Do Rich People Get Off Easier When They Break the Law?

Some societal orders often prejudice legal judgments as we have seen it happen numerous times all around the world. It has raised serious doubts and quite rightly about the neutrality of judges when dealing with cases involving the rich and famous. It is an irony that law that is supposed to take its own course without any bias often trips on the very conditions that it has laid down for delivering justice to people with complete fairness. Ideally, the law is same for everyone, rich and poor but looking at several inconsistencies in judgments, it appears that the rich enjoy more advantage and can get off the hook when they find themselves in a very precarious legal position that could have debilitating effects on their  lives.

It will be hard for anyone to counter the facts stated above and whether you like it or not, things are as you have just heard – it is what it is. While any wrongdoer needs to get punished according to the crime committed and it is expected that judges will mete out justice to all, the reality is starkly different. Or else, why should it happen that despite committing the most heinous crime, the wealthy and affluent people can quickly get away with it? Although they have to face prosecution, the judge takes a much more lenient view of the offense and imposes a light penalty in whichever form it might  be.

Money makes it go  around

There is no denying that money controls almost all aspects of our society. Although it might sound disgusting, you have to live with it. Money drives people closer to the power centers as the powerful are themselves rich. Today we live in a Capitalist world where money drives everything cutting across geographical borders, and it influences our lives and living in more ways than one. Money helps people to move up the societal ladder and occupy positions of power that help to obtain favorable verdicts even from the judiciary. Although freedom democracy, equality, and other high-sounding words make us proud, the reality is often on the contrary to the values we  cherish.

The O.J. Simpson  case

For long there has been a direct link between the quality of justice you receive and your ability to spend money. Remember the O. J. Simpson case way back in the nineties? Simpson was charged with two counts of murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, her friend. However, Simpson could find his way and escape any punishment for the double murder just because he could spend a massive amount of money to buy the best legal team. Although he had to use up most of his wealth, he could achieve his goal of walking out  scot-free.

Affluenza – an escape route for the  wealthy

The influence of money is so much that it has resulted in the discovery of some special mental conditions among the wealthy and affluent people that they often use a trump card to bail them out of crisis when they are in severe danger of spending their lives in  jail.

Have you heard of the term Affluenza? If not, talk to a DUI Geman Lawyer, and he or she will explain it to you because it is a term that has become commonplace in the legal parlance. In a recent case of drunken driving in Texas, a teenager 16-year-old Ethan Couch of Fort Worth was at the wheels when he killed four people on the road and had to face prosecution. Ethan came from a well-off family that belonged to one of America’s most affluent families with an average monthly income touching $250,000. The county prosecutors sought a punishment of 20 years in prison but surprisingly the judge, named Jean Boyd, accepted the argument of the defense counsel that the boy was suffering from a particular mental condition called Affluenza, and ordered ten years probation along with treatment facility during  probation.

The judge felt that treatment was necessary for the teenager who as afflicted by Affluenza and therefore should not be imprisoned. The verdict was special because Affluenza only affects children belonging to the privileged  class.

Justice and spending  ability

If you compare the case of O.J. Simpson with that of Ethan Couch, you would observe that there is a significant shift in the way money influences the judiciary. Simpson had to spend huge money to shape the judgment the way he wanted, but in Ethan’s case, it did not require hiring top-notch lawyers that would cost a fortune. The judge was so much sympathetic towards the disease that affects only the rich and wealthy, that she did not mind to link the conduct of the teenager to the wealth of the parents and provide a lifeline that defies the laws of natural  justice.

Interestingly, the same judge had sentenced 19-year-old Christian Leos to 8 years imprisonment for drunken driving and vehicular homicide when he met with an accident when driving with his cousin at his side dying in the  collision.

The judgment has added a new dimension to the long-standing debate about how wealth influences justice because just by belonging to a wealthy family you could find favors with the law and the legal system. It means that being wealthy automatically qualifies you for a favorable verdict and there is no need to spend money. It appears that judges are ready to accord special privileges to the  wealthy.

The Ethan Couch judgment is set to become a game changer in the equation between the wealth and law. It seems that the wealthy and affluent people are set to receive some special recognition from the judiciary, thanks to the Affluenza syndrome. It allows them to behave in the way they want and do as they please because they have nothing to fear as the law will always be kind to them. The verdict has set a new trend, and we have to wait to see how it takes shape  finally.

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.