The first logical fallacy that is widely met within the framework of criminal justice is called the “straw man.” This fallacy is based on the principle of arguing against a distorted version of the argument. The misrepresentation of the original argument is not taken into account, and the key objective of this fallacy is to confuse the opponent and form one’s opinion on the wrong argument. In the case, if the “straw man” (the exaggerated argument) was refuted, the party may claim that that the original argument was disproved as well (Banks, 2016). This technique has a rather decent impact on criminal justice because it allows one of the parties to argue against a detested image of the opposition instead of supporting their claims.
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The second logical fallacy that is reviewed within the framework of this paper is called an argument from authority. The issue with this fallacy within the framework of criminal justice consists in the fact that it is usually abused by those parties that do not have enough authority to make a certain claim. Because of this, they are forced to manipulate others to a certain extent to influence the outcomes (Chapman & Davis, 1978). One of the most prevalent examples of this fallacy is a judge’s behavior when the matter of the case interferes with their personal life or values. This fallacy seriously impacts the area of criminal justice because it creates a great deal of bias and impacts the outcomes of court hearings.
The third logical fallacy also called an appeal to the majority, is the extension of the second concept reviewed in this paper. On a bigger scale, this logical fallacy can be described as a statement that if the majority believes that something is true and correct, then it is that way. The concept of an appeal to the majority is also widely met in criminal justice because the authorities may be influenced either by fellow judges or the jury and reach verdicts that do not go in line with their personal beliefs or criminal laws (Roh, 2003). Within the topic of criminal justice, it should always be taken into account that truth has nothing to do with common agreements because making a valid decision and trying to fit in are two interchangeable concepts.
The fourth logical fallacy is called an appeal to ignorance. This concept is based on the belief that something is false unless it has not been proven otherwise. In criminal justice, this logical fallacy is also known as “innocent until proven guilty.” This is a basic concept that is applied all over the United States because the whole criminal justice system is based on this concept (Roh, 2003). This particular logical fallacy is rather important for the parties that are involved in criminal dealings because the absence of proof leaves both sides innocent and creates impassable obstacles for US criminal justice.
The last logical fallacy that is reviewed within the framework of the current paper is the belief that correlation implies causality. This concept is not met in criminal justice as often as the appeal to ignorance, but it still has a substantial impact on the outcomes of court hearings. Judges tend to connect the dots between several variables even if the connections among them are weak and there is not enough evidence to support all the claims (Banks, 2016). The problem here consists of the fact that common sense is disregarded and external variables are not included in the argument. This confusion is the main cause of incorrect decisions made in court.
Banks, C. (2016). Criminal justice ethics: Theory and practice (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Chapman, M. L., & Davis, F. V. (1978). Skills for ethical action: A process to judgment and action. Educational Leadership, 35(6), 457-461.
Roh, Y. R. (2003). An extended conception of rationality and moral actions. Journal of Value Inquiry, 37(1), 35-49. doi:10.1023/a:1024033810944