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Full-Text Articles in Law

Against Life Without Parole, Judith Lichtenberg Jan 2019

Against Life Without Parole, Judith Lichtenberg

Washington University Jurisprudence Review

We have many good reasons to abolish life without parole sentences (LWOP, known in some countries as whole life sentences) and no good reasons not to. After reviewing the current state of LWOP sentences in the United States, I argue that the only rationale for punishment that can hope to justify them is retributivism. But even if retributivism is a sound principle, it in no way entails life without parole. One reason is that unless one believes, like Kant, that appropriate punishments must be carried out whatever the circumstances, we must acknowledge that other considerations are relevant to determining punishments ...


Reconciling The Rule Of Law: Rights And Punishment, Benjamin L. Apt Jan 2019

Reconciling The Rule Of Law: Rights And Punishment, Benjamin L. Apt

Washington University Jurisprudence Review

There is an intractable paradox in the relation between rights and criminal punishment. Criminal punishment frequently conflicts with rights; people typically have identical rights within a legal system, yet the punished are unable to exercise the rights to the same extent as other people. But criminal punishment, in conjunction with criminal laws, also operates to protect rights. To clarify the tension between rights and punishment, I start by analyzing the content and purpose of rights. Next I discuss the nature of rules and the particular types of rules that make up a typical “systems of rules.” I then argue that ...


"I Wanted Them To Be Punished Or At Least Ask Us For Forgiveness”: Justice Interests Of Female Victim-Survivors Of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence And Their Experiences With Gacaca, Judith Rafferty Dec 2018

"I Wanted Them To Be Punished Or At Least Ask Us For Forgiveness”: Justice Interests Of Female Victim-Survivors Of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence And Their Experiences With Gacaca, Judith Rafferty

Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal

Survivors of human rights abuses need to experience a sense of justice to support their individual recovery. Women who have experienced conflict-related sexual violence have specific justice interests that are distinct from those of survivors of other abuses. This article focuses on justice interests of Rwandan women who experienced sexual violence during the genocide in Rwanda and who had their cases tried in gacaca community courts between 2008 and 2012. The article discusses two justice interests that emerged during interviews with 23 Rwandan women about their gacaca experience. These interests include the punishment of perpetrators and perpetrators taking responsibility for ...


Virtual Life Sentences: An Exploratory Study, Jessica S. Henry, Christopher Salvatore, Bai-Eyse Pugh Apr 2018

Virtual Life Sentences: An Exploratory Study, Jessica S. Henry, Christopher Salvatore, Bai-Eyse Pugh

Department of Justice Studies Faculty Scholarship and Creative Works

Virtual life sentences are sentences with a term of years that exceed an individual’s natural life expectancy. This exploratory study is one of the first to collect data that establish the existence, prevalence, and scope of virtual life sentences in state prisons in the United States. Initial data reveal that more than 31,000 people in 26 states are serving virtual life sentences for violent and nonviolent offenses, and suggest racial disparities in the distribution of these sentences. This study also presents potential policy implications and suggestions for future research.


The Just Response To Crime: To Harm Or To Heal?, Matthew M. Silberstein Apr 2018

The Just Response To Crime: To Harm Or To Heal?, Matthew M. Silberstein

Philosophy Department Student Scholarship

In the realm of criminal justice, Western society has primarily relied on retributive justice system. A retributive system uses punishment as the standard response to crime. In recent years, some have formulated a different criminal justice system, that of restorative justice. Rather than punishment, restorative justice proponents argue that justice is achieved in the aftermath of crime by healing the trauma incurred by crime. The aim of this project is to articulate the value of restorative justice and evaluate its prospects.


Moral Mode Switching: From Punishment To Public Health, Stephen Koppel Feb 2018

Moral Mode Switching: From Punishment To Public Health, Stephen Koppel

All Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

A public health response to drug offenses has potential to improve both public safety and public health. However, the public’s desire for retribution represents a possible hindrance to reform. Relying on dual-process theory of moral decision-making, this dissertation examines agreement among laypeople about the relative blame deserved for various crime types, and probes several possible predictors of support—the need for cognition (“NFC”), intergroup bias, and free-will doubt—for retributive as well as consequentialist responses to crime. Findings from several web-based experiments show: (a) in comparison to core crimes (eg., murder) substantially less agreement about the relative blame deserved ...


Biological Research On Behavior As Extra-Legal And Discretionary Factors In Sentencing And Punishment, Colleen Margaret Berryessa Jan 2018

Biological Research On Behavior As Extra-Legal And Discretionary Factors In Sentencing And Punishment, Colleen Margaret Berryessa

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

In recent years, there has been an increase in empirical literature regarding how and why neuroscience and genetics research on behavior may influence criminal punishment. This dissertation aims to add to this growing body of literature specifically on types of evidence and aspects of sentencing and punishment that have not yet been studied. This dissertation consists of three papers that examine how the presentation of biological evidence in court or knowledge of the biological influences to behavior may act as extra-legal and discretionary factors in sentencing. The first paper, utilizing a multi-factorial experiment with the death-qualified jury-eligible public, examines how ...


Strict Liability's Criminogenic Effect, Paul H. Robinson Jan 2017

Strict Liability's Criminogenic Effect, Paul H. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

It is easy to understand the apparent appeal of strict liability to policymakers and legal reformers seeking to reduce crime: if the criminal law can do away with its traditional culpability requirement, it can increase the likelihood of conviction and punishment of those who engage in prohibited conduct or bring about prohibited harm or evil. And such an increase in punishment rate can enhance the crime-control effectiveness of a system built upon general deterrence or incapacitation of the dangerous. Similar arguments support the use of criminal liability for regulatory offenses. Greater punishment rates suggest greater compliance.

But this analysis fails ...


Rationing Criminal Justice, Richard A. Bierschbach, Stephanos Bibas Jan 2017

Rationing Criminal Justice, Richard A. Bierschbach, Stephanos Bibas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Of the many diagnoses of American criminal justice’s ills, few focus on externalities. Yet American criminal justice systematically overpunishes in large part because few mechanisms exist to force consideration of the full social costs of criminal justice interventions. Actors often lack good information or incentives to minimize the harms they impose. Part of the problem is structural: criminal justice is fragmented vertically among governments, horizontally among agencies, and individually among self-interested actors. Part is a matter of focus: doctrinally and pragmatically, actors overwhelmingly view each case as an isolated, short-term transaction to the exclusion of broader, long-term, and aggregate ...


What Impact Is Felony Disenfranchisement Having On Hispanics In Florida?, Angel E. Sanchez Jan 2017

What Impact Is Felony Disenfranchisement Having On Hispanics In Florida?, Angel E. Sanchez

Honors Undergraduate Theses

This research produces original empirical estimates of Hispanics in Florida’s Dept. of Corrections (FDOC) and uses those estimates to measure the impact felony disenfranchisement is having on Hispanics in Florida. Research institutions find that data on Hispanics in the criminal justice system, particularly in Florida, is either lacking or inaccurate. This research addresses this problem by applying an optimal surname list method using Census Bureau data and Bayes Theorem to produce an empirical estimate of Hispanics in FDOC’s data. Using the Hispanic rate derived from the empirical FDOC analysis, the rate of Hispanics in the disenfranchised population is ...


Addiction, Choice And Criminal Law, Stephen J. Morse Jan 2017

Addiction, Choice And Criminal Law, Stephen J. Morse

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This chapter is a contribution to a volume, Addiction and Choice, edited by Nick Heather and Gabriel Segal that is forthcoming from Oxford University Press. Some claim that addiction is a chronic and relapsing brain disease; others claim that it is a product of choice; yet others think that addictions have both disease and choice aspects. Which of these views holds sway in a particular domain enormously influences how that domain treats addictions. With limited exceptions, Anglo-American criminal law has implicitly adopted the choice model and a corresponding approach to responsibility. Addiction is irrelevant to the criteria for the prima ...


Predictive Analytics' Punishment Mismatch, Jessica M. Eaglin Jan 2017

Predictive Analytics' Punishment Mismatch, Jessica M. Eaglin

Articles by Maurer Faculty

No abstract provided.


Contemporary Soviet Criminal Law: An Analysis Of The General Principles And Major Institutions Of Post-1958 Soviet Criminal Law, Chris Osakwe Dec 2016

Contemporary Soviet Criminal Law: An Analysis Of The General Principles And Major Institutions Of Post-1958 Soviet Criminal Law, Chris Osakwe

Georgia Journal of International & Comparative Law

No abstract provided.


Punishing Genocide: A Comparative Empirical Analysis Of Sentencing Laws And Practices At The International Criminal Tribunal For Rwanda (Ictr), Rwandan Domestic Courts, And Gacaca Courts, Barbora Hola, Hollie Nyseth Brehm Dec 2016

Punishing Genocide: A Comparative Empirical Analysis Of Sentencing Laws And Practices At The International Criminal Tribunal For Rwanda (Ictr), Rwandan Domestic Courts, And Gacaca Courts, Barbora Hola, Hollie Nyseth Brehm

Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal

This article compares sentencing of those convicted of participation in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. With over one million people facing trial, Rwanda constitutes the world’s most comprehensive case of criminal accountability after genocide and presents an important case study of punishing genocide. Criminal courts at three different levels— international, domestic, and local—sought justice in the aftermath of the violence. In order to compare punishment at each level, we analyze an unprecedented database of sentences given by the ICTR, the Rwandan domestic courts, and Rwanda’s Gacaca courts. The analysis demonstrates that sentencing varied across the three levels ...


Actions Speak Louder Than Images: The Use Of Neuroscientific Evidence In Criminal Cases, Stephen J. Morse Jun 2016

Actions Speak Louder Than Images: The Use Of Neuroscientific Evidence In Criminal Cases, Stephen J. Morse

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This invited commentary for Journal of Law & the Biosciences considers four empirical studies previously published in the journal of the reception of neuroscientific evidence in criminal cases in the United States, Canada, England and Wales, and the Netherlands. There are conceded methodological problems with all, but the data are nonetheless instructive and suggestive. The thesis of the comment is that the courts are committing the same errors that have bedeviled the reception of psychiatric and psychological evidence. There is insufficient caution about the state of the science, and more importantly, there is insufficient understanding of the relevance of the neuroscientific ...


Cruel And Unusual What? Toward A Unified Definition Of Punishment, Raff Donelson Jan 2016

Cruel And Unusual What? Toward A Unified Definition Of Punishment, Raff Donelson

Washington University Jurisprudence Review

This Article argues for an expanded understanding of legal punishment for American courts to use. Punishment, on this new view, includes all significant harm caused by state actors’ retributive intent and most significant harm that befalls someone as a result of the state seeking retribution against her. What commends this new definition is not that it tracks lexicographers’ or metaphysicians’ understandings of punishment; rather, this new definition aims to track relevant moral and political considerations. Importantly, the proposed definition results from an attempt to reason from the perspective of someone harmed by state practices, as that perspective has greater moral ...


Criminal Responsibility And Causal Determinism, J. G. Moore Jan 2016

Criminal Responsibility And Causal Determinism, J. G. Moore

Washington University Jurisprudence Review

In analytical jurisprudence, determinism has long been seen as a threat to free will, and free will has been considered necessary for criminal responsibility. Accordingly, Oliver Wendell Holmes held that if an offender were hereditarily or environmentally determined to offend, then her free will would be reduced, and her responsibility for criminal acts would be correspondingly diminished. In this respect, Holmes followed his father, Dr. Holmes, a physician and man of letters. Similar theories, such as neuropsychological theories of determinism, continue to influence views on criminal responsibility, although such theories do not imply that it is physically impossible for accused ...


What's Wrong With Sentencing Equality?, Richard A. Bierschbach, Stephanos Bibas Jan 2016

What's Wrong With Sentencing Equality?, Richard A. Bierschbach, Stephanos Bibas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Equality in criminal sentencing often translates into equalizing outcomes and stamping out variations, whether race-based, geographic, or random. This approach conflates the concept of equality with one contestable conception focused on outputs and numbers, not inputs and processes. Racial equality is crucial, but a concern with eliminating racism has hypertrophied well beyond race. Equalizing outcomes seems appealing as a neutral way to dodge contentious substantive policy debates about the purposes of punishment. But it actually privileges deterrence and incapacitation over rehabilitation, subjective elements of retribution, and procedural justice, and it provides little normative guidance for punishment. It also has unintended ...


Punishment In The State Of Nature: John Locke And Criminal Punishment In The United States Of America, Matthew K. Suess Jan 2015

Punishment In The State Of Nature: John Locke And Criminal Punishment In The United States Of America, Matthew K. Suess

Washington University Jurisprudence Review

No abstract provided.


Discounting And Criminals' Implied Risk Preferences, Murat C. Mungan, Jonathan Klick Jan 2015

Discounting And Criminals' Implied Risk Preferences, Murat C. Mungan, Jonathan Klick

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

It is commonly assumed that potential offenders are more responsive to increases in the certainty than increases in the severity of punishment. An important implication of this assumption within the Beckerian law enforcement model is that criminals are risk-seeking. This note adds to existing literature by showing that offenders who discount future monetary benefits can be more responsive to the certainty rather than the severity of punishment, even when they are risk averse, and even when their disutility from imprisonment rises proportionally (or more than proportionally) with the length of the sentence.


Punishment: Drop City And The Utopian Communes, Paul H. Robinson, Sarah M. Robinson Jan 2015

Punishment: Drop City And The Utopian Communes, Paul H. Robinson, Sarah M. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Using stories from the utopian non-punishment hippie communes of the late 1960's, the essay challenges today’s anti-punishment movement by demonstrating that the benefits of cooperative action are available only with the adoption of a system for punishing violations of core rules. Rather than being an evil system anathema to right-thinking people, punishment is the lynchpin of the cooperative action that has created human success.

This is Chapter 3 from the general audience book Pirates, Prisoners, and Lepers: Lessons from Life Outside the Law. Chapter 4 of the book is also available on SSRN at http://papers.ssrn.com ...


Improving Economic Sanctions In The States, Jessica M. Eaglin Jan 2015

Improving Economic Sanctions In The States, Jessica M. Eaglin

Articles by Maurer Faculty

No abstract provided.


Reconstructing Constitutional Punishment, Paulo Barrozo Jan 2014

Reconstructing Constitutional Punishment, Paulo Barrozo

Washington University Jurisprudence Review

Constitutional orders punish—and they punish abundantly. However, analysis of the constitutionality of punishment tends to be reactive, focusing on constitutional violations. Considered in this light, the approach to constitutional punishment rests on conditions of unconstitutionality rather than proactively on the constitutional foundations of punishment as a legitimate liberal-democratic practice. Reactive approaches are predominantly informed by moral theories about the conditions under which punishment is legitimate. In contrast, proactive approaches call for a political theory of punishment as a legitimate practice of polities. This Article integrates the reactive and proactive approaches by bridging the divide between moral and political theories ...


Testing Orthodox Utilitarian And Extrajudical Determinants Of Incarceration In The U.S. At The State-Level, 1980-2005, Pavel V. Vasiliev Aug 2013

Testing Orthodox Utilitarian And Extrajudical Determinants Of Incarceration In The U.S. At The State-Level, 1980-2005, Pavel V. Vasiliev

UNLV Theses, Dissertations, Professional Papers, and Capstones

This project is a theory-driven secondary data analysis of state-level incarceration trends in the U.S. between 1980 and 2005. I replicate and advance Smith's (2004) study of the relationship between the socioeconomic, demographic, political, electoral, and criminal justice factors and incarceration rates at the state level. The purpose of this project is to determine the empirical validity of the major explanations of the incarceration trends in the U.S. I advance Smith's (2004) study using important novel elements. First, I extend the scrutinized historic period by a decade by compiling time-series data for 1980-2005. Second, I employ ...


How (Not) To Implement Cost As A Sentencing Factor, Ryan W. Scott Jan 2012

How (Not) To Implement Cost As A Sentencing Factor, Ryan W. Scott

Articles by Maurer Faculty

No abstract provided.


Book Review, Samuel W. Buell Jan 2012

Book Review, Samuel W. Buell

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Prevention And Imminence, Pre-Punishment And Actuality, Gideon Yaffe Dec 2011

Prevention And Imminence, Pre-Punishment And Actuality, Gideon Yaffe

San Diego Law Review

In a variety of circumstances, it is justified to harm persons, or deprive them of liberty, in order to prevent them from doing something objectionable. We see this in interactions between individuals--think of self-defense or defense of others--and we see it in large-scale interactions among groups--think of preemptive measures taken by countries against conspiring terrorists, plotting dictators, or ambitious nations. We can argue, of course, about the details. Under exactly what conditions is it justified to inflict harm or deprive someone of liberty for reasons of prevention? But in having such arguments we agree on the fundamental idea: there are ...


Prevention As The Primary Goal Of Sentencing: The Modern Case For Indeterminate Dispositions In Criminal Cases, Christopher Slobogin Dec 2011

Prevention As The Primary Goal Of Sentencing: The Modern Case For Indeterminate Dispositions In Criminal Cases, Christopher Slobogin

San Diego Law Review

This Article contends that properly constituted, indeterminate sentencing is both a morally defensible method of preventing crime and the optimal regime for doing so, at least for crimes against person and most other street crimes.

More specifically, the position defended in this Article is that, once a person is convicted of an offense, the duration and nature of sentence should be based on a back-end decision made by experts in recidivism reduction, within broad ranges set by the legislature. Compared to determinate sentencing, the sentencing regime advanced in this Article relies on wider sentence ranges and explicit assessments of risk ...


Lifting The Cloak: Preventive Detention As Punishment, Douglas Husak Dec 2011

Lifting The Cloak: Preventive Detention As Punishment, Douglas Husak

San Diego Law Review

Most of the scholarly reaction to systems of preventive detention has been hostile. Negative judgments are especially prevalent among penal theorists who hold nonconsequentialist, retributivist rationales for criminal law and punishment. Surely their criticisms are warranted as long as we confine our focus to the existing systems of preventive detention that flagrantly disregard fundamental principles of legality and desert. Nonetheless, I believe that many of their more sweeping objections tend to rest too uncritically on doctrines of criminal theory that are not always supported by sound arguments even though they are widely accepted. I will contend that we cannot fully ...


Estimating The Deterrent Effect Of Incarceration Using Sentencing Enhancements, David S. Abrams Jan 2011

Estimating The Deterrent Effect Of Incarceration Using Sentencing Enhancements, David S. Abrams

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Increasing criminal sanctions may reduce crime through two primary mechanisms: deterrence and incapacitation. Disentangling their effects is crucial, since each mechanism has different implications for optimal policy setting. I use the introduction of state add-on gun laws, which enhance sentences for defendants possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony, to isolate the deterrent effect of incarceration. Defendants subject to add-ons would be incarcerated in the absence of the law change, so any short-term impact on crime can be attributed solely to deterrence. Using cross-state variation in the timing of law passage dates, I find that the average add-on ...