No Equal Justice Essay, Research Paper
The American criminal-justice system, writes Georgetown law professor David Cole, has effectively become a two-tiered system, with differing levels of regard depending on the race or class of a given citizen who comes into contact with it. The thousands of African Americans who have been confronted by law-enforcement agents nationwide for “fitting the description” of alleged perpetrators would likely agree, but, according to Cole, it isn’t just the cops that operate this way; judges, prosecutors, juries, and legislators are equally at fault. If the barrage of illustrative cases he presents in No Equal Justice paints a picture of an antidemocratic society, his proposed solution, making the criminal-justice system more “community-based,” strengthening the relationships between citizens to stop crime before it starts, holds out a promise of equality. Critics may argue that such a plan is unrealistic, but the problems he describes are all too real, and deserve the attention No Equal Justice provides.
No Equal Justice makes a strong case that we have tolerated a law enforcement strategy that depends on the exploitation of race and class divisions. A challenging, multilayered analysis of how the disconnect between constitutional theory and legal practice has infected today’s justice system. This book is thorough, well-written, and persuasive.
Cole’s book is a well-argued, passionate plea for an unabashedly liberal program to fight crime while honoring the constitution’s protection of individual rights. This is a book that needs to be read both by those who are interested in the relations between races in this country and those who think they are not. It is a scholarly but easily readable and compelling description of the insidious effects of race in the administration of criminal justice in this country.
Poor people and people of color suffer systematic injustice and harassment at the hands of the criminal justice system. David Cole articulates the ways in which each injustice compounds the effect of the next — from police brutality and racial profiling on the streets to jury selection and racist application of the death penalty. Unlike the average legal scholar, he writes with a style that is accessible and compelling.
At first, before reading this book, I read the review in the New York Times Book Review. Almost at once I was surprised at the sophisticated analysis and use of sources such as Newsweek and the New York Times. David Cole is pretty much dead on in the premise of each of his chapters, though he may place too much blame on the Supreme Court. Though I did think that the writing seems to me to be on the level of a college student, not a Georgetown University law professor. Which is somewhat disappointing, because what he is saying needs to be said.
This book is a good starter book for students of criminal justice; while the book places a little too much blames on the Supreme Court, it still shows the biases real well within our system of justice. Thought, as I stated before that I felt that this book was scholarly while at the same time being easy to read, I do feel that the book could spend a little more time on solutions; case examples and the minority problems which cause crime within our society-but this is a good book overall.