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California State University, Dominguez Hills
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Created: June 22, 2003
Latest Update: November 12a, 2006

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Site Teaching Modules CRMJ/SOCA 365: Race, Crime and Law
Week 11: The Color of Death
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 11: Week of November 12, 2006

  • Lecture: in class

  • Concepts:
    • Roper v. Simmons (2005)
    • Atkins v. Virginia (2002)
    • Furman v. Georgia (1972)
    • Eighth Amendment
    • Gregg v. Georgia (1976)
    • McClesky v. Kemp (1987)
    • David C. Baldus
    • wrongful convictions
    • deterrence
    • retribution
    • Chicano
    • Reies Tijerina
    • Cesar Chavez
    • Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
    • Ruben Salazar

  • Discussion Questions:

      Incorporate the readings and the documentary, "Witness to Execution"/"Death Penalty" and/or Chicano!" in your answers.

    1. Explain why Michael Radelet believes that the handful of executions of whites for crimes against African Americans are not really "exceptions to the rule." [from Walter, p. 333]. What would Kennedy say. Explain why. And what would Fellman say? Explain why.
    2. Consider the five remedies for racial discrimination in capital sentencing (See Box 8.6). Which do you believe is the appropriate remedy? Why? What would Fellman choose and how would his selection compare to Kennedy's? Why. [from Walker, p. 333]
    3. Do you agree or disagree with our [Walker et al] conclusion that "the type of discriminatiion found in the capital sentencing process falls closer to the systematic end of the discrimination continuum as presented in Chapter 1"? Why? [from Walker, p. 333]
    4. Does the legitimacy of capital punishment depend on whether it deters criminal conduct? Why?
    5. Are the recently enacted death penalty statutes likely to have eliminated arbitrariness and the risk of discrimination in the imposition of the death penalty? Why.
    6. For MWF class only: What would Fellman's reaction be to the documentary, "Witness to Execution"/"Death Penalty"? Why. What would be Kennedy's reaction? Why.
    7. For TR class only: Compare and contrast the two documentaries, "The Spirit of Crazy Horse" and "Chicano!" . What are some similarities and differences between the two? Why.

  • 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.

    • Research your state's recent developments relating to the death penalty; for example, in the State of Wisconsin, the recent death penalty referendum.
    • Amnesty International reports that 123 prisoners have been released in the U.S. since 1973 after evidence emerged of their innocence of the crimes for which they were sentenced to death. Research these cases and present their findings to the class. [from Walker's teachers guide]
    • Examine the most recent research on race and the death penalty.
    • Explore death penalty related "mistakes."
    • Research/read the Baldus study.

    • Make A Box a Week focusing on the week's topic or issues.

    • Make a Globe (Origami Balloon). Try it!

  • Recommended Readings:

    • David C. Baldus, et al. Equal Justice and the Death Penalty: A Legal and Empirical Analysis.
    • Austin Sarat. When the State Kills.
    • Eric W. Rise. The Martinsville Seven: Race, Rape, and Capital Punishment.
    • William Wilbanks. The Myth of a Racist Criminal Justice System.
    • Samuel Gross & Robert Mauro. Death and Discrimination: Racial Disparities in Capital Sentencing.
    • Raymond Pasternoster. Capital Punishment in America.

    • Marc Mauer. Race to Incarcerate.
    • Marc Mauer. Young Black Men and the Criminal Justice System: A Growing National Problem.
    • Michael Tonry. Malign Neglect: Race, Crime, and Punishment in America.
    • Alfred Blumstein and others. Research on Sentencing: The Search for Reform.
    • Jerome Miller. Search and Destroy: African-American Males in the Criminal Justice System.
    • Joan Petersilia. Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System.
    • Kenneth Culp Davis. Discretionary Justice.

      Recommended readings on Latino/a Americans:
    • Luis Rodriguez. Always Running: La Vida Loco, Gang Days in L.A..

    • Rudolfo Acuna. Occupied America: A History of the Chicanos.

    • Susan Berk-Seligson. Bilingual Courtroom.

    • Richard Rodriguez. Hunger of Memory.

    • Joan Moore. Going Down to the Barrio: Homeboys and Homegirls in Change.

    • Joan Moore. Homeboys: Gangs, Drugs, and Prison in the Barrios of Los Angeles.

    • Armando Rendon. (i think) The Chicano Manifesto .

    • 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.