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« Legal Blogs and the Supreme Court Confirmation Process | Main | The books keep rolling in »

August 01, 2006



Professor Yin, I think assigning books for required readings in classes is a great idea, because they give law students a sense of how courtrooms and lawyering are like. I am reading Professor Bezanson's "How Free Can Religion Be" and I really enjoyed the parts where transcripts of the arguments were printed for readers to see. One of the lawyers in the Amish case argued compelling state interest and I wonder if that's how our substantive due process analysis started.

Cheers to the national heat wave.....


John Neff

The costs you quoted are too low.

$300,000/20 years is $15,000 per year which is far below $23,300 per year for the average cost to incarcerate someone in an Iowa prison. Fort Madison is more like $30,000 per year.

Suppose this young man who was convicted of murder was 20 and had graduated from a high school the public investment for that alone is at least $120,000. If his family qualified for ADC and other social services the total investment could easily approach or exceed $300,000.

If he had several prior contacts with the criminal justice system at the serious misdemeanor level or felony offense class their accumulative costs could be rather substantial.

A total failure of criminal justice system is unacceptable, but that does not mean it works very well. If you overload the entire system there will be shortcuts (plea bargaining is only one example). The difference between a "high profile defendant" and an ordinary defendant is proof by demonstration that the system should be called the "Criminal Injustice System".

What drives the system are demands for retribution and public safety. Only the wealthy have much of a chance at getting justice.

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