Power abuse in the criminal justice system

The criminal justice system is entrusted with the role of protecting citizens from injustices and unfair treatment. However, sometimes the system turns against the same people it is supposed to protect and perpetrates evil and unjust acts. Some of these acts include; unjust arrests, falsified evidence, corruption and misuse of authority. This acts breaches the law and causes distrust.  Citizens end up distrusting the criminal justice system. Victims of these unfair actions are intimidated they undergo physical and psychological torture and some end up opting to leave the country.

Some of the popular incidents that out rightly depict a breach of the law by authorities in the criminal justice system include; Abraham Lincoln, the great emancipator, changed the rules of Habeas Corpus that insisted on people not being unjustly arrested and detained, without sufficient evidence. Abraham Lincoln replaced this ideology and allowed unjust arrests and detention of people. This is a perfect example of the misuse of power.

There is also another incident that occurred in the USA, whereby a 26-year-old young man named Frank Jude was attacked by two police officers who were off duty. The policemen claimed that Jude and his friend had stolen a wallet that contained a police badge. They were beaten mercilessly and stabbed severally with a knife before they managed to escape. The law states that when the police are off duty they should not perform professional roles. Unless they are called upon during an emergency. This portrays police brutality in the USA.

In some cases, the jury is given bribes so that they can pronounce unfair judgment in cases. Judge Mike Fuller from Alabama was proven guilty of corruption. He ruled cases based on his interest and did not accept to try his close political allies. Huge sums of corruption money were directed to his private company.

Litigants sometimes use their powers to threaten and intimidate people against speaking ill about the government, for instance. George Bush administration hindered publishing of scholarly information that was against his government. Such practices have continued up to date. Police brutality against people based on their race is also rampant.

In 2001, after the terrorist attacks. The FBI and criminal justice agencies were accused of unjust arrests. They arrested hundreds of Muslims even without evidence of whether they were associated with the attackers. The suspects were not treated as witnesses and there were no much efforts taken to secure testimonies from them.


Butler, Paul. “Racially based jury nullification: black power in the criminal justice system.” Yale LJ 105 (1995): 677.

Cao, Liqun, and Bu Huang. “Determinants of citizen complaints against police abuse of power.” Journal of Criminal Justice 28.3 (2000): 203-213.

Choo, Andrew L-T. Abuse of process and judicial stays of criminal proceedings. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

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