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Constitutional Law

Punishment

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

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Ensuring That Punishment Does, In Fact, Fit The Crime, Meredith D. Mcphail Oct 2018

Ensuring That Punishment Does, In Fact, Fit The Crime, Meredith D. Mcphail

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

The United States imprisons a greater proportion of its own population than any other country in the world.2 A legal framework provides protections for those individuals who are incarcerated, but that framework is flawed. The jurisprudence distinguishes pretrial detainees (who have not been convicted) from convicted persons (who are serving a sentence).3 Based on that distinction, different standards apply to conditions of confinement and use of force cases brought by pretrial detainees and those brought by convicted persons.4 That distinction–and the resulting disparate application of legal standards–does not comport with the reality of incarceration, the ...


Making The Right Call For Confrontation At Felony Sentencing, Shaakirrah R. Sanders Apr 2014

Making The Right Call For Confrontation At Felony Sentencing, Shaakirrah R. Sanders

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Felony sentencing courts have discretion to increase punishment based on un-cross-examined testimonial statements about several categories of uncharged, dismissed, or otherwise unproven criminal conduct. Denying defendants an opportunity to cross-examine these categories of sentencing evidence undermines a core principle of natural law as adopted in the Sixth Amendment: those accused of felony crimes have the right to confront adversarial witnesses. This Article contributes to the scholarship surrounding confrontation rights at felony sentencing by cautioning against continued adherence to the most historic Supreme Court case on this issue, Williams v. New York. This Article does so for reasons beyond the unacknowledged ...


Solitary Confinement, Public Safety, And Recdivism, Shira E. Gordon Jan 2014

Solitary Confinement, Public Safety, And Recdivism, Shira E. Gordon

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

As of 2005, about 80,000 prisoners were housed in solitary confinement in jails and in state and federal prisons in the United States. Prisoners in solitary confinement are generally housed in a cell for twenty-two to twenty-four hours a day with little human contact or interaction. The number of prisoners held in solitary confinement increased 40 percent between 1995 and 2000, in comparison to the growth in the total prison population of 28 percent. Concurrently, the duration of time that prisoners spend in solitary confinement also increased: nationally, most prisoners in solitary confinement spend more than five years there ...


Federal Incarceration By Contract In A Post-Minneci World: Legislation To Equalize The Constitutional Rights Of Prisoners, Allison L. Waks Apr 2013

Federal Incarceration By Contract In A Post-Minneci World: Legislation To Equalize The Constitutional Rights Of Prisoners, Allison L. Waks

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

In the 2012 case Minneci v. Pollard, the United States Supreme Court held that federal prisoners assigned to privately-run prisons may not bring actions for violations of their Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment and may instead bring actions sounding only in state tort law. A consequence of this decision is that the arbitrary assignment of some federal prisoners to privately-run prisons deprives them of an equal opportunity to vindicate this federal constitutional right and pursue a federal remedy. Yet all federal prisoners should be entitled to the same protection under the United States Constitution-regardless of the type ...


Furman'S Mythical Mandate, Scott W. Howe May 2007

Furman'S Mythical Mandate, Scott W. Howe

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

This Article argues for the rescue and reform of Supreme Court doctrine regulating capital sentencing trials under the Eighth Amendment. Many legal commentators, both liberal and conservative, including several members of the Supreme Court, have concluded that the Court's regulation of capital sentencing trials is a disaster. The repeated criticisms rest on a commonly accepted view about a principal goal of capital sentencing regulation. The prevailing account, fueled by the rhetoric of the Justices, stems from the notion that Furman v. Georgia, 408 U.S. 208 (1972), revealed a mandate of consistency in the use of the death penalty ...


Salvaging Proportionate Prison Sentencing: A Reply To Rummel V. Estelle, Thomas F. Cavalier Jan 1982

Salvaging Proportionate Prison Sentencing: A Reply To Rummel V. Estelle, Thomas F. Cavalier

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Part I of this Note provides a capsule of the Court's holding in Rummel. Part II argues, contrary to Rummel, that precedential support can be mustered to support eighth amendment review of sentence length. Finally, part 11,1 discusses the continued viability of the proportionality test as a vehicle for assessing challenges to the length of imprisonment, and discounts the concerns voiced in Rummel regarding the difficulty of judicial review of legislative sentencing decisions.