Law 812 Race, Racism and the Criminal Law
An interdisciplinary approach will be taken to examine the effects race has had and continues to have on the administration of criminal justice in the United States. The course begins by exploring the concept of race from different perspectives: biological; anthropological; sociological; psychological; and legal. Then how these legal constructs shaped the role race played in American culture will be examined. The course then delves into how race and the criminal justice system have interacted from historical and contemporary perspectives. Accomplishing this requires probing critical issues encountered at key stages in the process governing the administration of criminal justice. These issues include: the existence of offenses based on racial status(crimes such as rape, capital murder, drug offenses, racial profiling(driving and flying while black); victimology; pre-trial practices(bail); trial practices(misconduct by prosecutors and defense attorneys, urban rage defense, evidentiary issues, such as cross-racial identification and jury deliberations); and post-conviction (incarceration rates, loss of franchise) consequences.