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Two Moral Mistakes in the American Criminal Justice System

26 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2013 Last revised: 28 Feb 2014

Eric D. Blumenson

Suffolk University Law School

Date Written: February 20, 2013


A state’s criminal justice system must serve two masters: it must protect the security of persons and property, and it must respect the liberties of the people. It is bound by both duties and must strike the morally correct balance between them. In this paper, I discuss some principles that I believe must be elements in that balance. I defend these principles as a necessary part of any effective, liberty-respecting criminal justice system; describe the extreme departure from those principles in the United States; and note some recent interest in reforms that, should they take root, could mark the beginning of an American transition towards a safer, less incarcerated and more liberty-affirming country.

Suggested Citation

Blumenson, Eric D., Two Moral Mistakes in the American Criminal Justice System (February 20, 2013). Suffolk University Law School Research Paper No. 13-4. Available at SSRN: or

Eric Blumenson (Contact Author)

Suffolk University Law School ( email )

120 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02108-4977
United States
(617) 305-1967 (Phone)
(617) 305-3087 (Fax)

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