The Machinery of Criminal Justice

The Machinery of Criminal Justice

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Two centuries ago, the American criminal justice was run primarily by laymen. Jury trials passed moral judgment on crimes, vindicated victims and innocent defendants, and denounced the guilty. But over the last two centuries, lawyers have taken over the process, silencing victims and defendants and, in many cases, substituting a plea-bargaining system for the voice of the jury. The public sees little of how this assembly-line justice works, and victims and defendants have largely lost their day in court. As a result, victims rarely hear defendants express remorse and apologize, and defendants rarely receive forgiveness. This lawyerized machinery has purchased efficient, speedy processing of many cases at the price of sacrificing softer values, such as reforming defendants and healing wounded victims and relationships. In other words, the U.S. legal system has bought quantity at the price of quality, without recognizing either the trade-off or the great gulf separating lawyers' and laymen's incentives, interests, values, and powers. In The Machinery of Criminal Justice, author Stephanos Bibas surveys these developments over the last two centuries, considers what we have lost in our quest for efficient punishment, and suggests ways to include victims, defendants, and the public once again. These ideas range from requiring convicts to work or serve in the military, to moving power from prosecutors to restorative sentencing juries. Bibas argues that doing so might cost more, but it would better serve criminal procedure's interests in denouncing crime, vindicating victims, reforming wrongdoers, and healing the relationships torn by crime.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 160.02 x 236.22 x 20.32mm | 544.31g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195374681
  • 9780195374681

Review quote

"In The Machinery of Criminal Justice, author Stephanos Bibas presents a bold and inspiring vision of what criminal justice and the punishment imposed in its name can and should be about. Criminal justice is ideally the process, and punishment ideally the vehicle, through which wronged and wrongdoer restore the bond they once shared. Restoration, not retribution or deterrence, is the rock upon which Bibas builds." --Stephen P. Garvey, Professor of Law, Cornell Law School "The Machinery of Criminal Justice is an exceptional volume that gives us the big picture on a scholarly subject too often hobbled by technical focus and narrow thinking. Always accessible and always interesting, Bibas asks some hard questions and gives some creative answers. Common morality, lay justice, mercy, re-integrative punishment - these are the issues at the cutting edge of today's crime policy debates, but Bibas shows us that they are also the historical roots of American criminal justice." --Paul H. Robinson, Colin S. Diver Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania, author, with Michael Cahill, of Law Without Justice "Th[e] embrace of populism as a counterweight to expertise sets Bibas apart. The academics and professionals who work in criminal justice routinely look for ways to insulate criminal punishment from popular passions; they hope to take advantage of specialized professional insights. Bibas offers a bracing challenge to this received expert wisdom." --Ronald Wright, Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Book Review"Through a series of articles spanning more than a decade, Professor Stephanos Bibas has proven himself a bold and penetrating critic of America's system of criminal procedure. His theme has been the gap between the morality embodied in our substantive criminal law and the morality (or, perhaps more accurately, the lack thereof) embodied in our procedural rules and practices. This theme now gets its fullest exposition in his provocative new book, The Machinery of Criminal Justice." -- Michael M. O'Hear, University of Pennsylvania Law Review Online "His vision is a powerful one, he defends it with clarity and grace, and every idea he expresses is capable of starting an important conversation." --Andrew Taslitz, Jotwellshow more

About Stephanos Bibas

Stephanos Bibas is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he specializes in criminal procedure. As director of Penn's Supreme Court Clinic, he also litigates a wide array of cases before the Supreme Court of the United States. After graduating from Yale Law School and clerking at the Supreme Court, he worked as a federal prosecutor in New York City, where he prosecuted a wide array of criminal cases. He successfully investigated, prosecuted, and convicted the world's leading expert in Tiffany stained glass for hiring a grave robber to loot priceless Tiffany windows from tombs in cemeteries, winning an FBI award for outstanding performance. He has published widely on plea bargaining, sentencing, and how criminal procedure could better serve the substantive moral goals of the criminal law.show more

Table of contents

Author Biography ; Acknowledgements ; Introduction: The Divergence of Theory, Reality, and Morality ; Overview of the Book ; Themes of the Book ; Chapter I: The Long Drift from Morality Play to Assembly Line ; A. Criminal Justice in the Early American Colonies ; 1. Small-Town Morality ; 2. Lay Justice ; 3. Room for Mercy ; 4. Reintegrative Punishment ; B. Criminal Justice Since the American Revolution ; 1. The Changing Aims of Criminal Justice ; 2. Professionalization ; 3. The Birth of Plea Bargaining ; 4. The Hiding of Punishment Behind Prison Walls ; 5. The Decline of Mercy ; Chapter II: Opaque, Unresponsive Criminal Justice ; A. The Players ; 1. Dominant Insiders, Savvy and Self-Interested ; 2. Excluded Outsiders, Yearning for Justice ; B. The Play of the Game ; 1. Round One: Insiders' Procedural Discretion Shapes the Rules in Action ; 2. Round Two: Outsiders Try to Check Insiders ; 3. Round Three: Insiders' Procedural Discretion Undercuts Reforms ; 4. Round Four: Outsiders, Egged on by Politicians, Take Matters into Their Own Hands ; 5. Round Five: Insiders Circumvent Evenshow more

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