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    Arbitrary Justice: The Power of the American Prosecutor (Hardback) By (author) Angela J. Davis

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    DescriptionInscribed on the walls of the United States Department of Justice are the lofty words: "The United States wins its point whenever justice is done its citizens in the courts." Yet what happens when prosecutors, the most powerful officials in the criminal justice system, seek convictions instead of justice? Why are cases involving educated, well-to-do victims often prosecuted more vigorously than those involving poor, uneducated victims? Why do wealthy defendants frequently enjoy more lenient plea bargains than the disadvantaged? In this timely work, Angela J. Davis examines the expanding power of prosecutors, from mandatory minimum sentencing laws that enhance prosecutorial control over the outcome of cases to the increasing politicization of the office. Drawing on her dozen years of experience as a public defender, Davis demonstrates how the everyday, legal exercise of prosecutorial discretion is responsible for tremendous inequities in criminal justice. Davis uses powerful stories of individuals caught in the system to illustrate how the day-to-day practices and decisions of well-meaning prosecutors produce unfair and unequal treatment of both defendants and victims, often along race and class lines. These disparities are particularly evident in prosecutors' charging and plea-bargaining decisions and in their muddy relationships with victims. Prosecutors not only hold vast power, Davis argues, but they are also under-regulated and lack accountability. The current standards of practice for prosecutors are unenforceable, while the mechanisms that purport to hold prosecutors accountable are weak and ineffectual. Not only does lack of oversight result in injustices, it may even foster a climate tolerant of unfair practices and in some cases, misconduct. Offering a sensible agenda for comprehensive review and reform, Arbitrary Justice challenges the legal community and concerned citizens to pursue and enact meaningful standards of conduct and effective methods of accountability to help prosecutors serve their communities and the interests of justice.

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  • Full bibliographic data for Arbitrary Justice

    Arbitrary Justice
    The Power of the American Prosecutor
    Authors and contributors
    By (author) Angela J. Davis
    Physical properties
    Format: Hardback
    Number of pages: 264
    Width: 155 mm
    Height: 236 mm
    Thickness: 25 mm
    Weight: 499 g
    ISBN 13: 9780195177367
    ISBN 10: 0195177363

    B&T Book Type: NF
    BIC E4L: CRI
    Nielsen BookScan Product Class 3: S3.3
    BIC subject category V2: JFSL, JKV
    BISAC V2.8: LAW026000
    BIC subject category V2: LNF, JFFJ
    Ingram Subject Code: LE
    Libri: I-LE
    B&T Merchandise Category: POD
    B&T General Subject: 490
    BISAC V2.8: LAW027000
    Warengruppen-Systematik des deutschen Buchhandels: 17530
    DC22: 345.73/01, 345.7301
    LC subject heading:
    LC classification: KF9640 .D38 2007
    LC subject heading: , ,
    BISAC region code:
    Thema V1.0: LNF, JBFA, JBSL, JKV
    Illustrations note
    2 illus.
    Oxford University Press Inc
    Imprint name
    Oxford University Press Inc
    Publication date
    26 April 2007
    Publication City/Country
    New York
    Author Information
    Angela J. Davis is a Professor of Law at American University Washington College of Law where she teaches criminal law and criminal procedure. Prior to her career as a law professor, Davis was a public defender at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia before becoming the agency's Director.
    Review quote
    "This book is not simply timely. It is timeless. It chronicles the expansion of prosecutorial powers and, better yet, offers a compelling set of reforms that all can agree will help to curb unnecessary abuses of power. Public officials, law enforcement, and everyday citizens will all find this book informative and accessible. It is a must read, and a phenomenal read."-Charles J. Ogletree Jr., Jesse Climenko Professor, Harvard Law School "Finally, a book by a scholar that not only describes what's really going on in the trenches-a dangerous shift in power from judges to prosecutors in sentencing and charging decisions-but provides a sensible agenda of reforms that will protect victims and defendants alike. This is a very important work."-Barry Scheck, Professor, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, and Co-Director, Innocence Project "In Arbitrary Justice, Professor Davis reveals how the primary mechanism of accountability in our democracy-elections-has failed to hold prosecutors accountable to the people they serve. She offers practical progressive ideas for reform that will improve our democracy and help to eliminate the unacceptable class and race disparities in our criminal justice system."-Congressman Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. (D-IL) "Angela Davis sheds searing light on the long-veiled power wielded by American prosecutors and shows that a fair criminal justice system is an illusion unless we demand transparency and equality from this oft-overlooked arena."-David Cole, author of No Equal Justice "With this book, Professor Davis throws down a gauntlet to prosecutors; some district attorneys will roar in opposition to her proposals while others, deeply concerned with equal justice, will take to heart her trenchant observations on racial issues in the prosecutor's office and will carefully consider her proposals for needed reforms."-E. Michael McCann, former Milwaukee County District Attorney