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Hammurabi’s Code in 2019

Taylor Buchanan

Hammurabi’s Code was the first set of established laws to be created. Although punishments aren’t as harsh as Hammurabi’s, the United State’s justice system and Hammurabi’s Code have similarities in regard to social status. Although constitutionally the U.S promotes equal rights for all, minorities are treated poorly in comparison to their counterparts. 

Minorities make up the lower class in the United States. Slaves made up the lower class in Hammurabi’s code. According to the sentencing project, 1 out of every 3 black men will be sent to prison vs 1 white male out of 17.  Hammurabi’s Law 203 says, if a free-born man strikes the body of another free-born man or equal rank, he shall pay one gold mina. This means if someone is of equal rank, they can just pay them off and be fine. However, Law 202 of Hammurabi’s code states, if any one strike the body of a man higher in rank than he, he shall receive sixty blows with an ox-whip in public. If there is a quarrel where a person hits a man of higher rank, then he is to be whipped, rather than just paying. This same logic can be applied to the U.S. A white man can have a lesser sentence than black man, or Hispanic man.  

In 2002, African- American, seventeen-year-old Brian Banks was wrongfully convicted of rape.  At the time of his conviction, he was a rising football star destined to play in the NFL. A white woman by the name of Wanetta Gibson – shattered that dream after she accused Banks of rape and kidnapping following a consensual sexual encounter on the school campus. Being that it was his word against hers, and no actual evidence, Banks had to decide to either fight the charges and risk spending 41 years-to-life in prison, or take a plea deal and spend a little over 5 years of actual prison confinement. He pleaded no contest to the charges. Brian Banks was sentenced to 6 years and a lifetime registered sex offender. In 2012, nearly a decade later, Gibson acknowledged that she fabricated the story, and took back her statements. After going through the evidence, the District Attorney’s Office conceded that Banks was wrongfully convicted. He spent 5 years and 2 months before being exonerated. 

January 2015, white male, Brock Turner, a student-athlete at Stanford University was accused of three counts of sexual assault.  Two Stanford international students from Sweden caught Turner and testified that they intervened because the woman appeared to be unconscious. Brock Turner attempted to flee the scene, however, the two apprehended and restrained him until police arrived to take Turner into custody. He was being convicted of the three remaining charges of felony sexual assault, which carried a sentence of 14 years in prison. Prosecutors recommended six years, while probation officials recommended a county jail sentence. In 2016, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky sentenced Turner to six months’ confinement in the Santa Clara County jail and to be followed by three years of probation. Brock Turner only ended up serving half of that sentence. There was no evidence against Brian Banks, however, he had to spend five years in prison while being registered as a lifetime sex offender. Brock Turner had evidence against him, but only spent half of his 6 months in jail.

Some of our laws are in line with Hammurabi, however, most of our laws are prejudice against minorities. I personally don’t believe that we can improve our judicial system until the old racist white men are out and replaced with people who are fair and actually want to seek justice, not for minorities, but for everybody no matter the skin or social class.

word count: 624

Criminal Justice Facts

One thought on “Hammurabi’s Code in 2019

  1. I really enjoyed reading this post. The second paragraph was a little choppy and a good edit could be beneficial for a better flow when reading. I agree that minorities tend to receive worse punishments for the same crimes, it is a statistical fact and desperately needs to change. Celebrities and those who have a lot of money are also likely to receive lighter punishments. You can read my blog about Snoop Dogg for more information. Overall, I liked your essay, but I wish you could have stayed on the topic of 1 modern court case instead of 2. I really think citing statistics would greatly strengthen your argument and I know the statistics support your claims. I also would be careful of making unsupported claims in the conclusion paragraph such as, “most of our laws are prejudice against minorities.” I could pick this apart and say that the laws are fair, but the implementation of the laws by the judges and juries are what is unfair. I also could go against the statement of how our judicial system wont improve until “old racist white men” are replaced by saying that the problem lies with human error and a perfect judicial system is impossible as long as humans are a factor. The conclusion should only be used to restate the main ideas and driving points that you have already said and wrap of the paper. Overall, nice work!


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