Law, Cultural Diversity, and Criminal Defense: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Law, Cultural Diversity, and Criminal Defense

1st Edition

By Craig L. Carr, Lisa Johnson


154 pages

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Hardback: 9781138581173
pub: 2018-08-02
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780429506864
pub: 2018-07-27
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American legal scholars have debated for some time the need for a cultural defense in criminal proceedings where minority cultural information seems perti nent to a finding of criminal responsibility in situations where a minority cultural defendant has violated a valid criminal statute. This work presents a systematic analysis of this issue. Drawing from sociological, anthropological, and philosophical materials, as well as traditional legal discussions, the authors develop a scheme that indicates when cultural factors can be used as the basis for such a defense and when they are irrelevant to a finding of criminal responsibility. The argument moves from general concerns of social justice that apply under conditions of social and cultural pluralism to practical policy recommendations for the operation of American criminal justice. It thus connects more theoretical materials with the practical concerns of jurisprudence. The justification for legal recognition of a cultural defense in American criminal law is anchored firmly in American constitutional law.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 – Law, Politics, and Social Justice

Chapter 2 - The Question of Culture

Chapter 3 – Social Justice and Legal Practice

Chapter 4 – Criminal Defense and Cultural Autonomy

Chapter 5 – Culture and the Constitution

Chapter 6 – Culture and Criminal Responsibility

About the Authors

Craig L. Carr is professor emeritus of political science at the Hatfield School of Government, Portland State University. He has published several books and numerous articles in the areas of political and legal philosophy, constitutional law, and American politics. His more recent books include Liberalism and Pluralism: The Politics of E Pluribus Unum, and Orwell, Politics, and Power.

Lisa Johnson is a professor in the School of Business and Leadership at the University of Puget Sound, where she teaches courses in law and legal studies.

About the Series

Cultural Diversity and Law

Cultural Diversity and Law
Around the world, most states are faced with difficult issues arising out of cultural diversity in their territories. Within the legal field, such issues span across matters of private law through to public and constitutional law. At international level too there is now considerable jurisprudence regarding ethnic, religious and cultural diversity. In addition, there are several layers of legal control - from communal and religious regulation to state and international regulation. This multiplicity of norm setting has been variously termed legal pluralism, inter-legality or inter-normativity and provides a fascinating lens for academic analysis that links up to cultural diversity in new and interesting ways. The umbrella of cultural diversity encompasses various population groups throughout the world ranging from national, ethnic, religious or indigenous groupings. This series particularly welcomes work that is of comparative interest, concerning various state jurisdictions as well as different population groups.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Civil Rights
LAW / Comparative
LAW / Constitutional
LAW / Courts
LAW / Criminal Law / General
LAW / Public
LAW / Discrimination
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Social Policy
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / Cultural
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Criminology