Loyola University Chicago

Department of Sociology

CELTS grant support for Sociology 215 - Law and Society


The Center for Engaged Learning Teaching and Scholarship (CELTS) has supported the Introduction to Law and Society, Sociology 215, with a small grant in the Spring of 2023. Dr Begicevic designed this class to stimulate critical thinking through close text analysis, student-led investigative work, independent inquiries and collaborative case analysis. This semester's guest speaker included the US District judge, Joan H. Lefkow, who spoke to the students about her experience as a women judge at a time when white men dominated the profession.

Judge Lefkow informed the class about the decision-making process in the case of Jon Graham Burge, notorious for police brutality and extracting conditions using torture. Burge was an American police detective and commander in the Chicago Police Department from 1986-1993, who was found guilty of having "directly participated in or implicitly approved the torture" of at least 118 people in police custody to force false confessions.On June 28, 2010, following two days of testimony at Burge’s sentencing hearing, Judge Lefkow convicted him of perjury and obstruction of justice for lying in a civil suit when he denied committing or witnessing torture. This case costs Chicago taxpayers at least $115 million for settlements, judgments, and other compensation to victims. The end of the Law and Society, Sociology 215 semester was marked by student-led final portfolio presentations and collaborative learning exchange at the Edgewater Mexican café, a local community, minority-owned restaurant.