The Elite’s Playground: The Criminal Justice System


Nate Taylor

With growing abuse of power by wealthy men, students should take a stand.

Simrat Singh, Co-Editor-in-Chief

With the emergence of scandals such as Harvey Weinstein and others that have come under fire for their sexual harassment, the problem of abuses of power leading to sexual harassment has been written off as solved; yet this abuse of the criminal justice system continues to perforate our society.

Over the past few years, the validity of the criminal justice system in exerting justice accurately and aptly on those that are wealthy and abuse their financial advantages has come into question.

With the new evidence coming to light of the Jeffrey Epstein scandal, it has become increasingly apparent that there are inherent flaws within the system. According to Time Magazine, Epstein had a history of sexually abusing minors, as nearly a decade prior he plead guilty to having sexual encounters with over 36 minors, some as young as 14, with proof that Epstein had abused them. According to the Miami Herald, Despite blatantly breaking the law, Epstein’s wealth assisted him in getting undeserved special treatment. Epstein’s non-profit donated $128,000 to the sheriff’s office to help maintain the cost of allowing him to serve only 13 months in a private wing of Palm Beach County Stockdale in which he was allowed to leave on work release on a regular basis.

In order to prevent the spread of bribery in influencing the results of court cases, it is important for there to be stricter and more explicit parameters preventing money from having a distinguishable impact upon the case. In order to do this, the idea or understanding of bribery needs to be extended towards suspicious donations to certain groups to prevent any possible interference. By stopping bribery, it can help prevent one way that those in power are able to evade consequences, and is one way that brings the richer people to an equal playing field. Now more than ever, students’ votes are important as candidates like Kamala Harris, with her extensive record as California’s Attorney General, will help bring pressure and address the issues head on, more .

As the times progress, these issues of criminal justice have remained relevant. Anita Hill was slandered after speaking out against Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas during his confirmation hearing 29 years ago. She was disrespected and harassed by the media according to the Washington Post due to accusations that she was simply fabricating the truth to take down Thomas. Just one year ago, Supreme Court justice Bret Kavanaugh’s case displayed that there is a distinct lack of change being made.

I have had to relive my trauma in front of the entire world, and have seen my life picked apart by people on television, in the media, and in this body who have never met me or spoken with me.

— Christine Blasey Ford

Kavanaugh’s hearing featured allegations from his former classmate, Christine Blasey Ford, who claimed to have been the victim of sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh years prior at a party according to Time Magazine. While victims, such as Ford, are making a brave, courageous step in addressing the traumas and issues that have plagued their lives, the distinct lack of support they have received is jarring.

“Apart from the assault itself, these last couple of weeks have been the hardest of my life,” Ford said in her written testimony to the United States Senate Judiciary Committee. “I have had to relive my trauma in front of the entire world, and have seen my life picked apart by people on television, in the media, and in this body who have never met me or spoken with me. I have been accused of acting out of partisan political motives.”

In order to better address the issue, the victims of these crimes need to be more respected and trusted in order to validate the claims. People often become skeptical when a powerful figure is accused of sexual assault or misconduct often due the timing of it. Students should attempt to contact their local representatives in order to show support and make their upcoming vote count, supporting The Criminal Sentencing Initiative which is looking to crack down on criminals by having more DNA collection which can help ensure that crimes are taken seriously. In the case of Brian Banks, a high school football star who was falsely accused of rape and spend six years in prison as a result, his life was ruined according to AP News.

Rather than the criminal justice system improving over the last few years, rich and famous people have learned that they will not face the same significant consequences as typical citizens. Whether they are using their resources to help commit the crimes and get away with it, or simply getting significantly less punishment for similar or more abhorrent crime, there is a clear abuse of power that is an imperative issue that the incoming or returning president in 2020 must address.