The enforcement of stop and frisk laws in New York City reflects Emile Durkheim’s theory of the relationship between law and society because the abandonment of stop and frisk laws demonstrates a shift in the collective conscience of the United States.
Durkheim in this theory asserts that law is a reflection of the collective conscience of society. Durkheim defines collective conscience as a general consensus on what society has deemed as social norm. This concept of collective conscience is observable through the law, due to the fact that laws are a reflection of what society thinks is immoral and wrong. As the social norms, or collective conscience changes so does the law. Durkheim also believes that crime is a healthy part of society for the response to crime is punishment, and it is through punishment you can see the collective conscience. This is because Society has agreed on what is unethical and illegal, therefore if you do these things you must be punished. Society then has agreed on what the punishment is as a whole therefore, these decisions show how the collective conscience is a working and a functional part of society.
Stop and frisk was first enacted in 1964 and was created to prevent gun violence (Kabakova, 2). The idea behind stop and frisk is that a police officer can stop and “may arrest a suspect only if they have probable cause to believe that he committed a crime” (Toobin, NYT, 5/27/13). A police officer just has to suspect someone is doing wrong in order to stop someone, and while this law had good intentions this idea of probable cause has caused problems with the enforcement of the law. Probable cause is very ambiguous and it gives police officers a lot of discretion, which is why this l...
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...top and frisk laws in New York City reflects Emile Durkheim’s theory of the relationship between law and society because the abandonment of stop and frisk laws demonstrates a shift in the collective conscience of the United States. Durkheim’s theory of the collective conscience is an important one for it allows the general public to see how laws are a reflection of their thoughts and opinions. Therefore, when laws become outdated they can be changed. This is important to note because laws should change with times. Things like slavery, Jim crow laws, and women rights issues have all had drastic changes in how the law affects them because the collective conscience on those issues have changed. So though stop and frisk only effected a small part of the United States population this idea that the laws are changed when the collective conscience change is an important one.
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