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Race, Crime and Law Preparations

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Created: June 22, 2003
Latest Update: October 13, 2005

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Site Teaching Modules CRMJ/SOCA 365: Race, Crime and Law
Week 7: The Courts
You will be held accountable for purposes of grading for the readings and exercises listed here. There will be no "testing." That means that you will not have to live in anxious anticipation of what we will ask and how much you will have to know. Instead, we will provide weekly discussion questions, lectures, essays, and concepts we feel that you should know as a result of having taken this course. You will assure us of that learning and receive your grade for the questions and concepts about which you choose to write and talk with us. In addition, you will find detailed explanations and examples on our grading policies in the first week's reading.

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Week 7: Week of October 16, 2005

  • Topic: The Courts

    Special Note: October 18-28 - Required Midterm Meetings. Please see me ASAP if you have not scheduled your meeting.

  • Preparatory Readings:
    --- Fellman. Rambo and the Dalai Lama. entirety
    --- Kennedy. Race, Crime and the Law. ch. 5
    --- Walker, et. al The Color of Justice. ch. 5
    --- Documentary, "The Spirit of Crazy Horse" (to be shown in class)

  • Links to Lecture Notes and Other Things

    Evaluating Authority

    National Criminal Justice Resource Service. Administered by the Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.

    Join the Yahoo Discussion Group . Discuss topics beyond the classroom and with students from California State University, Dominguez Hills.

    Gordon Fellman related materials on the Dear Habermas site.

  • Lecture: in class

  • Concepts:
    • the Scottsboro case
    • Gideon v. Wainwright
    • public defender
    • bail
    • pretrial detention
    • plea bargaining
    • prosecutorial discretion

  • Discussion Questions:

      Be sure to incorporate the documentary, "The Spirit of Crazy Horse" in your answers.

    1. In Chapter 5, "Race and the Composition of Juries: Setting the Ground Rules," what are the three main issues discussed by Kennedy? How would Fellman react to these issues? Why.
    2. . . . Are racial minorities represented by public defenders or assigned counsel treated more harshly than those represented by private attorneys? If you were an African American, Hispanic or Native American defendant and could choose whether to be represented by a public defender or a private attorney, which would you choose? Why. [ For the complete question, refer to Walker, p. 173, Q. 1]
    3. Racial minorities make up a very small proportion of the lawyers and judges in the United States. What accounts for this? What difference, if any, would it make if more of the lawyers representing criminal defendants were racial minorities? [from Walker, p. 173]
    4. . . . But he [Randall Kennedy] asks, "On balance, are black communities hurt by prosecutions of pregnant women for using illicit drugs harmful to their unborn babies or helped by intervention which may at least plausibly deter conduct that will put black unborn children at risk?" How would you answer this question? What might Fellman's reaction be? Why. [For the complete question, refer to Walker, p. 173, Q.4]

  • Ideas and Suggestions for Creative Measures

    • Make A Box a Week focusing on the week's topic or issues.
    • Find out nationally, statewide, and/or locally, the number and proportion of practicing attorneys of color.
    • Research the Scottsboro case.
    • Examine one or more of the following issues relating to racial minorities and:

      --- the right to counsel.
      --- bail.
      --- pretrial detention.
      --- plea bargaining.

    • Study the issue of racial minorities in the legal profession. What are some of the major issues and challenges? Why.
    • Find out more about tribal law enforcement.
    • Explore the American Indian and criminal justice/social justice.

  • Recommended Readings:

      --- Mary Crow Dog. Lakota Woman.
      --- Dee Brown. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.
      --- Leonard Peltier. Prison Writings.

      --- Paula DiPerna. Juries on Trial.
      --- Dan T. Carter. Scottsboro: A Tragedy of the American South.
      --- Anthony Lewis. Gideon's Trumpet.
      --- Harriet Ziskin. The Blind Eagle.
      --- Jonathan Casper. Criminal Courts: The Defendant's Perspective.
      --- Samuel Walker. Taming the System: The Control of Discretion in the Criminal Justice System.
      --- Kenneth Culp Davis. Discretionary Justice.
      --- James P. Levine. Juries and Politics.

      --- Milton Gordon. Assimilation in American Life.
      --- Robert Blauner. Still the Big News: Racial Oppression in America.
      --- William Julius Wilson. The Declining Significance of Race.
      --- William Julius Wilson. The Truly Disadvantaged.

    • The Dalai Lama. The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality.
    • The Dalai Lama. Ethics for the New Millennium.
    • The Dalai Lama. An Open Heart.
    • The Dalai Lama. Live in a Better Way.
    • Paul Loeb. The Impossible Will Take a Little While: A Citizen's Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear.
    • Paulo Freire. Pedagogy of the Oppressed.

    • Alfie Kohn. No Contest. The Case Against Competition. Alfie Kohn's website
    • Jurgen Habermas. Between Facts and Norms.
    • Martha Minow. Making All the Difference: Exclusion, Inclusion and American Law. Check out this link Martha Minow on the Dear Habermas site.

  • Site Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Individual Authors, June 2003.
    "Fair use" encouraged.