Crime and the Courts

June 20, 1929

Report Outline
English and American Criminal Procedure
Crime in the United States
The Criminal and the Machinery of Justice
Reforms in Criminal Procedure
Special Focus

Leaders of American public opinion have long been conscious of the need for changes in the machinery of justice and law enforcement. In general, they have asserted: 1. that progress in the administration of justice in the United States has not kept pace with the nation's rapid advance in other branches of activity; 2. that faulty administration of justice has contributed to bringing the law into contempt, and 3. that the country's attitude of lawlessness is reflected in a variety of forms, particularly in the high crime rate. Dean Roscoe Pound of the Harvard Law School has summed up current criticism of the backwardness of legal institutions as follows:

“American law was formative at a time when it took Washington twelve days to ride from Philadelphia to Cambridge in an emergency. Our legal institutions belong to an era when General Grant took nine days to travel by river boat, canal and rail from Ohio to West Point…In short, transportation and communication have made of the land one vast overgrown hetrogeneous community, but our legal institutions speak from the time of small self-sufficient local communities.”

As far back as the 80s, Grover Cleveland noted and deplored the “open criticism of the decisions of the courts which, all at once, has become fashionable.” William Howard Taft said, at the Yale Law School commencement in June 1905:

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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Feb. 10, 2017  Forensic Science Controversies
Feb. 05, 2016  Restorative Justice
Jan. 30, 2015  Central American Gangs
Aug. 29, 2014  Transnational Crime
Aug. 09, 2013  Sexual Assault in the Military
Oct. 26, 2012  Mexico's Future
Apr. 20, 2012  Criminal Records and Employment
Apr. 19, 2011  Honor Killings
Sep. 2010  Crime in Latin America
Jul. 16, 2010  Gangs in the U.S.
Jul. 17, 2009  Examining Forensics
Apr. 17, 2009  Wrongful Convictions Updated
Feb. 08, 2008  Fighting Crime
Oct. 11, 2002  Corporate Crime
Apr. 04, 1997  Declining Crime Rates
Dec. 10, 1982  Arson: America's Most Costly Crime
May 07, 1982  Helping Victims of Crime
Mar. 13, 1981  Violent Crime's Return to Prominence
Jul. 15, 1977  Crime Reduction: Reality or Illusion
Jan. 19, 1972  Crime of Rape
Jan. 22, 1969  Street Crime in America
Jan. 17, 1968  Burglary Prevention
Sep. 22, 1965  Compensation for Victims of Crime
Feb. 17, 1965  Criminal Justice and Crime Control
Oct. 18, 1961  Control of City Crime
Jun. 20, 1929  Crime and the Courts
Crime and Law Enforcement
Criminal Law Procedure and Due Process