Race and Criminal Justice
Section 1, Fall 22
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It is said that “justice is blind.” Yet, contemporary criminal justice cannot be understood without reference to race. Racial disparities describe the American experience, and those disparities are expressed and felt most acutely within the criminal-legal system. At all stages of the criminal process, people of color and other historically disadvantaged groups are over-represented. Police officers and prosecutors arrest and charge minority suspects at high rates. Prison populations are disproportionately Black and Brown. Constitutional doctrines navigate this space: equal protection; jury trial rights; and prohibitions against vague statutes, unreasonable searches and seizures, and cruel and unusual punishment. In this course, we discuss the promise and shortcomings of many of these doctrines—the manner by which the system counteracts or causes racial injustice. Likewise, we examine the influence of other forms of legal regulation, as well as the roles played by politics, sociology, culture, and history. We proceed through each major stage of the criminal justice process—policing, prosecution, adjudication, and punishment—identifying important questions and concerns that arise at each stage. Classes center on candid and critical discussions. Attendance at the first session is extremely important, absent unavoidable extenuating circumstances.
Final Type (if any): None
Written Work Product
Written Work Product: Substantial research paper due via EXPO no later than noon on the last day of the exam period. Students may be required to submit a brief, one paragraph discussion question/reaction to readings once a week. Students will not need to submit a form notifying SRO of their intent to count this paper toward the Upper-Level Writing Requirement.
Other Course Details
Prerequisites: None Concurrencies: None
Mutually Exclusive With: None
Laptops Allowed: Yes
First Day Attendance Required: Yes
Course Resources: To be announced.
*Satisfies Writing Requirement: Yes
**Credits For Prof. Skills Requirement: No
Satisfies Professional Ethics: No
*If “Yes,” then students are required to submit a substantial research paper in this course, which means students do not need to submit any form to SRO for this paper to meet their upper-level writing requirement. If “No,” then students must submit a “special request” e-form to SRO (available via LawWeb) no later than five weeks after the start of the term for a paper in this class to be counted toward the upper-level writing requirement.
**Yes indicates course credits count towards UVA Law’s Prof. Skills graduation requirement, not necessarily a skills requirements for any particular state bar.
Cross Listed: No
Cross-Listed Course Mnemonic:
Concentrations: Criminal Justice, Race and Law
Public Syllabus Link: None
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Opens: Wednesday, November 30, 12:01 AM
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Closes: Friday, December 09, 11:59 PM