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UF’s Center for the Humanities Speaker Series: “Discretion and the Law: Rules and Those Who Ignore Them” (Barry Lam)

October 20 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Discretion and the Law: Rules and Those Who Ignore Them

In this free, public talk, Dr. Barry Lam (University of California, Riverside, Department of Philosophy) will reflect on the use of discretionary power and the justice system.

Over the course of a year in 2019 and again in 2022, Dr. Barry Lam embedded himself with police, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges looking for the philosophical issues that arise from the day-to-day administration of criminal justice. Rather than find people concerned with large historical and structural issues that those of us in the humanities study, he found people concerned with their own use of discretionary power in reaction to those issues. Police, prosecutors, and judges have wide powers to ignore the laws that we task them with enforcing, and they often do, to the surprise, satisfaction, and sometimes outrage of their communities. This talk discusses the use of discretionary power and the question it raises about whether justice must sometimes be undemocratic.


October 20
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
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The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries
1545 W University Ave
Gainesville, FL 32603 United States
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(352) 273-2525
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