In the case of Scott v. Sanford, the defendant was John Sanford who was given the responsibility of executing the estate of John Emerson. This control over the estate was given to him when his sister had gone to Massachusetts. The defendant took control over this case in 1850. The case was then taken to the federal court on the grounds that the defendant had returned to New York in 1853 and became a resident of the place. This gave the federal court the authority to hear this case, as per Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution of the United States. Dred Scott resided in Missouri as a slave. In fact, he was residing in Illinois, which was a free state between 1833 and 1843. He sued John Sanford in the federal court, since his master believed that negroes could not become citizens of the United States, as outlined in Article III of the United States Constitution. In his new suit, Scott believed that he had actually attained his freedom because he had lived in the free state of Illinois (Konig, Finkelman & Bracey, 2010).
The conflict came as result of the intention to extend slavery issues into western territories. The impact of such cases would lead to the tearing of entire nations. It was evidenced that such practices would eventually lead to racial discrimination and inequalities in the justice system, as witnessed in the judicial ruling cases (Konig, Finkelman & Bracey, 2010).
Analysis of the Extent to Which the (Alleged) Conduct is Covered by Law
Under Article III of the US Constitution, Scott’s freedom could not be granted owing to the fact that he was a slave and non-citizen of the state. Besides, being black, he was regarded as inferior to the citizens of the United States. Pursuant to Article III and IV of the Constitution of the United States, a person who descended from the American slave was never allowed to become legally a citizen of the United States. Just like other cases, which had been dealt with before, the case was not fully and fairly covered, according to the International Human Rights Law (IHRLs).
For example, in Utah, William Andrew, an individual of African American descent, was unfairly executed, since it was not in line with the international human rights law. The execution was carried out despite the presence of a note depicting a figure hanging from the gallows and bearing a sign reading “Hang That Nigger”. Even the fact that racial prejudice among whites was witnessed in the area did not stop the death verdict from being handed down (Pokorak, 2006). The jury and the judge never bothered to find out where the note came from, who wrote it or even the number of jurors who had seen it. William Hance, a mentally disadvantaged individual of African American decent, was sentenced to death by Georgia’s court, though one juror said that she did not vote for judicial ruling. One of the jurors who was black stated categorically that she voted for a life sentence owing to the mental condition of Hance. Not only was her vote ignored, but she was also intimidated for daring to speak out in the court room. At the time she revealed her voting position, other jurors were completely annoyed by her decision. One of the jurors signed the affidavit that confirmed the story of the black juror. As a result, Hance was executed in 1994 (Konig, Finkelman & Bracey, 2010).
Analysis of the Problems
There were several problems encountered by the authorities in dealing with this case. Since Scott was regarded as a non-citizen of the United States, natives were not willing to cooperate with the investigation authorities. Several major impediments made it impossible to investigate the offense, identify the suspects, obtain cooperation from the witnesses and the victims, and bring the suspects to court. This was mainly due to the elements of racial discrimination, especially in the administration of justices. Several whites knew and believed that African Americans were not to be given the fair trial they deserved. The following discussion provides an in-depth analysis of the racial disparities, which prevented the judicial process from attaining proper legal justice in the case (Konig, Finkelman & Bracey, 2010).
Racial disparities in the unfair judicial ruling drew critical reaction from legal and civil rights groups, both nationally and internationally, particularly after the court rejected a challenge to the racially biased application of judicial rulings in Georgia. Many civil rights society and newspaper editorials called for the passage of the racial justice act to remedy the problem of injustice at the national level. Though this act was passed by the House of Representatives in 1990 and 1994, it was abolished on the grounds that such racial inquiry would “abolish” judicial ruling. This now meant that the lives of the blacks in the state continued to hang in the balance. They have no law to seek refuge from a way from the courts which are intentioned to execute them. Evidence of unfair racial judicial ruling that target the African-Americans has attracted a lot of attention worldwide and caused many international jurists to visit the United States. They came to research the United States’ use of the discriminatory judicial ruling, particularly after reports that it was being used to perpetuate racial injustice, resulting in deaths of many non-whites, particularly African-Americans. The commission presented a report that sharply criticized the methods used to execute the judicial ruling applied in relation to races. It concluded that the judicial rulings handed down by the starte administration continue to be unjust and discriminatory in nature. This same sentiment was echoed by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights which concluded in March 1998 that the US had violated the international law and was supposed to offer some compensation to the family members of William Andrew, who was unfairly executed in Utah in1992, owing to his racial views (Pokorak, 2006).
The continued deaths of African-Americans in the United States through judicial rulings and other crimes against humanity did draw the attention of the Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions. After his visit to the United States, he filed a complaint with United Nations Commission on Human rights. His report then stated that race, ethnicity and economic status were essential in determining who would receive unfair judicial ruling or who would not. This clearly indicates the magnitude and seriousness of the matter, which has seen many cut their life short due to racial prejudice. A recent poll by the NewsWeek magazine has revealed that nearly 50 percent Americans strongly believe that African Americans are more likely to be given a harsher punishment for the same crime than the whites. Racial bias in the judicial system ranks high among the accusations when it comes to judicial rulings. However, analysts argue that there is a good reason for this. Historically, racial disparities in capital offenses sentencing are a reality, and an ugly one at that. Anyone raising any doubts on the connection between judicial rulings and racism needs only to consider the statistics between 1930 and 1967. 54 percent of those executed by the US civilian authority within this period were individuals of African American descent (Swain, 2004).
In the past, the disproportionate impact of unfair judicial rulings against African Americans reflected racism all over the state. However, of particular concern in this regard is the situation in southern states, where false ideologies were used to enforce a broader caste system. Southern states did execute blacks for rape more often than they did whites, especially when the alleged victim was a white woman. It comes as a shocking revelation that of the 455 males executed in the US between 1930 and 1967, 90% were of African American descent. However, more saddening is the fact that some of those accused were not guilty at all (Pokorak, 2006). Although the judicial ruling affected many African Americans in the United States, it was not the only factor that caused many African-Americans living in the United States to be terrified. “Lynching” was another monster many African-Americans would not want to hear about. It is a kind of an extra judicial killing carried out by a mob often by hanging, burning on the stake or shooting. It did cause a lot of misery to African Americans. Violence against African American, especially in the southern states, started in real earnest in the aftermath of the civil war. Slavery at the time had been abolished and the blacks were considered free, but the joy was short-lived after white democrats from the south regained political power in the 1870s. This was a kind of punishment for the perceived criminal offenses committed by self-appointed commissions. Like in the case with judicial rulings, African Americans were the main victims of this act, with many losing their lives for no reason at all (Tushnet, 2008).
Assessment of the Outcome of the Case
If there had been no court judgment under this case, Scott would have been granted his freedom. However, in the presence of the court judgment the outcome of the case would have been completely different. This is due to the fact that the judgment delivered was legally in line with the Constitution of the United States. The verdict was based on Article III and Article IV of the United State’s Constitution, which denied slaves and African Americans the right to become citizens of the United States. Consequently, this would impact negatively on the African Americans who were living in the United States or even those with slave background since they could not become citizens of the United States. Such unfortunate situations would eventually deny African Americans their freedom to co-exist with other members of the country (Konig, Finkelman & Bracey, 2010). Such eventualities were evidenced in the administration of judicial rulings analyzed in the subsequent paragraphs.
The matter of concern is why those accused of killing a white are more likely to get a judicial ruling than those found guilty of killing a black. Even given the defendant’s criminal history and circumstances of crime, black people are more likely to be charged with murder and sentenced to death. Therefore, it is a personal opinion that race could have been a factor to this kind of judgment. The argument of death inequality for African Americans has over time been backed up by the tangible documented evidence that shows a large disparity between races when it comes to death sentences. According to the death penalty data released by the Department of Justice, between 1995-2000 African Americans accounted for 48 percent of death penalty verdicts, with only 20 percent of death penalty verdicts handed down to whites. Again this solicits the same mixed reactions, and demands for the answer to the question why black are more criminal than whites (Tushnet, 2008).
A study of Philadelphia is another example of how much race impacts judicial rulings. In Philadelphia, a case that is most likely to provoke a judicial ruling is one that involves a black defendant and a non-black victim. Regardless of how ruthless the murder was committed. This has led to a lot of controversy, with many African-Americans and civil right activists calling for a complete removal of the judicial ruling from the American laws. It does not have any specific guidelines, rules and objectives that outline the timeframes when prosecutors can call for a judicial ruling, or when it can be recommended by the jury. And possibly, failure of the judge to apply measurable standards and objectives makes sure that judicial ruling application is discriminatory, and thus “against ethnicity, gender and racial groups” (Tushnet, 2008).
As analysis made on the above judicial ruling shows, many prosecutors do not have a well-defined framework for when they should call for judicial ruling. They use personal basis which in this case has been always racially influenced to determine which cases deserves the worst punishment. That will most likely result in an unfair judicial ruling in the case of a white who has been involved in a murder case. Evidence has it that only extreme cases, such as a murder of a black policeman, are treated as seriously as identical cases involving whites. An attempt to explain why cases of such discrimination are so widespread reveals that the most probable reason is that many prosecutors who are responsible for handing down judicial rulings are whites. Only 1 % of district attorneys who are involved in judicial ruling cases are white. This staggering imbalance can partly explain the persistent imbalance in judicial rulings. Data collected in 1998 revealed an embarrassing result that out of 1838 district attorneys in the United States only 22 are African Americans, while 1794 are whites (Dred, 2009). In order to solve the problem of racial discrimination in judicial ruling, the government must review these figures.
Elaborate examples that reveal how racial bias often results in injustices is witnessed in some of the key jurisdictions on judicial ruling. Georgia's Chattahoochee, a judiciary in the district has sentenced more people than any other judicial district in the state. The Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta investigated cases that involved the death of a white person. The prosecutor could meet with the victim family and ask whether to seek judicial ruling, particularly in cases involving a white man’s daughter murder. The prosecutor contacted the father and asked if they wanted to seek a judicial ruling. When he replied affirmatively, the prosecutor replied that that was all he wanted to know and handed down a judicial ruling at the trial. However, things were different in cases involving African Americans because the prosecutor did not meet family members of the victims to determine the sentence they anticipated. In fact, many people were not contacted to be informed about the verdict of the case and its resolution. Though African Americans were not victims in 65 percent of Chattahoochee homicides, the whites’ capital offences stood at 85 percent, and this saw more African-Americans victimized. This continuous trend has made African Americans feel like endangered species (Tushnet, 2008).
The blame for the manner in which blacks in the United States face their death sentences lies squarely at the doorstep of the institution that promises justice and protection. Impunity and racism are the key factors that have caused many African American defendants to find themselves in a situation of the cat being the jury and defendant being the mouse. This phenomenon has been encouraged by white prosecutors doing their best to expel black jury from the proceedings. For example, while viewing Robert Roundtra’s judicial ruling conviction in the Florida supreme court, the judge partially accepted the explanation of the state on the persecutor’s conduct on the case. He cited very vague reasons for expelling the black jury from the jury pool, such as “inappropriate dressing”, being 30 years old, having no employment and being single. One black female was left out because the state’s preference was a male jury. The review of the court’s findings concluded that “the preference was mainly based on the mere racial discrimination pre-text”, and thus the conviction was reversed (Dred, 2009).
Not only have African Americans faced these judicial ruling because of bias by the prosecutor alone, but also due to the fact that judge’s defense attorneys and jurors tend to display very harmful racial bias. It often happens that it is the defendant who suffers inhuman consequences. For example, in Roman Mata’s trail in Texas, the ruling bench, which was comprised of the defense attorney and prosecutor, unanimously agreed to expel the race jurors who were in minority, thus establishing an all-white jury. However, even the US Court of Appeal found this a harmless error. This has further increased the number of death sentences being handed down to blacks in the United States. Another case that saw an African American man lose his life was the trial of Wilburn Dobbs in Georgia. Wilburn Dobbs was a black man who was charged with a murder of a white person. Prejudice prevailed from the beginning of the trial as the attorney called Dobbs the “Coloured Boy” (Dred, 2009). The assertion of the defense attorney was that “African Americans were uneducated and could not make good teachers. Dobbs was then given a judicial ruling, and this further increased the number of black convictions in Georgia courts.
Possible Recommendations in View of the Response to Future Cases
To sum up, it can be recommended that both Article III and Article III of the Constitution of the United States should be amended to make it possible for African Americans to be given fair justice. This will help in promoting justice and fair handling of future cases involving African Americans, as witnessed from the case of Dred Scott. Even though Dred Scott was not a citizen of the United States, he deserved the right to be granted freedom and fair justice. Besides, he had lived in Illinois long enough to be granted the US citizenship, and even to be accorded his quest for freedom. Rulings like these, which are based on racial discrimination, must be avoided at all costs in future cases.