Department of Political Science

PSC 242 Courts, Communities, and Injustice in America

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Old Political Science Field: Associated Courses

This course is archived. It will not be offered again.

Fall 2006

Course Syllabus

This seminar will confront the legal and social conditions that promote injustice and the ways diverse communities yield to the judicial system\'s failings. Our inquiry will identify how the problem of injustice is situated at the local and national levels. Foundational legal doctrines will be mined, including the shift from lawyer-free to lawyer-driven trials, right to counsel, burden of proof, and the development of plea bargaining. We will then turn to the shapers of justice and examine the problem from the perspective of the prosecutor, police, defense attorney, and judge. In the end, a view of how the system works, and does not work, will emerge. And finally, we will ask what social forces perpetuate the misdiagnosis of this state of affairs.