Justice for the Poor: A Study of Criminal Defense Work

Ashgate, 2003 - 153 páginas
In this study, the author examines the behavior of one group of court-appointed defense attorneys and reaches the conclusion that although, in contrast to popular opinion, these attorneys maintain an adversarial stance against the prosecutors and behave in a legally ethical (or 'procedurally just') manner, case outcomes are unduly shaped by social class and are therefore substantively unjust. This occurs because poor defendents typically lack cultural rhetoric that favorably influences those who construct and operate the criminal court system. Ironically, this indicates that, in many cases, the process of plea bargaining may be more substantively just than trials. A major contribution of the study is the detailed analysis of the manner by which oppression and substantive injustice occur in the adjudication of many cases and how the cultural practices of the powerful can frequently misconstrue, exclude and mute the voices of the poor.

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