When Law Fails: Making Sense of Miscarriages of Justice [NOOK Book]

Overview

Since 1989, there have been over 200 post-conviction DNA exonerations in the United States. On the surface, the release of innocent people from prison could be seen as a victory for the criminal justice system: the wrong person went to jail, but the mistake was fixed and the accused set free. A closer look at miscarriages of justice, however, reveals that such errors are not aberrations but deeply revealing, common features of our legal system.

The ten original essays in When ...

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When Law Fails: Making Sense of Miscarriages of Justice

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Overview

Since 1989, there have been over 200 post-conviction DNA exonerations in the United States. On the surface, the release of innocent people from prison could be seen as a victory for the criminal justice system: the wrong person went to jail, but the mistake was fixed and the accused set free. A closer look at miscarriages of justice, however, reveals that such errors are not aberrations but deeply revealing, common features of our legal system.

The ten original essays in When Law Fails view wrongful convictions not as random mistakes but as organic outcomes of a misshaped larger system that is rife with faulty eyewitness identifications, false confessions, biased juries, and racial discrimination. Distinguished legal thinkers Charles J. Ogletree, Jr., and Austin Sarat have assembled a stellar group of contributors who try to make sense of justice gone wrong and to answer urgent questions. Are miscarriages of justice systemic or symptomatic, or are they mostly idiosyncratic? What are the broader implications of justice gone awry for the ways we think about law? Are there ways of reconceptualizing legal missteps that are particularly useful or illuminating? These instructive essays both address the questions and point the way toward further discussion.

When Law Fails reveals the dramatic consequences as well as the daily realities of breakdowns in the law's ability to deliver justice swiftly and fairly, and calls on us to look beyond headline-grabbing exonerations to see how failure is embedded in the legal system itself. Once we are able to recognize miscarriages of justice we will be able to begin to fix our broken legal system.

Contributors: Douglas A. Berman, Markus D. Dubber, Mary L. Dudziak, Patricia Ewick, Daniel Givelber, Linda Ross Meyer, Charles J. Ogletree, Jr., Austin Sarat, Jonathan Simon, and Robert Weisberg.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Based on 200-plus exonerations in fewer than 20 years, this book argues that wrongful convictions are not an anomaly but rather the outcome of a legal system that commonly fails. Part of a series originating with Harvard Law School's Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice (CHHIRJ), these ten essays discuss legal system shortcomings, their basis, and possible ways that inherent mechanisms of the law contribute to injustice. Each essay delves into a different way of looking at the miscarriage of justice, be it legal, political, or cultural. Ogletree (Jesse Climenko Professor of Law & executive director, CHHIRJ, Harvard Law Sch.; From Lynch Mobs to the Killing State) and Sarat (William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science, Amherst Coll.; Pain, Death, and the Law) have assembled an outstanding group of contributors for these original essays. Recommended for academic and large public libraries.
—Krista Bush

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814762257
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/2009
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Charles J. Ogletree, Jr., is Jesse Climenko Professor of Law and executive director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute at Harvard Law School. He is co-editor (with Austin Sarat) of From Lynch Mobs to the Killing State: Race and the Death Penalty in America and When Law Fails: Making Sense of Miscarriages of Justice (both from NYU Press).

Austin Sarat is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science at Amherst College. He is author or editor of more than seventy books, including ,When the State Kills: Capital Punishment and the American Condition and (with Charles Ogletree) The Road to Abolition? On the Future of Capital Punishment (NYU Press, 2009).

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction Charles J. Ogletree, Jr. Austin Sarat 1

Part I On the Meaning and Significance of Miscarriages of Justice

1 The Case of "Death for a Dollar Ninety-Five": Miscarriages of Justice and Constructions of American Identity Mary L. Dudziak 25

2 When Law Fails: History, Genius, and Unhealed Wounds after Tulsa's Race Riot Charles J. Ogletree, Jr. 50

3 Margins of Error Robert Weisberg 70

Part II Miscarriages of Justice and Legal Processes

4 Recovering the Craft of Policing: Wrongful Convictions, the War on Crime, and the Problem of Security Jonathan Simon 115

5 Kalven and Zeisel in the Twenty-First Century: Is the Jury Still the Defendant's Friend? Daniel Givelber 140

6 Extreme Punishment Douglas A. Berman 163

7 Miscarriages of Mercy? Linda Ross Meyer 185

8 Memorializing Miscarriages of Justice: Clemency Petitions in the Killing State Austin Sarat 229

Part III Reconceptualizing Miscarriages of Justice

9 Miscarriage of Justice as Misnomer Markus D. Dubber 281

10 The Scale of Injustice Patricia Ewick 303

Contributors 329

Index 331

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