Arbitrary Justice: The Power of the American Prosecutor

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9780195177367: Arbitrary Justice: The Power of the American Prosecutor
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What happens when public prosecutors, the most powerful officials in the criminal justice system, seek convictions instead of justice? Why are cases involving well-to-do victims often prosecuted more vigorously than those involving poor victims? Why do wealthy defendants frequently enjoy more lenient plea bargains than the disadvantaged? In this eye-opening work, Angela J. Davis shines a much-needed light on the power of American prosecutors, revealing how the day-to-day practice of even the most well-intentioned prosecutors can result in unequal treatment of defendants and victims. Ranging from mandatory minimum sentencing laws that enhance prosecutorial control over the outcome of cases, to the increasing politicization of the office, Davis uses powerful stories of individuals caught in the system to demonstrate how the perfectly legal exercise of prosecutorial discretion can result in gross inequities in criminal justice. For the paperback edition, Davis provides a new Afterword which covers such recent incidents of prosecutorial abuse as the Jena Six case, the Duke lacrosse case, the Department of Justice firings, and more.

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About the Author:


Angela J. Davis is Professor of Law at American University Washington College of Law. Prior to becoming a law professor, she was a public defender at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia for twelve years. She has appeared on various TV and radio programs, written op-eds for the Washington Post, and is often invited to speak to national legal organizations.

Review:


"This book is not simply timely. It is timeless. It chronicles the expansion of prosecutorial powers and, better yet, offers a compelling set of reforms that all can agree will help to curb unnecessary abuses of power. Public officials, law enforcement, and everyday citizens will all find this book
informative and accessible. It is a must read, and a phenomenal read."--Charles J. Ogletree Jr., Jesse Climenko Professor, Harvard Law School
"Finally, a book by a scholar that not only describes what's really going on in the trenches--a dangerous shift in power from judges to prosecutors in sentencing and charging decisions--but provides a sensible agenda of reforms that will protect victims and defendants alike. This is a very important
work."--Barry Scheck, Professor, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, and Co-Director, Innocence Project
"In Arbitrary Justice, Professor Davis reveals how the primary mechanism of accountability in our democracy--elections--has failed to hold prosecutors accountable to the people they serve. She offers practical progressive ideas for reform that will improve our democracy and help to eliminate the
unacceptable class and race disparities in our criminal justice system."--Congressman Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. (D-IL)
"Angela Davis sheds searing light on the long-veiled power wielded by American prosecutors and shows that a fair criminal justice system is an illusion unless we demand transparency and equality from this oft-overlooked arena."--David Cole, author of No Equal Justice
"With this book, Professor Davis throws down a gauntlet to prosecutors; some district attorneys will roar inopposition to her proposals while others, deeply concerned with equal justice, will take to heart her trenchant observations on racial issues in the prosecutor's office and will carefully
consider her proposals for needed reforms."--E. Michael McCann, former Milwaukee County District Attorney
"This book is not simply timely. It is timeless. It chronicles the expansion of prosecutorial powers and, better yet, offers a compelling set of reforms that all can agree will help to curb unnecessary abuses of power. Public officials, law enforcement, and everyday citizens will all find this book
informative and accessible. It is a must read, and a phenomenal read."--Charles J. Ogletree Jr., Jesse Climenko Professor, Harvard Law School
"Finally, a book by a scholar that not only describes what's really going on in the trenches--a dangerous shift in power from judges to prosecutors in sentencing and charging decisions--but provides a sensible agenda of reforms that will protect victims and defendants alike. This is a very important
work."--Barry Scheck, Professor, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, and Co-Director, Innocence Project
"In Arbitrary Justice, Professor Davis reveals how the primary mechanism of accountability in our democracy--elections--has failed to hold prosecutors accountable to the people they serve. She offers practical progressive ideas for reform that will improve our democracy and help to eliminate the
unacceptable class and race disparities in our criminal justice system."--Congressman Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. (D-IL)
"Angela Davis sheds searing light on the long-veiled power wielded by American prosecutors and shows that a fair criminal justice system is an illusion unless we demand transparency and equality from this oft-overlooked arena."--David Cole, author of No Equal Justice
"With this book, Professor Davis throws down a gauntlet to prosecutors; some district attorneys will roar inopposition to her proposals while others, deeply concerned with equal justice, will take to heart her trenchant observations on racial issues in the prosecutor's office and will carefully
consider her proposals for needed reforms."--E. Michael McCann, former Milwaukee County District Attorney
"This book is not simply timely. It is timeless. It chronicles the expansion of prosecutorial powers and, better yet, offers a compelling set of reforms that all can agree will help to curb unnecessary abuses of power. Public officials, law enforcement, and everyday citizens will all find this book
informative and accessible. It is a must read, and a phenomenal read."--Charles J. Ogletree Jr., Jesse Climenko Professor, Harvard Law School
"Finally, a book by a scholar that not only describes what's really going on in the trenches--a dangerous shift in power from judges to prosecutors in sentencing and charging decisions--but provides a sensible agenda of reforms that will protect victims and defendants alike. This is a very important
work."--Barry Scheck, Professor, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, and Co-Director, Innocence Project
"In Arbitrary Justice, Professor Davis reveals how the primary mechanism of accountability in our democracy--elections--has failed to hold prosecutors accountable to the people they serve. She offers practical progressive ideas for reform that will improve our democracy and help to eliminate the
unacceptable class and race disparities in our criminal justice system."--Congressman Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. (D-IL)
"Angela Davis sheds searing light on the long-veiled power wielded by American prosecutors and shows that a fair criminal justice system is an illusion unless we demand transparency and equality from this oft-overlooked arena."--David Cole, author of No Equal Justice
"With this book, Professor Davis throws down a gauntlet to prosecutors; some district attorneys will roar in opposition to her proposals while others, deeplyconcerned with equal justice, will take to heart her trenchant observations on racial issues in the prosecutor's office and will carefully
consider her proposals for needed reforms."--E. Michael McCann, former Milwaukee County District Attorney
"Using powerful examples, Angela Davis discusses the often misunderstood scope of prosecutorial discretion, and her book should make an excellent supplemental text in a judicial and court related course."--The Law and Politics Book Review
"This book is not simply timely. It is timeless. It chronicles the expansion of prosecutorial powers and, better yet, offers a compelling set of reforms that all can agree will help to curb unnecessary abuses of power. Public officials, law enforcement, and everyday citizens will all find this book informative and accessible. It is a must read, and a phenomenal read."--Charles J. Ogletree Jr., Jesse Climenko Professor, Harvard Law School
"Finally, a book by a scholar that not only describes what's really going on in the trenches--a dangerous shift in power from judges to prosecutors in sentencing and charging decisions--but provides a sensible agenda of reforms that will protect victims and defendants alike. This is a very important work."--Barry Scheck, Professor, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, and Co-Director, Innocence Project
"In Arbitrary Justice, Professor Davis reveals how the primary mechanism of accountability in our democracy--elections--has failed to hold prosecutors accountable to the people they serve. She offers practical progressive ideas for reform that will improve our democracy and help to eliminate the unacceptable class and race disparities in our criminal justice system."--Congressman Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. (D-IL)
"Angela Davis sheds searing light on the long-veiled power wielded by American prosecutors and shows that a fair criminal justice system is an illusion unless we demand transparency and equality from this oft-overlooked arena."--David Cole, author of No Equal Justice
"With this book, Professor Davis throws down a gauntlet to prosecutors; some district attorneys will roar in opposition to her proposals while others, deeply concernedwith equal justice, will take to heart her trenchant observations on racial issues in the prosecutor's office and will carefully consider her proposals for needed reforms."--E. Michael McCann, former Milwaukee County District Attorney
"Using powerful examples, Angela Davis discusses the often misunderstood scope of prosecutorial discretion, and her book should make an excellent supplemental text in a judicial and court related course."--The Law and Politics Book Review
"This book is not simply timely. It is timeless. It chronicles the expansion of prosecutorial powers and, better yet, offers a compelling set of reforms that all can agree will help to curb unnecessary abuses of power. Public officials, law enforcement, and everyday citizens will all find this book informative and accessible. It is a must read, and a phenomenal read."--Charles J. Ogletree Jr., Jesse Climenko Professor, Harvard Law School
"Finally, a book by a scholar that not only describes what's really going on in the trenches--a dangerous shift in power from judges to prosecutors in sentencing and charging decisions--but provides a sensible agenda of reforms that will protect victims and defendants alike. This is a very important work."--Barry Scheck, Professor, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, and Co-Director, Innocence Project
"In Arbitrary Justice, Professor Davis reveals how the primary mechanism of accountability in our democracy--elections--has failed to hold prosecutors accountable to the people they serve. She offers practical progressive ideas for reform that will improve our democracy and help to eliminate the unacceptable class and race disparities in our criminal justicesystem."--Congressman Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. (D-IL)
"Angela Davis sheds searing light on the long-veiled power wielded by American prosecutors and shows that a fair criminal justice system is an illusion unless we demand transparency and equality from this oft-overlooked arena."--David Cole, author of No Equal Justice
"With this book, Professor Davis throws down a gauntlet to prosecutors; some district attorneys will roar in opposition to her proposals while others, deeply concerned with equal justice, will take to heart her trenchant observations on racial issues in the prosecutor's office and will carefully consider her proposals for needed reforms."--E. Michael McCann, former Milwaukee County District Attorney
"Using powerful examples, Angela Davis discusses the often misunderstood scope of prosecutorial discretion, and her book should make an excellent supplemental text in a judicial and court related course."--The Law and Politics Book Review
"An important, disturbing new book... By her honest and bold inquiry into the shadowy corners of the criminal justice system, sheltered from public view, where the daily, dispositive decisions are made and the results are determined, Davis has done us all a service. Arbitrary Justice throws a harsh light on what it is that we do in the name of justice, and gives all who care about justice much to think about."--Criminal Justice
"An invaluable book that should be read by everyone concerned with fairness and justice in our criminal system... Davis covers a lot of ground in her book, both in scope and in detailed descriptions of out-of-court negotiations and bargaining... It is an important book that will focus attention onprosecutorial responsibility to the bar and the public at-large and bring about needed changes."--Criminal Justice

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2007. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Inscribed on the walls of the United States Department of Justice are the lofty words: "The United States wins its point whenever justice is done its citizens in the courts." Yet what happens when prosecutors, the most powerful officials in the criminal justice system, seek convictions instead of justice? Why are cases involving educated, well-to-do victims often prosecuted more vigorously than those involving poor, uneducated victims? Why do wealthy defendantsfrequently enjoy more lenient plea bargains than the disadvantaged? In this timely work, Angela J. Davis examines the expanding power of prosecutors, from mandatory minimum sentencing laws that enhance prosecutorial control over the outcome of cases to the increasing politicization of the office. Drawing on her dozen years of experience as a public defender, Davis demonstrates how the everyday, legal exercise of prosecutorial discretion is responsible for tremendous inequities in criminal justice. Davis uses powerful stories of individuals caught in the systemto illustrate how the day-to-day practices and decisions of well-meaning prosecutors produce unfair and unequal treatment of both defendants and victims, often along race and class lines. These disparities are particularly evident in prosecutors' charging and plea-bargaining decisions and in theirmuddy relationships with victims. Prosecutors not only hold vast power, Davis argues, but they are also under-regulated and lack accountability. The current standards of practice for prosecutors are unenforceable, while the mechanisms that purport to hold prosecutors accountable are weak and ineffectual. Not only does lack of oversight result in injustices, it may even foster a climate tolerant of unfair practices and in some cases, misconduct. Offering a sensible agenda for comprehensive review and reform, Arbitrary Justice challenges the legal community and concerned citizens to pursue and enact meaningful standards of conduct and effective methods of accountability to help prosecutors serve their communities and the interests of justice. Seller Inventory # AAS9780195177367

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2007. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Inscribed on the walls of the United States Department of Justice are the lofty words: "The United States wins its point whenever justice is done its citizens in the courts." Yet what happens when prosecutors, the most powerful officials in the criminal justice system, seek convictions instead of justice? Why are cases involving educated, well-to-do victims often prosecuted more vigorously than those involving poor, uneducated victims? Why do wealthy defendantsfrequently enjoy more lenient plea bargains than the disadvantaged? In this timely work, Angela J. Davis examines the expanding power of prosecutors, from mandatory minimum sentencing laws that enhance prosecutorial control over the outcome of cases to the increasing politicization of the office. Drawing on her dozen years of experience as a public defender, Davis demonstrates how the everyday, legal exercise of prosecutorial discretion is responsible for tremendous inequities in criminal justice. Davis uses powerful stories of individuals caught in the systemto illustrate how the day-to-day practices and decisions of well-meaning prosecutors produce unfair and unequal treatment of both defendants and victims, often along race and class lines. These disparities are particularly evident in prosecutors' charging and plea-bargaining decisions and in theirmuddy relationships with victims. Prosecutors not only hold vast power, Davis argues, but they are also under-regulated and lack accountability. The current standards of practice for prosecutors are unenforceable, while the mechanisms that purport to hold prosecutors accountable are weak and ineffectual. Not only does lack of oversight result in injustices, it may even foster a climate tolerant of unfair practices and in some cases, misconduct. Offering a sensible agenda for comprehensive review and reform, Arbitrary Justice challenges the legal community and concerned citizens to pursue and enact meaningful standards of conduct and effective methods of accountability to help prosecutors serve their communities and the interests of justice. Seller Inventory # AAS9780195177367

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