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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.









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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,
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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.







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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.