Criminal Justice

Power and Leadership

Power motivation is often referred to the “reasons, intentions, and objectives that underline the use of power” (Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012).  Studies showed that the motivations of many leaders culminate into 3 categories (Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012) The first is a socialized power motivation, or high achievement motivation, which has leaders in law enforcing working/seeking to leave a positive impact on the department’s operations as well as administration (Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012).  The second motivation is called personal power needs, or a high power, which is basically the desire to be in control and the reasons for this motivation are often selfish (Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012). The final motivation is affiliation needs, which is a “desire to be liked and accepted” (Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012). This as a motivation is debatable as it puts a stronger forces on acceptance rather than impacting events (Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012).

Basically a Leadership Skill Mix is a breakdown of a law enforcing department and the skills associated with each level(Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012).  The three skills are: 1) human relations, which involve the capacity to interact/engage with other people and levels in a positive way, 2) conceptual, which is having the ability to understand ant to interrelate various parcels of information whether unrelated or not immediately necessary, and 3) technical skills (Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012). Technical skills tend to vary greatly depending on which level of the department is being looked at. The skills can include budgeting, management, planning and decision making (Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012).

There are three models to the decision making theory that are said to be the most basic in the majority of literature (Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012). Rational model revolves around the idea of economic initiatives; we must work harder to obtain the chance to make  more money(Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012) There are 3 assumptions regarding this model: 1) that a person has complete knowledge of all the alternatives available to him/her, 2) that a person has the ability to order preferences according to his/her hierarchy, and 3) that a person has the ability to choose the best alternative (Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012). The second mode is the incremental model, which actually a modification to the rational model (Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012).  This was due to Lindbolm citing that the limiting political factors involved in department administration prevented the model from being “rational,” but has the department take a “series of incremental steps” to ensure the safety of the department and the public (Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012). Thirdly, there is the heuristic model, or the “gut-level model,” where the “crucial element of humanism in decision making” comes into play (Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012). This approach has been criticized for its simplicity and being nonscientific, as it put a firm focus on emotion rather than logic and reasoning (Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012).

When making a decision regarding ethical issues, there are several steps that need to taken. First, an ethical issue has to recognize and acknowledged (Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012). When doing so decision makers look to see the possible damage to individuals as well as the community (Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012). The second step is to ensure the facts are checked; making sure that they are relevant to the problem at hand (Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012).  Next, the decision makers must decide if “individual or groups have an important stake in the outcome” (Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012).After evaluating the steps and everything involved, the decision makers then can act on their decision.

Works Cited:

Swanson, Charles R., Territo, Leonard, Taylor, Robert W. (2012) Police Administration: Structures, Processes, and Behaviors. (8th) Prentice Hall. Upper Saddle River, NJ.




Juvenile Landmark Cases

Damian Anderson

Professor Virginia Jeronimus

Socio 331

14 May 2016

Land Mark Cases

            Every court system can be altered and changed forever passed on a single case. We have seen this through the years with many cases such as Arizona v. Miranda where the reading one’s rights was established; the appropriately named Miranda Rights. The juvenile justice system is no different as there are a number of cases that have changed proceeding and how juveniles are to be handled in the court system.

In 1899 the Illinois Juvenile Court Act was passed. This was due to the work from the Child Saving Movement where the activist called for governmental intervention with acts with children in regards to drinking and other activities (Siegel, Welsh, 465). These were originally handled privately by the family but it became a high concern.  The Illinois Juvenile Court Act established a separate court system for juveniles under the age of 16 (Siegel, Welsh, 474).  The legislature also allowed the juveniles to be “committed to institutions and reform program under the control of the state” (Siegel, Welsh, 474). Key provision of this act included the following: special procedures were developed to govern the adjudication of the juvenile matters, children were to be separated from adults in courts and in institutional programs, and that probation programs were to be developed to assist the courts in making decision in the best interests of the state and child (Siegel, Welsh, 474).

A key landmark case regarding juvenile court system is the case of Graham v. Flordia. Prior to 2010 juveniles could face sentences such as life without parole even fi the crime wasn’t a homicide. This changed in Graham v. Florida when the state ruled that it was a violation of the eighth amendment (Three Supreme Court Cases That Have Shaped Juvenile Justice, PBS). The eight amendment rules that cruel and unusual punishment as unconstitutional.  It should be noted at not all states have followed Florida’s example.

Another important case was of Roper v. Simmons. This was actually a monumental case as it reversed a 1989 court decision which allowed youth under the age of 16 to either life in prison or the death penalty (Three Supreme Court Cases That Have Shaped Juvenile Justice, PBS). In Roper v. Simmons it was as unconstitutional, due to the eighth amendment once again, to sentence a youth under the age of 16 to either of those sentences (Three Supreme Court Cases That Have Shaped Juvenile Justice, PBS).

PBS also mentions the case of Miller v. Alabama, which resembles the previous two cases. This case in 2012 rules that sentencing someone under the age of 18 to life without parole sentences (Three Supreme Court Cases That Have Shaped Juvenile Justice, PBS). This ruling established a requirement for the judge to consider the age of the offender prior to sentencing sentences (Three Supreme Court Cases That Have Shaped Juvenile Justice, PBS). Once again the Eighth Amendment plays a role.

A more daunting court decision came in 1966. The case above are consideration for the juvenile offender, however this ruling concerns the safety of the community. In 1966 the case of Kent v. United States ruled that a juvenile could be tried as an adult after considering the severity of the crime, the offender’s age, and the offender’s criminal history (Jacobs, 10 Supreme Court Cases Every Teen Should Know).

These are predominantly best known cases, and the ones that have had the biggest effect on the modern day juvenile justice system. As time goes on, there will be more landmark case that will change proceedings. These cases will stir up controversy as these did. But in the end, the courts have to focus on what is best for both juveniles and the communities that they reside.

Works Cited:

Siegel, Larry J., Welsh, Brandon C. Juvenile Delinquency: Theory Practice and Law. Cengage Learning. 2015. Print

Jacobs, Tom. 10 Supreme Cases Every Teen Should Know. NY Times. Web.

PBS. Three Supreme Court Cases That Have Changed Juvenile Justice. Web.



Restoration Programs for Juveniles

Damian Anderson

Professor Virginia Jeronimus

Soci  331

17, April 2016

Juvenile Restoration Programs

            Restoration programs challenge the idea of the use of punishment towards an offender by introducing methods of rehabilitation between those affects and such reconciliation. Rather than punishing and incarcerating, this system would rather use concepts such as apology and reintegration. Easy to see why such programs may receive criticism from the public who would rather punishment as a means of correction. To better understand the programs there needs to be more detail.

The basic principles of restorative justice include: 1) crime is an offense against human relationships, 2) victim and the community are central to justice process, 3) the first priority of justice processes is to assist victims 4) the second priority is to restore the community to the degree possible, 5) the offender has a personal responsibility to victims and to the community for crimes committed,6) the offender will develop improved competency and understanding as a result of restorative justice experience, and 7) stakeholders share responsibilities for restorative justice through partnership for action (Siegel, Welsh, 195).  Some of the methods used in the modern day restoration programs were inspired by Native American, Native Canadian, European, and Asian communities (Siegel, Welsh, 195). These methods include: negotiation, mediation, consensus building, sentencing circles, sentencing panels, and elder panels (Siegel, Welsh, 195). Within the sentencing circle the offender has an opportunity to express regret concerning actions committed and those attending the sentencing circles can propose way to repair the damage done (Siegel, Welsh, 196). Such a meeting includes a facilitator to keep the meeting going and is, of course, a natural party (Hines, Restoring Juvenile Justice).

In all of this, due process is respected on a volunteer basis and there must be a parent or guardian involved (Hines, Restoring Juvenile Justice). The suggestions of treatment can include Alcohol Anonymous and other substance abuse treatment programs (Siegel, Welsh, 196). There are a number of institutions that support restorative justice programs which include: schools, communities, and even the law enforcement system (Siegel, Welsh, 196). A view does exist that there is a need of balance in providing restoration. The principles according to Balance and Restorative Justice focus on holding offenders accountable to victims, providing competency development for offenders in the system so that they can pursue legitimate endeavors after release, and ensuring community safety (Siegel, Welsh, 196-197). These are essential to ensure offenders aren’t just getting off easy and that there is some progress to be made with the offender.

Though the criticism exists regards restorative justice as a weak approach to justice, success rate are rather high. Even though these programs have only been active for three decades there has been reduced violence, incarceration, recidivism, school suspensions and school expulsions (Eastern Mennonite University, How Effective is Juvenile Justice).  Other documentation show restorative justice lowered “violent re-offending, victim’s desire for revenge, and costs” (Eastern Mennonite University, How Effective is Juvenile Justice).  Concerning monetary payment for damages, Hines reports that restorative justice systems have restitution payments in percentages as high as 90% (Hines, Restoring Juvenile Justice).

With the information provided, restorative justice program has provided an essential service to the justice system. Rather than just punish the offender and be done with the case, this system puts much more work to better support the victim and offender. By restoring a relationship between an offender and a community, there are more opportunities for progress for both parties. They hear each others’ perspectives and learn what damages have occurred and the cost of repairing them. This system has impressive statistics that show it’s improvement in the lives of both individuals and communities.










Works Cited

Seigal, Larry J. and Welsh, Brandon G. Juvenile Delinquency: Theory, Practice and Law. Cengage Learning. 2015. Print

Hines, David J.  Restoring Juvenile Justice. American Bar. Web. 2008

Eastern Mennonite University. How Effective Is Restorative Justice. PeaceMakers. Web. 2009





Justice Clarence Thomas

When deciding on a judge, there only seemed to be one choice and that was Justice Clarence Thomas. Currently, Justice Thomas is the only African American Justice on the United States Supreme court, and in a day that cries and demands for diversity, appeared to be an intriguing fact. How does he rule his decisions and state his opinions? Is there a recollection of his past youth experiences where he was a victim of racism or does he carry a modern conservative view point? Various articles refer to him as a seriously conservative perspective among the Justices.

Justice Thomas was born as one three siblings in Pin Point, Georgia, a community founded by the freed slaves, and thusly was a majority of African American members (Supreme Court Review).  Thomas described Pin Point as smaller than a town and that many necessities weren’t easily accessible. For example, because doctors were so scarce, that when one become sick, they are sick until their death (Supreme Court Review). During his childhood, the family faced several challenges including the abandonment of his father and becoming homeless due to a home fire (Supreme Court Review). Eventually, he and his siblings went to live with their grandparent where they “experienced indoor plumbing and regular meals for the first time” and began attending the Roman Catholic Church (Supreme Court Review).

Justice Thomas credits all of his work ethic, self reliance and educational achievement to his grandfather who own and managed a “fuel and ice delivery business” (Supreme Court).  Upon high school graduation, Justice Thomas pursued priesthood at St. John Vianney Minor Seminary, where he was the only black student and faced forms of racism (Supreme Court Review).  From there he ventured off to Immaculate Conception Seminary in Missouri and then College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts where racism would continue to appear, which lead Justice Thomas to help found the Black Students Union (Supreme Court Review).

During all of this, he questioned the church’s passive view for civil rights (Ovyez). It made no sense that the one institution designed to address the needs of communities, remained silent on such important issues. It wasn’t until the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.  in 1968 where he would drop his studies of priesthood  (ovyez).

It was from this point, his major changed to English Literature and his passion for civil right directed him towards working in law (Ovyez).  He engaged in many political causes and activities including a protest against the war in Vietnam (Biography, 2016). Thomas confessed that he was impacted by aspects of both Malcolm X and the Black Panthers (Cummings, 2005). The irony is that Thomas would’ve likely been drafted to Vietnam if he hadn’t failed a medical examination “due to curvature of the spine” (Supreme Court Review).

Once he graduated from Holy Cross, Thomas ventured off to Yale Law School. There he graduated as middle ground student as well as became a father (Supreme Court Review).  After his law school graduation, he applied and was interviews at various law firms with no success; many of these firm trusted that Thomas only made it into law school based on affirmative action and not on his own merit (Supreme Court Review).

It was the difficulty of the finding employment which  lead  Thomas to his distain towards affirmative action (Oyez).  Cummings (2005) in his paper, “The Sun Don’t Shine Here in This Part of Town”, references that affirmative action can been seen as “reverse racism.” Justice Thomas, concerning the case of  Grutter v. Bollinger, compares affirmative action as a form of racial discrimination. Reason being is that rather than accepting students for their merits schools, in a hope to achieve greater diversity, use affirmative action to generate that diversity (Cummings, 2005). As a response to his own criticism of school’s use of affirmative action, he suggested that schools lower their standard in order to achieve the desired diversity (Cummings, 2005).

Thomas later regretted attending Yale due to the affirmative action allegations and in biography; he stated he felt that he was granted a discount degree for his skin color (Supreme Court Review).  Eventually Thomas returned to Missouri and began working for Attorney General John Danforth, prosecuting both “criminal and civil cases for the state of Missouri” (Supreme Court Review).  In regards to his position there, he referred to it as the best job he ever acquired (Supreme Court Review).  When Danforth became a senator, Thomas went on to be an attorney for Monsanto, an agricultural and pesticide corporation for several years (Biography, 2016).

After leaving Monsanto, Thomas moved to Washington DC where Senator Danforth offered Thomas to be his legislative aid regarding energy issues (Supreme Court Review).  While in Washington D.C., Thomas served as Assistant Secretary of Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education and was even appointed by President Reagan as the Chairman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (Oyez).  After the eight years as Chairman of the EEOC, Thomas was nominated by President Bush in 1989 for a seat in the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (Biography, 2015). This was Thomas’ only time as a judge prior to his nomination to the Supreme Court by President Bush in 1991 (Supreme Court Review).

Justice Thomas was immediately greeted with criticism and negative feedback regarding his appointment to the court. A major factor to the criticism concerns his predecessor, Thurgood Marshall whom was the first African American judge and a polar opposite ofThomas (Doyle, 2015). Thomas brought a strong conservative perspective  to the court replacing the “liberal giant and trailblazer”, and many in the African American Community believed he had not connection with them, going as far to discredit his ethnic pride (Doyle, 2015).

Famous Civil Rights Activists Jesse Jackson referred to Justice Thomas as a betrayal to the heritage of the struggle of civil rights, and Representative Major Owens went as far as making a comparison to Benedict Arnold (Sigelman & Todd, 1992).  Other criticisms sound as if from the mouth of a 3rd grader. For example, some say “Thomas is lazy” due to his lack of questions during the course of oral argument (Doyal, 2015).

The strong conservative values are an easy target by liberal opposers concerning Justice Thomas. He has expressed of possessing libertarian values in addition to his conservatism (Sigelman and Todd, 2005). This would further separate himself from the African American community due to less than 20% of African Americans holding libertarian view (Sigelman and Todd, 2005 ). Perhaps it was his experience of self reliance that attributed to his mixed political mentality, as he saw government not as a solution to his problems but a problem itself (Sigelman and Todd, 20055). Several of his views regarding civil right can be seen as demeaning and practically insulting to opposite party members. He has voted against same sex marriage and argued against the comparison of equal marriage rights to the antimiscegenation laws, as these laws were established due to slavery (On The Issues). His viewpoint on affirmative action was clearly stated earlier, as it discounts and discredits the work and achievements of African Americans (On The Issues).  His memoir, My Grandfather’s Son, furthers his viewpoints such as “black problems should be solved by black” people and that “preferential policies should apply” towards disadvantaged whites (On The Issues).

With being a Supreme Court Justice, Thomas is task with stating and  writing opinions on several cases; in additition to his dissent and concurrences. Many of his case opinions reflect his conservative values. Provided below are several of Thomas court opinions.

In the case of Good News Club v. Milford Middle School, Stephen and Darleen Fournier wished to use the schools grounds to hold a private Christian club. The school denied stating that by doing so violated a community policy due to its appearance to religious worship. The school argued that the school purpose was: 1) the introduction in education, learning, or the arts and 2)social, civic, recreational and entertainment (Legal Information Institute).  In his opinion, Justice Thomas claimed that the school had refused the groups’ right of free speech because of religious discrimination (Supreme Court Review). He also argued that because the group was being held on school grounds that it not threaten, but rather ensure “neutrality towards religion” (Legal Information Institute).

United States v. Madison involved a college freshman whom claimed to be raped my members of the school’s football team. The Court’s decision considered that section of the Violence Against Women’s Act was unconstitutional as it “exceeded congressional power under the Commerce Clause as well as under Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution” (Laws).  Originally the act’s provisions provided civil remedies where violence occurred due to gender discrimination, and that the remedies can still take effect even without charges being filed (Laws).  After one of the students admitted to performing unwanted sexual contact with the victim, punishment intended for the student was discarded by the school’s administration (Laws).  Justice Thomas provided the majority opinion, as well as the concurring opinion “which expressed concern about Congress appropriating state police powers under the name of commerce regulation” (Laws).

In Carter v. United States, Floyd J. Carter with a ski mask covering his face enter a bank and stole $16,000 before escaping the scene to eventually be apprehended by local police officers. During the course of the robbery, Carter forced a customer back inside the bank as she was leaving and he was entering it. Based on these facts he was charged and convicted. He argued, however that he had not used force or intimidation in the robbery and motions of a lesser sentence if convicted, a tactic described in §2113(b) (Legal Information Institute). The court ruled that element of a lesser offence need to be demonstrated by the defendant.  In Thomas’s opinion he referenced Smuck v. United States, which originally established the need to demonstrate the lesser element of the accused crime, by the dependent. The element required by §2113(b) included that there was an specific intention of theft, there was a act of asporation (detachment or carrying aware of property) and that the theft  was beyond $1000 (Legal Information Institute).   Thomas therefore agreed that the lower courts were decision to deny motion of the defendant and to affirm the conviction.

In the proceedings of Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Pena, regarding racial classifications over turned the precedent of Metro Broadcasting, Inc. v. FCC.  The two tier system that was to analyze racial classification, established in the precedent would be replaced as the court’s opinion “held the federal government to equal standards as both the local and state governments by using a process of “reverse incorporation,” which used the Due Process Found in the Fifth Amendment to bind the federal movement to the standards of both state and local governments (Laws). This was another case in which Thomas’s value of the constitution was demonstrated.

Justice Clarence Thomas has been noted as a quiet and silent member of the Supreme Court, but still has left an impactful tenure. He is either admired or ridiculed for his conservative stance and his high regard for upholding the constitution. The challenges and stigma, in which he overcame, are inspiration to which other legal officers should astride to. From the poverty stricken community  of Pin Point, Georgia to Washington D.C., and from the abandoned childhood to the United States Supreme Court, Justice Thomas’ journey demonstrates the reward of thrive and strong work ethic. Though he is often mocked and criticized he values his position as he fights to up hold constitutional values in the many case that are send to the Supreme Court. As of now he has no intention of retiring or stepping down, and will continue to hear and argue cases for the betterment of citizens of the United States of America.



Works Cited:

Bio Editors. (2016). Clarence Thomas. Biography. Web Retrieved From:

Cummings, Andre’ Dougals Pond. (2005). Grutter v. Bollinger, Clarence Thomas, Affirmative Action and The Treachury of Originalism:  “The Sun Don’t Shine Here In This Part of Town.” EBSCO Host. Web. Retrieved from:

Doyle, Ty. (2005). Why is Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas so Viscerally Disrespected. Quora . Web. Retrieved from:

Laws. (n.d.) Clarence Thomas. Supreme Court Laws. Web. Retrieved from:

Legal Information Institute (n.d.) Good News Club v. Milford Middle School. Cornell University Law School. Web. Retrieved from:

Legal Information Institute. (n.d.) Carter v. United States. Cornell University Law School. Web. Retrieved from:

On The Issues. (n.d.) Clarence Thomas on Civil Rights: Supreme Court Justice. Web. Retrieved from:

Sigelman, Lee and Todd, James S. (1992). Clarence Thomas, Black Pluralism, and Civil Rights Policy. The Academy of Political Science. Web. Retrieved From:

Supreme Court Review. (n.d.) Justices of the United States Supreme Court: Justice Clarence Thomas. Web. Retrieved from:

Oyez. (n.d)   Clarence Thomas. Web. Retrieved from:














A Look at Narcotics Anonymous

There is an epidemic occurring across this nation, as well as many others, when it comes to drug use and drug addictions. No one ever plans to become in addict but the sad truth is that many end up with this effect due to drug use. Drug use occurs for multiple reasons. For some it is because of curiosity to reach a new high, but with other it may have resulted from physical injury which required pain medication, and from there an addiction had been birthed. Now, has it been handled with Narcotics Anonymous?

First, considered how government has handled the drug problem thus far. To combat addiction and street drug, a number of efforts were taken such as the War on Drugs established by Richard Nixon in 1971 (Drug Policy). This legislature passed for tougher actions against drug related criminals such as maximum sentences (Drug Policy). However, this war hasn’t been as fruitful as some would have wished, and that is why it is important to focus on treatment rather than punishment. That is why options such as Narcotics Anonymous are needed.

The question that needs to be asked is, what are narcotics? Youth On Drugs identify narcotics as drugs derived from seedpods of the opium plants. These drugs can have 2 effects: pain reduction and creating a state of well being (Youth On Drugs). Narcotics can be created naturally or synthetically. Examples of natural opiate include: opium, morphine, and Codeine; example of synthetic opiates include: methadone, meperedine, and pentazocine (Youth on Drugs).  Symptoms of drug abuse can include the following: isolation from those not using drugs, spending time with people whom do get either drunk or high, not having many and always asking to borrow some cash, arriving late to their job, not having a job due to being let go, not paying attention to hygiene, always seem to be tired, uncommonly private about their possessions, lying when asked about drinking or using other substances, and finally, often trying to sneak away to use (Rehabs).

Narcotics Anonymous is an association or recovering addicts that is community based and can be found internationally (NANJ). Considered to be one the largest and oldest, originating in 1947, recovery support groups and hold an average of 20,000 meetings per week around the world (NANJ). Inspired from Alcohol Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous (NA) began near Los Angeles, California and spread across the United States over a period of 20 years (NANJ).  The original pamphlet described the group as a fellowship of men and women who are recovering from drug addiction (NANJ).  The group is open to all drug users and no member restrictions exist. This means there is no discrimination of a member based on religion, gender, race, ethnicity nor any other characteristics. As so, it provides individuals in society that may have been rejected by other institutions a chance to belong.

The recovery program focuses on members participating in activities which have been known as the 12 Steps (NAJA).These steps include: admitting a problem, seeking help, self appraisal, confidential disclosure, amending harm done and working with other addicts seeking recovery (NAJA). A part of the 12 steps in called a “spiritual awakening” though NA is considered nonreligious, but that has been debatable (NAJA). In the meetings, the participants tell personal experiences and share ways of adjusting or coping with the recovery process (NAJA). In these meeting however, there is no therapist or professional besides the sponsor; allowing other member to the ones assisting each other in transition. This gives member the feeling of actually engaging in the group rather than have someone “preach” over them.

The sponsor main responsibility is to assistance to newer members of the group (NAJA). Depending on the person, sponsor can vary in methods; depending on the personality of the individual. Some provide a compassionate and loving style while others use sheer brutal honesty (Narcotic Anonymous World Services, 2004). Sponsors are obtained by simply asking; however some newer members lack trust in others and the idea of a sponsor is scary (Narcotics Anonymous World Services, 2004). Places to find sponsors can include: NA meetings, NA service meeting, and NA convention (Narcotics Anonymous World Services, 2004). Factors in considering a sponsor can include: mutual understanding of struggles and achievement, gender of the sponsor, and beliefs systems (Narcotics Anonymous World Services, 2004).

The mission of Narcotics Anonymous contains no hidden agenda, but to help in the recovery of members as stated above. Its entire focus is addiction recovery and avoids being involved in other topics outside its “circle” (NANJ).The issues avoided include: religious, civil, medical, social, drug legalization, criminality, law enforcement, prostitution, and HIV/AIDS infections (NANJ). These issues would only distract the member from its main concern, which is the group’s well being. This well being will allow the individual to become a “productive member of society” (Kurtz and Fisher, 2003).

As stated earlier, the meetings themselves are conducted by the members of the group. There is an identifiable structure needed for these meetings though otherwise they would get out of control very easily. Two of the structures are open and closed. An open meeting is a group where both addicts and non addicts; in other words, anyone is able to attend the meeting (NA Maine). The attendees can include judges, families and friends. A closed meeting is only intended for addicts themselves (NA Maine). There are 3 different categories of meetings which are: discussion, step-study and testimonial. Discussion are considered informal can consist of question and answer session among the members (Peyrot, 1985). The discussion allows much participation from the members. The step-study meetings are also known as literature meetings, where the members of the groups discuss one of the 12 steps and what meaning and personal impact it holds (Peyrot, 1985). Testimonial meeting have a quest speaker give a testimony based on overcoming a addiction through the use of NA, and other members are able to provide their own testimonials (Peyrot, 1985).

Statistically, narcotics present some numbers that are, simply put, terrifying.  In 2009, it was recorded that 1.6 million people over the age of 12 were addicted to cocaine (Rehab).  It was also found 23.5 million people were seeking help though AA or NA, which accounts for 9 percent of the population of people over the age of 12 (Rehab).  When accessing rehab statistics, it was shown of the people participating in rehabilitation: 17% sought help with marijuana, 40% sought help with alcohol abuse, and 20% sought help for heroin addiction (Rehab).  In regards to ER visits, 98% were the result of prescription drugs; which number more than 4 million visits (Rehab).

Of those whom are in NA, over half of that percentage is men ranging up to 57% compared to the 43% of women (NA).  The highest percentage of participants ranged between the ages of 51 and 60 years old. These make up 31 percent of NA members. Concerning the other ages, the following percentages include: 20 year olds made up 1%, 21-30 ages made up 12%, 31-40 year old made up 18%, 41-50 year olds made up 28%, and 61 years and older made up 10% (NA). Of different ethnicities, white Caucasians make up the highest percentage (76%) of members followed by African Americans (13%), which is followed by Hispanics (5%) and any others make up the final 6% (NA).  These statistics sadly show that they are no immunity to addiction and that anybody, no matter the ethnicity or gender, is accepted in to NA.

Now that the demographic statics have been shown, what about others; as in completion rate and the dropout/relapse rate. Memberships within Narcotics Anonymous reach up to 2 million people in our own nation. Of the 2 million attending, it is estimated that 95 percent of those people will drop out ( ST. Jude, 2013). These people drop out for reasons such as: program isn’t working, personal commitments, ect. Another primary reason for leaving the group is because the member simply doesn’t want to stop their drug of choice (Krentzman and  Arbor, 2010). Another popular reason is that the addict wants to recover on their own (Krentzam and Arbor, 2010).

St Jude Retreats (2013) comments saying that it isn’t expected that an addict to remain sober as they are “powerless against their drug use” unless the person is resorting to some higher power. The statistics show that a low percentage, if any, of members remaining completely clean after completing the 12 step program.  An average 11.07 years is how long an expected addict will remain clean (NA). Those remaining clean for 5 years made up the highest percentage of 33% (NA). The reasons for the apparent relapses that cause member to drop out are primarily of two: difficulty staying focused and motivated, and not seeking help and comfort from others.
As with any organization cost and funds to meet that cost play a crucial role in that organization endurance. Most people believe that NA happens to be a government organized and funded initiative which is false. Besides, why does a meeting cost? There are other costs besides the meeting that are present such as help lines, meeting lists and literature (NA History). Activities that have occurred which produced financial results included group dinners, picnics and other social events (NA History). As a result, such social events began to be a focal point for fundraising. Much time and energy of the group was spent on organizing events such as dances, campout and even conventions (NA History). This however lead to certain members relying on the events themselves as the sole contributor to the group’s cost rather than the donations from the group’s members. It is essential that members focus on helping each other when support or encouragement is needed. At the beginning of the entire recovery process it is learned as a member “we keep what we have by giving it away” and the concept is carried on financially. If the group wishes work as a traditional group it needs to focus on supporting one another with experiences, revelations and finances (NA History).

How does NA compare to other programs? Since there are similarities Alcohol Anonymous seems to be an appropriate program to compare against.  For example each have similar slogans; NA: Just for Today and AA: One Day at a Time (Neptune, 2013).  Each group is trying to reach a goal. For AA it is become sober, while NA it is to be clean (Neptune, 2013).  And obviously, each consisted of relying on a “higher power” to strengthen them over their addiction.

However, the similarities aren’t all positive as AA suffers with the same problem as members face with NA. In a study of 286 students, less than half considered the AA program to be helpful (Kurtz and Fisher, 2003). 27 percent of AA members leave the program due to a lack of motivation; only a difference of 6 percent compared to NA (Kurtz and Fisher, 2003). Disregarding the study that occurred, the success rate of AA is ranged between 5 and 10 percent (NPR Staff).  Of AA member interviewed 33% claimed to be sober over 10 years, 24% claimed to be sober for 1 to 5 years, and 31% claimed to be sober under a year (Flanagin, 2014). Over 80 percent of new comers tend to leave the group within the first month and after 90 days, only 10 percent of the newcomer are expected to remain in the group (Flanagin, 2014).

Considering the aspect of the 12 step’s ideology of relying on a higher power, can/are 12 step programs such as Narcotics Anonymous and Alcohol Anonymous court mandated. The answer is no. The first amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . . .” thus regards courts ordering an offender to NA as a violation of the first amendment (Markham, 2009).  There have been 3 notable federal court ruling that have done such as that.  In Kerry v. Ferry, the court ruled for an inmate to be present in NA meeting or otherwise would face the chance of violating eligibility for parole (Markham, 2009).  In Warner v. Orange County Department of Probation, the offender was required to be present at NA meeting as a condition of probation (Markham, 2009). In Inouye v. Kemna, the offender’s parole officer had forced him to attend 12 step meetings as a requirement on his parole (Markham, 2009).

Though all three of these circumstances included judges and other criminal justice professionals made decision that appeared to be best for the offenders, they were still in violation of the offenders’ rights. Here the problem isn’t that intentions were right, rather that the individual at hand had been coerced into a setting that may or may not have violated personal beliefs. It can be argued that the “higher power” mentioned in the 12 steps can be any higher source of strength to a particular person, such as one’s family. However that is debunked quickly as the 12 step program’s big book mentions that the goal of the program “to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God” (Flanagin, 2014).

In conclusion, the impact of Narcotics Anonymous can be debated and argued endlessly. There are cost issues, effectiveness issues, and First Amendment issues. That said, though these issues may be prevalent, it have provided a positive outcome for a small percentage of members. Are the results of these members to be ignored because other member didn’t make the cut? Narcotics Anonymous continues to impact the lives of recovering addicts and should remain to do so. Of those small percent that succeeded, imagine if there would’ve had such a environment for them. Would they have ever gotten clean? Instead of focusing on the negatives of NA, perhaps we should thank if for the lives that it did improve.


Works cited

Narcotics Anonymous World Service, Inc. (2004) Sponsorship, Revised. Web. Retrieved from:

Youth On Drugs. (n.d.) Narcotics. YouthOnDrugs. Web. Retreieved from:

(n.d.) A Brief History of the War on Drugs. Drug Policy. Web. Retrieved from:

(n.d.) Facts About Narcotics Anonymous. NANJ. Web. Retrieved from:

Kurtz, Linda Farris and Fisher, Michael. (2003). Participation In Community Life By AA and NA Members. EBSCO Host. Web. Retrieved from

(n.d.) Frequently Asked Questions. NAMaine. Web. Retrieved from

Peyrot, Mark. (1985). Narcotics Anonymous: Its History, Structure, and Approach. MagShare. Web. Retrieved from:,structure%20and%20approach.pdf

NA History. (n.d.) The Generation of Funds (Fundraising) and The Seventh Tradition in Narcotics Anonymous. NA History. Web. Retrieved from

Rehabs. (n.d.) 12 Step Success Rates. Rehabs. Web. Retrieved from

(n.d.) Success of Narcotics Anonymous. St. Jude Retreats. Web. Retrieved from

NPR Staff. (2014). With Sobering Science, Doctor Debunks 12-Step Recovery. NPR. Web. Retrieved from

Neptune, Jamie. (2013). AA vs. NA: What’s The Difference? The Fix. Web. Retrieved from

Markham, Jamie. (2009). Does Mandatory AA/NA Violate the First Amendment? North Carolina Criminal Law. Web. Retrieved from

Flanagin, Jake. (2014). The Surprising Failures of 12 Steps. The Atlantic. Web. Retrieved from

Krentzman, Amy R. and Arbor, Ann.  (2010). How Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) Work: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives. NCBI. Web. Retrieved from


Gideon’s Trumpet

Gideon’s Trumpet

Damian Anderson

Columbia College

 Gideon’s Trumpet chronicles the circumstances of an arrest, and appeal that eventually changed the course of the criminal justice system. The film, directed by Robert L. Collins, stares Henry Fonda as Clarence Gideon, poor man of average intellect who is arrested for breaking into a pool room after a witness identifying Gideon as the culprit. Along with the witness’s report, the taxi driver whom transported Gideon stated that Gideon asked the driver not to mention seeing him and there was a large amount of change found on Gideon’s person, which seemed incriminating as there were coins stolen along with the break in.

                               Based on the evidence above, local police made an arrest. At trial Gideon requested an attorney from the judge due to his low funds. The judge responding stated that lawyers/counsel was only appointed in capital cases, and that he would not be appointed counsel, as the case was a capital offense.  Therefore Gideon, a poor man of average intelligence, had to argue his case of innocence against a lawyer whom has both experience and the educational training.

The constitution stated in the Fourteenth Amendment that every citizen “shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws” (Cornell University Law School). Due to this amendment, citizens are receiving the following:  right to speedy trial, right to public trial, right to counsel among other things (Justia). However, the concept of fairness is debatable and can be different based on each circumstance, as cited in Synder v. Massachusetts (Justica).   Because of this, the courts could argue on whether a defendant without counsel was considered unfair, as in regards to their ability to defend themselves. That said, a case mentioned often in the course of the film was Betts v. Brady ruled that indigent defendants would only be appoint counsel based on special circumstances. These special circumstances could be based on education level, illiteracy, and competency (Landmark Cases). Since Gideon only circumstance was his lack of funds, the court didn’t find a reason to appoint counsel.

During his prison stay Gideon often visited the library researching on constitutional rights, and doing so he reached out to the Supreme Court.  During his trial, Gideon was able to only call one witness and was unprepared and uninformed during his questioning while the prosecution was the opposite.  The 3 steps that Gideon needed to take in order to for his case to be heard by supreme court included: 1) petition Florida Courts Habeas Corpus, 2) Ask Supreme Court Certiorari, and 3)sign an affidavit  stating he was unable to pay $100. During the course of this process in the film, Gideon’s becomes an inspiration to other prisoners; scenes included prisoners asking Gideon could listen to their case.

The film provides insight into how the Supreme Court works and functions. They considered each case sent into them, reviewing the facts and ruling. Here they determine which of the ruling seemed questionable, and then have a meeting in which they discuss further and conduct votes.

Regarding Gideon’s case, their discussion poses several discussions.  One of which included other prisoners whom were tried without counsel. If they would indeed overturn this, they had to consider all the other entire prisoners whom were convicted without having counsel. Would their conviction be overruled and be tried again? That would create massive chaos, as there were quite a number of those in prisoner under those circumstances.

During the course of their meeting it was stated that a simple man should be able to defend himself in a simple case. This is full of problems, as it was briefly touch upon above. A case could be considered simple, based on the facts and evidence of the situation, but to have a simple man of average intelligence defend himself is entirely unfair. Attorneys and lawyer venture off to law school for years perfecting their craft of argument and education of the court system. A person cannot expect a person of average intelligence to compete with such education and training.

The defense in court in all honesty, requires someone of above average intelligence to properly and effectively defend someone. Court proceedings are bound by rules and complex guidelines. For example, during his questioning of the landlord, the prosecution called an objection due to leading questions. Gideon seemed confused and unable to effectively question the landlord. When deciding the jury, he probably didn’t realize he could challenge the members as being bias against him, thus further establishing an unfair trial. Overall, his understanding of the court system was limited which created much confusion for himself, until he began researching aspects of unfair proceedings.

During proceeding with the Supreme Court, Abe Fortas pose question related to identifying with special circumstances. In regards to Betts v. Brady, how does the court determine if an individual falls under special circumstances? Is this it his skin tone, his education level or whether he has a stupid look? Fortas even stated that there were no “special circumstances” concerning other than his poor economic standing in the community.  Next, he argued that defendants should be appointed counsel, when need, from the initial arraignment to the appeal proceedings.

The court then rebutted back with concerning reason not to overturn or modify Betts v. Brady: 1) the is no historical basis for the states appointing counsel, and 2) Betts v. Brady provides clear standards for the right to counsel in the form of special circumstances. Following that, 2 key consequences we were mentioned if Betts v. Brady would be overturned: 1) the demanding of lawyer for every single case would create a high strain on citizens as well as huge case loads, and 2 over 5000 prisoners prior to this had no counsel for their case. The court did make a point to ensure that the overturning of Betts v. Brady would be retroactive to prevent a massive caseload on the court system, however it was mentioned that some prisoner would go free.

The Supreme Court is task with hearing cases that can alter the course of court proceeding all together. Through precedents the court and other can argue for a new or modified standard to a ruling. This film was just an example of the changes that can occur due to Supreme Court. Because of the Supreme Courts, suspects have Miranda rights (Miranda v. Arizona), defends have right to counsel (Gideon v. Gainwright), and assurance of due process (Sydney v. Massachusetts) . Though the case load seems rather large for the court, it seems to an effective system by approaching each case one at a time, giving each case their proper and undivided attention.

When pertaining to right, each defendant in the American court system should be allowed the right to counsel. However, if the defendant has the financial means to afford an attorney. Reason being, that it puts less of a strain on community by using government funds (Nolo). When appointing does happened by the courts, lawyers can obtain a massive caseload which may negatively effective their performance; they may as efficient as they have too many cases to handle properly. But even if those negative aspects, the Supreme Court was correct and wise when ruling that ever defendant is entitled to counsel. It is included in the constitutional amendments that defendants have the right to a fair trial, and active participation doesn’t equal fair trial. As stated many times above, defendants of average intelligence are not  adequately equipped to handle court proceeding; as they can appear complex and confusing to the defendant. In appointing attorneys to each defendant we are ensuring not only the constitution, but eliminated the chance of a wrongful conviction. Well, or at least a reduced chance.

Works Cited:

Cornell University Law School. (n.d).US Consitution: 14th Amendment. Legal Information Institute. Web. Retrieved from:

Houseman, John & Collins, Robert L. (1980). Gideon’s Trumpet. United States. Worldvision.

Justia. (n.d.) Fair Trial. Justia US Law. Web. Retrieved from:

Landmark Cases. (n.d). Summary of the Decision. Landmark Cases of the U.S. Supreme Court. Web. Retrieved from:

Nolo. (n.d.) Court Appointed Attorneys in Criminal Cases. NOLO. Web Retrieved from:



All Fletched Up- Film Analysis

Damian Anderson

Professor Barry R. Langford, J.D.

CJAD 301

7 October 2009

All Fletched Up

Through the use of film, artists are able to either entertain or educate. It is a fact that films are considered more of entertainment value than educational; however both can consist.. This doesn’t have to be intentional. For example, taking a look at the film Fetch starring comedy legend Chevy Chase, criminal justice majors are able to identify with where law violations occur whereas casual viewer student may or may not notice.

Hailed as a comedy classic by fans and critics alike, Fletch follows Chevy Chase’s character by the same name as he unravels though a plot of deception and corruption. As a journalist Fletch, goes to many extremes and multiple hilarious scenarios to uncover the truth. Through all the hi-jinks, law students are able to find several law violations within the film. There are six main events to be discussed.

The first event occurs very early in the film as Fletch, while working undercover for a journalism article, is approached by Allen Stanwyck with a proposition. Allen offers 50 thousand dollars to be murdered due his supposed bone cancer. The scenario is completely laid out: where to find the gun, where Allen will be present, the location of the open safe, the getaway card and plan tickets to Rio del Janiero.  Fletch initially agree, but investigates the circumstances as the film goes on.

In agreeing to commit the act several issues arise. Since the plan is planned out and premeditated and completely thought out, if the act is committed then Fletch would be charged with first degree murder. But since this is only agreeing to do so, it would be conspiracy to commit murder because there is a contractual agreement to commit the murder.  Stanwyck could also be charged with solicitation according to the Model Penal Code 5.02 where it defines that a suspect guilty of criminal solicitation “request or commands another person to engage in conduct that would constitute as a crime.”

Not long after following that scene, Fletch plans a doctor visit with Stanwyck’s doctor to get further information concerning Stanwyck’s supposed cancer. After receiving no answer from the doctor, he goes undercover as a doctor to reach the records room. In doing so, along with setting up a hilarious scenario where Fletch assisted with autopsy, impersonates a doctor and reads confidential patient files.

This is considered a violation of privacy, since there files were only for the patient and the doctor(s) to see. Model penal code defines that a violation of privacy can occur through a breach of privates message, and though medical files are typical “messages” it is a way for doctors to communicate to each other as well as revealing result to a patient; thus, becoming a form of communication between people.

One of the more notable scenes in the film involves the police. Actually, there are several scenes worth mentioning. The first takes part on the beach where Fletch is working undercover for a drug trafficking case, when police arrive chasing down a specific young man. When arriving to the scene Fletch witnesses the police violently attacking the young man, whom is unarmed and never posed a threat of any sort. When Fletch approaches the scene, he too is attack by the police before the leave with the young man in custody.

There is a times where police officers need the use of force to prevent a suspect from harming themselves or other. The Model Penal Code section 3.07 sites that the use of force can be used in the following situations: to prevent escape from custody, prevent suicide of commission of a crime, and by a private person assisting an unlawful arrest.

In the second scene, Fletch arrives home and is surprised by two detectives waiting for him. After a quick pat down they plant heroin on Fletch and take him into the station. Once again the police are being rough where there is no need. At the station Fletch is brought in to see Chief Karlin whom is corrupt as well. He threatens to shoot Fletch in the face and claim self defense or Fletch can cancel his story involving the police brutality at the beach earlier. Fletch under duress and fear of his life agrees to do so.  This case also follows the violation of the use of force continuum.

When returning home, again, Fletch discovers police officers waiting on him. In response, he begins a car chase where he eventually “borrows” another car that provides better speed. A young boy is in the vehicle prior and during the chase reveals that the car had already been stolen. As he drives he intentionally runs police cars off the road in an attempt to get way but endangering lives in the process.

Section 242.2 of the Model Penal Code covers the issue of resisting arrest. It defines that resisting arrest as a misdemeanor if the suspect creates a serious risk of bodily injury to the public official or others. That is exactly what occurred in this scene, Fletch risk the safety of the officers, the kid in the vehicle with him and other drivers in order to effectively escape arrest. Fletch, however, could argue that the police had been harassing him unjustly and feared for his own safety.

When checking the flights prepared by Stanwyck, Fletch discovers a lady named Sally sitting next to him and her ticket was purchased by Stanwyck as well. With interests sparked, Fletch travels to Utah to find Sally’s home unlock and enters the home to look around for any evidence of who she is. This is interrupted by a friend of the landlord.

Fletch could be charged with Trespassing and burglary in this scenario. Burglary could be charged, because he did enter the premises unlawfully regardless of the door being unlocked or not however it would be difficult to prove if he indeed planned to commit a crime once inside.  Regarding trespassing, Fletch could agree that the premises appeared to have been abandoned according to Model Penal Code 221.2.

As the film begins to close it is revealed that Stanwyck travels to Utah once a month to visit his parents and Sally, who is revealed to be his wife. The issue here is that Stanwyck is married to a lady named Gail in Los Angeles.  Thus, Stanyck is guilty of bigamy.  Schmalleger and Hall, defines that bigamy is a person being married to one person “while legally married to another person.”  It is considered a misdemeanor under the Model Penal Code and several states (Schmalleger, and Hall, 2014).

In conclusion, Fletch provides a series of law applications that could go unnoticed by viewers. Because of an understanding of how law works and the Model Penal Code, students are able to identify the cause and effects of law violation depicted in film. Fletch still contains its laughs and suspense but now, for some, it will be a mean educational application of law.

Works Cited

Hall, Daniel E., and Schmalleger, Franks. Criminal Law Today.  Boston, Ma. Pearson Education, 2014.  Print

Fletch. Dir. Michael Ritchie. Perf. Chevy Chase, Joe Don Baker, Dana Wheeler-Nicolson, and Geena Davis. Universal Pictures. 1985. Film.