Volume 94, Number 5

November 2019

Defining “Local” in a Localized Criminal Justice System

Elizabeth Janszky

There is an ongoing movement to democratize the criminal justice system. Providing more avenues for layperson participation, “democratizers” believe, will result in a more egalitarian system. But how to incorporate the public is an ongoing and complicated question. This Note takes a first step in disentangling important differences within the democratization movement. In doing so, it defines for the first time a sub-group of democratizers, which it terms the “localizers.” Analyzing this distinct strand of democratization serves two valuable functions. First, because democratization and localization reforms have often been lumped together, critics of the movement to democratize the criminal justice system have overlooked the unique problems that localizers’ reforms raise. This Note fills a substantial gap in the extant scholarship by providing tools for scholars to evaluate and critique some of the distinct concerns of localization. Second, and perhaps more importantly, this Note serves as a practical road map for localizers by raising questions that they must consider before advancing their reforms, many of which could, if effectuated correctly, immensely improve the current state of the criminal justice system.