Mike Adams

6. Did you attend a plea hearing? If so, what was the most outrageous plea you heard entered in court? Did anyone peddling in child pornography get off without jail time? How about drug dealers or statutory rapists?

7. Why do around 90% of criminal convictions involve negotiated pleas of guilt? Does the fault lie within the system or without?

8. How many times did you hear a cell phone go off in the courtroom? Did any jurors’ cell phones go off during testimony? If so, why were they not cited for contempt of court? Also note whether any juror’s cell phone woke up a fellow juror.

9. Make sure you stay long enough to list five concepts we discussed in class that were also at issue in an actual criminal trial.

10. Make sure you attend a civil case before you go. (Be on the lookout for people like Terrance, the deadbeat dad, who, last time I was at the courthouse, showed up at a hearing and forgot which of his illegitimate children he had been summoned over).

12. When you leave the courthouse, go down to the intersection of Second and Red Cross Streets. That’s where the police station is situated. Drive north on Red Cross until you see your first daytime crack deal. How many blocks was it from the police station?

13. Drive to one of your taxpayer supported housing projects (do this only in the daytime and if you are a man). See how long it takes for a hooker to approach the car and say “I’ll slob on your knob for a dollar.” That means she’ll give you oral sex for a dollar but you can easily talk her down to fifty cents. After you do, you should pay her the fifty cents to tell you when and how she became a prostitute. Her story will be far more coherent and insightful than anything you read in the Wilmington Star News, which also costs fifty cents.

When you are finished following these instructions and answering these questions, think about this analogy and the question that follows:

A 400 horsepower truck is attached to a trailer, which carries 100 pounds of human waste to a landfill. The truck performs well with the 100 pound payload. But every week the payload is increased by another 100 pounds. Eventually, the truck is unable to make it to the landfill. It even reaches a point where the driver is unable to pop the clutch and keep the motor running. Which one of these statements best describes the situation?

a) The engine is broken.

b) Every engine, no matter how efficient, eventually shuts down when over-burdened with human excrement.

Professor’s Note: All law enforcement officers enrolled in my classes are exempt from this assignment. I appreciate your service to an insufficiently grateful community.

Mike Adams

Mike Adams is a criminology professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and author of Letters to a Young Progressive: How To Avoid Wasting Your Life Protesting Things You Don't Understand.