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SOC 2600 Chapter 1

by: Emily Brandenburg

SOC 2600 Chapter 1 SOC 2600

Marketplace > Ohio University > SOC 2600 > SOC 2600 Chapter 1
Emily Brandenburg
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About this Document

These notes cover the material presented in Chapter 1
Criminal Justice
Rebecca Collins
Class Notes




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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Emily Brandenburg on Monday October 17, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to SOC 2600 at Ohio University taught by Rebecca Collins in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 3 views.


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Date Created: 10/17/16
Chapter 1: Crime and Justice in American Society January 14, 2016  Crime in the U.S. o Media depictions of crime  oversensationalizes crime  Americans are fascinated with crime: shows, channels, and news  Media makes us believe that crime happens more frequently than it actually does  82% of Americans base their perceptions of crime from the media, 17% of their perceptions are based on personal experiences o Media coverage can produce moral panics  Moral panics: exaggerated, false perceptions of crime  Ex. Drugs o Minorities disproportionately portrayed as perpetrators of crime  Shows white Americans as victims of crime compared to their actual rates of victimization  Shows African American men as the primary perpetrators of crime  Most crime is intraracial (same race), not interracial (different race) o Political Reactions  Love to grab ahold of the public’s fear of the rate of crime  We are less afraid of what we can control (health) than what we can’t control (homicide) o Fear of crime  vigilantism & scapegoating  Vigilantism – taking the law into your own hands  Scapegoating – blame a person or group of people for their crimes  ALL persons in a group o Universality of Crime  A principle that looks at how there is no society that does not experience crime o Emile Durkheim: crime is “normal”  It would be abnormal for a society not to experience crime o Crime increases with the increase of norms  Informal social norms – what you are expected to do  Formal social norms – legal norms, written down. Can be punished for wrongdoing  What is Crime? o Rules and sanctions for a stable society  Sanctions are used as a warning not only to the offenders but to the rest of society  Ex. Fines, prison, arrests o Definition of Crime – a form of conduct that society prohibits and this is to maintain order o Criminal law – a code that categorizes all crimes by type and punishment o Felonies vs. Misdemeanors  Felonies – crimes that are punishable by more than 1 year  Misdemeanors – crimes that are punishable by less than 1 year o Criminalization vs. Decriminalization  Our application of criminal law is controversial  Criminalization – the legislative decision to make a behavior a crime  Decriminalization – the legislative decision to no longer make a behavior a crime  Laws must have full public support in order to be successful  Our definitions of crime are a result of legal changes o Victimless crimes  Laws are ineffective when dealing with victimless crimes  Ex. Drug use, gambling, prostitution  These are crimes in which the offender and the victim are one in the same or the crime is consensual  Criminal Justice, the system and the non-system o Term “Criminal Justice System” is misleading for two reasons…  There is no single CJS here in the U.S.  Ours is a loose confederation of agencies; local, state, and federal  The only thing they have in common is they must follow the Constitution o The term “system” implies a smooth operation but CJ in U.S. is anything but smooth o Criminal Justice as a non-system  There are often disagreements between law enforcement and correctional institutions o Pros and Cons of the non-system  Pros: it’s a system of checks and balances – courts make sure the Constitution is being followed  Cons: agencies are constantly in conflict with one another – local law enforcement wants to keep criminals off the street while courts want to make sure law enforcement is following the constitution o Know why the CJS is a non-system  Two Models of Criminal Justice o Herber Packer (1968) The Limits of the Criminal Sanction  There are two value systems that represent the operation of criminal justice agencies  crime control model and due process model o Crime Control  Conservation Values o Due Process  Liberal Values o Both models are ideal types  Crime Control Model o Control of criminal behavior and most important function of criminal justice o Focus is on efficiency of criminal justice process o “Assembly Line Justice” or “McJustice” o Plea bargaining o “presumption of guilt” – guilty until proven innocent o Administrative fact finding process with 2 outcomes  Guilty plea  Exoneration  Due Process Model o Informal fact finding process does not equal definitive factual guilt  Advocates insist on formal adjudicative fact finding o Packer characterizes as “Obstacle Course Justice” o This model not about finality o Model based on doctrine of legal guilt and presumption of innocence o Doctrine of Legal Guilt th th th th o Due Process of Rights: (4 , 5 , 6 , and 8 amendments)  Freedom from unreasonable search and seizure  Protection against double jeopardy  Protection against coerced self-incrimination  A speedy and public trial  An impartial jury  Notice of the nature and cause of the accusation  The right to confront opposing witnesses  Required process for obtaining favorable witnesses  The right to counsel  Prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment o U.S. system of adversarial justice  an effective defense is a result of the amount of resources you have access to o Most criminal defendants are poor  Often times they are denied an effective defense o Importance of procedural safeguards January 19, 2016  Funnel Model o Result of decisions made by CJ professionals (the courts), criminal suspects and others o Top of the funnel illustrates the large number of people arrested o Those arrested are then filtered  By plea bargaining or other processes o Filtering result of police, prosecutors and judges  A primary determinant is the quality of evidence against a suspect  Another determinant is time and money o The bottom of the funnel represents those who actually make it to trial  On average there are about 1000 crimes committed and typically only 25 will reach the bottom of the funnel  Wedding Cake Model (bottom (4) to top (1)) o Used to explain why some cases make it through the funnel and others do not o Layer 4: vast majority (about 90%) of cases; focus on misdemeanor and infraction cases  The purpose of this layer is to minimize resources used  High number of guilty pleas which are exchanged for leniency o Layer 3: cases where defendant does not have a prior record  Felonies of a less serious nature  Dispatched quickly from plea bargaining, or rare instances of case dismissal because of lack of evidence o Layer 2: defendants with prior records and victims who were strangers to their perpetrators  More serious felonies and most of these cases go to trial o Layer 1: cases that create a lot of media attention  Serial killers, mass murderers  Ex. OJ Simpson o May put a chart on the exam to fill out


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