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Full-Text Articles in Law

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 ...


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 ...