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Review of Daniel Brinks, The Judicial Response to Politics Killings in Latin America: Inequality and the Rule of Law


Review of Daniel Brinks, The Judicial Response to Politics Killings in Latin America: Inequality and the Rule of Law

Abstract: 

One of the greatest challenges facing Latin American democracies is the problem of growing crime rates and high levels of police abuse. The poor treatment of large segments of the population at the hands of police in countries as diverse as Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, and Honduras raises serious questions about the depth and strength of these political systems. In his recent book The Judicial Response to Police Killings in Latin America: Inequality and the Rule of Law, Daniel Brinks has made a major contribution to the study of this problem in the region that will help to define both methodological and substantive debates in the growing literature on this subject. Brinks’ account discusses the response of courts to police violence against civilians in Buenos Aires and Cordoba, Argentina, São Paulo and Salvador, Brazil, and in the national court system of Uruguay. Using an innovative methodology that combines analysis of a random sample of police homicide cases in each jurisdiction with qualitative interviews with relatives of victims, NGO activists, and actors in the legal system, Brinks shows with considerable nuance how different social, political, economic, and institutional conditions in each location affect overall judicial outcomes. He is able to build on these comparisons within and between countries to show that, while institutional structure makes a difference, the national and local political and social contexts have a substantial impact on the efficacy of those institutions.​

Publication Information

Full Citation: 

Arias, Desmond. 2008. Rev. of Daniel Brinks, The Judicial Response to Politics Killings in Latin America: Inequality and the Rule of Law. Law and Politics Book Review (August): 18:721-724.

START Author(s): 
Enrique Arias
Publication URL: 
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