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The Tyranny Of Small Things, Yxta Maya Murray Oct 2016

The Tyranny Of Small Things, Yxta Maya Murray

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

In this legal-literary essay, I recount a day I spent watching criminal sentencings in an Alhambra, California courthouse, highlighting the sometimes mundane, sometimes despairing, imports of those proceedings. I note that my analysis resembles that of other scholars who tackle state over-criminalization and selective law enforcement. My original addition exists in the granular attention I pay to the moment-by-moment effects of a sometimes baffling state power on poor and minority people. In this approach, I align myself with advocates of the law and literature school of thought, who believe that the study (or, in this case, practice) of literature will ...


Foreword: Innocent Until Proven Poor, Sara Zampierin May 2016

Foreword: Innocent Until Proven Poor, Sara Zampierin

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

One of the core tenets of our criminal justice system is the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. As the title of the Symposium recognizes, we have allowed our justice system to ignore that presumption for people living in poverty in a variety of ways. Instead, it often inflicts additional and harsher punishment on individuals because of their poverty.


Legal Aid's Once And Future Role For Impacting The Criminalization Of Poverty And The War On The Poor, Aneel L. Chablani May 2016

Legal Aid's Once And Future Role For Impacting The Criminalization Of Poverty And The War On The Poor, Aneel L. Chablani

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Recent media coverage and advocacy efforts on behalf of individuals subjected to criminal sanctions as a result of their poverty status has resulted in increased attention on this nation’s troubled history of oppression and control of the poor and people of color. At the federal, state, and local levels, a growing number of policies create criminal sanctions for poverty-related circumstances. These, in turn, result in collateral consequences that unfairly affect those who lack the means to afford their criminal justice experience (i.e., processing costs, fees, and fines), or affect their ability to access employment, housing, or other basic ...


Keynote Remarks: How The Criminalization Of Poverty Has Become Normalized In American Culture And Why You Should Care, Sarah Geraghty May 2016

Keynote Remarks: How The Criminalization Of Poverty Has Become Normalized In American Culture And Why You Should Care, Sarah Geraghty

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

The subject of my talk today is how the criminalization of poverty has become normalized in American culture and why you should care.


The Price Of Carceral Citizenship: Punishment, Surveillance, And Social Welfare Policy In An Age Of Carceral Expansion, Reuben Jonathan Miller, Amanda Alexander May 2016

The Price Of Carceral Citizenship: Punishment, Surveillance, And Social Welfare Policy In An Age Of Carceral Expansion, Reuben Jonathan Miller, Amanda Alexander

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

The unprecedented rise in the number of people held in U.S. jails and prisons has garnered considerable attention from policy makers, activists, and academics alike. Signaled in part by Michelle Alexander’s New York Times bestseller, The New Jim Crow, and the unlikely coalition of activists, policy makers, celebrities, and business leaders on both sides of the political aisle who have pledged to end mass incarceration in our lifetime, the prison system has returned to public policy discourse in a way that was unforeseen less than a decade ago. On any given day in 2014, just over 2.3 ...


Keynote Remarks, Vanita Gupta Jan 2016

Keynote Remarks, Vanita Gupta

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

In communities across America today, from Ferguson, Missouri, to Flint, Michigan, too many people—especially young people and people of color—live trapped by the weight of poverty and injustice. They suffer the disparate impact of policies driven by, at best, benign neglect, and at worst, deliberate indifference. And they see how discrimination stacks the deck against them. So today, as we discuss the inequality that pervades our criminal justice system—a defining civil rights challenge of the 21st century—we must also acknowledge the broader inequalities we face in other segments of society. Because discrimination in so many areas ...


What The Sentencing Commission Ought To Be Doing Reducing Mass Incarceration, Lynn Adelman Apr 2013

What The Sentencing Commission Ought To Be Doing Reducing Mass Incarceration, Lynn Adelman

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Beginning in the 1970s, the United States embarked on a shift in its penal policies, tripling the percentage of convicted felons sentenced to confinement and doubling the length of their sentences. This shift included a dramatic increase in the prosecution and incarceration of drug offenders. As a result of its move toward long prison sentences, the United States now incarcerates so many people that it has become an outlier; this is not just among developed democracies, but among all nations, including highly punitive states such as Russia and South Africa, and also in comparison to the United States' own long-standing ...


A Failure Of The Fourth Amendment & Equal Protection's Promise: How The Equal Protection Clause Can Change Discriminatory Stop And Frisk Policies, Brando Simeo Starkey Sep 2012

A Failure Of The Fourth Amendment & Equal Protection's Promise: How The Equal Protection Clause Can Change Discriminatory Stop And Frisk Policies, Brando Simeo Starkey

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Terry v. Ohio changed everything. Before Terry, Fourth Amendment law was settled. The Fourth Amendment had long required that police officers have probable cause in order to conduct Fourth Amendment invasions; to administer a "reasonable" search and seizure, the state needed probable cause. But in 1968, the Warren Court, despite its liberal reputation, lowered the standard police officers had to meet to conduct a certain type of search: the so-called "'stop' and 'frisk.'" A "stop and frisk" occurs when a police officer, believing a suspect is armed and crime is afoot, stops the suspect, conducts an interrogation, and pats him ...


Systemic Racial Bias And Rico's Application To Criminal Street And Prison Gangs, Jordan Blair Woods Jan 2012

Systemic Racial Bias And Rico's Application To Criminal Street And Prison Gangs, Jordan Blair Woods

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This Article presents an empirical study of race and the application of the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) to criminal street and prison gangs. A strong majority (approximately 86%) of the prosecutions in the study involved gangs that were affiliated with one or more racial minority groups. All but one of the prosecuted White-affiliated gangs fell into three categories: international organized crime groups, outlaw motorcycle gangs, and White supremacist prison gangs. Some scholars and practitioners would explain these findings by contending that most criminal street gangs are comprised of racial minorities. This Article challenges and problematizes this ...


Urgent Reform 'In The Name Of Our Children': Revamping The Role Of Disproportionate Minority Contact In Federal Juvenile Justice Legislation, Atasi Satpathy Apr 2011

Urgent Reform 'In The Name Of Our Children': Revamping The Role Of Disproportionate Minority Contact In Federal Juvenile Justice Legislation, Atasi Satpathy

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Disproportionate minority contact ("DMC") has plagued the United States juvenile justice system for decades, but federal legislation has lacked the clarity and guidance to battle this affliction. A strong partnership must exist between state and federal entities in order to directly target DMC and thereby decrease the appallingly disproportionate number of minority children who come into contact with the juvenile justice system. This Note discusses the problem of DMC, identifies state and private efforts to combat the crisis, and indicates deficiencies in the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act as well as its reauthorization bill, S. 678. The Note urges ...


The Unconstitutionality, Ineffectiveness, And Alternatives Of Gang Injunctions, Thomas A. Myers Jan 2009

The Unconstitutionality, Ineffectiveness, And Alternatives Of Gang Injunctions, Thomas A. Myers

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Gang violence across America puts in jeopardy the peace and tranquility of neighborhoods. Cities are challenged to keep their communities safe from gang violence. One common way in which cities attempt to combat violent gang activity is by using gang injunctions. Gang injunctions are court orders that prohibit gang members from conducting already-illegal activities such as vandalism, loitering, and use or possession of illegal drugs or weapons within a defined area. These injunctions, however, also prohibit otherwise legal activity such as associating with others within the restricted area of the injunction, using words or hand gestures, and wearing certain clothing ...


Choosing Those Who Will Die: The Effect Of Race, Gender, And Law In Prosecutorial Decision To Seek The Death Penalty In Durham County, North Carolina, Isaac Unah Jan 2009

Choosing Those Who Will Die: The Effect Of Race, Gender, And Law In Prosecutorial Decision To Seek The Death Penalty In Durham County, North Carolina, Isaac Unah

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

District prosecutors in the United States exercise virtually unfettered power and discretion to decide which murder cases to prosecute for capital punishment. According to neoclassical theory of formal legal rationality, the process for determining criminal punishment should be based upon legal rules established and sanctioned by the state to communicate the priorities of the political community. The theory therefore argues in favor of a determinate mode of decision-making that diminishes the importance of extrinsic elements such as race and gender in the application of law. In the empirical research herein reported, I test this theory using death eligible cases in ...


The Abolition Of The Death Penalty In New Jersey And Its Impact On Our Nation's "Evolving Standards Of Decency", Aaron Scherzer Jan 2009

The Abolition Of The Death Penalty In New Jersey And Its Impact On Our Nation's "Evolving Standards Of Decency", Aaron Scherzer

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

In 2007, New Jersey became the first state in over forty years to abolish the death penalty legislatively. Twenty-five years earlier, in 1982, New Jersey had followed a state-level trend by reinstating its death penalty. However, during the twenty-five years between reinstatement and abolition, New Jersey did not conduct a single execution. Instead, the New Jersey Supreme Court reversed numerous death penalty cases and consistently narrowed the class of cases eligible for the death penalty. This Note posits that the supreme court's narrowing of eligible cases was one of the factors that prevented executions from taking place in New ...


Separate And Unequal: Federal Tough-On-Guns Program Targets Minority Communities For Selective Enforcement, Bonita R. Gardner Jan 2007

Separate And Unequal: Federal Tough-On-Guns Program Targets Minority Communities For Selective Enforcement, Bonita R. Gardner

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This Article examines the Project Safe Neighborhoods program and considers whether its disproportionate application in urban, majority- African American cities (large and small) violates the guarantee of equal protection under the law. This Article will start with a description of the program and how it operates-the limited application to street-level criminal activity in predominately African American communities. Based on preliminary data showing that Project Safe Neighborhoods disproportionately impacts African Americans, the Article turns to an analysis of the applicable law. Most courts have analyzed Project Safe Neighborhoods' race-based challenges under selective prosecution case law, which requires a showing by the ...


On Justitia, Race, Gender, And Blindness, I. Bennett Capers Jan 2006

On Justitia, Race, Gender, And Blindness, I. Bennett Capers

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This Essay focuses on Justitia's more problematic attributes. Like Justitia's blindfold, which has been described as "the most enigmatic" of her traits. Is the blindfold merely emblematic of Justitia's purported impartiality, her claim to algorithmic justice? As law professor Costas Douzinas and art historian Lynda Nead have asked, does the blindfold enable Justitia "to avoid the temptation to see the face that comes to the law and put the unique characteristics of the concrete person before the abstract logic of the institution"? Or does the blindfold signify something more, a second sight of sorts? Maybe that Justitia ...


Appellate Review Of Racist Summations: Redeeming The Promise Of Searching Analysis, Ryan Patrick Alford Jan 2006

Appellate Review Of Racist Summations: Redeeming The Promise Of Searching Analysis, Ryan Patrick Alford

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This Article addresses the question of the appropriate response of appellate counsel for Black defendants tarred at trial by the indirect deployment of powerful racial stereotypes. The crux of the problem is that even now, the courts only take exception to blatant racist appeals, even though indirectly racist summations can have a determinative impact at trial. In laying out the contours of the problem, we must draw upon the discipline of rhetoric, or persuasion through oration, to describe various techniques of intentional indirectness that prosecutors use to obviate the possibility of appellate review under the stringent standards of the Fourteenth ...


Ghosts Of Alabama: The Prosecution Of Bobby Frank Cherry For The Bombing Of The Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, Donald Q. Cochran Jan 2006

Ghosts Of Alabama: The Prosecution Of Bobby Frank Cherry For The Bombing Of The Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, Donald Q. Cochran

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Perhaps no other crime in American history has shocked the conscience of America like the 1963 bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. In May of 2002- almost thirty-nine years after the bombing- Bobby Frank Cherry was brought to trial for the murders of Addie, Carole, Cynthia, and Denise. He was the last person to be tried for the bombing. As an Assistant United States Attorney in Birmingham, Alabama it was my privilege to be a part of the prosecution team that brought Cherry to justice. This Article tells the story of that prosecution and explores the ...


Discrimination In Sentencing On The Basis Of Afrocentric Features, William T. Pizzi, Irene V. Blair, Charles M. Judd Jan 2005

Discrimination In Sentencing On The Basis Of Afrocentric Features, William T. Pizzi, Irene V. Blair, Charles M. Judd

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This Article does not challenge the prior research on sentencing discrimination between racial categories that found no significant difference in sentences given to similarly-situated African Americans and Whites. In fact, in the jurisdiction investigated- Florida- no discrimination between African Americans and Whites was found in the sentences imposed on defendants, looking only at racial category differences. Rather, the research suggests that in focusing exclusively on discrimination between racial groups, the research has missed a type of discrimination related to race that is taking place within racial categories: namely, discrimination on the basis of a person's Afrocentric features. By Afrocentric ...


Breaking The Camel's Back: A Consideration Of Mitigatory Criminal Defenses And Racism-Related Mental Illness, Camille A. Nelson Jan 2003

Breaking The Camel's Back: A Consideration Of Mitigatory Criminal Defenses And Racism-Related Mental Illness, Camille A. Nelson

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This article will examine the concept of racist words, symbols, and actions that are used as weapons to "ambush, terrorize, wound, humiliate, and degrade,” as psychological and physiological violence. The implications of such violence are relevant to several affirmative defenses and, indeed, to the initial formulation of mens rea. The historical and contextual legacy that is intentionally invoked by the utilization of racialized violence is what separates the racial epithet or racially violent symbolism from other distressing insults and slurs. While First Amendment protection extends to offensive or insulting speech, the mental and physical sequelae of such speech, even absent ...


Vigilante Racism: The De-Americanization Of Immigrant America, Bill Ong Hing Jan 2002

Vigilante Racism: The De-Americanization Of Immigrant America, Bill Ong Hing

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Sadly, the de-Americanization process is capable of reinventing itself generation after generation. We have seen this exclusionary process aimed at those of Jewish, Asian, Mexican, Haitian, and other descent throughout the nation's history. De-Americanization is not simply xenophobia, because more than fear of foreigners is at work. This is a brand of nativism cloaked in a Euro-centric sense of America that combines hate and racial profiling. Whenever we go through a period of de-Americanization like what is currently happening to South Asians, Arabs, Muslim Americans, and people like Wen Ho Lee-a whole new generation of Americans sees that exclusion ...


The Profiling Of Threat Versus The Threat Of Profiling, Frank H. Wu Jan 2001

The Profiling Of Threat Versus The Threat Of Profiling, Frank H. Wu

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This speech covers three points. First, a brief summary of the failed federal criminal prosecution of Wen Ho Lee is given. Second, Wu talks about the racial profiling used in this case. Third, Wu talks about the possibilites for Asian Americans and other racial minorities to engage in principled activism to overcome these unfortunate trends.


Cracking The Code: "De-Coding" Colorblind Slurs During The Congressional Crack Cocaine Debates, Richard Dvorak Jan 2000

Cracking The Code: "De-Coding" Colorblind Slurs During The Congressional Crack Cocaine Debates, Richard Dvorak

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This article proposes "de-coding" as a method for unveiling the racist purpose behind the enactment of race-neutral legislation. Through the use of "code words," defined as “phrases and symbols which refer indirectly to racial themes, but do not directly challenge popular democratic or egalitarian ideals,” legislators can appeal to racist sentiments without appearing racist. More importantly, they can do so without leaving evidence that can be traced back as an intent to discriminate. This article proposes to use "de-coding" as a method to unmask the racist purpose behind the enactment of the 100:1 crack versus powder cocaine ratio for ...


Policing Hatred: Police Bias Units And The Construction Of Hate Crime, Jeannine Bell Jan 1997

Policing Hatred: Police Bias Units And The Construction Of Hate Crime, Jeannine Bell

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Much of the scholarly debate about hate crime laws focuses on a discussion of their constitutionality under the First Amendment. Part of a larger empirical study of police methods of investigating hate crimes, this Note attempts to shift thinking in this area beyond the existing debate over the constitutionality of hate crime legislation to a discussion of how low-level criminal justice personnel, such as the police, enforce hate crime laws. This Note argues that, since hate crimes are an area in which police have great discretion in enforcing the law, their understanding of the First Amendment and how it relates ...


The O.J. Simpson Verdict: A Lesson In Black And White, Christo Lassiter Jan 1996

The O.J. Simpson Verdict: A Lesson In Black And White, Christo Lassiter

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This article is an attempt to analyze the O.J. Simpson verdict and the press coverage of it, to suggest ways not only of improving criminal justice in a diverse community, but also of improving press coverage of criminal justice in a diverse community. Part Two of this essay is subdivided into two sections. The first section surveys the op-ed pages of major newspapers to evaluate the analysis of, and the commentary on, the O.J. Simpson verdict. The second section deconstructs the press' spin on the verdict. Part Three of this article discusses the role of a jury and ...


The Social Construction Of Identity In Criminal Cases: Cinema Verité And The Pedagogy Of Vincent Chin, Paula C. Johnson Jan 1996

The Social Construction Of Identity In Criminal Cases: Cinema Verité And The Pedagogy Of Vincent Chin, Paula C. Johnson

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This article will discuss the use of the film, Who Killed Vincent Chin?, as a method: (1) to analyze the relationship of social constructions of identity, particularly race, on the rules and discretionary application of criminal jurisprudence; (2) to provide an interactive pedagogical tool for law teachers, especially criminal law teachers, to examine the social contexts of criminal jurisprudence from multiple perspectives; and (3) to examine the ability of criminal law doctrine to address issues of race.