Criminal Courts and Professional Ethics

The Two Perspectives of Law



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The Two Perspectives of Law

There are two perspectives of law in the American court system. The first one is the consensus theory of criminal law, which holds that the society is a product of values and social needs, and it also it also serves in the interest of the general society. The theorists who hold this view look at the society as generally good, and that it provides an equal opportunity for everyone within it (Hemmens, Brody, & Spohn, 2013). The rules therefore are there for the community to control itself and to put order & sanity. In that case, the society punishes any crime committed within the society by what is considered appropriate by the community, after a careful evaluation of the crime and the punishment. In this perspective, it is believed that although conflicts in the society exists, the general feeling is that it is an unnecessary struggle amongst members who are yet to understand their interests and common value.

On the other hand, there is the conflict perspective, which of criminal law, which establishes that the laws in place were made basically by the elite, the powerful and the influential individuals of a society in such a way to serve themselves. Harr, Hess, Orthmann, & Kingsbury (2014) hold that in this context, law is regarded as a tool of maintaining the dominant class powerful, and regard punishment as a way of controlling the lower class. The society’s rules and behavior need to be in such a way as to serve the powerful, and the rules that are set for crimes are merely meant to punish people of lower class, who are deemed fortunate.

The consensus perspective tends to receive the support of the poor law abiding citizens of the USA. These are the people who view this as a consensus that mainly helps hold the society together, and allows its smooth functionality. They support this perspective because they want the law to view and treat everyone equally. This perspective is also supported by the religious folks, who hold the view of absolute wrong and right. They have the idea that the law was formed by consensus, and they want it to apply to everyone alike, without favoring specific groups based on their positioning in the society. All these are individuals with the welfare of the whole community at heart, and want to be seen to be as fair as possible, when it comes to the punishing of individual crimes.

The Conflict perspective on the other hand is one that is supported by the “who is who” in the society. An example of these people would be politicians. These are people who mainly want everything to themselves, and would rather have the voiceless person be punished by the law, for him to be safe. The rich business people will also fall under this category, owing to the fact that their wealth needs to be protected, at the expense of the poor person. They would want the poor to work for them, serve them and do everything for them, and have the law back them if the poor do not do any of those. Corruption thrives under such a law, and it is basically survival for the fittest for everyone here, with the wealthy powerful folks being the undisputed victors.


Hemmens, C., Brody, D. C., & Spohn, C. C. (2013). Criminal courts: A contemporary

perspective (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Harr, J., Hess, K., Orthmann, C., & Kingsbury, J. (2014). Constitutional law and the criminal

justice system (6nd ed.). London: Cengage Learning.