Crook County: Racism And Injustice, By Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve

1660 Words 7 Pages
Crook County: Racism and Injustice in America’s Largest Criminal Court strives to discuss the corrupt practices that are occurring in the courts of Cook County, Illinois. This book was written by Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve, is 272 pages in length, and was published on May 4, 2016. It wastes no time sugar-coating the great amount of racism that occurs in the courts in Cook County, going into great detail as soon as the book starts. All within the first chapter, Gonzalez Van Cleve covers just about every aspect of the people within the courthouse. She discusses judges, security, and attorneys stating that no matter which courtroom she was in, they were always all white. The fact that those on trial and their supporting families have to wait an …show more content…
I was shocked to hear of these behaviors that occur in courtrooms. I have never had to go to court but I would be appalled to see judges and attorneys acting in those manners. Although this is not everything discussed in chapter one, it is the main ideas and the ones that truly shocked me and stood out to me.
The second chapter, Gonzalez Van Cleve leads off with discussing that although criminal courts claim to be “color blind,” they still treat the defendants as lower class individuals who deserve nothing than the worst punishment. In cases where crimes were committed in self-defense, this is particularly harmful because the defendants are still treated as heartless criminals even though they were simply trying to escape a dangerous situation. Next, the people who worked in the courts were discussed. It is stated that most promotions within a law firm and court are decided by white males; thus, minorities are extremely unlikely to receive promotions or jobs in the first place. It is
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And, as we learned in class, even if we know that culture is wrong and against our moral judgment, we do not want to stick out in a crowd. So, in a courtroom setting, attorneys know that racism and the injustices that it causes are morally wrong and they may not agree with it, but they often put personal beliefs aside once they step in the courtroom. Attorneys adjust to the setting that is put in place by the others in the courtroom (other attorneys, judges, sheriffs) so that they do not stick out and risk losing their case for their clients. It is a depressingly vicious cycle. This part of the book truly hit home because it was stated in such a way that was understandable and was something I could relate to. It gave me a slight insight as to why attorneys act the way they do at times, although this is not an excuse to be blindly racist. Next, the fact that attorneys are completely aware of the shortcomings of the criminal justice system are described. This was infuriating. Gonzalez Van Cleve conducted interviews with attorneys and directly asked them to reflect on the criminal justice system and to describe any faults they felt were present. Attorneys blatantly stated that the system in place is not working and in need of a reform. One attorney describes the need for more mental health treatment and

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