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When Law Fails: Making Sense of Miscarriages of Justice
     

When Law Fails: Making Sense of Miscarriages of Justice

by Austin Sarat, Charles J. Ogletree, Jr.
 

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ISBN-10: 0814740529

ISBN-13: 9780814740521

Pub. Date: 01/01/2009

Publisher: New York University Press

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

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780814740521
Publisher:
New York University Press
Publication date:
01/01/2009
Series:
Charles Hamilton Houston Institute Series on Race and Justice Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
359
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Lives on the Line: From Capital Punishment to Life without Parole
Charles J. Ogletree, Jr., and Austin Sarat
Part I: Life without Parole in Context
1 Mandatory Life and the Death of Equitable Discretion
Josh Bowers
2 Death-in-Prison Sentences: Overutilized and Underscrutinized
Jessica S. Henry
3 Creating the Permanent Prisoner
Sharon Dolovich
4 Life without Parole under Modern Theories of Punishment
Paul H. Robinson
Part II: Prospects for Reform
5 Defending Life
I. Bennett Capers
6 Life without Parole and the Hope for Real Sentencing Reform
Rachel E. Barkow
7 No Way Out? Life Sentences and the Politics of Penal Reform
Marie Gottschalk
8 Dignity and Risk: The Long Road from Graham v. Florida to Abolition of Life without Parole
Jonathan Simon
About the Contributors
Index

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