When I first started this blog project, I did not know much about the prison system. My only knowledge of prisons came from movies such as The Shawshank Redemption. Because I knew so little about the prison system and how criminal justice worked, I did not have an actual opinion on the legal rights of the accused. Before I began researching the issue of defendants’ rights, I was aware that the US Constitution and several Supreme Court cases provided accused people rights to an attorney and protection against excessive court fees punishable by prison.
However, I did not know that even today many defendants who cannot afford their own legal services are denied complete protection by laws guaranteeing the right to a lawyer and preventing excessive bail and debtors’ prisons. I also found the other side of the issue in which courts do not receive enough funding from the states, thus forcing them to charge defendants large fees.
My research progressed my understanding of the issue in which underfunded courts have limited resources to provide defendants who cannot afford to pay for their own legal services. I used a variety of sources when researching including blogs, news articles, journal articles, and statistical data. This variety of sources helped me grow as a thinker and allowed me to understand the complexities of the issue of defendants’ rights. Reading different people’s perspectives on the same issue allowed me to formulate my own opinion in which courts should be funded in order to give poor defendants equal rights as defendants who can afford their own legal services. Another source that contributed to my understanding of my issue was the comments on my weekly blog posts. These comments brought up discussions on defendants’ rights and the extent to which they are actually provided in courts.
Through this blog project, I understand the complexity defendants’ rights within the court system. Writing the weekly, analysis, and theory posts improved my writing and researching skills. These posts also taught me how to see multiple points of view in any issue.