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Judicial System In 1930s History Essay

Judiciary definition is “A branch of government whose task is the authoritative adjudication of controversies over the application of law in specific situation” (“Judiciary”). This branch helps the government to be in a high level of local security because it ruled justly. In addition, any citizen in any country could feel in rest because this system could achieves for them peace and justice. This was the contrary in 1930s, Alabama suffered from the depression. At that period the blacks were treated as “nothing.” There was not any right defend them as citizens in America. Harper Lee spots the light over this issue in her novel To Kill A Mockingbird. She mentions that her society suffers from prejudice in everything in life, education, and in their regime. That regime and people, who work in this system, are carrying the slogan of justice. Judicial system aims to spread the justice all over the region. Berman noticed that the history of judicial system changed three times. First, it was kingly by the king Henry II who ruled England and Normandy. It was know as colonial period because the power was concentrated in the hands of the governor appointed by the king. Second, following the revolution (1775-83) the power of the government has taken over and reduced by legislative bodies. They used also to remove judges or cancelled courts due to unpopular decisions. Third in the “formative era of American law” before civil war (1861-65) until the early 20th century the courts tended to new type of cases, which is the economic law. Courts, lawyers, and legal scholars reshaped basic legal concepts of property, contract, corporations, and others (4-15).

In 1930s the judiciary was hostile the new social legislation which called to achieve society justice. Therefore, in 1930, Alabama had seen the biggest trial for nine black men who were accused of raping two women on a rail car. The nine black men who charged with raping two white women might they have been innocent, but during the depression they could not have the ability to defend themselves because of the prejudiced system. All the eight have sentenced to die except one because of his age. The lawyer has showed the contrary that the black men were in another car and two of them they could not do this crime because the first was blind and the second was too sickly. So how they can do such a crime? (Johnson 15-16). In the novel of To Kill A Mockingbird lee put the same case by the same categories. On one hand the accused was black man who accused of being raped a white woman. This woman was poor and from working class, this class was threatening to such a crime but from the same type and color “white people,” Mayella white women made a false allegation, in order to tell the truth. Tom Robinson was black people who accused by Mayella of raping her. In fact, Harper Lee mentioned the incident of Scottsboro trials that she has seen when she was small girl, and she picked Thomas as character described very well the judicial system. This system must reveal the facts, the intent of the accused, and the judgment according to law.

Judicial system function is to reveal the facts of the case as a branch of government calls for justice and fair. The juries and the judges try to make courts justly, and the accused gets a fair trial. In 1930s the trial was not a fair on at all, for example Atticus mentioned that the “jail was full of niggers” (201; ch.15). This was a sign of a weak judicial system that solves the cases according to color and race. In addition, Thomas Robinson had a trial was not fair enough, they used to hear him as a witness defends himself against the other part. Although he showed his left hand was useless, and he could not beat her or raped her because raping need for a power in hand to catch the victim. Even the right hand is longer than the left one; this was obvious for all the audience, judge, and jury. Yet he considered guilty. Kaplan shows the importance for knowing the role of the judge and the jury together. First the judge and the jury after hearing from the two parts, they make a speech called a “charge”. The judge organizes evidences into logical way and puts some points around the doubt issues that the jury may pass. Later on, the judge goes to a private chamber for thinking carefully about the case. While he is working, no one can interrupt him even the judge to ask him about the circumstance of the case. After revising evidences, he returns to the courtroom with the final judgment. He tells one of the two parts that he or she is guilty. In addition, he or she must pay for the damages. If the judge does not accept the judgment, he can retry the case (53-54). In the novel To Kill A Mockingbird, the judge and the jury do the same, but the jury does not revise the case very well because he considers Thomas guilty, although he knows the truth, he treats the case in prejudiced way.

Despite of the weak system, Atticus defends Thomas although he is a black defendant. In 1930s, there were black lawyers but they were afraid to do with their job because the judicial system prejudiced to white people. Wherefore, the goals that Atticus wants to achieve in order to support the evidence related to Tom, tend toward a fair trial. He encourages the court to let Thomas has a fair trial. He obtains information for the case to show Thomas’ innocence. He gives the jury and the judge the evidence that emphasizes the intent of Tom Robinson (What Is A Fair Trial). He shows that the bruises over her face is not from Thomas right hand because it is useless, and the case of raping, this crime could be happen by her father because he is drinker and he doesn’t in his conciseness so he might be the only person who can rape her. In addition, her father looks through the window to see the crime, and who starts it before. Thomas runs away because he is afraid from Ewell to kill him even he is innocent. Moreover, Thomas has rights must be taken in consideration to have a fair trial. “The defendant considers guilty if the judicial system prove that he did the crime. In addition, the accused has the right to know what the charges are and to confront witness testifying against him.” (criminal law lawyer sources). These rights Thomas Robinson was preventing from his right and he considers as a guilty without giving him the right to defend himself against this accusation. Instead the jury was treated him as a guilty because he is a black person and Mayella is a poor woman which can anyone take advantage of her.

The facts of the case show the intent of the accused in a crime that he accuses to do. Thomas has been accusing on a crime of raping white woman, this woman was from the working class and no one respect her because she is inferior to them, they consider Mayella a “trash”(Sova 67). Nevertheless, the town considers Mayella as a “trash,” yet when they hear about the crime, they consider Thomas as a criminal, and must die because he raped a white woman. They judge on him without hearing the intent that can show his innocence. The judge hears him when Bob’s lawyer asks him about his intent. He answers that he is feeling sorry for her so he was always help her in some chores when she asks for his help. This answer does not please the audience even the judge and the jury. As a reason of this word, how can a black man feel sorry for a white woman who is the superior? In addition, every time Mayella calls for helping her in some chores that need some power and her brother are always around her, but they still children. Her father is always outside home. She tries to pay him for his help, he refuses not because of there is an intent beyond this generous, but he knows that she is a poor girl. As a result, this becomes obvious that Mayella who has the intent to do such a crime with him because he is less than her. She sends her brothers to buy ice cream to be alone in her home. If he has the intent for doing such a crime, he can do the same that she does when she sends her brothers to buy ice cream, and raped her. Nevertheless, he is married and has three children, so why he feels in lack of love if he has a wife can give him his right as a husband. According to these intents, the jury must thinks wisely in this case and judges justly to give every party his right.

In addition, he does not pay attention to Thomas to have an eyewitness. Eyewitness is a main character judicial system depends on him. In law, there are two types of eyewitnesses: the first one is the witness of fact like Bob Ewell who was looking through window. This type of eyewitness his testimony is somehow can be doubtful because he can try to tell the truth from his point of view or he is trying to help the defendant. The other type of eyewitness is the “expert witness, who can be a doctor, handwriting analysts, and scientists” (Abadinsky 267). In the novel To Kill A Mockingbird, Atticus mentioned that Bob Ewell called for the sheriff instead of doctor to see her. He did that because he knew that the doctor can discover the time of the bruises over her face and body, also can discover the DNA that Mayella raped by it and find the criminal (224; ch.17) . This evidence and the expert eyewitness, which judicial system forgot to ask for it to prove evidences and helps Thomas to be free. After knowing the intent of the accused, the judicial system give the judgment according to law. As previous, Thomas considered guilty, “the only punishment for the case of raping is the death penalty” as Foucault in his book the Disciplined Punish has said (qtd. in Figueiredo). In addition this criminal case cannot repeal or retrial the case again because this is a criminal case.

The novel To Kill A Mockingbird, lee spots the light on an important issue, which is the judiciary that consist of judges, juries, and lawyers. In 1930s, there have been problems, which are the prejudice and corruption inside the law itself that forms the judicial system. These problems cause the death of Tom Robinson, who has accused of raping white woman, this similar to the story of Scottsboro, George Crawford, and Isaiah fountain trials. These victims have dead because of the corruption and the prejudiced multiple regimes. They makes from the black people stooge in front of the white ones, they trust a white woman because she is a poor although the evidence is with Thomas not against him. However, the system was prejudiced to one category (white), this type of system that align to white people is weak and needs to be reformed. When it reforms, it can spread the fair and justice for all categories.

(1,936 words)

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