Abstracts

Shortened Abstracts of OSLJ Symposium Edition Articles

Participant Time
Nikki Trautman Baszynski 9 am – 9:45 am
Jamelia Morgan 9:45 am – 10:30 am
Ahmed Lavalais 10:30 am – 11:15 am
Break 11:15 am – 11:30 am
Chaz Arnett 11:30 am – 12:15 pm
David Singleton 12:15 pm – 1 pm

 

Nikki Trautman Baszynski

Legal Counsel

The Justice Collaborative 

Unauthorized and Unreasonable Court Costs and Fees addresses the issue of court debt, focusing on the fact that court costs are routinely imposed on criminal defendants in an illegal or reckless manner. Ms. Baszynski’s analysis helps to illustrate the profit-making aspect of criminal justice. It also illustrates the system’s disregard for and disrespect of people who are charged and convicted of crimes.

Ms. Baszynski’s Article looks at different categories of unauthorized court costs, including willful disregard and ignorance of the law, as well as misrepresentations and manipulation to secure additional fees. She conducts an 88-county assessment to help show that this is not a rare  issue, but rather a routine part of the criminal court system. She focuses her analysis on Ohio, as court debt in Ohio is controlled by state statutory code, yet is applied differently throughout the state by local jurisdictions.

Ms. Baszynski closes by discussing the real-life and cultural implications of unauthorized court costs, pointing out that a $2 overcharge is equivalent to ten to thirty-two hours of prison labor. While one could ignore this injustice, defenders should seek to address it as part of their diligent representation of client interests and to serve as a check on a system that routinely dehumanizes and disregards those subjected to it.

Jamelia Morgan

Associate Professor of Law and Robert D. Glass Scholar

University of Connecticut School of Law

 

Settler Colonialism in Criminal Law: A Focus on Quality of Life Offenses reconceptualizes “quality of life offenses as rooted in settler colonialism.” Specifically, Professor Morgan argues that quality of life offenses operate today as they did in newly settled western towns in the early 19th century, as a mechanism for facilitating access to land by controlling “disorderly” and oft-racialized persons through “spatial segregation, removal, and incarceration.” 

 

Professor Morgan ultimately contends that applying a historical framework to quality of life offenses “sheds new light on the historical origins, legacies, and modern day tensions” of both policing quality of life offenses and the criminalization of poverty in public spaces. 

 

Ahmed Lavalais

Clinical Teaching Fellow, Policy Advocacy Clinic

UC Berkeley School Of Law

 

Monetizing the Super-Predator insightfully explores the imposition of monetary sanctions in the juvenile justice system, explaining how such sanctions present a problem with our basic cultural construction of juvenile punishment.

 

Building on monetary sanctions scholarship in the adult context, this Article uses modern case studies to illustrate how racialized status determinations and subordinating of social narratives, rather than economic concerns, animate decisions to impose monetary sanctions on juveniles and their parents.

 

The Article ultimately concludes that a universal presumption of indigency in juvenile delinquency adjudications may present a viable step toward mitigation of the injustices faced by juvenile lawbreakers. 

 

Chaz Arnett

Assistant Professor of Law

University of Pittsburgh Law School 

 

Beyond the Wire: Race, Surveillance, and the Unmaking of America’s Greatest City explores racialized policing in urban areas through the lens of Baltimore City. Arnett argues that recent advances in police surveillance, lax accountability measures over law enforcement, and significant levels of police corruption have created a world in which constitutional rights and liberties, particularly in Black communities, are violated. 

 

This intersection creates animosity between law enforcement and Black communities while furthering the underdevelopment and subordination of urban communities. In response, Professor Arnett calls for robust anti-surveillance organizing, advocacy, and legal protections.

 

David Singleton

Executive Director & Professor of Law 

Ohio Justice and Policy Center

Northern Kentucky University’s Salmon P. Chase College of Law

 

Clean Slate Laws: Remedying Injustice or Perpetuating Unfairness and Inequality? addresses the exclusion of people convicted of violent offenses from record-sealing remedies. Since record sealing creates opportunities that people with criminal records may not otherwise have, including access to stable employment and housing, Professor Singleton argues that this exclusion is unjust and undermines public safety. It also conflicts with utilitarian goals of the criminal justice system without furthering retributivist goals. 

 

Professor Singleton makes two recommendations. First, legislatures ought to give judges discretion to seal a record with violent offenses if the individual demonstrates rehabilitation. Second, prosecutors should use their power to circumvent restrictions and ensure justice for individual cases.