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The Not So Great Writ: Constitution Lite For State Prisoners, Ursula Bentele Feb 2015

The Not So Great Writ: Constitution Lite For State Prisoners, Ursula Bentele

Ursula Bentele

Examination of the universe of cases in which the Supreme Court has recently reversed grants of federal habeas relief by circuit courts by issuing summary, per curiam opinions reveals some disturbing patterns. Substantively, the opinions continue the Court’s narrow interpretation of what law has been so clearly established that state courts must abide by its constitutional principles. Moreover, any rejection of a constitutional claim must be upheld unless there is no possibility that fairminded jurists could disagree with that determination. In terms of process, the summary reversals are issued in response to petitions for review by wardens, when the ...


The Original Meaning Of "Unusual": The Eighth Amendment As A Bar To Cruel Innovation, John F. Stinneford Dec 2014

The Original Meaning Of "Unusual": The Eighth Amendment As A Bar To Cruel Innovation, John F. Stinneford

John F. Stinneford

In recent years, both legal scholars and the American public have become aware that something is not quite right with the Supreme Court's Eighth Amendment jurisprudence. Legal commentators from across the spectrum have described the Court's treatment of the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause as "embarrassing," "ineffectual and incoherent," a "mess," and a "train wreck." The framers of the Bill of Rights understood the word "unusual" to mean "contrary to long usage." Recognition of the word's original meaning will precisely invert the "evolving standards of decency" test and ask the Court to compare challenged punishments with the ...


Youth Matters: Miller V. Alabama And The Future Of Juvenile Sentencing, John F. Stinneford Dec 2014

Youth Matters: Miller V. Alabama And The Future Of Juvenile Sentencing, John F. Stinneford

John F. Stinneford

In the Supreme Court's latest Eighth Amendment decision, Miller v. Alabama, the Court held that statutes authorizing mandatory sentences of life in prison with no possibility of parole are unconstitutional as applied to offenders who were under eighteen when they committed their crimes. This short essay examines several themes presented in Miller, including the constitutional significance of youth and science, the legitimacy of mandatory life sentences and juvenile transfer statutes, and the conflict between “evolving standards of decency” and the Supreme Court’s “independent judgment.” This essay also introduces important articles by Richard Frase, Carol Steiker and Jordan Steiker ...


The Illusory Eighth Amendment, John F. Stinneford Dec 2014

The Illusory Eighth Amendment, John F. Stinneford

John F. Stinneford

Although there is no obvious doctrinal connection between the Supreme Court’s Miranda jurisprudence and its Eighth Amendment excessive punishments jurisprudence, the two are deeply connected at the level of methodology. In both areas, the Supreme Court has been criticized for creating “prophylactic” rules that invalidate government actions because they create a mere risk of constitutional violation. In reality, however, both sets of rules deny constitutional protection to a far greater number of individuals with plausible claims of unconstitutional treatment than they protect. This dysfunctional combination of over- and underprotection arises from the Supreme Court’s use of implementation rules ...


Punishment Without Culpability, John F. Stinneford Dec 2014

Punishment Without Culpability, John F. Stinneford

John F. Stinneford

For more than half a century, academic commentators have criticized the Supreme Court for failing to articulate a substantive constitutional conception of criminal law. Although the Court enforces various procedural protections that the Constitution provides for criminal defendants, it has left the question of what a crime is purely to the discretion of the legislature. This failure has permitted legislatures to evade the Constitution’s procedural protections by reclassifying crimes as civil causes of action, eliminating key elements (such as mens rea) or reclassifying them as defenses or sentencing factors, and authorizing severe punishments for crimes traditionally considered relatively minor ...


Incapacitation Through Maiming: Chemical Castration, The Eighth Amendment, And The Denial Of Human Dignity, John F. Stinneford Dec 2014

Incapacitation Through Maiming: Chemical Castration, The Eighth Amendment, And The Denial Of Human Dignity, John F. Stinneford

John F. Stinneford

This year marks the tenth anniversary of California's enactment of the nation's first chemical castration law. This law requires certain sex offenders to receive, as part of their punishment, long-term pharmacological treatment involving massive doses of a synthetic female hormone called medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA). MPA treatment is described as chemical castration because it mimics the effect of surgical castration by eliminating almost all testosterone from the offender's system. The intended effect of MPA treatment is to alter brain and body function by reducing the brain's exposure to testosterone, thus depriving offenders of most (or all) capacity ...


The Road Most Travel: Is The Executive’S Growing Preeminence Making America More Like The Authoritarian Regimes It Fights So Hard Against?, Ryan T. Williams Aug 2014

The Road Most Travel: Is The Executive’S Growing Preeminence Making America More Like The Authoritarian Regimes It Fights So Hard Against?, Ryan T. Williams

Ryan T. Williams

Since September 11, 2001, the Executive branch of the Unites States government continues to accumulate power beyond which is granted to it under the U.S. Constitution. This Article examines how the Executive wields this additional power through a secret surveillance program, the indefinite detention of terror suspects, and the implementation of a kill list, where Americans and non-Americans alike are targeted and killed without any judicial determination of guilt or innocence. Moreover, Congress and the Judiciary have condoned the Executive’s unconstitutional power accumulation by not only remaining idle and refusing to challenge this taking, but by preventing other ...


Infusing The Meaning Of “Cruel And Unusual” Through The Digital Public Sphere: How The Internet Can Change The Debate On The Morality Of Capital Punishment, Adam A. Marshall Mar 2014

Infusing The Meaning Of “Cruel And Unusual” Through The Digital Public Sphere: How The Internet Can Change The Debate On The Morality Of Capital Punishment, Adam A. Marshall

Adam A Marshall

In this paper, I suggest new strategies that abolitionists should adopt in the debate over the morality of the death penalty. As the Eighth Amendment “draw[s] its meaning from the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society”, advocates for abolishing the death penalty should develop strategies based on the moral theories of Adam Smith to leverage the power of the internet and ensure all citizens feel the effects of the death penalty in order to stimulate debate over its morality. By examining these concepts through the case of Troy Davis, we can see how ...


The Privilege Against Self-Incrimination In Bankruptcy And The Plight Of The Debtor, Timothy R. Tarvin Feb 2014

The Privilege Against Self-Incrimination In Bankruptcy And The Plight Of The Debtor, Timothy R. Tarvin

Timothy R Tarvin

An innocent debtor, who is either ignorant of her constitutional right to the privilege against self-incrimination or ineffectual in asserting it, may find herself wrongfully convicted and imprisoned in a criminal matter, due to unwitting complicity in the delivery of testimony or documents in her bankruptcy case. This lack of understanding poses a serious risk to debtors, and especially affects the increasing number of pro se debtors in bankruptcy.
The privilege extends to debtors in bankruptcy proceedings. However, a debtor who fails to properly invoke the privilege waives her rights. This possibility is made more probable because there is no ...


The "Not A Search" Game, John F. Stinneford Dec 2013

The "Not A Search" Game, John F. Stinneford

John F. Stinneford

No abstract provided.


Correcting A Fatal Lottery: A Proposal To Apply The Civil Discrimination Standards To The Death Penalty, Joseph Thomas Nov 2013

Correcting A Fatal Lottery: A Proposal To Apply The Civil Discrimination Standards To The Death Penalty, Joseph Thomas

Joseph Thomas

Claims of discrimination are treated differently in the death penalty context. Discrimination in employment, housing, civil rights and jury venire all use a burden-shifting framework with the preponderance of the evidence as the standard. Discrimination that occurs in death penalty proceedings is the exception to the rule -- the framework offers less protections; there is only one phase of argumentation, with a heightened evidentiary standard of “exceptionally clear proof.” With disparate levels of protections against discrimination, the standard and framework for adjudicating claims of discrimination in the death penalty is unconstitutional.

Death is different as a punishment. But does discrimination change ...


Accounting For Federalism In State Courts - Exclusion Of Evidence Obtained Lawfully By Federal Agents, Robert M. Bloom, Hillary J. Massey Oct 2013

Accounting For Federalism In State Courts - Exclusion Of Evidence Obtained Lawfully By Federal Agents, Robert M. Bloom, Hillary J. Massey

Robert Bloom

After the terrorist attacks on September 11th, Congress greatly enhanced federal law enforcement powers through enactment of the U.S.A. Patriot Act. The Supreme Court also has provided more leeway to federal officers in the past few decades, for example by limiting the scope of the exclusionary rule. At the same time, many states have interpreted their constitutions to provide greater individual protections to their citizens than provided by the federal constitution. This phenomenon has sometimes created a wide disparity between the investigatory techniques available to federal versus state law enforcement officers. As a result, state courts sometimes must ...


The Constitutional Infirmity Of Warrantless Nsa Surveillance: The Abuse Of Presidential Power And The Injury To The Fourth Amendment, Robert M. Bloom, William J. Dunn Oct 2013

The Constitutional Infirmity Of Warrantless Nsa Surveillance: The Abuse Of Presidential Power And The Injury To The Fourth Amendment, Robert M. Bloom, William J. Dunn

Robert Bloom

In recent months, there have been many revelations about the tactics used by the Bush Administration to prosecute their war on terrorism. These stories involve the exploitation of technologies that allow the government, with the cooperation of phone companies and financial institutions, to access phone and financial records. This paper focuses on the revelation and widespread criticism of the Bush Administration’s operation of a warrantless electronic surveillance program to monitor international phone calls and emails that originate or terminate with a United States party. The powerful and secret National Security Agency heads the program and leverages its significant intelligence ...


Can Federal Courts Create Crimes?, Steven J. Wisotsky Aug 2013

Can Federal Courts Create Crimes?, Steven J. Wisotsky

Miguel Coder

No abstract provided.


The Conspiracy Origin Of The First Amendment, Steven R. Morrison Jul 2013

The Conspiracy Origin Of The First Amendment, Steven R. Morrison

Steven R Morrison

Scholars and jurists have misunderstood the import of three seminal 1919 First Amendment cases—Schenck v. United States, Frohwerk v. United States, and Abrams v. United States—as primarily free speech cases. They are better understood as free assembly cases. This is important for two reasons. First, individuals’ speech has the intended First Amendment effect only when speakers combine into groups. Second, the 1919 cases were the beginning of substantive First Amendment law, and so have resulted in a First Amendment jurisprudence that favors individual rights over group rights. This is a constitutional and normative mistake. Combined with the first ...


Terrorism And Associations, Ashutosh A. Bhagwat Feb 2013

Terrorism And Associations, Ashutosh A. Bhagwat

Ashutosh Bhagwat

The domestic manifestation of the War on Terror has produced the most difficult and sustained set of controversies regarding the limits on First Amendment protections for political speech and association since the anti-Communist crusades of the Red Scare and McCarthy eras. An examination of the types of domestic terrorism prosecutions that have become common since the September 11 attacks reveals continuing and unresolved conflicts between national security needs and traditional protections for speech and (especially) associational freedoms. Yet the courts have barely begun to acknowledge, much less address, these serious issues. In the Supreme Court’s only sustained engagement with ...


Rebalancing The Fourth Amendment, Shima Baradaran Feb 2013

Rebalancing The Fourth Amendment, Shima Baradaran

Shima Baradaran

The events of September 11 forever changed the political and legal response to terrorism. After more than ten years, two wars, several targeted military strikes, and significantly increased surveillance, we still have not succeeded in stopping the growth of Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. The war on terror has not just been a military one. To stop terrorism, it is imperative to cut off the flow of terrorism financing. To this end, a number of nations have created financial laws that prohibit the formation of anonymous companies and monitor suspicious bank transfers. These laws have been touted as evidence that ...


Criminal Forfeiture Procedure In 2013: An Annual Survey Of Developments In The Case Law, Stefan D. Cassella Dec 2012

Criminal Forfeiture Procedure In 2013: An Annual Survey Of Developments In The Case Law, Stefan D. Cassella

Stefan D Cassella

This is another in a series of articles on developments in the federal case law relating to criminal forfeiture procedure. It covers the cases decided in 2012 and early 2013. The article begins with the cases that illustrate the concept that criminal forfeiture is part of the defendant’s sentence in a criminal case. It then takes the reader more or less chronologically through the litigation of a case, beginning with the seizure and restraint of the property and continuing through the trial and sentencing of the defendant and the adjudication of third-party issues in the post-trial ancillary proceeding. Except ...


Fourth-Amendment Enforcement Models: Analysis And Proposal, Bruce G. Berner Oct 2012

Fourth-Amendment Enforcement Models: Analysis And Proposal, Bruce G. Berner

Bruce G. Berner

No abstract provided.


Aedpa's Wrecks: Comity, Finality, And Federalism, Lee B. Kovarsky Aug 2012

Aedpa's Wrecks: Comity, Finality, And Federalism, Lee B. Kovarsky

Lee Kovarsky

Over the last decade, federal courts have internalized the idea that interpretations of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) should disfavor habeas relief. This Article explores the strange legislative history surrounding AEDPA's passage and the resulting problems in using 'comity, finality, and federalism' to express this interpretive mood. It demonstrates that such a simplistic reading of habeas reform is deeply misguided. Through the use of public choice and related models, the Article explores the roots of this interpretive problem. It ultimately rejects any attempt to characterize AEDPA by reference to legislative purpose.


Enforcing Animal Welfare Statutes: In Many States, It’S Still The Wild West, Elizabeth Rumley, Rusty Rumley Dec 2011

Enforcing Animal Welfare Statutes: In Many States, It’S Still The Wild West, Elizabeth Rumley, Rusty Rumley

Elizabeth Rumley

Authority to enforce animal welfare laws has been delegated to private citizens involved with humane organizations since the 1880s when the majority of those statutes were originally passed. Currently, over half of the states and the District of Columbia grant some form of law enforcement power to members or officers of humane societies. The authority ranges from the power to arrest to the ability to seize and destroy private property. In some cases it includes the right to carry a firearm-- even, in one state, as a convicted felon-- while engaging in law enforcement activities. After a brief history of ...


Those Who Can't, Teach: What The Legal Career Of John Yoo Tells Us About Who Should Be Teaching Law, Lawrence Rosenthal Dec 2010

Those Who Can't, Teach: What The Legal Career Of John Yoo Tells Us About Who Should Be Teaching Law, Lawrence Rosenthal

Lawrence Rosenthal

Perhaps no member of the legal academy in America is more controversial than John Yoo. For his role in producing legal opinions authorizing what is thought by many to be abusive treatment of detainees as part of the Bush Administration’s “Global War on Terror,” some have called for him to be subjected to professional discipline, others have called for his criminal prosecution. This paper raises a different question: whether John Yoo – and his like – ought to be teaching law.

John Yoo provides something of a case study in the problems in legal education today. As a scholar, Professor Yoo ...


Second Amendment Plumbing After Mcdonald, Lawrence Rosenthal Dec 2010

Second Amendment Plumbing After Mcdonald, Lawrence Rosenthal

Lawrence Rosenthal

These essays were written for a debate with Professor Joyce Lee Malcolm appearing in the Northwestern University Law Review concerning the standard of scrutiny to be applied to gun control laws in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision in McDonald v. City of Chicago. The opening essay argues that the text of the Second Amendment, the history of gun-control regulation, and the approach taken by the Supreme Court in McDonald and District of Columbia v. Heller argue for some form of intermediate scrutiny capable of coming to grips with the fact that the populace capable of bearing arms ...


First Amendment Investigations And The Inescapable Pragmatism Of The Common Law Of Free Speech, Lawrence Rosenthal Dec 2010

First Amendment Investigations And The Inescapable Pragmatism Of The Common Law Of Free Speech, Lawrence Rosenthal

Lawrence Rosenthal

Scholars have struggled to explain our sprawling First Amendment doctrine – once described by Justice Stevens as “an elaborate mosaic of specific judicial decisions, characteristic of the common law process of case-by-case adjudication.” The position that has gained the most traction in recent scholarship has stressed the primacy of governmental motive – this school of thought argues that the degree of scrutiny to be afforded a challenged regulation is based on an assessment of the likelihood that the regulation reflects a governmental motive to burden disfavored speech or speakers.

This article offers a challenge to the purposivist account. It begins, in Part ...


Pragmatism, Originalism, Race And The Case Against Terry V. Ohio, Lawrence Rosenthal Dec 2009

Pragmatism, Originalism, Race And The Case Against Terry V. Ohio, Lawrence Rosenthal

Lawrence Rosenthal

Perhaps no decision of the United States Supreme Court concerning the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on “unreasonable search and seizure” has come in for more criticism than Terry v. Ohio, in which the Supreme Court concluded that even absent probable cause to arrest, a brief detention and protective search of an individual comports with the Fourth Amendment “where a police officer observes unusual conduct which leads him reasonably to conclude that criminal activity may be afoot and that the person with whom he is dealing may be armed and presently dangerous . . .” Terry is frequently denounced as granting the police excessively ...


“Intelligence” Searches And Purpose: A Significant Mismatch Between Constitutional Criminal Procedure And The Law Of Intelligence-Gathering, Robert C. Power Dec 2009

“Intelligence” Searches And Purpose: A Significant Mismatch Between Constitutional Criminal Procedure And The Law Of Intelligence-Gathering, Robert C. Power

Robert C. Power

No abstract provided.


The New Originalism Meets The Fourteenth Amendment: Original Public Meaning And The Problem Of Incorporation, Lawrence Rosenthal Dec 2008

The New Originalism Meets The Fourteenth Amendment: Original Public Meaning And The Problem Of Incorporation, Lawrence Rosenthal

Lawrence Rosenthal

This paper, prepared for a symposium on the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment at the University of San Diego's Institute for Constitutional Originalism, examines the historical case for incorporation within the Fourteenth Amendment of the rights in first eight amendments to the Constitution in light of the recent turn in thinking about originalist methods of constitutional interpretation. In recent decades, the historical case for incorporation has made something of a comeback, resting on strong evidence that many of the key framers of the Fourteenth Amendment considered the first eight amendments to be among the privileges and immunities ...


The Unexceptionalism Of Evolving Standards, Corinna Barrett Lain Dec 2008

The Unexceptionalism Of Evolving Standards, Corinna Barrett Lain

Corinna Lain

Conventional wisdom is that outside the Eighth Amendment context, the Supreme Court does not engage in the sort of explicitly majoritarian state nose-counting for which the “evolving standards of decency” doctrine is famous. Yet this impression is simply inaccurate. Across a stunning variety of civil liberties contexts, the Court routinely—and explicitly—bases constitutional protection on whether a majority of states agree with it. This Article examines the Supreme Court’s reliance on the majority position of the states to identify constitutional norms, then turns to the qualifications, explanations, and implications of state polling as a larger doctrinal phenomenon. While ...


Probability, Probable Cause, And The Law Of Unintended Consequences, Lawrence Rosenthal Dec 2008

Probability, Probable Cause, And The Law Of Unintended Consequences, Lawrence Rosenthal

Lawrence Rosenthal

This brief essay responds to Max Minzer's article "Putting Probability Back into Probable Cause." The essay supports Professor Minzer's proposal for the use of empirical evidence of the success of a given investigating officer or investigative technique in assessing the existence of probable cause to search or seize, but offers a caveat. If an officer's "hit rate" becomes central to Fourth Amendment analysis, there is a serious danger of overdeterrence which, in turn, could lead to a dangerous escalation in violent crime. The essay offers some proposals for minimizing the risk of overdeterrence in an empirically-based regime ...


Equal Sentences For Unequal Participation: Should The Eighth Amendment Allow All Juvenile Murder Accomplices To Receive Life Without Parole?, Brian Gallini Sep 2008

Equal Sentences For Unequal Participation: Should The Eighth Amendment Allow All Juvenile Murder Accomplices To Receive Life Without Parole?, Brian Gallini

Brian Gallini

No court has addressed the constitutional significance of sentencing juvenile murder accomplices who play a minimal role in the underlying killing to life in prison without parole. Indeed, no precedent makes clear whether it is cruel and unusual to impose that sentence on juvenile offenders convicted of first-degree murder pursuant to either the felony-murder doctrine or an accomplice theory of liability, notwithstanding their minimal involvement in the victim’s death. To investigate this unanswered question, Part I of this Article explores the imposition of life without parole sentences on juvenile non-killers convicted of murder via either the felony-murder doctrine or ...