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Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

Fall 2004

T C 125K • The Law and Punishment

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
42158 M
5:00 PM-6:30 PM
PAR 302

Course Description

In this course, formerly Kafka and Systems of Punishment, we will examine contemporary issues related to criminal punishment. We will discuss traditional justifications for punishment (e.g., retribution, deterrence, incapacitation, and rehabilitation) and the legal systems that have been designed to effect those goals. Students will be challenged to evaluate contemporary systems of punishment for legitimacy, coherence and fairness, as well as compliance with cultural and Constitutional constraints. In the process, we will consider strategies such as “three strikes” laws, mandatory minimum sentences, determinate sentencing and guideline sentencing. Particular attention will be directed at current topics such as the “war or terrorism,” the death penalty, and the treatment of juveniles and mentally retarded/mentally ill persons. We will also examine the impact of advances in forensic technology, and the resulting “actual innocence” cases.

About the Professor The Honorable Robert Pitman is a United States Magistrate Judge for the Western District of Texas, sitting in the Austin Division. Prior to being appointed to the bench, Judge Pitman was with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas. During his tenure there, he served in a variety of positions, including that of United States Attorney. He also served a special detail to the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. He is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law.


Selected readings from law journals and other scholarly publications.


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