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The Collapse Of American Criminal Justice

Author: William J. Stuntz
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674051750
Size: 72.27 MB
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Rule of law has vanished in America’s criminal justice system. Prosecutors decide whom to punish; most accused never face a jury; policing is inconsistent; plea bargaining is rampant; and draconian sentencing fills prisons with mostly minority defendants. A leading criminal law scholar looks to history for the roots of these problems—and solutions.

The Collapse Of American Criminal Justice

Author: William J. Stuntz
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674062604
Size: 27.29 MB
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Rule of law has vanished in America’s criminal justice system. Prosecutors decide whom to punish; most accused never face a jury; policing is inconsistent; plea bargaining is rampant; and draconian sentencing fills prisons with mostly minority defendants. A leading criminal law scholar looks to history for the roots of these problems—and solutions.

The Collapse Of American Criminal Justice

Author: William J. Stuntz
Publisher: Belknap Press
ISBN: 9780674725874
Size: 70.12 MB
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The rule of law has vanished in America's criminal justice system. Prosecutors now decide whom to punish and how severely. Almost no one accused of a crime will ever face a jury. Inconsistent policing, rampant plea bargaining, overcrowded courtrooms, and ever more draconian sentencing have produced a gigantic prison population, with black citizens the primary defendants and victims of crime. In this passionately argued book, the leading criminal law scholar of his generation looks to history for the roots of these problems -- and for their solutions. The Collapse of American Criminal Justice takes us deep into the dramatic history of American crime -- bar fights in nineteenth-century Chicago, New Orleans bordellos, Prohibition, and decades of murderous lynching. Digging into these crimes and the strategies that attempted to control them, Stuntz reveals the costs of abandoning local democratic control. The system has become more centralized, with state legislators and federal judges given increasing power. The liberal Warren Supreme Court's emphasis on procedures, not equity, joined hands with conservative insistence on severe punishment to create a system that is both harsh and ineffective. What would get us out of this Kafkaesque world? More trials with local juries; laws that accurately define what prosecutors seek to punish; and an equal protection guarantee like the one that died in the 1870s, to make prosecution and punishment less discriminatory. Above all, Stuntz eloquently argues, Americans need to remember again that criminal punishment is a necessary but terrible tool, to use effectively, and sparingly. - Publisher.

The Conviction Factory

Author: Roger Roots
Publisher:
ISBN: 9781492928898
Size: 31.55 MB
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Dr. Roger Roots, America's most provocative scholar of criminology and constitutional history, argues that America's criminal courts have gradually abandoned adversarial due process and embraced a more inquisitorial model of justice favored by prosecutors. In theory, convicting someone of a crime should be more difficult than obtaining a civil judgment by winning a lawsuit against him. The burden of proof is higher (beyond a reasonable doubt in criminal cases, as opposed to a mere preponderance of evidence in civil cases), and there are supposedly a number of constitutional protections for criminal defendants that do not apply to civil litigants. However, in modern courtrooms, convictions are obtained almost effortlessly by prosecutors. In The Conviction Factory, Dr. Roots traces the history of American criminal justice from its roots in English common law and then follows this history into the twenty-first century. Roots details how the adversarial model of justice, which pits the prosecution against the defendant on a level playing field, has been quietly and slowly whittled away. This book is exhaustively footnoted. It represents a continuation (and partially a compilation) of Roots' previously published law review articles on the subject of criminal procedural history. The Conviction Factory is more than just a history of criminal procedure. It is a gripping yarn that provokes fundamental questions about fairness, justice and trust in the institutions of government.

Trial And Error In Criminal Justice Reform

Author: Greg Berman
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 1442268484
Size: 36.85 MB
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In this revised edition of their concise, readable, yet wide-ranging book, Greg Berman and Aubrey Fox tackle a question students and scholars of law, criminology, and political science constantly face: what mistakes have led to the problems that pervade the criminal justice system in the United States? The reluctance of criminal justice policymakers to talk openly about failure, the authors argue, has stunted the public conversation about crime in this country and stifled new ideas. It has also contributed to our inability to address such problems as chronic offending in low-income neighborhoods, an overreliance on incarceration, the misuse of pretrial detention, and the high rates of recidivism among parolees. Berman and Fox offer students and policymakers an escape from this fate by writing about failure in the criminal justice system. Their goal is to encourage a more forthright dialogue about criminal justice, one that acknowledges that many new initiatives fail and that no one knows for certain how to reduce crime. For the authors, this is not a source of pessimism, but a call to action. This revised edition is updated with a new foreword by Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., and afterword by Greg Berman.

The Divide

Author: Matt Taibbi
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
ISBN: 0679645462
Size: 22.44 MB
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST, NPR, AND KIRKUS REVIEWS A scathing portrait of an urgent new American crisis Over the last two decades, America has been falling deeper and deeper into a statistical mystery: Poverty goes up. Crime goes down. The prison population doubles. Fraud by the rich wipes out 40 percent of the world’s wealth. The rich get massively richer. No one goes to jail. In search of a solution, journalist Matt Taibbi discovered the Divide, the seam in American life where our two most troubling trends—growing wealth inequality and mass incarceration—come together, driven by a dramatic shift in American citizenship: Our basic rights are now determined by our wealth or poverty. The Divide is what allows massively destructive fraud by the hyperwealthy to go unpunished, while turning poverty itself into a crime—but it’s impossible to see until you look at these two alarming trends side by side. In The Divide, Matt Taibbi takes readers on a galvanizing journey through both sides of our new system of justice—the fun-house-mirror worlds of the untouchably wealthy and the criminalized poor. He uncovers the startling looting that preceded the financial collapse; a wild conspiracy of billionaire hedge fund managers to destroy a company through dirty tricks; and the story of a whistleblower who gets in the way of the largest banks in America, only to find herself in the crosshairs. On the other side of the Divide, Taibbi takes us to the front lines of the immigrant dragnet; into the newly punitive welfare system which treats its beneficiaries as thieves; and deep inside the stop-and-frisk world, where standing in front of your own home has become an arrestable offense. As he narrates these incredible stories, he draws out and analyzes their common source: a perverse new standard of justice, based on a radical, disturbing new vision of civil rights. Through astonishing—and enraging—accounts of the high-stakes capers of the wealthy and nightmare stories of regular people caught in the Divide’s punishing logic, Taibbi lays bare one of the greatest challenges we face in contemporary American life: surviving a system that devours the lives of the poor, turns a blind eye to the destructive crimes of the wealthy, and implicates us all. Praise for The Divide “Ambitious . . . deeply reported, highly compelling . . . impossible to put down.”—The New York Times Book Review “These are the stories that will keep you up at night. . . . The Divide is not just a report from the new America; it is advocacy journalism at its finest.”—Los Angeles Times “Taibbi is a relentless investigative reporter. He takes readers inside not only investment banks, hedge funds and the blood sport of short-sellers, but into the lives of the needy, minorities, street drifters and illegal immigrants. . . . The Divide is an important book. Its documentation is powerful and shocking.”—The Washington Post “Captivating . . . The Divide enshrines its author’s position as one of the most important voices in contemporary American journalism.”—The Independent (UK) “Taibbi [is] perhaps the greatest reporter on Wall Street’s crimes in the modern era.”—Salon From the Hardcover edition.

The Machinery Of Criminal Justice

Author: Stephanos Bibas
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0190236760
Size: 76.54 MB
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Two centuries ago, American criminal justice was run primarily by laymen. Jury trials passed moral judgment on crimes, vindicated victims and innocent defendants, and denounced the guilty. But since then, lawyers have gradually taken over the process, silencing victims and defendants and, in many cases, substituting plea bargaining for the voice of the jury. The public sees little of how this assembly-line justice works, and victims and defendants have largely lost their day in court. As a result, victims rarely hear defendants express remorse and apologize, and defendants rarely receive forgiveness. This lawyerized machinery has purchased efficient, speedy processing of many cases at the price of sacrificing softer values, such as reforming defendants and healing wounded victims and relationships. In other words, the U.S. legal system has bought quantity at the price of quality, without recognizing either the trade-off or the great gulf separating lawyers' and laymen's incentives, values, and powers. In The Machinery of Criminal Justice, author Stephanos Bibas surveys the developments over the last two centuries, considers what we have lost in our quest for efficient punishment, and suggests ways to include victims, defendants, and the public once again. Ideas range from requiring convicts to work or serve in the military, to moving power from prosecutors to restorative sentencing juries. Bibas argues that doing so might cost more, but it would better serve criminal procedure's interests in denouncing crime, vindicating victims, reforming wrongdoers, and healing the relationships torn by crime.

Illusion Of Order

Author: Bernard E. Harcourt
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674038318
Size: 17.90 MB
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This is the first book to challenge the "broken-windows" theory of crime, which argues that permitting minor misdemeanors, such as loitering and vagrancy, to go unpunished only encourages more serious crime. The theory has revolutionized policing in the United States and abroad, with its emphasis on policies that crack down on disorderly conduct and aggressively enforce misdemeanor laws. The problem, argues Bernard Harcourt, is that although the broken-windows theory has been around for nearly thirty years, it has never been empirically verified. Indeed, existing data suggest that it is false. Conceptually, it rests on unexamined categories of "law abiders" and "disorderly people" and of "order" and "disorder," which have no intrinsic reality, independent of the techniques of punishment that we implement in our society. How did the new order-maintenance approach to criminal justice--a theory without solid empirical support, a theory that is conceptually flawed and results in aggressive detentions of tens of thousands of our fellow citizens--come to be one of the leading criminal justice theories embraced by progressive reformers, policymakers, and academics throughout the world? This book explores the reasons why. It also presents a new, more thoughtful vision of criminal justice.

The New Jim Crow

Author: Michelle Alexander
Publisher: The New Press
ISBN: 1595586431
Size: 32.52 MB
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Argues that the War on Drugs and policies that deny convicted felons equal access to employment, housing, education and public benefits create a permanent under-caste based largely on race. Reprint. 12,500 first printing.

Locking Up Our Own

Author: James Forman, Jr.
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 0374712905
Size: 40.36 MB
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In recent years, America’s criminal justice system has become the subject of an increasingly urgent debate. Critics have assailed the rise of mass incarceration, emphasizing its disproportionate impact on people of color. As James Forman, Jr., points out, however, the war on crime that began in the 1970s was supported by many African American leaders in the nation’s urban centers. In Locking Up Our Own, he seeks to understand why. Forman shows us that the first substantial cohort of black mayors, judges, and police chiefs took office amid a surge in crime and drug addiction. Many prominent black officials, including Washington, D.C. mayor Marion Barry and federal prosecutor Eric Holder, feared that the gains of the civil rights movement were being undermined by lawlessness—and thus embraced tough-on-crime measures, including longer sentences and aggressive police tactics. In the face of skyrocketing murder rates and the proliferation of open-air drug markets, they believed they had no choice. But the policies they adopted would have devastating consequences for residents of poor black neighborhoods. A former D.C. public defender, Forman tells riveting stories of politicians, community activists, police officers, defendants, and crime victims. He writes with compassion about individuals trapped in terrible dilemmas—from the men and women he represented in court to officials struggling to respond to a public safety emergency. Locking Up Our Own enriches our understanding of why our society became so punitive and offers important lessons to anyone concerned about the future of race and the criminal justice system in this country.