The law code formulated by the Babylonian king Hamerabi was the first time there was a written code for how to punish criminals in the ancient world. By modern standards, his law code is seen as a harsh and brutal form of the justice system. However, there are similarities in the law code to our current legal system, and the biases that exist in both. It is apparent in the code of Hammurabi that if you were of a higher socio-economic status, punishments were more lenient than those given to the minority class for the same crime. In our current society, we’ve made strides to combat the marginalizing and unfair treatment of minorities. However, there are still instances where our modern justice system fails to prevent even obvious bias and racism finding their way into court decisions.
For example, there were court cases conducted in the state of Florida. The first case was for Chase Legleitner, a nineteen year old white young man, for the crime of armed robbery in 2008. The second case took place in 2011 and was for a twenty-one year old black young man by the name of Lamar Lloyed who was also arrested for the crime of armed robbery. Both cases were very similar as far as the fact that both young men had the same judge. However, the sentencing for both cases were vastly different. Chase Legleitner received a short two years in prison, whereas Lloyed received twenty-six years in prison. The only difference in the cases was race, and there wasn’t any explanation from judge Bauer extremely different rulings.
In truth, the laws by which do share similar concepts of justice where in most cases crimes are punished with sentences that equate to the crimes committed, obviously without the brutal flare of Hammerabi’s law code, by serving time in prison or paying large amounts of money. Sadly, it is also true to draw similarities to the law code in how our modern system of judging people still falls short of preventing bias and racism from finding its way into court decisions. Just as a free man would receive a less brutal punishment than a slave would for committing the same crime, so too does a person of minority receive a harsher punishment than those of a higher socio-economic status for the same crime in the modern era.
This fact stand as an unfortunate reminder that though there have been great strides towards equality in recent history, there is still more to be done to ensure that people of all races and statuses are treated equally. One way to do this would be to make ordinary people more aware of such issues, and continue to elect unbiased individuals into the legal system. Time and time again, it has been proven that with increased awareness, issues such as these are conversed about and solved. Though we have come far from the brutal force of hammerabi’s law code, the similarities in their failure of its failure of justice still exists even in the modern era.
-Midn Chris Hisey Word Count: 509