Document Type



“The Legitimacy of Police Among Young African-American Men” 92 Marquette Law Review 651 (2009)


It is a privilege for me to introduce the George and Margaret Barrock Lecture. Permit me to begin by saying a few words about the individuals in whose memory this lecture stands. While I would do this in any event, it is especially appropriate to do so this year, for this is the inaugural Barrock Lecture.

George Barrock was a Marquette lawyer, from our class of 1931. George’s parents were from Lebanon, coming over to the United States on a cattle boat. Like so many immigrants, they both modeled a strong work ethic and stressed to their children the importance of education.

Upon George’s graduation from law school, he started his own firm in his native Milwaukee. He was primarily a family-law lawyer, although he is said to have always tried to help his client reconcile with his or her spouse rather than divorce, if possible. In all events, George Barrock was fortunate in his own marriage: his wife, Margaret, was not only his partner for life but also worked with him at the firm, on administrative matters. A bequest to support an occasional distinguished lecture in George and Margaret Barrock’s memory was provided by their daughter, Mary Bonfield.

This is that lecture, which we have determined to associate with the area of criminal law. While this was not George Barrock’s specialty, it is consistent not only with his daughter’s bequest (to be sure) but with his own practice, which served individual citizens with their everyday legal problems. Moreover, criminal law is an historic strength of Marquette University Law School, certainly insofar as our teaching and our graduates’ practices are concerned. I am thus very pleased that this lecture series will occur in the area of criminal law.

And how fortunate we are that Tracey Meares, the Walton Hale Hamilton Professor at Yale Law School, has accepted the invitation, which Associate Dean Michael O’Hear extended on our behalf, to join us to deliver this inaugural Barrock Lecture. Professor Meares is among the nation’s most innovative and influential criminal law scholars. Her work focuses on the immensely difficult and important problem of high crime rates in poor, urban, minority neighborhoods. Professor Meares’s writings on this topic exemplify the very best of interdisciplinary legal scholarship, bringing to bear a deep understanding of sociological theory in an effort to help develop constructive, practical proposals for improving both legal doctrine and police practices.

In particular, Professor Meares has called for a more flexible approach to constitutional rights that would give local communities more power to address their own crime problems, and she has called for police to develop different ways of engaging with the communities they serve. Her work thus defies categorization based on the simplistic, partisan labels that mark much of the public discourse on criminal procedure, such as “pro-defendant” or “pro-police.” Indeed, it does nothing less than invite us to rethink our positions about crime and policing in the inner-city and to be open to innovative crime-control strategies that move beyond traditional deterrence-based approaches.

Please join me in welcoming, to Marquette University Law School and Milwaukee, Professor Tracey Meares.

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