In A Lesson Before Dying, Ernest J. Gaines presents a sympathetic defendant who has come to accept his reality. Today, this same defendant would be treated to a very different investigation, trial, and possibly a different outcome. Through a careful inspection of antebellum attitudes of the criminal justice system, modern readers must compare and contrast the legal safeguards of the past with those of the present. Basic presumptions will be scrutinized, trial methods will be discussed, and justice will be examined within the concepts of race, time, and equality.
Professor P. Charles Entzminger, MSCJ, JD, is an Assistant Professor of Law Enforcement and Justice Administration at Western Illinois University. At Western Illinois, Professor Entzminger teaches courses in criminal procedure, criminal law, criminology, and juvenile justice. Additionally, Professor Entzminger is the adviser for the WIU Mock Trial Team. His primary research interests include the deconstruction of recidivism and alternative punishments for specific classes of offenders.