Justice System Inequalities

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Systemic Justice Inequities

Each year hundreds of thousands of cases are filed in American courts. The American Judiciary states that 25% of the 4 million cases filed since 2000, were filed by a Pro Se party.

Every day in municipal courts across America, everyday people are forced to represent themselves in civil and criminal matters. How can this happen when everyone in a criminal proceeding has a right to representation under the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution? As with any rule or law, people will try to find a way to circumvent the protections afforded. Municipalities across America, including Aurora, CO, avoid offering representation to those charged with crimes who are indigent by waiving jail as a possible punishment. 

These practices raise several important questions:

  • What crime(s) does the city seek to waive jail?
  • If jail is going to be waived, why would the city bring criminal charges?
  • Who decides when jail is waived?
  • How is this decision made?
  • How many cases is jail waived?
  • What percentage of Defendants represent themselves in cases where jail is waived?

On the surface, waiving jail seems great. But many people do not have the money to pay for an attorney, so waiving jail often equates to forced plea agreements and fines. Perhaps this is the purpose of crimes that do not warrant jail, to allow governments to financially and reputationally oppress its community. The fact is it is still a crime and if a person pleas to or is convicted of a crime, it will appear in background checks and a fine and/or cost will be imposed. The only difference is some people charged with crimes were afforded all protections under the Sixth Amendment, while others were not. 

Justice Journee founder Tiffany Grays knows of this injustice firsthand, as she has successfully defended herself in Aurora Municipal Court several times due to Aurora Public Schools (APS) seeking to deprive her of her rights, all in retaliation for Tiffany holding APS accountable for the discrimination of herself and her daughter; a fight that continues today. It was through this experience that Tiffany watched countless people be forced into becoming their own defense attorney, while making their first appearance in court. She has even heard court employees – including judges – giving legal advice following advisements that they are not allowed to give legal advice; all under the guise of justice. 

Justice Journee is helping Pro Se Defendants and Pro Se Plaintiff’s. We are building a Pro Se Community, offering Pro Se Resources, and more to help fulfill the promise of justice for all. You can support justice for all by donating or using Justice Journee services. 

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