Justice delayed is justice denied
“Justice delayed is justice denied” implies that if a person does not get a redress in time and is made to wait for a long time, it is not justice because there was a period when there was a lack of justice when the person underwent suffering. Justice granted after a period of unnecessary suffering and tribulations is not justice to those people who are affected. It is evident from Martin Luther king’s letter from Birmingham jail, and the 12 angry men film that justice delayed is justice denied. This essay analyzes the concept of justice delayed is justice denied and how it is portrayed in Martin Luther king’s letter from Birmingham jail and the twelve angry men film.
First, the letter of Martin Luther King fromBirmingham jail affirms the concept of justice delayed is justice denied as it is evident from the sufferings that people are made to go through due to the delays. Justice delayed violates the fundamental rights of innocent people whereby they suffer injustices, for instance, unjust treatment before they are exonerated. In Martin Luther King’s letter, The Negros and some marginalized groups were denied fundamental rights which were enjoyed by other people. Injustices were committed against the Negroes which forced them to engage in nonviolent activities to present their grievances. From the letter, it is clear that the Negros had waited for so long for the day that they will start receiving just treatment just like other groups of people. Martin Luther King noted that he was in jail because of the injustices that were present in his country at that time. “I am in Birmingham because injustice is here Just as the eighth-century prophets left their little villages and carried their faith to the Lord” (Martin Luther, 1)
People who have to go through tribulations as a result of delays before justice is given feel that they have not received justice. Justice should be delivered within the shortest time possible to those people who are affected. The clergymen wanted the Negros to give the administration time to act on their grievances because they thought their actions were untimely whereas Martin Luther saw the delays as unnecessary. Marginalized communities were not treated equally as the whites because of their group orientation. Justice was delayed and thus denied; police brutality and unjust treatment of Negroes was a manifestation of injustices committed as noted in the letter.
Second, Justice delayed causes great suffering to those who are affected and does not have a great impact on the victim if it is granted later on. In the film of twelve angry men, the young boy is denied justice due to the personal interests of the jurors who handle his case. The film focuses on the difficulties that jurors encounter in making a unanimous decision on the guilt or innocence of a boy who was accused of stabbing his father. Each juror has his reason he thinks that the boy should be declared guilty without wasting much time and thus they take much time to arrive at a unanimous conclusion on the innocence of the boy. Some of the jurors have negative attitudes towards young boys from the slums due to their personal experiences and fail to treat this particular case independently. Juror eight is the first one to insist on the innocence of the boy and notes that emotional stress can have a great impact when making important decisions (Twelve Angry Men n.p).
Justice delayed leads to the victimization of innocent people whereby they are tortured psychologically for a long time before they are proven to be innocent. Although most victims receive justice after decades of suffering, it is seen not to be justice because of the sufferings they endured as a result of the delays. For instance, some boys in the state of Alabama were denied justice because of the delay that characterized the handling of their case only to receive justice decades later when they were all dead after much suffering. “Eighty-two years after being pulled off a Memphis-bound freight train, baselessly accused of raping two white women and subjected to years of blatant miscarriages of justice were posthumously cleared by the State of Alabama” (Scottsboro 1). The three innocent boys suffered and were humiliated for a long period and did not receive justice due to delays. The tribulations that the boy went through have affirmed the concept of justice delayed is justice denied many decades later on after the incident occurred.
The overturning of the false conviction of the Wilmington Ten, who were charged with firebombing a white-owned grocery store in North Carolina in 1971 was also a prove that justice delayed is justice denied (Thompson 5). Most of the men died when they were still waiting to be cleared and their access to job opportunities restored. The tribulations that the men encountered when they were waiting to be cleared are also a true manifestation that justice delayed is justice denied.
It is evident from the scenarios above that justice delayed is justice denied because of the negative implications that come with delays in justice. If a redress for a certain problem is available and does not come in time, then it is as receiving no redress at all. Many people suffer because of the delays that are experienced in the contemporary society, for instance, in courts of justice when they receive justice when the damage is already time.
Hompson, Christie. “Justice Delayed, Justice Denied.” Nation 296.4 (2013): 5. Academic Search Premier. Web. 11 Mar. 2016.
King Jr, Martin Luther. “Letter from Birmingham jail.” Liberating Faith: Religious Voices for Justice, Peace, & Ecological Wisdom (2012): 177-187.
Scottsboro: Justice Delayed, Justice Denied.” Nation 297.25 (2013): 11. Academic Search Premier. Web. 11 Mar. 2016.
Twelve angry Men; Justice delayed is justice denied (2015) retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngbEpZ0tTjI 11th march 2016.Web