The Habits of Legality: Criminal Justice and the Rule of Law

By Francis A. Allen | Go to book overview

Preface

The purpose of this book is to contribute to a holistic view of criminal justice as it exists in late twentieth-century America, by measuring its institutional performance against the requirements of the rule-of-law concept. The discussion does not seek novelty either in the liberal values asserted or in the data considered. The values are not new. They were given expression near the beginning of the modern era in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; the legality principle, itself, is one of the most notable products of the liberal revolution of that time. Liberalism, as Learned Hand once suggested, is less a social program or a system of thought than a frame of mind.1 In modern America, support for liberal values is not robust; the frame of mind is ambiguous and sometimes hostile. As argued in the discussion that follows, attenuation of support in the areas of criminal justice is in significant part a product of certain intellectual currents in the universities, on the one hand, and, on the other, widespread popular attitudes inspired by the perception and reality of epidemic criminality in the United States. It is my hope that identifying and reasserting the importance of the historic values may serve useful purposes in these times.

The content of this volume, revised and somewhat ex

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1
Letter from Judge Hand to Honorable Charles Fremont Amidon ( Feb. 24, 1928), quoted in part in G. GUNTHER, LEARNED HAND: THE MAN AND THE JUDGE 443 ( 1994).

-vii-

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The Habits of Legality: Criminal Justice and the Rule of Law
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xi
  • 1 - The Intellectual Environment of Legality 3
  • 2 - The Institutional Environment of Legality 27
  • 3 - The Structural Impediments to Legality 57
  • 4 - Summation 94
  • Notes 101
  • Index 149
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