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Created: June 22, 2003
Latest Update: October 23, 2006

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Site Teaching Modules CRMJ/SOCA 365: Race, Crime and Law
Week 8: Justice on the Bench?
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 8: Week of October 22, 2006

  • Lecture: in class

  • Concepts:
    • peremptory challenge
    • contextual discrimination
    • "race card"
    • Swain v. Alabama
    • Batson v. Kentucky
    • voir dire
    • jury pool
    • jury nullfication

  • Discussion Questions:

      Incorporate the readings and the documentary, "The O.J. Verdict" in your answers.

      Special Note: For the complete question, refer to Walker's The Color of Justice, pages 226-227.

    1. ... Some have suggested that the names of majority race jurors be removed from the jury list (thus ensuring a larger number of racial minorities); others have suggested that a certain number of seats on each jury be set aside for racial minorities. How would you justify these reforms to a state legislature? How would an opponent of these reforms respond? Overall, are these good ideas or bad ideas? What would Fellman and Kennedy say about such reforms? Why. [Question 1 from Walker book]
    2. Evidence suggests that prosecutors use their peremptory challenges to preserve all-white juries in cases involving African-American and Hispanic defendants has led some commentators to call for the elimination of the peremptory challenge. What do you think is the strongest argument in favor of eliminating the peremptory challenge? In favor of retaining it? What would Fellman's stance be? Why. [Question 2 from Walker book]
    3. . . . But what about defense attorneys representing African American defendants who attempt to appeal to the racial sentiments of African American jurors? Does this represent misconduct? How should the judge respond? What would Kennedy say about this issue? Why. [Question 6 from the Walker book]
    4. Why does Paul Butler advocate "racially based jury nullification?" Why does Randall Kennedy disagree with him? [Question 7 from the Walker book]

  • Ideas and Suggestions for Creative Measures

      Note: Start thinking about ideas for your creative measures. Must relate to "race, crime, law." Must be approved before starting your creative measure. Cannot be something that you are doing or have done for another course. Research cannot be 100% online (i.e., google, askjeeves). Must conduct library research using scholarly works, (not the popular press -- Time Magazine, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated). No term papers! Allow time to dialogue and present your creative measure in class. Email me your idea. Before the absolute final deadline, you need to have completed your visual projects of your learning in this course. Think about how you might demonstrate your learning visually creative way.

    • Make A Box a Week focusing on the week's topic or issues.
    • Research the following cases: Swain v. Alabama, and Batson v. Kentucky.
    • Examine one or more of the following issues relating to racial minorities and:

      --- peremptory challenges and more recent options/directions.
      --- jury nullification.
      --- voir dire.
      --- playing the "race card".

    • Study the issue of racial minorities and jury selection. What are some of the major issues and challenges? Why.
    • Go to the county courthouse, and observe "law in action." Relate your observations to this week's readings.
    • View the movie, "Gideon's Trumpet." How does this movie relate to "race, crime, law"?
    • Find out nationally, statewide, and/or locally, the number and proportion of practicing attorneys of color.
    • Study the issue of racial minorities in the legal profession. What are some of the major issues and challenges? Why.

    • Research the Dalai Lama -- his past and present.
    • Research "forgiveness". Begin with these books: Martha Minow, Between Vengeance and Forgiveness. Desmond Tutu, No Future Without Forgiveness.

  • Recommended Readings:

      -- Bryan Edelman. Racial Prejudice, Juror Empathy and Sentencing.
      -- Marvin Free, Jr. Racial Issues in Criminal Justice.
      -- Rev. Jesse Jackson. Legal Lynching.
      -- Paula DiPerna. Juries on Trial.
      -- Alan Desrhowitz. The Best Defense.
      -- Steve Bogira. Courtroom 302: A Year Behind the Scenes in an American Courthouse.
      -- Deborah L. Rhode. Access to Justice.
      -- Mark Weiner. Black Trials.
      --- 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. Freedom in Exile: The Autobiography of the Dalai Lama.
    • 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.

    • The 9-11 Commission Report
    • Alfie Kohn. No Contest. The Case Against Competition.
    • Thomas Kuhn. Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

    • Paulo Freire. Pedagogy of the Oppressed.
    • 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.

    Course Syllabus for CRMJ/SOCA 365-001 (MWF) "Race, Crime, Law"

    Course Syllabus for CRMJ/SOCA 365-002 (TR) "Race, Crime, Law"

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