Relations between the Federal and State Courts

By Mitchell Wendell | Go to book overview

PART II
ACCESS TO THE FEDERAL COURTS

INTRODUCTORY NOTE

WE Americans pride ourselves on being law-abiding citizens, and most of us are. Yet there is no denying that standards of good conduct vary somewhat from community to community across the country. One town is known as an example of clean living, while another gains an unwanted notoriety because of a flourishing "red light" district. There are many reasons for this phenomenon, most of them buried in the economic and social fabric of local neighborhoods. But the adequacy of public law enforcement also has something to do with the complexion of a community.

Some police forces are known for their zeal and efficiency; a few are reputed to be riddled with corruption; while some are merely lackadaisical in their attitude toward the performance of their duty. In so far as police methods can deal with either the causes or manifestations of lawlessness, this uneven administration of justice probably goes far to explain observable differences in local communities.

People interested in public order are naturally troubled when poor enforcement officers help to encourage imperfect observance of the law, but all they can do is voice their indignation and hope that an aroused opinion will force a change. A man who is not satisfied with the local constabulary cannot ask the

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