Justice Then And Now
Join 1000's of Authors at StreetArticles Today!

Susan Glaspell’s story “ A Jury of Her Peers” is a story that, with a certain degree of ambiguity, covers the position of justice in society. In the story, the Attorney, Mr. Peters and Mr. Hale are looking for evidence to incriminate Mrs. Wright in the murder of her husband. They search her house without any luck. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters on the other hand discover a dead bird wrapped up in a piece of silk. This is the motive needed for a conviction. However, the women hide this from their husbands and the Attorney. They do not want Mrs. Wright to go to jail. By hiding the bird, Susan Glaspell is touching on the issue that the justice system they had which is essentially the same as that which exists today is flawed. To better understand the flaws, it is necessary to examine the flaws as indicated by Susan Glaspell and the flaws that have come to mar the justice system since then to today.

Susan Glaspell leaves it to the reader to infer the flaws. For example, in the short story, the society was prejudiced in terms of sex. In the story, the jury is all male. This short story was written at a time when women were marginalized in all civic matters. Society thus had a predetermined opinion of women, that is that they were an ignorant, feeble-minded people. The Attorney (a participant in the justice system) in the story confirms this when he says, “you know juries when it comes to women” (632), indicating that women were treated differently in legal matters. This was one of the flaws of the Justice System during Susan Glaspell’s time. Since then there has been a transition from a gender-biased society.

The jury nowadays comprises of both men and women, and all people are treated equally under the law. Despite this advancement in society, there are a few reasons as to why the Justice system still is not working at its prime. First, people are, in essence, forced to participate in Jury duty. People get summons in the mail requesting them to show up in court to be evaluated as potential jurors. Failure to do so results in jail term or a heavy fine. Critics of this have likened it to involuntary servitude or the mandatory conscription. Such people may respond to this with contempt and fail to perform their duty as expected. They may be hasty to get their civic duty done and thus rush to a judgment. Also, jurors are human and are thus part of what goes on in the country. They already have opinions on matters of controversy. The jury may also happen to be prejudiced and thus pass judgment unfairly.

We learn from the short story that if the Attorney, Mr. Hale and Mr. Peters were to find some evidence of motive, they would lock up Mrs. Wright for murder. Their job, particularly the Attorney’s, was to find the evidence and secure a conviction. They would not consider other facts such as the fact that Mr. Wright had in a sense destroyed his wife’s happiness and killed her inside as we learn from Mrs. Hale. Mrs. Hale tells Mrs. Peters “No Wright would not like the bird-a thing that sang. She used to sing. He killed that too” (631). The law does not factor in the fact that Mr. Wright pushed his wife to kill him. We get the sense that the law, at the time, was thus restricted in the sense that it could not accommodate for consideration of other factors leading to the crime. Similarly today, the Justice system operates on the premise on the laws as established in the constitution of the land. While laws, as written in the constitution are a necessity for order and proper administration of justice, the constitution cannot contain laws for every aspect of our lives.

In addition to this, there happens to be some laws, in my opinion, that hinder the administration of justice. An example of these paradoxical bills includes, the inadmissibility of illegally obtained evidence. The word illegally obtained is relative. The constitution’s definition of “illegally obtained” is broad and whenever an agreement is broad, it benefits the party that did not draw it up. Evidence that may be critical to a case used may be described as illegally obtained and thus are omitted from court. This will obviously inhibits proper administration of justice.

While reading the short story, we get a feel that there is some form of struggle between women and men. The men deem themselves superior in all senses and leave Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters in the kitchen to gather clothes that Mrs. Wright would need in jail. The comments made by the men, for example, Mr. Peters, further this feeling that there is a warfare behind the scenes between men and women. Mr. Peters condescendingly comments, to the other men, “They wonder whether she was going to quilt it or just knot it!” (627). Using such character comments, Susan Glaspell is hinting at the unspoken gender struggle at the time. Owing to the progression of the society to a more gender difference tolerant one today, the prevalent of social struggles now happens to be based on social class.

The justice system today is not exempt from this old age battle of classes. In most cases when two parties in court are contesting an issue, they do so by hiring lawyers. There is a big chance that the two parties do not have the same amount resources available for hiring a lawyer. The party with more resources at their disposal will hire more lawyers or at least lawyers with more experience (which means they charge more). Due to the proficiency of the lawyers they hire, they probably end up winning or at least receiving a punishment not commensurate with the crime and even if justice is served in such cases, the justice system is slowly moving away from its duty of punishment with rehabilitation in prisons to just punishment and thus still ultimately fails.

The high number of repeat offenders can prove this today. According to a highly esteemed group that researches repeat offenders, criminologists say, “seventy percent of the crimes committed in America are committed by repeat offenders”

All these flaws beg the question of what should be done to rectify the Justice system. For each flaw, there is a reasonable solution. First, people asked to serve as juries should be given adequate incentives to participate willingly. For example, such people should be offered an amount of tax relief commensurate with the time spent on the jury. There should also be stringent laws on who can serve on the jury. Some form of research should be done on the individuals asked to serve as members of the jury, instead of relying on the forms that the people fill (as is done today).

Second, a committee of experts should be established to make laws more specific and reduce ambiguity and revise the paradoxical laws. The committee should also look to establish more laws to cover most aspects of life.

On the issue of the class struggles, no laws should be created to bring equality in the courtroom because that will open another whole can of worms. There will be concerns about the right to proper representation. The word “proper” is relative and a never-ending debate would stem from this issue. The only feasible solution is similar to that of reducing prejudice in the members of jury. An impartial jury would weigh the case justly, disregarding the economic position of the parties in court. Constant review of the success rate of the Justice system is necessary to keep it on track, that is, to ensure that its accomplishing its duty of punishment with rehabilitation.

In conclusion, the inadequacy of the Justice system has been an issue addressed by Susan Glaspell in a revealing light and in such a way that allows for the analysis of the justice system, as the paper has done. The points listed are just but a tip of the iceberg on the flaws that the justice system has as indicated by Susan Glaspell and as seen to exist in society today. Some form of action, such as integrating some of the solutions proposed in this paper, needs to be taken to reduce the flaws. Although, the flaws of the Justice system are not expressly written in the short story, Susan Glaspell definitely hints at it as has been illustrated in the paper.


Street Talk

the Justice System never really evolved through out the centuries.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Am afraid you are right Jesse. In some aspects it has remained pretty much the same. Its inflexibility and inability to change as the world changes is perhaps its biggest flaw yet.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
You May Also Like
The Patent (amendment) Rules, 2016
Draft Patent (Amendment) Rules, 2015 proposing amendment to the Patent Rules, 2003, was issued by Ministry of Commerce and Industry on October 26, 2015 and has invited comments from the public. The Government of India has now published Patent (Amendment) Rules, 2016 (Rules) vide notification dated May 16, 2015 amending…
By: singhania in  Legal  >  National State Local   Jun 07, 2016  
0
  Likes: 0

5 Important Faqs You Need to Know About Bail Bond Service
There are many questions that rise about bails and bonds, and the entire process. Many wonder how these laws and regulations differ from state to state, or county to county. They wonder how much and how long and what everything means. In this article, five of the most frequently asked…
By: Sarahbeth in  Legal  >  National State Local   May 28, 2016  
0
  Likes: 0

Enjoy Loads Of Benefits With Magento Development Services Los Angeles
While looking forward to developing an ecommerce platform, you can obtain magento development services Los Angeles because it will benefit you immensely. As you are looking forward to developing an ecommerce platform, you will have to select a proper development platform so that it acquires success in the course of…
By: jothamolsen in  Legal  >  National State Local   May 18, 2016  
0
  Likes: 0

How Do Bail Bonds Help People Prepare for Court?
There are various ways bail bonds help people in between an arrest and a court date. Having the chance to leave jail and await a court hearing from the comfort of their own home can increase the chances of a person improving their legal situation. Continue reading to learn how…
By: Sarahbeth in  Legal  >  National State Local   Feb 20, 2016  
0
  Likes: 0

The Why, How, When, And What Of Hiring Arbitration Attorneys For Investors
Why do you need FINRA arbitration attorneys? When you do business with a national or large regional brokerage firm, there is every chance that you will be asked to mandatorily sign a FINRA arbitration agreement. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the largest independent securities regulator in the United…
By: Stuart Meissner in  Legal  >  National State Local   Dec 26, 2012  
0
  Likes: 2

The Best Ways Of Finding A First - rate Solicitor - Part 3
The solicitors and lawyers do more than giving out legal information. Types of strategic advice are what they are hired for and they apply sophisticated technical skills to deal with the legal problems of the clients. In the last two parts (Part 1 & 2), of this article regarding the…
By: Robin Joe in  Legal  >  National State Local   Oct 05, 2015  
0
  Likes: 0

Answering to Credit Card Debt Collection Agency
As soon as you learn that charges are being pressed against you for unpaid credit card debt, you need to create the right response to summons. First, you have to read the summons and complaints and file a Notice to Appear in your local court. This will help present the…
By: Vivienne Knoxville in  Legal  >  National State Local   Mar 12, 2012  
0
  Likes: 0

How to Approach Reserching Washington Lawyers for Your Specific Case
Everyone knows someone who has a horror story about an inept attorney, who charged them an enormous amount for little work done on a case. If they were lucky, they saw it early and were able to replace the lawyer. Many people assume that all lawyers are created equal. However,…
By: Alan Weiser in  Legal  >  National State Local   Mar 15, 2012  
0
  Likes: 0

How Beneficial Is To File Chapter 7 Attorney Miami
We often have to go through different phase in life. Sometime we would need to make decisions which are quite tough but will have a positive effect on our future. We have heard of people filing bankruptcy. It is one of the options provided by the law to get the…
By: jamesstew in  Legal  >  National State Local   Jan 11, 2014  
0
  Likes: 0

Pima County Public Records
Pima County Public Records are now accessible to the public online, thanks to the new policy that was passed in Arizona, a state that is the sixth largest in all of America. The Pima county public records have an online accessible database that is available for viewing. However, there are…
By: S. Brown in  Legal  >  National State Local   Feb 20, 2011  
0
  Likes: 1

People Search Pros
Are you in need of a certain piece of information about someone and you have no idea where to start? People Search Pros are the way to go. With this kind of search tool you will be able to find anyone's location and find background information on absolutely anyone (including…
By: S. Brown in  Legal  >  National State Local   Feb 23, 2011  
0
  Likes: 0

Find A Person Canada
How can you Find a Person Canada? The answer is simple... by utilising the world’s most effective research tool: The Internet. The Internet really is such an influential tool. It is one that has made the global village operate more and more like a small village where one can move…
By: S. Brown in  Legal  >  National State Local   Feb 17, 2011  
0
  Likes: 1

Hiring An Attorney: Some Important Factors
Both doctors and attorneys often help us to solve life and death issues. Doctors use medicines and advice different types of treatments while attorneys save us by their skill, techniques and experience. Therefore, appointing an attorney is as vital as hiring a doctor to get rid of some serious ailments.…
By: Jade Armit in  Legal  >  National State Local   Nov 15, 2012  
0
  Likes: 0

Handling Your Debt Collector Like A Pro
No one likes dealing with persistent calls debt collectors, particularly when you and your creditor cannot reach a settlement. However, if you are being harassed by creditors and are hounded with threatening phone calls, a line has been crossed and you need to take action. Debt collectors are known for…
By: Vivienne Knoxville in  Legal  >  National State Local   Mar 16, 2012  
0
  Likes: 1

People Search By Address
People Search By Address is the act of locating someone using his or her address. You can search for people using their past addresses in order to find where they are currently located today. For this search to be effective you will need access to a type of online database…
By: S. Brown in  Legal  >  National State Local   Mar 06, 2011  
0
  Likes: 0

Article Views: 1726    Report this Article