These are questions to be answered:
1. Sentencing disparity persists because punishment of offenders in the United States is basically a state or local concern where justice is determined by state legislatures and reflects consensus among political constituents. What are the problems with sentencing guidelines? What are the problems with determinate sentences? What are the problems with indeterminate sentences? Discuss some possible ways in which sentencing disparity might be resolved.
2. In Furman v. Georgia (1972) the Supreme Court held that the death penalty, as it was being applied, was unconstitutional. Four years later, in Gregg v. Georgia (1976) the Court held that death penalty laws that have sufficient safeguards against arbitrary and capricious imposition are constitutional. Discuss what made such a change possible. How has the Court modified the death penalty since Gregg v. Georgia (1976)? Do you agree with the death penalty? Why or why not?
3. Plaintiff’s lawyers claim that lawsuits against the police often lead to positive results for police departments. Discuss how such lawsuits might result in better training for officers. Discuss how lawsuits might differently affect officers and agencies when the officer was following department policy as opposed to when the officer was acting on his/her own. Do you think that law enforcement officers should be immune from civil law suits? Why or why not?
4. Offer a summary based on the following:
5. The USA PATRIOT Act increased the authority of government agents to conduct various types of surveillance. In your opinion, is the USA PATRIOT Act a threat to American’s individual liberties? Why or why not?
6. Analyze the listed ideas and discuss their relation to the United States Legal System. Reflect on how this subject matter may relate to your life and the life of others as well as popular culture in general.