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February 20, 2016

"Criminal Justice and (a) Catholic Conscience"

The title of this post is the title of this intriguing new article authored by Leo E. Strine Jr., the current Chief Justice of the Delaware Supreme Court, and now available via SSRN. Here is the abstract:

This article is one person's reflections on how an important influence on his own sense of moral values — Jesus Christ — affects his thinking about his own approach to his role as a public official in a secular society, using the vital topic of criminal justice as a focal point.  This article draws several important lessons from Christ's teachings about the concept of the other that are relevant to issues of criminal justice.

Using Catholicism as a framework, this article addresses, among other things, capital punishment and denying the opportunity for redemption; the problem of racial disparities in the criminal justice system; the problem of over-incarceration of poor defendants through the use of money bail; the problem of ever increasing mandatory minimums and a sprawling criminal code; and the need to improve the relationship between and the effectiveness of police in protecting communities of color.  Finally, the article reminds us that Christ requires compassion and respect for all, and that any reasoned discussion of criminal justice must accord respect, empathy, and compassion to those victimized by crime, and those who do the tough job of law enforcement and corrections.

February 20, 2016 at 10:10 PM | Permalink


This is the text of a lecture Justice Stine gave at Santa Clara, and I had the privilege of having breakfast with him on campus. If you ever have the chance to chat with him, you should take it. He is a very learned, compassionate, and plainspoken guy, someone who really sees himself as a public servant in the truest sense of the word.

Posted by: W. David Ball | Feb 20, 2016 10:38:30 PM

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