Democracy in the Court

Albert W. Dzur

in Punishment, Participatory Democracy, and the Jury

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199874095
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199980024 | DOI:

Series: Studies in Penal Theory and Philosophy

Democracy in the Court

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As demonstrated in the previous chapter, a core strand of political thought emphasizes citizen attentiveness and attachment to the law as stabilizing and legitimating forces. To develop these points in the contemporary criminal justice context, this chapter draws on Duff’s normative theory of the trial, which shows meaningful punishment to require attentiveness and attachment in the form of moral deliberation, emotional connection, and communication. Closely related is the critique of professional distance between courts, victims, offenders, and communities offered by Braithwaite, Christie, and other restorative justice proponents who seek informal participation to reconnect to communities. The jury, underutilized today and overlooked by restorative justice advocates, is a tool for fostering public moral deliberation inside and outside the courtroom. This chapter makes clear, however, that the co-creation of justice and co-responsibility for punishment fostered by the jury as a force of rational disorganization are different from the politicized courtroom imagined by nullification proponents. The participatory democratic courtroom advocated here may foster ambivalence but not distrust regarding officials and it demands attention to individual cases and attachment to real human beings, not ideology.

Keywords: Braithwaite; Christie; communication; courts; Duff; jury nullification; offenders; public deliberation; restorative justice; victims

Chapter.  8898 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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