Sample Midterm Fall 2014

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  CRIMINAL JUSTICE PROCESS (SOC 3630)   Fall 2014 Howard SAMPLE EXAMINATION QUESTIONS REVISED WITH ANSWERS IN BOLDFACE (8/30/14) A. True/False Section  (Please indicate whether the statements below are true or false. You may provide a brief explanation for your answers. Your response to each statement is worth four points.) 1.   The Judiciary Act of 1789 contained provisions that led to the unification of state courts. FALSE. THE JUDICIARY ACT OF 1789 WAS AN ACT OF CONGRESS THAT ROLLED OUT “INFERIOR COURTS” IN LINE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF ARTICLE III OF THE CONSTITUTION. THIS LEGISLATION EXPANDED THE FEDERAL COURTS BY CREATING COURTS OF GENERAL JURISDICTION (I.E., U.S. DISTRICT COURTS) AND CIRCUIT COURTS OF APPELLETE REVIEW. IN SHORT, THE JUDICIARY ACT OF 1789 WAS A MAJOR FEDERALIST VICTORY AS THE FEDERAL COURTS WERE GRANTED CONSIDERABLE POWER. 2.   John Sutton argues that the sociology of law is an intellectual project in which empirical data are used to describe and explain the behavior of legal actors. TRUE. THIS IS THE DEFINITION THAT SUTTON OFFERS FOR OUR COMMON PROJECT. ALTHOUGH IT CERTAINLY HAS ITS LIMITATIONS, IT IS A SUCCINCT REHEARSAL OF SOME ESSENTIAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE SOCIOLOGY OF LAW.  3.   The due process model envisions the criminal process as a sort of obstacle course designed to impede crime. TRUE. HERBERT PACKER NOTES IN HIS ESSAY THAT THE DUE PROCESS MODEL MIGHT BEST BE CHARACTERIZED AS AN OBSTACLE COURSE SINCE IT FEATURES MULTIPLE CHECKS AND TESTS TO OVERSEE INEVITABLE HUMAN ERROR.   2 B.  Identification Section  (Please indicate which important concept, as developed in the course readings and discussions, is most clearly being discussed or referenced in the statement below. You should provide a brief explanation for your answer. Your explanation will be most effective if it indicates specifically what in the statement leads you to identify a particular concept related to the course materials. Your response to each statement is worth five points.) 1.   Speaking to his mother on the telephone late on a Friday morning, in an effort to convince her that he was at Waldo Library studying assiduously the previous night rather than carousing shamelessly at Waldo Tavern, Hayduke reports: “So I was reading this book last night, and I learned that sociologists often look at the way that criminal justice actors make choices as they determine whether and how to process an individual through the criminal justice apparatus. They use a particular concept in the criminal justice literature to refer to this relatively autonomous decision making  business. The term stresses that while these criminal justice officials often have significant powers of free decision, or at least some latitude in terms of their choices, they cannot make decisions willy nilly since there are typically legal boundaries and other forms of constraint outside of which the officials move at their peril. The  problem with this decision making arrangement is that while sometimes criminal  justice actors may use their powers to achieve an individualized form of justice, this can also lead to differential treatment of individuals that may produce forms of injustice. In class, a professor once said that this concept is at the heart of the sociological enterprise given its interest in the problem of social order and its balance  between constraint and freedom. . . . So how’s the dog? Grandpappy’s gout? . . . By the way, can I get twenty bucks to, ehh, buy some more pencils and notebook paper tonight?”. DISCRETION. HAYDUKE MENTIONS “POWERS OF FREE DECISION” WITHIN “LEGAL BOUNDARIES AND OTHER FORMS OF CONSTRAINT,” WHICH IS ONE WAY TO DEFINE DISCRETION AS WE DISCUSSED IN CLASS. HE ALSO MAKES AN ALLUSION TO THE “PROBLEM OF SOCIAL ORDER,” WHICH IS ONE OF THE LONGSTANDING CONCERNS OF SOCIOLOGY THAT HAS BEEN ADVANCED THROUGH A STUDY OF DISCRETION. 2.   Jeff Ferrell speaking to his research assistant: “Crystal, I hope you have had a chance to look over the rough draft of my latest manuscript on field research. As you know, I have been eager to draw upon the ideas of Max Weber in order to elaborate on my view of criminological investigation, and I hope that I have been able to define clearly the central concept on which my methodological stance is founded. In the manuscript, as you no doubt recollect, I defined this concept broadly as a process of subjective interpretation on the part of the social researcher, a degree of sympathetic understanding between researcher and subjects of study, whereby the researcher comes in part to share the situated meanings and experiences of those under scrutiny. More narrowly, perhaps, I maintain that researchers must develop a subjective understanding of crime’s situational meanings and emotions – its moments of  pleasure and pain, its emergent logic and excitement – within the larger process of investigation. I think that a researcher, through attentiveness and participation, can  begin to apprehend and appreciate the specific roles and experiences of criminals,   3 crime victims, crime control agents, and others caught up in the day-to-day reality of crime. I think this conception of criminological research will advance our discipline considerably.” CRIMINOLOGICAL VERSTEHEN. FERRELL SIGNALS THIS IMPORTANT CONCEPT WHEN HE DISCUSSED HOW ONE SHOULD STRIVE TO UNDERSTAND “CRIME’S SITUATIONAL MEANINGS ANDF EMOTIONS.” THIS IS ONE WAY TO UINDERTAKE THE PROMISE OF FIELD RESEARCH AS WE DISCUSSED IS CLASS.   B. Falsification Section  (Please explain briefly in several complete and informed sentences how you know the statements that appear below to be false. Make a clear reference to a piece of evidence found in a course reading or discussion. Make clear how the evidence falsifies the statement. Your response to each statement is worth five points.) 1.   While Neil Postman counsels that attention be paid to definitions, his advice has little relevance to the study of criminal justice process and the criminal courts. NONSENSE. LAWS DEFINE CATEGORIES WITH WHICH IDENTIES ARE CONSTRUCTED, AS JOHN SUTTON OBSERVES WITH HIS EXAMINATION OF THE CASE OF RENEE ROGERS.  2.   The Supreme Court of the United States must respect precedent. NOT TRUE. THE SUPREME COURT WILL OCCASSIONALLY OVERRULE ITS PRIOR DECISIONS. FOR INSTANCE, CHIEF JUSTICE EARL WARREN AND HIS COURT OVERTURNED BETTS V. BRADY IN THE LANDMARK DECISION OF GIDEON V. WAINWRIGHT, WHICH EXTENDED THE RIGHT TO COUNSEL FOR INDIGENT DEFENDANTS IN FELONY CASES IN STATE COURTS.  3.   The idea of a criminal justice “system” became prominent during the Revolutionary War. FALSE. SAM WALKER DATES THE “SYSTEM” IDEA TO THE FIELD RESEARCH CARIED OUT BY THE AMERICAN BAR FOUNDATION IN THE 1950S. THE “CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM PARADIGM” THAT EMERGED FROM THE ABF’S TROUBLING OBSERVATIONS WAS FORTIFIED BY PROVISIONS IN THE SAFE STREETS AND CRIME CONTROL ACT OF 1968 SUCH THAT THE “SYSTEM” OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE IS A UBIQUITOUS NOTION.   4 D.  Essay Section  (Please respond succinctly in complete and informed paragraphs to the following questions. Superior responses will thoughtfully incorporate material from course reading and lecture. Your response to each question will be worth 20 points.) 1.   As an epigram to his volume Courtroom 302 , a close study of criminal courts in Chicago, Steve Bogira quotes the words of G. K. Chesterton from Tremendous Trifles  to this effect: The horrible thing about all legal officials, even the best, about all judges, magistrates, barristers, detectives, and policemen, is not that they are wicked (some of them are good), not that they are stupid (several of them are quite intelligent), it is simply that they have got used to it. Strictly they do not see the  prisoner in the dock; all they see is the usual man in the usual place. They do not see the awful court of judgment; they only see their own workshop. How might these words from Chesterton be used to make sense of what Amy Bach has depicted so far in her book Ordinary Injustice ? USE YOUR IMAGINATION AND CRITICAL SKILLS. ESTABLISH AMY BACH’S THESIS AND HOW SHE DEFINES ONE OR MORE KEY TERMS IN THE THESIS (E.G., “ORDINARY INJUSTICE”, “COMMUNITY OF LEGAL PROFESSIONALS”, “ADVERSARIAL JUSTICE”, ETC.). DO CHESTERON’S WORDS REFLECT THIS THESIS AND ONE OR MORE OF THE KEY TERMS?  2.   Uncle Milt, who is bankrolling your college education, will be at the family timeshare where you will be spending spring break, and you know that he will ask about what you have learned in class so far this term as he likes to keep tabs on his “little investment.” Taking into consideration the course so far this semester, which concept would you tell ol’ Milt is central to the study of law, justice, and social order and what two themes or lessons would you tell him are most important to a sociological understanding of the topic? ANSWER ALL ELEMENTS OF THE WRITING PROMPT. NOMINATE AND DISCUSS A KEY CONCEPT AND HOW IT MIGHT BE USEFULLY DEFINED, MAING USE OF ONE OR MORE COURSE MATERIALS TO SUPPORT YOUR UNDERTANDING OF THE IDEA. IDENTIFY AND DISCUSS TWO THEMES IMPORTANT TO A SOCIOLOGICAL UNDERSTANDING OF LAW AND THE COURTS. THERE ARE MANY POSSIBLE THEMES THAT COULD BE IDENTIFIED. INDEED, MANY OF THE CONCEPTS AND TOPICS ON THE STUDY GUIDE MIGHT BE PUT FORWARD AS THEMES. FOR INSTANCE, “INTELLECTUAL RESPONSIBILITY”, “DISCRETION”, “DEFINITIONS”. “EMPIRICAL OBSERVATION”, AND SO ON.
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