POLI 490
Advanced Research: Racial Disparities in Criminal Justice
M, W, 3:35 – 4:50 pm, Dey Hall, Room 203
Fall 2022

Prof. Frank R. Baumgartner
313 Hamilton Hall, phone 919-962-0414
Web site: http://fbaum.unc.edu/
Office hours: M, W 11-12 and by appointment

Click here to see the syllabus. Note, of course, that the syllabus contains all the important information about grading, assignments, and all that. Read it carefully, please.

Click here to see a template for your written term paper. Click here for a template for your PPT presentation. Both of these are just ideas and suggestions, but they will help you make a professional impression... Note that the paper template is for a different class, so make appropriate revisions there. Use of these templates is not required, but I recommend it. Just be careful to use the formatting rather than the words, many of which are just taken from previous research projects of mine and are not relevant to your papers. In the term paper, you are free either to put the tables and figures at the end, or, if you prefer, put them in the text where they should appear.

Weekly Schedule

Week 1, Aug 15, 17: Introduction and traffic stops

Monday: Introduction, no readings.

Wednesday: Watch this film through the UNC Libraries: “Driving While Black: Race, Space and Mobility in America,” by Gretchen Sorin and Ric Burns. You may need to use a computer on the UNC campus to access, or go through the UNC library page first. (Recommended: Gretchen Sorin’s book of the same name.)

Week 2, Aug 22, 24: Are traffic stops dangerous for the police, or for motorists?

Monday: Woods, Jordan Blair. 2019. Policing, Danger Narratives, and Routine Traffic Stops. Michigan Law Review 117, 4: 635–712.

Wednesday: Kirkpatrick, David D., Steve Eder, Kim Barker and Julie Tate. 2021. Pulled Over: An investigation into traffic stops across America and the deaths of hundreds of motorists at the hands of police. New York Times. October 31.

Week 3, Aug 29, 31: Protesting While Black

Monday: Johnson, Kaneesha R., Frank R. Baumgartner, and Marty A. Davidson, II. 2022.  Finding Discriminatory Legislative Intent when Criminal Justice Outcomes Show Racially Disparate Impact. Paper presented at the Midwest Political Science Association annual meetings, Chicago IL, April 7–10.

Wednesday: No readings, more discussion of the same project, materials to be distributed in class or ahead of time on the class website.

Week 4, Sep 7: “Protecting the unborn” in the 2011 legislative session

Monday: Happy Labor Day!

Wednesday: Read Section 14-6 of the NC Criminal Code, enacted in 2011 and come to class with any feedback about what problem the legislature was attempting to solve.

***Statement of research question, data sources, and group members due in class Wed Sep 7.***

Week 5, Sep 12, 14: CSI v. Moore, a recent case about felon disenfranchisement

Note: All the readings for this week are available here: https://forwardjustice.org/resources/

Monday: 2019 Complaint, Burton, Baumgartner, Burch Reports (Note: this is 4 different documents.)

Wednesday: 2021 NC Superior Court Final Judgement and Order. Special guest, Whitley Carpenter, Senior Criminal Justice Counsel, Forward Justice and one of the lead attorneys on the case.

Week 6, Sep 19, 21: “On the Books” – A UNC historical collection about Jim Crow laws, many of which are still on the books

Monday: Overview of the project, spend some time on this site before class, at least an hour

Wednesday: Discussion with special guest Brianna Nunez-Franklin, UNC Libraries, and program Manager, On the Books project.

Week 7, Sep 28: Research presentations #1

Monday: Happy Well-being Day!

Wednesday: student presentations

***Initial presentation of research question, data sources, and research plan due in class Wed Sep 28. (Note: written paper to me, and quick oral summary to the class.)***

Week 8, Oct 3, 5: Moving from disparate impact to discriminatory intent: The role of government

Monday: Discussion of strategies of how to demonstrate intent. Compare the standards when we seek to demonstrate intent from when the government seeks to deny intent. Here are training slides for the Florida law enforcement academy, indicating that racial profiling is when race is the "sole or primary" motivation for the police behavior. Let's talk about that.   

Wednesday: Rothstein, Richard. 2017. The Color of Law. New York: Norton, Preface and Chapter 1.

Week 9, Oct 10: War on Drugs

Monday: Readings TBA

Wednesday: Happy University Day!

Week 10, Oct 17, 19: Back to traffic laws and when they were passed

Monday: Review of various states’ passage of traffic codes, materials to be made available on the class website.

Wednesday: Review of media coverage of these events from various states.

Week 11, Oct 24, 26: Research week

Monday: Class time is group office hours. You must attend one or the other this week.

Wednesday: Class time is group office hours.

***Written draft of paper / progress report due in class Wed Oct 26. (Note, no presentation, just a written paper to me.)***

Week 12, Oct 31, Nov 2: Research week

Monday: Class time is group office hours. You must attend one or the other this week.

Wednesday: Class time is group office hours.

Week 13, Nov 7, 9: Research Week

Monday: Class time is group office hours. You must attend one or the other this week.

Wednesday: Class time is group office hours.

Week 14, Nov 14, 16: Update on Working as Intended

Monday: See updates available here:

Wednesday: Office hours during class

Week 15, Nov 21: Almost-final presentations

Monday: Group A: 1) Lillie on DA Demographics; 2) Sophie and Lillian on Sheriffs; 3) Lea, Rachel, and Hinal on Qualified Immunity; 4) Ainslee and Anna on Drug Use v. Charges; and 5) Dominic and Braden on Exonerations. NOTE: PLEASE EMAIL ME YOUR SLIDES BEFORE 2PM ON THE DAY OF YOUR PRESENTATION.

Wednesday: Happy Thanksgiving!

Week 16, Nov 28, 30: Almost-final presentations and discussion

Monday: Group B: 6) Leila dnKim on Traffic Stops; 7) Isabella on Ambiguous Laws; 8) Mary Scott, Savannah, Katherine, and Chloe on Drug Charge Outcomes; 9) Nathalie, Mikki, Shirley, and Maria on Protesting; and 10) Lauren and Zoe on Police Force Size.

Wednesday: Group C: 11) Nathanael on French Police; 12) Teiari on Gang Charges; 13) William on Geography; 14) Jonathan on Immigration Enforcement; 15) Gabby on Felony Disenfranchisement; and 16) George on DA Variation.

***Note: Final paper projects due in class Wed Nov 30.***

***Final exam, Thursday December 8, 4:00-7:00 pm***

Note: the final exam is a PPT or Poster presentation of your research. Come to class prepared to present your results and see the results of the others.

Last updated November 15, 2022