Law Quadrangle (formerly Law Quad Notes)


Based on a section of a paper on crime statistics delivered at the University of Oklahoma, January 21, 1971.

"With 87 out of every 100 offenders in our country going free and escaping any punishment," wailed Senator Ernest Hollings during the Congressional debates on the Crime Control Act of 1968, "the criminal knows there is very little bite to I the law today. No longer can it be said that crime does not pay when there is now only a 13 per cent chance that an offender will be caught and punished and the criminal knows this. There is no questioning the fact that the recent decisions of the Supreme Court have contributed greatly to this problem." Senator John McClellan similarly lamented the low "conviction rate." After describing "the kind of men" the courts are turning loose, he protested: "No wonder the criminal feels he can go out and violate the law, because he knows that he can get away with it." And in his May 1968 position paper on crime Toward Freedom from Fear (using figures which varied from Senator Hollings' by one percentage point), Presidential Candidate Richard Nixon warned: "Only one of eight major crimes committed now results in arrest, prosecution, conviction, and punishment- and a twelve per cent chance of punishment is not adequate to deter a man bent on a career in crime. Among the contributing factors to the small figure are the decisions of a majority of one of the United States Supreme Court."