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Law Sociology - Case Study Example

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This paper analyzes a critical court decision. The paper starts with a brief description of the case and follows it with an analysis. This analysis then ties up with a popular sociological theory. The theory is further explained with the help of an example…
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Law Sociology

Download file to see previous pages... However, a warning has to be made on the public speaking system to ensure that no people are present when the sluice gates are opened and the water rushes in a torrent. On the afternoon of June 23, 2002, this did not happen when the sluice gates were opened. As a result two people drowned and seven were bodily injured.
The case came to trial in the Ontario Court of Justice in January 200. The two accused personnel, John Tammage and Robert Bednarek were accused of 'criminal negligence.' The trial was a lengthy one and took 75 days getting over in December 2006. Both the accused, John Tammage who was a part of the management team and an electrical engineer and, Robert Bednarek who worked in the electrical department as an operator, were acquitted of the negligence charges. The court ruled that the defendants did not have any motive and their actions were devoid of any criminal intent.
0.1 Analysis: The judgment ruled in favor of the big company and expectedly did not relieve the common people. This ties in with the differential social organization theory of Sutherland in 1938. The theory states that crime is backed by some organizations. In other words, it claims that crime is inherent in certain big firms. The higher authorities or government choose to ignore it or support it. Either way, crime benefits by garnering more support and voice. This theory can be further explained with reference to the securities industry. The securities industry expects a certain amount of fraud and theft to occur every year. The industry does not react to prevent such petty crimes and thus encourages crime to exist and flourish in society. This crime is organized within the industry. Sutherland adopted the concept of social disorganisation to explain the increases in crime that accompanied the transformation of preliterate and peasant societies where "influences surrounding a person were steady, uniform, harmonious and consistent" to modern Western civilisation which he believed was characterised by inconsistency, conflict and un-organization (1934: 64). He also believed that the mobility, economic competition and an individualistic ideology that accompanied capitalist and industrial development had been responsible for the disintegration of the large family and homogenous neighbourhoods as agents of social control. The failure of extended kin groups expanded the realm of relationships no longer controlled by the community and undermined governmental controls leading to persistent "systematic" crime and delinquency. He also believed that such disorganisation causes and reinforces the cultural traditions and cultural conflicts that support antisocial activity. The systematic quality of the behaviour was a reference to repetitive, patterned or organised offending as opposed to random events. He depicted the law-abiding culture as dominant and more extensive than alternative criminogenic cultural views and capable of overcoming systematic crime if organised for that purpose (1939: 8). But because society is organised around individual and small group interests, society permits crime to persist. Sutherland concluded that "if the society is organised with reference to the values expressed in the law, the crime is eliminated; if it is not organised, crime persists and develops (1939:8).
Sutherland bases the theory on a few assumptions:
1. Criminal behavior is learned in interaction with other persons in a process ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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