Chapter 10: Law’s Techniques

The chapter opens with an article by Herman Goldstein that illustrates the complexity of the various functions the police are to carry out. It relates to issues concerning policy changes in how to respond to different cases, such as domestic violence cases. It also talks about the role of police discretion and how much and when discretion should be used by the police. Goldstein also mentions not merely police, but rather the entire criminal justice system, meaning that the police constitute only a part of the entire justice system. This implies that one change somewhere in the system will affect the entire system, and possibly not in the intended way, which policymakers do not always take into account. Goldstein concludes that the police should use discretion rather than a “one size fits all” response in order to effectively work in a democratic and complex society.

The second article by Jackie Campbell offers a look into the relationship between police and minorities. Campbell illustrates that minorities are treated very differently, many times unfairly, and that petit apartheid exists in mass quantities. She observed numerous cases in which the Fourth Amendment was violated in respect to minority cases and the citizen was not aware that what the police officer was doing wrong. When Campbell decided to go against these commonplace practices, she was ostracized from the police community. This article was actually very informative and interesting.

The cases in this chapter had a lot to do with Fourth Amendment rights. In general, the courts favored the police and it was determined that the right against search and seizure was not violated and that officers were permitted to protect themselves. However, in Brown v. Texas the defendant won because it was determined that the Fourth Amendment rights were violated because he was seized.

The chapter ends with an essay on interstate travel by Todd B. Tatelman. Since September 11th, regulations have been put on various forms of travel for safety. The question remains whether searches and other rules violate rights, such as the right to travel. However, as it stands now, the regulations will be staying because they have yet to infringe upon certain rights.

Basically, this chapter just relates that the techniques that the law uses are not perfect. Police have a long way to come in carrying out their various functions in society. One of the main problems is that society is constantly changing, especially in the context of technology. No case is alike, and yet not every case is unique. So how are the police and lawmakers supposed to figure it all out? There is no set answer except that they must adapt to every case as needed and have a responsibility to protect citizens, but also to respect the rights of everyone.

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