Personal Law: Legal Justice Vs. Personal Justice?

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Nerlyne Dossous
Lit 233 - Prof. Cipriani
Dec. 14, 2015 - Final Paper

Legal Justice vs. Personal Justice

Justice has been characterized as many things, scales to symbolize fairness, blind to signify impartiality, but what does it really mean and how does one actually obtain Justice? Both the novel "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou and the film "Law Abiding Citizen" starring Gerard Butler illustrate that there are many ways to obtain Justice. However, though these methods align with moral standards, the same can not always be said for their alignment with ethical standards. The first definition of Justice according to the Oxford English Dictionary is listed as "the administration of legal proceedings." In the
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This is presented in the novel when it is revealed that although Mr. Freeman is convicted and sentenced to a year and a day, he is released without having yet served his time. Maya 's uncles don 't agree to that and feel he deserves something more severe so they assault and murder him. Since they believe that death is the appropriate reaction to his crime, that act is their form of justice for Maya. Unlike the previous method of getting Justice which aligns with both ethics and morals, in this case, there is a dissonance between the two. To Maya 's uncles their act of violence is moral because it is their own personal belief that a man who commits a crime, especially such as the one Mr. Freeman does, deserves more than jail time and especially more than freedom. That is why they take it upon themselves to give him the punishment he "should have gotten." Despite their moral justification for the murder, the act is unethical. The societal belief is that retribution should not be taken outside of the law and the taking of someone 's life for any reason is wrong. It didn 't matter if Mr. Freeman deserved it for what he had done or that the courts had failed to properly make sure he served his time, no violence against him should be
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