Chapter 23: Crime and the Government

Chapter 23: Crime and the Government

The Role of the Government

Crime and the Federal Government

Summary of the American Bar Association’s Report on the Federalization of Criminal Law Highly critical report of the increasing number of federal crimes.
Small v. U.S. (2005) A 5–3 U.S. Supreme Court case interpreting the meaning of the words “in any court.”
The Case of the Speluncean Explorers: Nine New Opinions Excerpts from a book by Peter Suber that uses a famous fictitious legal case to illustrate nine contemporary philosophies of law.
What Can the Federal Government Do To Decrease Crime and Revitalize Communities? (PDF file) This 1998 publication includes the opinions of several criminal justice experts who have examined Federal criminal justice assistance over the past three decades. (National Institute of Justice)

Federal Policy: The Patriot Act

beSpacific: Patriot Act Archives A legal web log’s links to current and past information on the Patriot Act.
USA PATRIOT Act Sunset: Provisions That Expire on December 31, 2005 (PDF file) A Congressional Research Service report. (Library of Congress)
USA Patriot Act (PDF file) The text of the Patriot Act. (FindLaw)
Statement of U.S. Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales Before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, April 5, 2005 The attorney general argues in favor of reauthorizing the Patriot Act. Also here.
A University of Washington law professor argues against the reauthorization of the Patriot Act in two articles (Findlaw):

The Proposal to Reauthorize and Expand Parts of the USA PATRIOT Act: Why It’s Unnecessary and, in Some Respects, Dangerous
The Important But Flawed USA Patriot Act: Why Congress Should Allow Certain Provisions to Expire This Year

Electronic Frontier Foundation: The USA Patriot Act A collection of materials from a group that opposes the Patriot Act.
Electronic Privacy Information Center: The USA Patriot Act A collection of materials from another group that opposes the Patriot Act.
ACLU: USA Patriot Act Another site from an opponent of the Patriot Act. Patriot Act News A collection of the latest news stories on the Patriot Act.
PBS Online NewsHour:

Background Report: The USA Patriot Act
President Bush Signs Anti-Terrorism Bill (10/26/2001)
The Patriot Act (2/24/2003)
Too Tough? (6/5/2003)
Libraries and Liberties (6/18/2003)
Considering the Patriot Act (8/19/2003)
Security vs. Liberties (9/11/2003)
Patriot Act (4/6/2005)
Renewing the Patriot Act (4/5/2005)
Patriot Act (4/6/2005)
Liberty and Security (6/16/2005)
Renewing the Patriot Act (7/19/2005)
Renewing the Patriot Act (7/21/2005)
New Patriot Act Questions (11/7/2005)

Federal Policy: Gun Control

Gun Laws, Gun Control, and Gun Rights A resource for individuals on all sides in the controversy over the legal status of guns in the United States. It includes cases, laws, news stories, articles, statistics, and links. (Jurist: The Legal Education Network)
Polling Report: Guns Opinion polls on gun-control measures, gun ownership, and other issues about guns.
Justice Learning: Gun Control Resources for teachers and students about issues surrounding gun control. (New York Times and NPR)
Guns and Violence A medical doctor argues against gun control. (Association of American Physicians and Surgeons)
A Well-Regulated Militia A 1996 article by Gene Garman examining the historical background of the Second Amendment.
Gun Owners of America A prominent gun lobby in Washington.
National Rifle Association (NRA) The most famous pro-gun organization in the United States.
Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence An organization that works to enact gun-control legislation, but does not seek to ban guns.
The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence A prominent organization advocating strict gun-control measures and a ban on the sale and possession of assault weapons.
Violence Policy Center An organization that advocates banning the personal possession of handguns.
Fact Sheet: Handguns Information favoring the enactment of federal, state and local gun-control laws. (American Public Health Association)
Gun Control Links to law reviews and other articles by UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh, who interprets the Second Amendment as an individual right to bear arms.
The Gun-Control Debate Links to three classic articles on gun violence: “Thinking About Crime,” “Second Thoughts on the Second Amendment,” and “The Story of a Gun.” (Atlantic Monthly)
Exploring Constitutional Conflicts: The Right to Bear Arms? An overview of the issue, questions to consider, and links to resources and court cases.
Issue in Depth: Gun Control Articles on gun-control issues. (New York Times)
Reducing Youth Gun Violence: An Overview of Programs and Initiatives (Text) (PDF) A 1996 report. (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention).
Hot Guns A report on cheap handguns, their makers, and the illicit handgun market. (PBS Frontline)
Gun Control vs. Gun Rights An analysis of a gun control issue. (
Articles by John R. Lott Jr., who strongly opposes gun control:

Now We’re Getting Somewhere: A Silver Lining in a Gun Ban
Confirming More Guns, Less Crime
The Cure for Multiple Shootings

Taking Aim A roundtable discussion of President Clinton’s 1998 executive order banning the import of over 50 types of foreign-made assault weapons. (PBS Online NewsHour)
Brady Act The text of the Brady Act, an important gun-control law.
Printz v. U.S. (1997) A Supreme Court case ruling unconstitutional portions of the Brady Act.
U.S. v. Miller (1939) The only U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Second Amendment in the 20th century.
Yahoo Full Coverage: Gun Control Debate News.

An Attack on Crime: The State Level

U.S. Sheriff Departments Links to sheriff departments across the nation.
Directory of State Patrol and State Police Links to these police agencies.
Yahoo Directory: Local Police Departments Links to local police and sheriff departments.
Fighting Crime in the Trenches Testimony before a committee of the House of Representatives from a mayor, a prosecutor, and a police commissioner who have had great success in fighting crime at the local level.

The New Role of State Supreme Courts

California v. Greenwood (1988) U.S. Supreme Court case holding that people have no right to privacy in items left on the curb for trash collectors.
Privacy of Garbage Discussion of California v. Greenwood and State v. Hempele.
Washington v. Boland (1990) A ruling by the Supreme Court of Washington that the state of Washington’s constitution gives people a right to privacy in items that leave for trash collection.
Vermont v. Morris (1996) A ruling by the Vermont Supreme Court that held that under the state constitution there was a right to privacy in items left for trash.
New Hampshire v. Goss (2003) A decision by the Supreme Court of New Hampshire that the state’s constitution protects the right to privacy of items left for trash collection.

The Color of Justice

Race and America’s Justice System A commentary by Vincent Schiraldi, director of the Justice Policy Institute.
Links on Race and the Criminal Justice System Links to articles and studies. (
Sentencing Project reports:

Racial Disparity in Sentencing: A Review of the Literature (2005) (PDF file)
State Rates of Incarceration by Race (2004) (PDF file)
The Crisis of the Young African American Male and the Criminal Justice System (1999) (PDF file)

Prevalence of Imprisonment in the U.S. Population, 1974–2001 A report that includes projections by age, gender, race, and Hispanic origin of the likelihood of incarceration for persons born in 2001, assuming current incarceration rates continue.
Disproportionate incarceration of African Americans for drug offenses in the U.S. (PDF file) A 2004 research report. (Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority)
Justice on Trial: Racial Disparities in the American Criminal Justice System An online book on the disparate treatment of minorities. Chapters include: race and the police; race and prosecutorial discretion; race, sentencing and the “Tough on Crime” movement; willful judicial blindness; race and the juvenile system; the consequences of too little justice; and 10 recommendations. (National Institute of Corrections)
United States of America: Death by Discrimination A 2003 report on the continuing role of race in capital cases. (Amnesty International)
McCleskey v. Kemp (1987) U.S. Supreme Court case ruling that statistical studies were not enough to prove racial discrimination in an individual case.
Black Skin, White Justice: Race Matters in the Criminal Justice System A curricular unit designed for grades 9–12 that explores the significance of race in the criminal justice system. (Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute)



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