In this legal-literary essay, I recount a day I spent watching criminal sentencings in an Alhambra, California courthouse, highlighting the sometimes mundane, sometimes despairing, imports of those proceedings. I note that my analysis resembles that of other scholars who tackle state over-criminalization and selective law enforcement. My original addition exists in the granular attention I pay to the moment-by-moment effects of a sometimes baffling state power on poor and minority people. In this approach, I align myself with advocates of the law and literature school of thought, who believe that the study (or, in this case, practice) of literature will encourage calls for justice by disclosing buried, yet critical, human experience and emotions.
Yxta M. Murray,
The Tyranny of Small Things,
Mich. J. Race & L.
Available at: http://repository.law.umich.edu/mjrl/vol22/iss1/1