Indefinite detention is a legal norm and practice that is increasingly acceptable throughout the world. It consists of arrest and forcible detention without a clear communication of crimes committed, and it can last indefinitely, since it deprives the detained of recourse to courts for review and release. Kafka’s Trial, which brought this kind of legal nightmare into focus, proves relevant for understanding the temporal sequence by which the expectation of justice through law is confounded and negated. Over and against the expectation that a set of legal procedures sequentially followed will deliver a fair verdict, if not justice, Kafka’s reordering of space and time exposes a world in which the allegation becomes punishment and the expected release becomes the renewal of detention itself. The relation between fictional and legal sequence proves salient for understanding the indefinite postponement of justice through law, exposing in the end a form of legal violence indistinguishable from criminality.

You do not currently have access to this content.