Rape and the Culture of the Courtroom

Author: Andrew E. Taslitz
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 9780814782293
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
Download Now
Rape law reform has been a stunning failure. Defense lawyers persist in emphasizing victims' characters over defendants' behavior. Reform's goals of increasing rape report and conviction rates have generally not been achieved. In Rape and the Culture of the Courtroom, Andrew Taslitz locates the cause of rape reform failure in the language lawyers use, and the cultural stories upon which they draw to dominate rape victims in the courtroom. Cultural stories about rape, Taslitz argues, such as the provocatively dressed woman "asking for it," are at the root of many unconscious prejudices that determine jury views. He connects these stories with real-life examples, such as the Mike Tyson and Glen Ridge rape trials, to show how rape stereotypes are used by defense lawyers to gain acquittals for their clients. Building on Deborah Tannen's pathbreaking research on the differences between male and female speech, Taslitz also demonstrates how word choice, tone, and other lawyers' linguistic tactics work to undermine the confidence and the credibility of the victim, weakening her voice during the trial. Taslitz provides politically realistic reform proposals, consistent with feminist theories of justice, which promise to improve both the adversary system in general and the way that the system handles rape cases.

Mixed Race America and the Law

Author: Kevin R. Johnson
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 0814742572
Format: PDF
Download Now
This ground-breaking anthology examines the mixed race experience and the impact of law on mixed race citizens in America.

America s Colony

Author: Pedro A Malavet
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 0814756808
Format: PDF, Mobi
Download Now
Everyone eats, but rarely do we ask why or investigate why we eat what we eat. Why do we love spices, sweets, coffee? How did rice become such a staple food throughout so much of eastern Asia? Everyone Eats examines the social and cultural reasons for our food choices and provides an explanation of the nutritional reasons for why humans eat, resulting in a unique cultural and biological approach to the topic. E. N. Anderson explains the economics of food in the globalization era, food's relationship to religion, medicine, and ethnicity as well as offers suggestions on how to end hunger, starvation, and malnutrition. Everyone Eats feeds our need to understand human ecology by explaining the ways that cultures and political systems structure the edible environment.

Discrimination by Default

Author: Lu-in Wang
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 0814795064
Format: PDF, Kindle
Download Now
Much as we “select” computer settings by default—reflexively, without thinking, and sometimes without realizing there are other options—we often discriminate by default as well. And just as default computer settings tend to become locked in or entrenched as the standard, discrimination by default creates a situation in which disparate outcomes are expected, accepted, and taken for granted. The killing of Amadou Diallo, racial disparities in medical care, the dominance of Whites and men in certain professions, and even the uneven media attention paid to crimes depending on their victims’ race and class, all might be cases of discrimination by, or as, default. Wang contends that, today, most discrimination occurs by default and not design, making legal prohibitions that focus on those who discriminate out of ill will inadequate to redress the largest share of modern discrimination. She draws on social psychology to detail three ways in which unconscious assumptions can lead to discrimination, showing how they play out in a range of everyday settings. Wang then demonstrates how these dynamics interact in medical care to produce an invisible, self-fulfilling, and self-perpetuating prophecy of racial disparity. She goes on to suggest ways in which institutions and individuals might recognize, interrupt, and override the discriminatory default.

Murder and the Reasonable Man

Author: Cynthia Lee
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 0814765149
Format: PDF, ePub
Download Now
A man murders his wife after she has admitted her infidelity; another man kills an openly gay teammate after receiving a massage; a third man, white, goes for a jog in a “bad” neighborhood, carrying a pistol, and shoots an African American teenager who had his hands in his pockets. When brought before the criminal justice system, all three men argue that they should be found “not guilty”; the first two use the defense of provocation, while the third argues he used his gun in self-defense. Drawing upon these and similar cases, Cynthia Lee shows how two well-established, traditional criminal law defenses—the doctrines of provocation and self-defense—enable majority-culture defendants to justify their acts of violence. While the reasonableness requirement, inherent in both defenses, is designed to allow community input and provide greater flexibility in legal decision-making, the requirement also allows majority-culture defendants to rely on dominant social norms, such as masculinity, heterosexuality, and race (i.e., racial stereotypes), to bolster their claims of reasonableness. At the same time, Lee examines other cases that demonstrate that the reasonableness requirement tends to exclude the perspectives of minorities, such as heterosexual women, gays and lesbians, and persons of color. Murder and the Reasonable Man not only shows how largely invisible social norms and beliefs influence the outcomes of certain criminal cases, but goes further, suggesting three tentative legal reforms to address problems of bias and undue leniency. Ultimately, Lee cautions that the true solution lies in a change in social attitudes.

Why Lawsuits are Good for America

Author: Carl T. Bogus
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 0814737943
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
Download Now
Judging by the frequency with which it makes an appearance in television news shows and late night stand up routines, the frivolous lawsuit has become part and parcel of our national culture. A woman sues McDonald’s because she was scalded when she spilled her coffee. Thousands file lawsuits claiming they were injured by Agent Orange, silicone breast implants, or Bendectin although scientists report these substances do not cause the diseases in question. The United States, conventional wisdom has it, is a hyperlitigious society, propelled by avaricious lawyers, harebrained judges, and runaway juries. Lawsuits waste money and time and, moreover, many are simply groundless. Carl T. Bogus is not so sure. In Why Lawsuits Are Good for America, Bogus argues that common law works far better than commonly understood. Indeed, Bogus contends that while the system can and occasionally does produce “wrong” results, it is very difficult for it to make flatly irrational decisions. Blending history, theory, empirical data, and colorful case studies, Bogus explains why the common law, rather than being outdated, may be more necessary than ever. As Bogus sees it, the common law is an essential adjunct to governmental regulation—essential, in part, because it is not as easily manipulated by big business. Meanwhile, big business has launched an all out war on the common law. “Tort reform”—measures designed to make more difficult for individuals to sue corporations—one of the ten proposals in the Republican Contract With America, and George W. Bush’s first major initiative as Governor of Texas. And much of what we have come to believe about the system comes from a coordinated propaganda effort by big business and its allies. Bogus makes a compelling case for the necessity of safeguarding the system from current assaults. Why Lawsuits Are Good for America provides broad historical overviews of the development of American common law, torts, products liability, as well as fresh and provocative arguments about the role of the system of “disciplined democracy” in the twenty-first century.

Lawyers Ethics and the Pursuit of Social Justice

Author: Susan D. Carle
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 9780814716397
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
Download Now
Susan D. Carle centers this collection of texts on the premise that legal ethics should be far more than a set of rules on professional responsibility.

Saving Our Children from the First Amendment

Author: Kevin W. Saunders
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 0814786936
Format: PDF, Mobi
Download Now
The First Amendment is vital to our political system, our cultural institutions, and our routine social interactions with others. In this provocative book, Kevin Saunders asserts that freedom of expression can be very harmful to our children, making it more likely that they will be the perpetrators or victims of violence, will grow up as racists, or will use alcohol or tobacco. Saving Our Children from the First Amendment examines both the value and cost of free expression in America, demonstrating how an unregulated flow of information can be detrimental to youth. While the great value of the First Amendment is found in its protection of our most important political freedoms, this is far more significant for adults, who can fully grasp and benefit from the freedom of expression, than for children. Constitutional prohibitions on distributing sexual materials to children, Saunders proposes, should be expanded to include violent, vulgar, or profane materials, as well as music that contains hate speech. Saunders offers an insightful meditation on the problem of protecting our children from the negative effects of freedom of expression without curtailing First Amendment rights for adults.