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Full-Text Articles in Law

The State Of The Death Penalty, Ankur Desai, Brandon L. Garrett Jan 2019

The State Of The Death Penalty, Ankur Desai, Brandon L. Garrett

Faculty Scholarship

The death penalty is in decline in America and most death penalty states do not regularly impose death sentences. In 2016 and 2017, states reached modern lows in imposed death sentences, with just thirty-one defendants sentenced to death in 2016 and thirty-nine in 2017, as compared with over three hundred per year in the 1990s. In 2016, only thirteen states imposed death sentences, and in 2017, fourteen did so, although thirty-one states retain the death penalty. What explains this remarkable and quite unexpected trend? In this Article, we present new analysis of state-level legislative changes that might have been expected ...


Finding Law, Stephen E. Sachs Jan 2019

Finding Law, Stephen E. Sachs

Faculty Scholarship

That the judge's task is to find the law, not to make it, was once a commonplace of our legal culture. Today, decades after Erie, the idea of a common law discovered by judges is commonly dismissed -- as a "fallacy," an "illusion," a "brooding omnipresence in the sky." That dismissive view is wrong. Expecting judges to find unwritten law is no childish fiction of the benighted past, but a real and plausible option for a modern legal system.

This Essay seeks to restore the respectability of finding law, in part by responding to two criticisms made by Erie and ...


Judging Risk, Brandon L. Garrett, John Monahan Jan 2019

Judging Risk, Brandon L. Garrett, John Monahan

Faculty Scholarship

Risk assessment plays an increasingly pervasive role in criminal justice in the United States at all stages of the process, from policing, to pre-trial, sentencing, corrections, and during parole. As efforts to reduce incarceration have led to adoption of risk-assessment tools, critics have begun to ask whether various instruments in use are valid and whether they might reinforce rather than reduce bias in criminal justice outcomes. Such work has neglected how decisionmakers use risk-assessment in practice. In this Article, we examine in detail the judging of risk assessment and we study why decisionmakers so often fail to consistently use such ...


“Re-Evaluating Competence To Stand Trial”, David Collins Jan 2018

“Re-Evaluating Competence To Stand Trial”, David Collins

Duke Law Master of Judicial Studies Theses

The current federal law governing a defendant’s competence to stand trial is substantially contained in 18 U.S.C. § 4241 that can be traced to a 1949 statute and, in Dusky v. United States, a three paragraph opinion of the Supreme Court, delivered in 1960. The federal statute was initially drafted by a committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States. Thus, material aspects of the federal tests for assessing a defendant’s competence to stand trial were composed by federal judges.

This paper explains why the current federal law concerning a defendant’s competence to stand trial ...


Innovative Justice: Federal Reentry Drug Courts – How Should We Measure Success?, Timothy D. Degiusti Jan 2018

Innovative Justice: Federal Reentry Drug Courts – How Should We Measure Success?, Timothy D. Degiusti

Duke Law Master of Judicial Studies Theses

In response to the drug abuse and addiction epidemic in the United States, innovative ways of dealing with non-violent drug offenders within the criminal justice system began to emerge in the late 1980s. Special court dockets – commonly referred to as drug courts – were developed featuring an interdisciplinary team of criminal justice and mental health professionals, led by a presiding judge. Drug courts and other problem-solving courts have proliferated within the state court system, numbering 3,057 by the end of 2014. The use of such courts is expanding among the states, but the federal courts have been slow to adopt ...


Evidence-Informed Criminal Justice, Brandon L. Garrett Jan 2018

Evidence-Informed Criminal Justice, Brandon L. Garrett

Faculty Scholarship

The American criminal justice system is at a turning point. For decades, as the rate of incarceration exploded, observers of the American criminal justice system criticized the enormous discretion wielded by key actors, particularly police and prosecutors, and the lack of empirical evidence that has informed that discretion. Since the 1967 President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice report, The Challenge of Crime in a Free Society, there has been broad awareness that the criminal system lacks empirically informed approaches. That report unsuccessfully called for a national research strategy, with an independent national criminal justice research institute ...


Honesty Without Truth: Lies, Accuracy, And The Criminal Justice Process, Lisa Kern Griffin Jan 2018

Honesty Without Truth: Lies, Accuracy, And The Criminal Justice Process, Lisa Kern Griffin

Faculty Scholarship

Focusing on “lying” is a natural response to uncertainty but too narrow of a concern. Honesty and truth are not the same thing and conflating them can actually inhibit accuracy. In several settings across investigations and trials, the criminal justice system elevates compliant statements, misguided beliefs, and confident opinions while excluding more complex evidence. Error often results. Some interrogation techniques, for example, privilege cooperation over information. Those interactions can yield incomplete or false statements, confessions, and even guilty pleas. Because of the impeachment rules that purportedly prevent perjury, the most knowledgeable witnesses may be precluded from taking the stand. The ...


Project Safe Neighborhoods In Chicago: Looking Back A Decade Later, Ben Grunwald, Andrew V. Papachristos Jan 2017

Project Safe Neighborhoods In Chicago: Looking Back A Decade Later, Ben Grunwald, Andrew V. Papachristos

Faculty Scholarship

Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is a federally funded initiative that brings together federal, state, and local law enforcement to reduce gun violence in urban centers. In Chicago, PSN implemented supply-side gun policing tactics, enhanced federal prosecution of gun crimes, and notification forums warning offenders of PSN’s heightened criminal sanctions. Prior evaluations provide evidence that PSN initiatives have reduced crime in the first few years of their operation. But over a decade after the program was established, we still know little about whether these effects are sustained over an extended period of time. This Article examines PSN Chicago, an anti-violence ...


Adjudicating Death: Professionals Or Politicians?, Stephen J. Choi, Mitu Gulati Jan 2017

Adjudicating Death: Professionals Or Politicians?, Stephen J. Choi, Mitu Gulati

Faculty Scholarship

Variation exists in how death examinations take place in the United States. In some counties and states decisions about autopsies and the issuance of death certificates are made by a local coroner who often needs nothing more than a high school diploma to run for election to the job of coroner. In other counties and states, an appointed medical professional performs the death examination. We provide preliminary tests of the difference in performance between death examination offices run by appointed medical professionals compared with elected coroners. We find that death examiner offices in elected coroner states are less likely to ...


Neuroscience And Behavioral Genetics In Us Criminal Law: An Empirical Analysis, Nita A. Farahany Jan 2016

Neuroscience And Behavioral Genetics In Us Criminal Law: An Empirical Analysis, Nita A. Farahany

Faculty Scholarship

The goal of this study was to examine the growing use of neurological and behavioral genetic evidence by criminal defendants in US criminal law. Judicial opinions issued between 2005–12 that discussed the use of neuroscience or behavioral genetics by criminal defendants were identified, coded and analysed. Yet, criminal defendants are increasingly introducing such evidence to challenge defendants’ competency, the effectiveness of defense counsel at trial, and to mitigate punishment.


How Bayesian Are Judges?, Jack Knight, Mitu Gulati, David F. Levi Jan 2016

How Bayesian Are Judges?, Jack Knight, Mitu Gulati, David F. Levi

Faculty Scholarship

Richard Posner famously modeled judges as Bayesians in his book, How Judges Think? A key element of being Bayesian is that one constantly updates with new information. This model of the judge who is constantly learning and updating, particularly about local conditions, also is one of the reasons why the factual determinations of trial judges are given deference on appeal. But do judges in fact act like Bayesian updaters? Judicial evaluations of search warrant requests for probable cause provides an ideal setting to examine this question because the judges in this context have access to information on how well they ...


Dna And Distrust, Kerry Abrams, Brandon L. Garrett Jan 2016

Dna And Distrust, Kerry Abrams, Brandon L. Garrett

Faculty Scholarship

Over the past three decades, government regulation and funding of DNA testing has reshaped the use of genetic evidence across various fields, including criminal law, family law, and employment law. Courts have struggled with questions of when and whether to treat genetic evidence as implicating individual rights, policy trade-offs, or federalism problems. We identify two modes of genetic testing: identification testing, used to establish a person’s identity, and predictive testing, which seeks to predict outcomes for a person. Judges and lawmakers have often drawn a bright line at predictive testing, while allowing uninhibited identity testing. The U.S. Supreme ...


Decision-Making In The Dark: How Pre-Trial Errors Change The Narrative In Criminal Jury Trials, Kara Mackillop, Neil Vidmar Jan 2015

Decision-Making In The Dark: How Pre-Trial Errors Change The Narrative In Criminal Jury Trials, Kara Mackillop, Neil Vidmar

Faculty Scholarship

Over the past decade and a half, a great deal of attention has rightfully been given to the issue of wrongful convictions. In 2003, Jim Dwyer, Peter Neufeld and Barry Scheck published Actual Innocence, an eyeopening treatise on the reality of wrongful convictions in the United States. In the years since, more than 1400 innocent persons have been exonerated, and a very diverse research community of attorneys, academics, social scientists, and activists has developed in response to the realization offlaws in our criminal justice system. In 2012, Brandon Garrett's Convicting the Innocent quantitatively evaluated the first 250 DNA exonerations ...


Decriminalizing Delinquency: The Effect Of Raising The Age Of Majority On Juvenile Recidivism, Charles E. Charles E. Loeffler, Ben Grunwald Jan 2015

Decriminalizing Delinquency: The Effect Of Raising The Age Of Majority On Juvenile Recidivism, Charles E. Charles E. Loeffler, Ben Grunwald

Faculty Scholarship

In the last decade, a number of states have expanded the jurisdiction of their juvenile courts by increasing the maximum age to 18. Proponents argue that these expansions reduce crime by increasing access to the beneficial features of the juvenile justice system. Critics counter that the expansions risk increasing crime by reducing deterrence. In 2010, Illinois raised the maximum age for juvenile court for offenders who commit a misdemeanor. By examining the effect of this law on juvenile offenders in Chicago, this paper provides the first empirical estimates of the consequences of recent legislative activity to raise the age of ...


Culpability And Modern Crime, Samuel W. Buell Jan 2015

Culpability And Modern Crime, Samuel W. Buell

Faculty Scholarship

Criminal law has developed to prohibit new forms of intrusion on the autonomy and mental processes of others. Examples include modern understandings of fraud, extortion, and bribery, which pivot on the concepts of deception, coercion, and improper influence. Sometimes core offenses develop to include similar concepts, such as when reforms in the law of sexual assault make consent almost exclusively material. Many of these projects are laudable. But progressive programs in substantive criminal law can raise difficult problems of culpability. Modern iterations of criminal offenses often draw lines using concepts involving relative mental states among persons whose conduct is embedded ...


“White Collar” Crimes, Samuel W. Buell Jan 2014

“White Collar” Crimes, Samuel W. Buell

Faculty Scholarship

In addition to serving as a précis of the subject of ‘white collar’ crime, this chapter does three things. First, it deals with white collar crime’s longstanding definitional problem, rejecting several standard approaches and arguing that the category is most usefully understood according to the conceptual legal problem these offenses generate. White collar crimes, much more than other offenses, are committed in social settings in which undesirable behaviors are embedded within socially welcome conduct. Thus they are difficult to set apart and extract through clearly specified ex ante rules of law. Second, the chapter illustrates this definitional claim, and ...


Social Hierarchies And The Formation Of Customary Property Law In Pre-Industrial China And England, Taisu Zhang Jan 2014

Social Hierarchies And The Formation Of Customary Property Law In Pre-Industrial China And England, Taisu Zhang

Faculty Scholarship

Comparative lawyers and economists have often assumed that traditional Chinese laws and customs reinforced the economic and political dominance of elites and, therefore, were unusually “despotic” towards the poor. Such assumptions are highly questionable: Quite the opposite, one of the most striking characteristics of Qing and Republican property institutions is that they often gave significantly greater economic protection to the poorer segments of society than comparable institutions in early modern England. In particular, Chinese property customs afforded much stronger powers of redemption to landowners who had pawned their land. In both societies, land-pawning occurred far more frequently among poorer households ...


Prosecutorial Discretion In Three Systems: Balancing Conflicting Goals And Providing Mechanisms For Control, Sara Sun Beale Jan 2014

Prosecutorial Discretion In Three Systems: Balancing Conflicting Goals And Providing Mechanisms For Control, Sara Sun Beale

Faculty Scholarship

In regulating the authority and discretion exercised by contemporary prosecutors,national systems balance a variety of goals, many of which are in tension or direct conflict. Forexample, making prosecutors politically or democratically accountable may conflict with theprinciple of prosecutorial neutrality, and the goal of efficiency may conflict with accuracy. National systems generally seek to foster equal treatment of defendants and respect for theirrights while also controlling or reducing crime and protecting the rights of victims. Systems thatrecognize prosecutorial discretion also seek to establish and implement policy decisions aboutthe best ways to address various social problems, priorities, and the allocation of ...


Concepts Of Law, Mathew D. Mccubbins, Mark Turner Jan 2013

Concepts Of Law, Mathew D. Mccubbins, Mark Turner

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Federalism, Liberty, And Equality In United States V. Windsor, Ernest A. Young, Erin C. Blondel Jan 2013

Federalism, Liberty, And Equality In United States V. Windsor, Ernest A. Young, Erin C. Blondel

Faculty Scholarship

This essay argues that federalism played a profoundly important role in the Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Windsor, which struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Arguments to the contrary have failed to appreciate how Justice Kennedy's opinion employed federalism not as a freestanding argument but as an essential component of his rights analysis. Far from being a "muddle," as many have claimed, Justice Kennedy's analysis offered one of the most sophisticated examples to date of the interconnections between federalism, liberty, and equality.


Globalization And Law: Law Beyond The State, Ralf Michaels Jan 2013

Globalization And Law: Law Beyond The State, Ralf Michaels

Faculty Scholarship

The chapter provides an introduction into law and globalization for sociolegal studies. Instead of treating globalization as an external factor that impacts the law, globalization and law are here viewed as intertwined. I suggest that three types of globalization should be distinguished—globalization as empirical phenomenon, globalization as theory, and globalization as ideology. I go on to discuss one central theme of globalization, namely in what way society, and therefore law, move beyond the state. This is done along the three classical elements of the state—territory, population/citizenship, and government. The role of all of these elements is shifting ...


Regulating Ex Post: How Law Can Address The Inevitability Of Financial Failure, Iman Anabtawi, Steven L. Schwarcz Jan 2013

Regulating Ex Post: How Law Can Address The Inevitability Of Financial Failure, Iman Anabtawi, Steven L. Schwarcz

Faculty Scholarship

Unlike many other areas of regulation, financial regulation operates in the context of a complex interdependent system. The interconnections among firms, markets, and legal rules have implications for financial regulatory policy, especially the choice between ex ante regulation aimed at preventing financial failure and ex post regulation aimed at responding to that failure. Regulatory theory has paid relatively little attention to this distinction. Were regulation to consist solely of duty-imposing norms, such neglect might be defensible. In the context of a system, however, regulation can also take the form of interventions aimed at mitigating the potentially systemic consequences of a ...


Equality Arguments For Abortion Rights, Neil S. Siegel, Reva B. Siegel Jan 2013

Equality Arguments For Abortion Rights, Neil S. Siegel, Reva B. Siegel

Faculty Scholarship

Roe v. Wade grounds constitutional protections for women’s decision wheth­er to end a pregnancy in the Due Process Clauses. But in the four decades since Roe, the U.S. Supreme Court has come to recognize the abortion right as an equality right as well as a liberty right. In this Essay, we describe some distinctive features of equality arguments for abortion rights. We then show how, over time, the Court and individual Justices have begun to employ equal­ity arguments in analyzing the constitutionality of abortion restrictions. These arguments first appear inside of substantive due process case law ...


The North Carolina Racial Justice Act: An Essay On Substantive And Procedural Fairness In Death Penalty Litigation, Neil Vidmar Jan 2012

The North Carolina Racial Justice Act: An Essay On Substantive And Procedural Fairness In Death Penalty Litigation, Neil Vidmar

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Book Review, Samuel W. Buell Jan 2012

Book Review, Samuel W. Buell

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


What Are We Doing To The Children?: An Essay On Juvenile (In)Justice, Michael E. Tigar Jan 2010

What Are We Doing To The Children?: An Essay On Juvenile (In)Justice, Michael E. Tigar

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


The Deterrent Effect Of Death Penalty Eligibility: Evidence From The Adoption Of Child Murder Eligibility Factors, Michael D. Frakes, Matthew Harding Jan 2009

The Deterrent Effect Of Death Penalty Eligibility: Evidence From The Adoption Of Child Murder Eligibility Factors, Michael D. Frakes, Matthew Harding

Faculty Scholarship

We draw on within-state variations in the reach of capital punishment statutes between 1977 and 2004 to identify the deterrent effects associated with capital eligibility. Focusing on the most prevalent eligibility expansion, we estimate that the adoption of a child murder factor is associated with an approximately 20% reduction in the homicide rate of youth victims. Eligibility expansions may enhance deterrence by (1) paving the way for more executions and (2) providing prosecutors with greater leverage to secure enhanced non-capital sentences. While executions themselves are rare, this latter channel is likely to be triggered fairly regularly, providing a reasonable basis ...


Bad Nature, Bad Nurture, And Testimony Regarding Maoa And Slc6a4 Genotyping In Murder Trials, Nita A. Farahany, William Bernet, Cindy L. Vnencak-Jones, Stephen A. Montgomery Jan 2007

Bad Nature, Bad Nurture, And Testimony Regarding Maoa And Slc6a4 Genotyping In Murder Trials, Nita A. Farahany, William Bernet, Cindy L. Vnencak-Jones, Stephen A. Montgomery

Faculty Scholarship

Recent research—in which subjects were studied longitudinally from childhood until adulthood—has started to clarify how a child’s environment and genetic makeup interact to create a violent adolescent or adult. For example, male subjects who were born with a particular allele of the monoamine oxidase A gene and also were maltreated as children had a much greater likelihood of manifesting violent antisocial behavior as adolescents and adults. Also, individuals who were born with particular alleles of the serotonin transporter gene and also experienced multiple stressful life events were more likely to manifest serious depression and suicidality. This research ...


Privacy And Law Enforcement In The European Union: The Data Retention Directive, Francesca Bignami Jan 2007

Privacy And Law Enforcement In The European Union: The Data Retention Directive, Francesca Bignami

Faculty Scholarship

This paper examines a recent twist in EU data protection law. In the 1990s, the European Union was still primarily a market-creating organization and data protection in the European Union was aimed at rights abuses by market actors. Since the terrorist attacks of New York, Madrid, and London, however, cooperation on fighting crime has accelerated. Now, the challenge for the European Union is to protect privacy in its emerging system of criminal justice. This paper analyzes the first EU law to address data privacy in crime-fighting—the Data Retention Directive. Based on a detailed examination of the Directive’s legislative ...


Behavioural Genetics In Criminal Cases: Past, Present And Future, Nita A. Farahany, William Bernet Jan 2006

Behavioural Genetics In Criminal Cases: Past, Present And Future, Nita A. Farahany, William Bernet

Faculty Scholarship

Researchers studying human behavioral genetics have made significant scientific progress in enhancing our understanding of the relative contributions of genetics and the environment in observed variations in human behavior. Quickly outpacing the advances in the science are its applications in the criminal justice system. Already, human behavioral genetics research has been introduced in the U.S. criminal justice system, and its use will only become more prevalent. This essay discusses the recent historical use of behavioral genetics in criminal cases, recent advances in two gene variants of particular interest in the criminal law, MAOA and SLC6A4, the recent expert testimony ...