By Samuel Walker
It's a truism that the management of felony justice involves a chain of discretionary judgements through police, prosecutors, judges, and different officers. Taming the System is a heritage of the forty-year attempt to manage the discretion. It examines the discretion challenge from the preliminary ''discovery'' of the phenomenon by way of the yankee Bar origin within the Fifties via to the latest review examine on reform measures. of large price to students, reformers, and legal justice execs, this publication ways the discretion challenge via a close exam of 4 selection issues: policing, bail atmosphere, plea bargaining, and sentencing. In a box which mostly produces short-ranged ''evaluation research,'' this learn, in taking a much wider technique, distinguishes among the position of administrative our bodies (the police) and evaluates the longer-term tendencies and the winning reforms in felony justice historical past.
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Extra resources for Taming the System: The Control of Discretion in Criminal Justice, 1950-1990
The robbery suspect can be arrested and charged with larceny, the rape suspect with assault, and so on. The officer's decision is heavily influenced by the victim's preferences and this, in turn, can be influenced 24 Taming the System by the officer's behavior. 5 Driving a patrol car involves a number of important decisions. Responding to a routine call for service, an officer may decide how quickly to get the scene. Officers have been found to deliberately delay getting to the scene. The high-speed pursuit of fleeing suspects, which can pose serious risks to the officer and innocent bystanders, is a matter that has recently received an enormous amount of attention.
The officer has to apply the policy to the facts: Was there in fact an assault? Was it a felonious assault? How serious is that injury? These questions go to the heart of matter in the effort to control discretion: no matter how precisely worded a policy might be, at some point, an official has to apply that policy to the facts and make a decision. Ultimately, there is no escaping discretion. The fact that nearly all domestic violence incidents occur in private further complicates control efforts.
Discretion and Its Discontents 19 the principal source of rules. This point has important empirical and political implications and deserves further comment. Many Americans, but especially civil libertarians, liberals, and constitutional scholars of all persuasions, are transfixed by the Supreme Court. To a great extent, we are still living in the shadow of the Warren Court (1953-1968), which played such a dramatic role in expanding the scope of individual rights in this country. From our perspective, the Supreme Court is only one potential source of rules designed to protect individual rights.