- Samantha Harris, F.I.R.E.
Our panelists will discuss the criminal justice system generally, and the role of the prosecutor in particular. Some argue that, with the weight of the state and its resources on one side, including a deep book of potential crimes, the deck is unfairly stacked against criminal defendants. Others argue that police and prosecutors act in good faith, and credit them with incapacitating career criminals, trimming recidivism, and causing a plunge in national crime statistics. Who has the better of the argument?
Criminal justice and policing reform are much in the news lately, sparked by events that garner national media coverage. This panel will assess the need for reform, and the road forward. How do media narratives about policing square with the empirical evidence? What are the most effective methods of policing, and how can they best be promoted? What is the proper way to balance police activity and the crime rate? In the current atmosphere, is legitimate police activity chilled? Must law enforcement officers responding to calls pause to consider their potential personal liability?
Civil Rights: Ferguson, Baltimore, and Criminal Justice Reform
12:00 noon – 2:15 p.m.
The Mayflower Hotel
University of Florida law professor John Stinneford explains the jury selection process, including the Batson v. Kentucky case from 1986 which addressed considering race as a factor during jury selection.
Professor Carissa Hessick of the University of Utah discusses the application of the rules of statutory construction to the case Lockhart v. U.S., in which Lockhart pled guilty to receipt of child pornography. The trial court enhanced Lockhart’s sentence because of his prior conviction for the sexual assault of an adult woman. Lockhart objects to the sentencing enhancement, alleging that only prior convictions for crimes involving minors qualify under the relevant statute. In contrast, the government argues that all prior sex offenses constitute prior convictions for purposes of sentencing enhancement.