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Articles 1 - 11 of 11

Full-Text Articles in Law

Attorney Competence In An Age Of Plea Bargaining And Econometrics, Jeffrey Bellin Oct 2014

Attorney Competence In An Age Of Plea Bargaining And Econometrics, Jeffrey Bellin

Faculty Publications

This Essay explores the concept of attorney competence in a criminal justice system dominated by plea bargaining. It focuses, in particular, on the results of a widely-reported empirical study of Philadelphia murder cases that found “vast” differences in legal outcomes based on the type of defense attorney assigned to the case. The first part of the Essay explores the implications of these empirical findings, which appear to stem from a counter-intuitive form of professional competence, persistence in convincing one’s client to plead guilty. The findings are particularly intriguing in light of the Supreme Court’s recent expansion of ineffective ...


An Ntsb For Capital Punishment, Adam M. Gershowitz Oct 2014

An Ntsb For Capital Punishment, Adam M. Gershowitz

Faculty Publications

When a fatal traffic accident happens, we expect the local police and prosecutors to handle the investigation and criminal charges. When afatal airplane crash occurs, however, we turn instead to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The reason is that air crashes are complicated and the NTSB has vast expertise. Without that expertise, investigations falter. We need look no further than the mess made by Malaysian authorities in the search for Flight 370 to see the importance of expertise in handling complicated investigations and processes. It is easy to point to a similar series of mistakes by local prosecutors and ...


Rethinking The Timing Of Capital Clemency, Adam M. Gershowitz Oct 2014

Rethinking The Timing Of Capital Clemency, Adam M. Gershowitz

Faculty Publications

This Article reviews every capital clemency over the last four decades. It demonstrates that in the majority of cases, the reason for commutation was known at the conclusion of direct appeals—years or even decades before the habeas process ended. Yet when governors or pardon boards actually commuted the death sentences, they typically waited until the eve of execution, with only days or hours to spare. Leaving clemency until the last minute sometimes leads to many years of unnecessary state and federal habeas corpus litigation, and this Article documents nearly 300 years of wasted habeas corpus review. Additionally, last-minute commutations ...


The Wire As A Gap-Filling Class On Criminal Law And Procedure, Adam M. Gershowitz Aug 2014

The Wire As A Gap-Filling Class On Criminal Law And Procedure, Adam M. Gershowitz

Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


Trial By Google: Judicial Notice In The Information Age, Jeffrey Bellin, Andrew Guthrie Ferguson Jul 2014

Trial By Google: Judicial Notice In The Information Age, Jeffrey Bellin, Andrew Guthrie Ferguson

Faculty Publications

This Article presents a theory of judicial notice for the information age. It argues that the ease of accessing factual data on the Internet allows judges and litigants to expand the use of judicial notice in ways that raise significant concerns about admissibility, reliability, and fair process. State and federal courts are already applying the surprisingly pliant judicial notice rules to bring websites ranging from Google Maps to Wikipedia into the courtroom, and these decisions will only increase in frequency in coming years. This rapidly emerging judicial phenomenon is notable for its ad hoc and conclusory nature—attributes that have ...


Systemic Barriers To Effective Assistance Of Counsel In Plea Bargaining, Rodney J. Uphoff, Peter A. Joy Jul 2014

Systemic Barriers To Effective Assistance Of Counsel In Plea Bargaining, Rodney J. Uphoff, Peter A. Joy

Faculty Publications

In a trio of recent cases, Padilla v. Kentucky, Missouri v. Frye, and Lafler v. Cooper, the U.S. Supreme Court has focused its attention on defense counsel's pivotal role during the plea bargaining process . At the same time that the Court has signaled its willingness to consider ineffective assistance of counsel claims at the plea stage, prosecutors are increasingly requiring defendants to sign waivers that include waiving all constitutional and procedural errors, even unknown ineffective assistance of counsel claims such as those that proved successful in Padilla and Frye. Had Jose Padilla and Galin Frye been forced to ...


Testimonial Is As Testimonial Does, Ben L. Trachtenberg Jan 2014

Testimonial Is As Testimonial Does, Ben L. Trachtenberg

Faculty Publications

In December 2012, the Florida Law Review published Ben Trachtenberg’s article “Confronting Coventurers: Coconspirator Hearsay, Sir Walter Raleigh, and the Sixth Amendment Confrontation Clause,” 64 Fla. L. Rev. 1669 (2012). Using the example of hearsay admitted in criminal prosecutions related to the Holy Land Foundation, the article argued that under Crawford v. Washington, courts had begun admitting unreliable hearsay against criminal defendants that previously would have been barred under Ohio v. Roberts, the Confrontation Clause case upended by Crawford.

Richard D. Friedman, the Alene and Allan F. Smith Professor of Law at the University of Michigan, responded in “The ...


Cold Comfort Food: A Systematic Examination Of The Rituals And Rights Of The Last Meal, Sarah Gerwig-Moore Jan 2014

Cold Comfort Food: A Systematic Examination Of The Rituals And Rights Of The Last Meal, Sarah Gerwig-Moore

Faculty Publications

Last meals are a resilient ritual accompanying executions in the United States. Yet states vary considerably in the ways they administer last meals. This paper explores the recent decision in Texas to abolish the tradition altogether. It seeks to understand, through consultation of historical and contemporary sources, what the ritual signifies. We then go on to analyze execution procedures in all 35 of the states that allowed executions in 2010, and show that last meal allowances are paradoxically at their most expansive in states traditionally associated with high rates of capital punishment (Texas now being the exception to that rule ...


Impeachment By Unreliable Conviction, Anna Roberts Jan 2014

Impeachment By Unreliable Conviction, Anna Roberts

Faculty Publications

This Article offers a new critique of Federal Rule of Evidence 609, which permits impeachment of criminal defendants by means of their prior criminal convictions. In admitting convictions as impeachment evidence, courts are wrongly assuming that such convictions are necessarily reliable indicators of relative culpability. Courts assume that convictions are the product of a fair fight, that they demonstrate relative culpability, and that they connote moral culpability. But current prosecutorial practice and other data undermine each of these assumptions. Accordingly, this Article proposes that before a conviction is used for impeachment, there should be an assessment of the extent to ...


Admissibility Compared: The Reception Of Incriminating Expert Evidence (I.E., Forensic Science) In Four Adversarial Jurisdictions, Gary Edmond, Emma Cunliffe, Simon A. Cole, Andrew J. Roberts Jan 2014

Admissibility Compared: The Reception Of Incriminating Expert Evidence (I.E., Forensic Science) In Four Adversarial Jurisdictions, Gary Edmond, Emma Cunliffe, Simon A. Cole, Andrew J. Roberts

Faculty Publications

There is an epistemic crisis in many areas of forensic science. This crisis emerged largely in response both to the mobilization of a range of academic commentators and critics and the rise and influence of DNA typing. It gained popular and authoritative support through the influence of the National Academy of Science (NAS) and a surprisingly critical report produced under its auspices by a committee of the National Research Council (NRC). Interestingly, as this article endeavors to explain, the courts themselves seem to have played a rather indirect, inconsistent and ultimately ineffective role in the supervision and evaluation of forensic ...


Juries, Lay Judges, And Trials, Toby S. Goldbach, Valerie P. Hans Jan 2014

Juries, Lay Judges, And Trials, Toby S. Goldbach, Valerie P. Hans

Faculty Publications

“Juries, Lay Judges, and Trials” describes the widespread practice of including ordinary citizens as legal decision makers in the criminal trial. In some countries, lay persons serve as jurors and determine the guilt and occasionally the punishment of the accused. In others, citizens decide cases together with professional judges in mixed decision-making bodies. What is more, a number of countries have introduced or reintroduced systems employing juries or lay judges, often as part of comprehensive reform in emerging democracies. Becoming familiar with the job of the juror or lay citizen in a criminal trial is thus essential for understanding contemporary ...