In The Collapse of American Criminal Justice, a majestic book that is the capstone of an equally majestic career, William Stuntz documents the pathologies of the American criminal justice system and traces their causes by engaging in a probing and provocative look at American history. Stuntz identifies both legal doctrine and political developments and the rise of discretion as at the roots of our system's failings and then offers possible solutions. In this review essay, I largely agree with Stuntz's political arguments and his proposals for change, while taking issue with some of Stuntz's criticisms of criminal law doctrine, including his attack on the shift from judge-made law to criminal codes.
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