To Eliminate a Mockingbird: Cases of Bias and Discrimination: Tom Robinson and the West Memphis
In the law court, bias and discrimination frequently influence a jury and in turn result in the conviction of innocent or wrongly implicated individuals. Bias and discrimination often impact those who are towered above or marginalized in society. The case of the West Memphis Three saw a young man sentenced to death row and 2 others to life in prison for the murder of three young boys.
These young men had bothered pasts and were rumoured to be Satanists, they were inexplicably made lead suspects in among the most inadequately conducted homicide cases in American history. Similarly in To Eliminate a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Tom Robinson is convicted and sentenced to death for the rape of a white female without any significant evidence. The only reason he is founded guilty is since he is a black male battling against a white guy in a court with a discriminative jury.
The theme of bias and discrimination appears in both of these cases because the defendants were charged and convicted merely since they were considered to be “different” by their close minded societies, questionable evidence from prejudiced sources was used throughout their trials and since the accusers knew that all those charged might quickly be utilized as scapegoats. The defendants in both of the cases were picked as suspects because they were deemed to be different by their close minded societies.
In the case of the West Memphis 3, the prime suspect in the murder of the young boys, Damian Echols stated, “I wore black and was rumoured to worship Satan, and I was the best target when the cops ran out of leads” (A The Majority Of Heinous Crime Fiona Steel. 2003 ). By standing out for dressing various from the norm Damian and the other suspects were frequently rumoured to be Satanist’s that made them easily targeted suspects in the strange murder. Likewise Tom Robinson stuck out in society due to the fact that he was black.
Being a black male he would never win against a white male and a white jury which made him a perfect suspect for Bob Ewell to maltreat. Tom Robinson was a well respected black man and Bob Ewell was the joke of Maycomb, yet because of his colour Bob still had immunity against a black male in court. Since of this discrimination, Tom Robinson was the very best option Bob Ewell had to maltreat if he desired a warranty that he would win the case. Both the offenders in the West Memphis 3 and the case of Tom Robinson were chosen as suspects due to the fact that they stood out for being various from what society was willing to accept.
Another source of discrimination in the cases was doubtful evidence from bias sources used in the trials. The West Memphis Three were founded guilty based greatly on evidence that tied them to the “Hellish routine” design that the murders were performed in; since they were rumoured to worship Satan. Brent E. Turvey an annalist of the case discovered that, “This criminal activity does not present at all as a satanic routine, or cult related, murder” (A Forensic Analysis & & Psychological Profile of the West Memphis 3 a short article from Knowledge Solutions).
The police and persecutors in this case would not stop till these boys were convicted and to do so they would need considerable evidence. By getting an unqualified man to examine the satanic connections of the case, the persecutors were able to acquire proof to incriminate the young men. Similarly Tom Robinson was convicted with the proof from the under positive testimony of Mayella Ewell. She declared that Tom beat her although while holding her neck, despite the fact that Tom only has one excellent arm.
Atticus Finch asks Mayella to discuss how Tom could manage to do this, “Is this the guy who raped you? … How?” Mayella was ragging “I do not know how he done it, but he done it” (pg. 186). This quote shows the unpredictability that the main witness has as to how the suspect really dedicated the criminal activity. The testament that Mayella provides is exposed by Atticus to have little reliability, but due to the prejudice of the neighborhood it sufficed to incriminate Tom. Both the West Memphis Three and Tom Robinson were founded guilty with questionable evidence that came from prejudice sources.
Another example of bias in these cases is that the accusers knew that all the suspects charged might quickly be used as scapegoats. In the case of the West Memphis Three, the young men were founded guilty due to the fact that the accusers knew that the public would instantly deem them guilty since of their prestige in their neighborhood. Damien Echols talked about this throughout his trial: I knew that no matter what everybody else thought or believed I understood I was innocent. I understood the truth and I declined to permit anyone to degrade me for something I knew wasn’t real.
The general public viewpoint didn’t matter to me due to the fact that I understood the fact. It wouldn’t have actually mattered how I acted since the general public had already convicted me prior to the trial even began (The Robin Hood Hills Murders, B. A. Robinson. 2005 http://www. religioustolerance. org/ra _ robi3. htm #hear) Damien understood that the dark rumors surrounding him and his distressed past would give the public little factor to think his innocence. By utilizing Damien and the other two boys as scapegoats the accusers escaped the analysis they would have faced if they were not able to find the killer.
Likewise to this, Tom Robinson was used as a scapegoat by Bob Ewell to cover up the beating he gave his child. When questioning Mayella Ewell, Atticus finch says, “Did you shriek initially at your dad not Tom Robinson? Is that it? … What did your dad see in the window, the criminal offense of rape or the best defense to it? “(pg 187). Atticus knew the truth, that Bob Ewell used Tom Robinson as a conceal for him beating his daughter. In both of these cases the accused were utilized as scapegoats to cover up the mistakes of the accusers. Tom Robinson and the West Memphis three were victims of the bias and ruthlessness of their societies.
The West Memphis 3 are currently in the fourteenth year of their life sentence without parole, despite the fact that there is little credibility delegated the evidence that put them away. In Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird bias doomed Tom Robinson when he was seen kissing a white lady. These were innocent individuals that were wrongly founded guilty by prejudiced and inequitable neighborhoods due to the fact that they were considered to be “various” from what society desired and anticipated. Prejudice and discrimination were shown to excellent degree in these cases.