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The Machinery of Criminal Justice Hardcover – February 28, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-0195374681 ISBN-10: 0195374681 Edition: 1st
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Editorial Reviews


"In The Machinery of Criminal Justice, author Stephanos Bibas presents a bold and inspiring vision of what criminal justice and the punishment imposed in its name can and should be about. Criminal justice is ideally the process, and punishment ideally the vehicle, through which wronged and wrongdoer restore the bond they once shared. Restoration, not retribution or deterrence, is the rock upon which Bibas builds."
--Stephen P. Garvey, Professor of Law, Cornell Law School

"The Machinery of Criminal Justice is an exceptional volume that gives us the big picture on a scholarly subject too often hobbled by technical focus and narrow thinking. Always accessible and always interesting, Bibas asks some hard questions and gives some creative answers. Common morality, lay justice, mercy, re-integrative punishment - these are the issues at the cutting edge of today's crime policy debates, but Bibas shows us that they are also the historical roots of American criminal justice."
--Paul H. Robinson, Colin S. Diver Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania,
author, with Michael Cahill, of Law Without Justice

"Th[e] embrace of populism as a counterweight to expertise sets Bibas apart. The academics and professionals who work in criminal justice routinely look for ways to insulate criminal punishment from popular passions; they hope to take advantage of specialized professional insights. Bibas offers a bracing challenge to this received expert wisdom."
--Ronald Wright, Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Book Review

"Through a series of articles spanning more than a decade, Professor Stephanos Bibas has proven himself a bold and penetrating critic of America's system of criminal procedure. His theme has been the gap between the morality embodied in our substantive criminal law and the morality (or, perhaps more accurately, the lack thereof) embodied in our procedural rules and practices. This theme now gets its fullest exposition in his provocative new book, The Machinery of Criminal Justice."
-- Michael M. O'Hear, University of Pennsylvania Law Review Online

"His vision is a powerful one, he defends it with clarity and grace, and every idea he expresses is capable of starting an important conversation."
--Andrew Taslitz, Jotwell

About the Author

Stephanos Bibas is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he specializes in criminal procedure. As director of Penn's Supreme Court Clinic, he also litigates a wide array of cases before the Supreme Court of the United States. After graduating from Yale Law School and clerking at the Supreme Court, he worked as a federal prosecutor in New York City, where he prosecuted a wide array of criminal cases. He successfully investigated, prosecuted, and convicted the world's leading expert in Tiffany stained glass for hiring a grave robber to loot priceless Tiffany windows from tombs in cemeteries, winning an FBI award for outstanding performance. He has published widely on plea bargaining, sentencing, and how criminal procedure could better serve the substantive moral goals of the criminal law.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (February 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195374681
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195374681
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.1 x 6.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,749,888 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It was a personal experience that drove me to an obsessive interest in our legal system. The system that is described by Bibas is so true to life, it brought tears to my eyes that my view of this system was no naive, as with most Americans. I have become an advocate for overhauling our system that is so broken and filled with corruption. The blueprint that Bibas lays out in this work is a good starting point for our lawmakers to use as we begin a revolution in getting back to the spirit of justice that was envisioned by our forefathers. Equality for ALL persons, and a system that is run by and for the people.
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Format: Hardcover
Bibas is among the very best American criminal justice scholars writing today, and this book sums up and extends much of his critical and insightful work on the transformation of the American criminal process into a assembly line system that puts a premium on low-cost convictions at a price not only to defendants (and to the accuracy of both convictions and sentences) but also to victims and, ultimately, he argues, democracy. One hears in this book Bibas' distinctive voice and strongest arguments that the criminal process has gone wrong in large part because because it has been taken over by professionals--judges, prosecutors and other lawyers--who have displaced a more democratic possibility for the system with meaningful roles for lay people as witnesses, victims and jurors. The book is great combination of a passionately argued point of view and in depth scholarly knowledge about the law, practice and consequences of U.S. criminal justice.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a brilliant and important contribution to our understanding of criminal justice. Bibas maps the transformation of criminal law from a community-based, justice-oriented enterprise to one dominated by professionals and devoted to efficiency. He also outlines the road back.
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