Social Sciences

Criminal Law at the Intersection of Race, Class, and Power

How do police enforce laws? How does a defendant’s access to lawyers and legal counsel determine outcomes and justice? Now more than ever, we are questioning our judiciary system, those who enforce it, and how it disproportionately affects people. Develop a foundational understanding of what legal theories look like in real life: from our courts of law to the communities and people whose lives have been directly impacted by policies.  

Examine Western theories of crime and punishment and how they shape modern criminal law policy. Analyze constitutional limits imposed on police tactics through the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments and apply black letter law derived from milestone Supreme Court opinions. Working with peers, grapple with complex topics such as the “War on Drugs,” dashboard and body cam footage of police encounters, and the role of technology in altering the delicate balance between security and liberty.  

Learn from legal experts in the Duke community and beyond. Put what you’ve learned into practice during a final moot court where you will showcase your knowledge of constitutional, state and federal laws as you develop written arguments and deliver oral arguments in front of a panel. Discover how the intersection of race, class and power impacts criminal law and how we create a true system of justice for all.  

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