Feeley demonstrates that changes in American politics and society bring change to the court system. He discusses how applying Constitutional Law to the lower courts and appointing court attorneys for virtually every offense that might end in jail time for defendants are possible reasons for court inefficiency and not increased caseload. Further, he argues that the theory of situated action guides most courtroom proceedings rather than standard rules of law and democracy. Situated action is the context in which courtroom proceedings occur, ˘the complex character of the immediate situation. The specific act of the defendant, his or her character and background, the organizational constraints and historical patterns of the court, and the nature of the lawyers all contribute to actions and outcomes deeply responsive to local contexts÷ (Feeley 1992, xvii). Feeley argues that while there may be rules, regulations, laws and procedures in place, the situational context plays an even larger rule in determining actions and outcomes.
The author argues that the change to heavy-handed law enforcement and punishment tactics has widened the gap between the ˘we-them÷ mentality of modern law enforcement. CrankĂs discussion of racism speaks of the continuing tensions and class divisions wrought in society by the growing number of large impoverished minority communities. When Crank argues that this is a symptom of a much deeper problem whose roots lie in American society. In a supposed democratic system, the upper classes (mainly wealthy and white) give orders to the bureaucracy (law enforcement officials), who in turn have a negative view of poor minorities from their real street experiences. As one police chief notes: ˘The problem arises from the hypocrisy they see in a society that insists that they control ˘them.÷ Them refer to Blacks, ghetto residents, the homeless, the poor, and all others who evoke a sense of fear or unease. These orders are implicit and indirect.