Skip Navigation
UT wordmark
College of Liberal Arts wordmark
plan2 masthead
Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

Fall 2005

T C 125K • The Law and Punishment

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
42625 M
5:00 PM-6:30 PM
PAR 302

Course Description

This course will consist of weekly discussions on current topics in criminal punishment. We will begin by exploring 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 then 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 on drugs," the "war or terrorism," the death penalty, and the treatment of juveniles, the mentally retarded, and the mentally ill.

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 Attorneys 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.

Grading Policy

NB: This class meets for 1.5 hours weekly. This course is pass/fail. The only requirements are attendance and class participation. Everyone begins with a pass; you have to work to fail. That said, the participation requirement is real. Registration in this course implies a good faith intention to be a contributing member of this enterprise. The format works best when participants are ready, willing, and able to discuss their ideas and impressions. No more than two unexcused absences will be allowed.


Selected readings from law journals and other scholarly publications.


bottom border