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NCJ Number: 201500 Find in a Library
Title: Crisis of Authoritarianism in the Legal Institutions: Toward the Democratization of the Rule of Law
Journal: Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice  Volume:19  Issue:3  Dated:August 2003  Pages:315-329
Author(s): Biko Agozino
Date Published: August 2003
Page Count: 15
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article argues that the crisis in legal institutions is due to a lag in the democratization of the judicial arm of government.
Abstract: The crisis is that of authoritarianism. The judicial arm of government has remained trapped in the dark ages. The legal profession is aristocratic in character and tendency. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court Committee on Race and Gender Bias examined the records of the system to find out how to create or improve trust and confidence by addressing existing doubts and questioning the wrongs of ineffective policy. The committee focused on what forms existing bias takes and possible ways of ending the existing bias. It is clear that race-class-gender stereotyping plays a significant role in the justice system. The criticism of disparities in sentencing outcomes prompted the development of sentencing guidelines in Pennsylvania. The Federal Judicial Center reported in 1992 that Blacks and Hispanics were 20 percent to 30 percent more likely than Whites to receive mandatory minimum sentences in Federal cases in which they are applicable. Black youth represent 15 percent of their age group within the United States population but are over-represented in all arms of justice administration. Pennsylvania is one of the leading states in the disproportionate punishment or victimization of African-Americans. The justice system has been left far behind other institutions of civil governance, and an effort should be made to make the justice system catch up in the process. This will not be accomplished by extending electoral politics to the appointment of all judges because electoral democracy will not go far enough in democratizing an essentially feudal legal system. 2 tables, 1 note, 30 references
Main Term(s): Criminal justice research; Racial discrimination
Index Term(s): Criminal justice system effectiveness; Discrimination; History of criminal justice; Minority overrepresentation; Race-punishment relationship; Research uses in policymaking
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