Criminal Justice-COLL | Courts and Criminal Justice
P302 | 1918 | Luskin


"Courts and Criminal Justice" takes a social science perspective on
the criminal courts.  We begin by considering the place of courts in
the political system, including the structure of the federal and
state judicial systems and the selection, roles, and working
environments of the major participants.  Against this background, we
review the stages in the processing of criminal cases and consider
several stages -- e.g., the decision to charge, pleas, and
sentencing -- in detail. In all our discussions, we will be
concerned explaining how courts allocate rewards and penalties to
defendants, victims, court participants, and the community at large.

Required Readings:
Baum, Lawrence.  2008.  American Courts:  Process and Policy. 6th
edition.  Boston:  Houghton Mifflin.

Feige, David.  2006.   Indefensible:  One Lawyer’s Journey into the
Inferno of American Justice.  New York: Little Brown and Company.

In addition to these books, we will read articles and book chapters
on specific topics, including for example,

Stanko, Elizabeth Anne. 1981-82. "The Impact of Victim Assessment
on  Prosecutor's Charging Decisions." Law and Society Review 17:225-
39.

Berman, Greg, and John Feinblatt. Good Courts:  The Case for Problem-
Solving Justice. With Susan Glazer. New York: The New Press, 2004,
Chapter 2, “What are Problem-solving Courts?” pp. 31-58, and pp.97-
117.

Eisenstein, Flemming, and Nardulli.  1988.  The Contours of
Justice:  Communities and their Courts.  Boston:  Little Brown,
Chapter 2, pp. 22-54


Requirements:
Class meetings will combine lecture, discussion, and
in-class exercises.  Students also will be required to participate in
an in-class simulation of the plea bargaining process.

Students' performance will be evaluated through in-class exercises,
mid-term and final exams, and participation in and report on the
plea bargaining simulation.  The examinations may consist of
multiple choice, short answer, or essay questions.  Answers will be
graded on accuracy, completeness, clarity, and organization.

Class Meeting: Mondays and Wednesdays, 2:30-3:45, WH 007

Instructor:  Professor Mary Lee Luskin, Criminal Justice Department