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Human Rights Analysis

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Constitutional Law: CRJS400 - 1402B - 01

Individual Project: Unit 3
Human Rights Analysis

Human Rights Analysis

The case of Plessy vs. Ferguson established the separate but equal doctrine that was prevalent throughout life in the South for over fifty years. The case involved a man by the name of Homer Adolph Plessy, who was a colored shoemaker from New Orleans, Louisiana. He was only 1/8 black and 7/8 white, but under Louisiana law he was considered black. It also involved a white Judge by the name of John Howard Ferguson.
In 1892 Plessy was asked by the Citizens Committee which was a political group made up of African Americans and Creoles to help them challenge the Separate Car Act, which by Louisiana law separated blacks and whites in railroad cars. If a black was caught sitting in the white section of the cars, they could get either 20 days in jail or a $25 fine. He agreed to help the Committee.
On June 7, 1892, Plessy purchased a first-class ticket at the Press Street Station in New Orleans to go to Covington, Louisiana. The railroad didn’t support the Separate Car Law, because of the expense and trouble involved with it. They chose this station for that reason and the station was in on the test as well. He sat in the white only section and waited for the conductor. When the conductor arrived he told him that he was only 1/8 black and that he refused to move to the colored car of the train. A hired detective told Plessy he was violating the law but he still refused. Since he would not move to the colored car he was arrested and jailed overnight and released on bond the next morning. Since this was pre-planned, the committee was waiting at the police station with bond money for Plessy and had already retained a lawyer out of New York, by the name of Alboin W. Tourgee, who had previously worked on civil rights cases of blacks. They challenged that Plessy 13th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution had been violated. They argued that the Separate Car Law was a symbol of servitude. Ferguson said the law wasn’t unfair as long as the accommodations were equal.The case went to trial a month later and Judge John Ferguson who at one time ruled against separate cars for railroad travel ruled against Plessy, because he believed each state had a right to set segregation policies within its own boundaries. After this decision Tourgee, took the case to the Louisiana Supreme Court, which upheld Ferguson’s decision.
The case was then sent to the U.S. Supreme Court and on May 18, 1896, ruled in favor of Ferguson and the state of Louisiana, with an 8-1 majority vote. With the Supreme Court upholding this decision many states let any remaining equality between the races fade away, and was replaced with Jim Crow laws. Many states made it known that if anyone was caught breaking any rules they would be put in jail. Everyone was saying how can they expect people to meet together on social equality but are separated in every other way. Frederick Douglass wrote an article in 1872 for the The New National Era and said, “ We want mixed schools…because we want to do away with a system that exalts one class and debases another…We look to mixed schools to teach that worth and ability are to be the criterion of manhood and not race and color.”
The Jim Crow laws lasted for almost 60 years, until a new panel of justices took over the Supreme Court and ruled that segregation violated rights that were granted by the Constitution. All of the separate but equal acts were dismissed on May 17, 1954 during the Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka.
This case brought about the identity of blacks rights being violated and blacks not being treated fairly. In this world today some people still think how people were taught to think back in those times. This further more explains many of the points that Carter Woodson was trying to get across in the book “The Mis-Education of the Negro.” He stated many times that people of all races were being taught to think one way only and many were scared to step outside of the box and speak up for other races.
In the case of Miranda v. Arizona, Miranda was unaware of his rights under the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution and offered incriminating evidence during police interrogations. The question is whether or not the police is required to notify the arrested defendants of their Fifth Amendment constitutional rights against self-incrimination before they interrogate the defendants? The U.S. Supreme Court established a “bright line” rule to govern custodial interrogations, maintaining that they are inherently coercive because: (a) Suspects are held in strange surroundings where they’re not free to leave, and (b) Skilled police officers use unrefined methods to “crack” the will of suspects. The bright-line rule prevents police coercion while still allowing police pressure. During custodial interrogations, police must give suspects the famous four warnings: (a) You have a right to remain silent, (b) Anything you say can and will be used against you in court, (c) You have a right to a lawyer, and (d) If you can’t afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you. The Supreme Court further explained that the process of interrogation is already intimidating, and the suspect must be read his rights to counteract this intimidation. Then the Court outlined the way in which a suspect must be informed of his rights. This must take place before the suspect is questioned, and an officer doesn't have to do it while placing someone under arrest as long as they don't interrogate the suspect in any way. The Supreme Court ruled that based on the testimony and admission given, Miranda was obviously never informed of his right to council or to avoid self-incrimination. As a result, the Court reversed the decision and conviction.…...

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