Has criminal justice in the United States arrived at a crossroads? In recent years, the criminal justice system has been confronted with an array of new and growing challenges. Public debate has ensued over widely disparate concerns, from race relations and police misconduct to the use of novel technologies that provide criminals with new ways of perpetrating or concealing their crimes and equip law enforcement officials with the means of capturing more extensive details about the lives of citizens. This debate has extended to the U.S. Supreme Court, where the justices have been grappling with issues ranging from procedural fairness in policing practices to overcriminalization. Meanwhile, Congress and numerous state legislatures have introduced criminal justice reform bills, and several states have enacted new criminal law measures. The fact that these initiatives are often bipartisan reflects the breadth of public interest in setting a course for criminal justice that responsibly addresses its deficiencies, while still enabling law enforcement officials to do their jobs effectively. With this in mind, on November 3, 2017, the University of California, Berkeley School of Law and The Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies co-hosted a symposium entitled “Criminal Justice at a Crossroads.” This symposium brought together some of the nation’s leading legal and policy minds for a comprehensive look at several major issues confronting our criminal justice system today: police and race relations, the use of technology in the criminal justice system, marijuana legalization, attacks on police officers, and the future of criminal justice reform. This introduction will broadly summarize the day’s events and preface the excellent articles that several of our participants submitted.
Edwin Meese III and John Malcolm,
Introduction: "Criminal Justice at a Crossroads" Symposium,
23 Berkeley J. Crim. L.