This book documents the corrosive effect of social exclusion on democracy and the rule of law. It shows how marginalization prevents citizens from effectively engaging even the best legal systems, how politics creeps into prosecutorial and judicial decision making, and how institutional change is often nullified by enduring contextual factors. It also shows how some institutional arrangements can overcome these impediments. The argument is based on extensive field work and original data on the investigation and prosecution of more than 500 police homicides in five legal systems in Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. It includes both qualitative analyses of individual violations and prosecutions and quantitative analyses of broad patterns within and across jurisdictions. The book offers a structured comparison of police, prosecutorial, and judicial institutions in each location, and shows that analyses of any one of these organizations in isolation misses many of the essential dynamics that underlie an effective system of justice.
Daniel M. Brinks is assistant professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin, teaching comparative politics and public law, with an emphasis on politics and democracy in Latin America. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Notre Dame and a J.D., cum laude, from the University of Michigan Law School. Professor Brinks's research has appeared in journals such as Comparative Politics, Studies in Comparative International Development, Comparative Political Studies, and the Texas International Law Journal. Among his many awards and accolades, Brinks has received Honorable Mention in the Gabriel Almond Competition for Best Dissertation in Comparative Politics (2006), the Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies Visiting Fellowship (2006-07), Eli J. and Helen Shaheen Notre Dame Graduate School Award in the Social Sciences (2004), the American Bar Foundation Doctoral Fellowship (2002-04), the Social Science Research Council International Dissertation Research Fellowship (2000-01), and a Fulbright Fellowship (2000-01, declined).