Do Religious Jews Suffer in the American Justice System?

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America boasts an unsurpassed justice system. Unlike many Eastern countries, America presumes the defendant “innocent until proven guilty”. The Fourth Amendment protects all individuals against unreasonable searches and seizures, and a valid search warrant must be obtained from a magistrate after proving probable cause. Additionally, in America criminals can be vindicated if the prosecution fails to prove their criminal guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt”. Furthermore, the Sixth Amendment provides the accused with a right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury; thus, a hung jury results in a mistrial. Its purpose is explained in the landmark Supreme Court decision Apodaca v. Oregon: “… [T]he purpose of trial by jury is to prevent oppression by the Government by providing a ‘safeguard against the corrupt or overzealous prosecutor and against the compliant, biased, or eccentric judge.’” It is, thus, for good reason that it is often said that in the United States the commandment states: “Thou Shalt Not Get Caught.”

However, upon examination it truly doesn’t seem so. The impartiality surely doesn’t pass the test when it comes to celebrity indictment, and bias surely finds its way into our fair system. Recent episodes often make us wonder whether there’s prejudice against Orthodox-Jews in the Courts. Despite the separation of powers which provides checks and balances, the judicial process has its flaws. Although federal justices are properly vetted by the president and Congress, the juries can often demonstrate bias for religious groups. Additionally, the reality that verdicts are often up to a judge’s discretion may be troubling for some religious sectors.

The question lingers: Does America truly boast a better justice s...

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...on myth that American jails are the equivalent to luxury rent-free housing funded by the taxpayer. However, it is surely not the case. The sad accounts of Sholom Mordechai ben Rivka Rubashkin and Mordechai Yitzchok ben Sara Samet prove that kindness and compassion don’t exist in jail. The justice system in America, a Medina Shel Chesed, is no less corrupt than the likes of Japan, and we can only rely on our Father in heaven. One can take a lesson to be grateful for the kindness of Hashem and his way of judgment. Our merciful Father adjudicates each of us with kindness and compassion despite His insightful knowledge; yet, the result of a human court is far more stringent. Chazal say: “one who prays on behalf of a friend in need, he is answered first.” In the merit of our prayers for those imprisoned in confinement, may we all see ourselves salvaged from our troubles.

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