in American CourtsGender Bias in American CourtsJeffrey L. ChafinValdosta State UniversityI have been studying Criminal Justice for three years, and as most people know, the Criminal Justice System is made up of three major components. Law enforcement is the first step in a person's journey through the criminal justice system. The next stop is the judicial system. The final step in the criminal justice system is corrections. In this system the courts are the balance, the justice, and the equalizer of the criminal justice system. Justice is blind, everyone is treated fairly. Unfortunately there are flaws in the court system as there is in anything that human beings have a hand in ...view middle of the document...

Gender bias is a prejudice against the opposite gender. Bias might be intentional or unintentional, and may show itself in different ways. Eliminating these biases are the reason for some of our laws, including the laws that govern the workplace. Gender bias can have a range of consequences.Susan Tone Pierce was trying a rape case when at the pre trail conference the judge told her he was not a male chauvinist or anything but that he didn't believe women should be lawyers. Then the judge asked if she was married to which she replied that she was married. Then the judge inquired as to what her husband thought about her chosen profession. Susan did not argue with the judge out of fear that it would hurt her client. (Blodgett, 1986)A New York Task Force found that while non judicial staff was evenly split at fifty percent male and female the pay rates were completely different, with eighty eight percent of the men being $22,000 or more as a starting salary as compared to only forty nine percent of women. Forty percent of men were making over$32,000 as compared to eighteen percent of women. (New York Task Force, 1987)Women in family court are at a severe disadvantage because men make more money and have more access to the courts. The amount of money awarded to women does not make up for the loss of time and pay for women with children to care for them while trying to pay the bills. (Minnesota Task Force, 1987)When men and women separate women have a substantial decrease in standard of living. Women are routinely not going after property settlements to keep men civil when it comes to custody and visitation of their children. (Virginia Task Force (2001)At a conference a judge told a story about a case she had. This was an appeal case where the woman was a homemaker and mother to a couple of children she received a settlement of $200 a month for alimony. She was to receive this allotment for only six years. Then her youngest child would be eighteen. Her husband made $100,000 a year. The judge's clerk put a note on the briefs to support the findings. The judge called the clerk in and asked her what she thought about the finding. It was obvious this clerk had no idea how to evaluate the years of time the woman had put in her family. The clerk was also unaware of the problems the woman would face entering the workforce for the first time at middle age with nothing on her resume. (Schafran, 1989)"It would be unwise and unfair to delegate to women the responsibility for changing the legal profession. The law will become more responsive to all members of society only when those in power concede that it is the proper thing to do, and it will be accomplished only if the powerful are drawn from a broader pool than before-one that includes not only women but also men with ideals and talent. Furthermore, in the matter of simple justice, no one group ought to be burdened with the expectation of unilateral altruism. This position is usually both unappreciated and...

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