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University of Michigan Law School

Criminal Law

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Domestic Violence Convictions And Firearms Possession: The Law As It Stands And As It Moves, Kate E. Britt Jul 2019

Domestic Violence Convictions And Firearms Possession: The Law As It Stands And As It Moves, Kate E. Britt

Law Librarian Scholarship

Legislatures have attempted to curb instances of gun use in fatal and nonfatal domestic violence by passing statutes restricting possession of firearms for perpetrators of domestic violence. This article explains federal and Michigan law as it stands and discusses current efforts to further limit perpetrators’ access to firearms.


Guilt By Alt-Association: A Review Of Enhanced Punishment For Suspected Gang Members, Rebecca J. Marston Jun 2019

Guilt By Alt-Association: A Review Of Enhanced Punishment For Suspected Gang Members, Rebecca J. Marston

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

This essay, written in reaction to the University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform’s 2018 Symposium entitled “Alt-Association: The Role of Law in Combating Extremism” (the Symposium), does not dispute the seriousness of gang-related violence. Rather, it examines ways in which current strategies for combating gang-related crimes are ineffective or problematic and suggests possible reforms. Part One of this essay will describe current methods used in labeling, tracking, and prosecuting gang members, which result in a cycle of enhanced punishment. Part Two will evaluate these practices and reflect on whether enhanced punishment is the best way to reduce gang-related ...


Prosecutorial Discretion And Environmental Crime Redux: Charging Trends, Aggravating Factors, And Individual Outcome Data For 2005-2014, David M. Uhlmann May 2019

Prosecutorial Discretion And Environmental Crime Redux: Charging Trends, Aggravating Factors, And Individual Outcome Data For 2005-2014, David M. Uhlmann

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

In a 2014 article entitled “Prosecutorial Discretion and Environmental Crime,” I presented empirical data developed by student researchers participating in the Environmental Crimes Project at the University of Michigan Law School. My 2014 article reported that 96 percent of defendants investigated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and charged with federal environmental crimes from 2005 through 2010 engaged in conduct that involved at least one of the aggravating factors identified in my previous scholarship, namely significant harm, deceptive or misleading conduct, operating outside the regulatory system, and repetitive violations. On that basis, I concluded that prosecutors charged violations that ...


The Ever-Changing Scope Of Insider Trading Liability For Tippees In The Second Circuit, Sari Rosenfeld May 2019

The Ever-Changing Scope Of Insider Trading Liability For Tippees In The Second Circuit, Sari Rosenfeld

Michigan Business & Entrepreneurial Law Review

Liability under insider trading law continues to change as federal courts attempt to find new ways to hold insiders liable under the law. As recently as two years ago, the Second Circuit—in analyzing past decisions regarding tipper-tippee insider trading violations—blurred the distinction between legal and illegal insider trading when it fundamentally altered the idea of “personal benefit.” These various decisions provide the basis for antifraud provisions of securities law applying to insider trading, the consequences of which can be detrimental. This Note will discuss the standard that the Second Circuit uses to hold tippees liable for insider trading ...


Promoting Predictability In Business: Solutions For Overlapping Liability In International Anti-Corruption Enforcement, Andrew T. Bulovsky May 2019

Promoting Predictability In Business: Solutions For Overlapping Liability In International Anti-Corruption Enforcement, Andrew T. Bulovsky

Michigan Journal of International Law

This Note evaluates solutions to the problems of overlapping liability in general and multi-jurisdictional disgorgement in particular. Part I traces the origins of international anti-corruption efforts and provides an overview of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (the “FCPA”). It then discusses the two most significant international anti-corruption conventions: the OECD’s Convention on Combatting Bribery of Foreign Officials in International Business Transactions (the “OECD Convention”) and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (“UNCAC”). Part II lays out the problems created by the lack of a formal mechanism to prevent overlapping liability— a phenomenon that violates the common law concept known ...


Equitable Gateways: Toward Expanded Federal Habeas Corpus Review Of State Court Criminal Convictions, Eve Brensike Primus Apr 2019

Equitable Gateways: Toward Expanded Federal Habeas Corpus Review Of State Court Criminal Convictions, Eve Brensike Primus

Articles

State prisoners who file federal habeas corpus petitions face a maze of procedural and substantive restrictions that effectively prevent almost all prisoners from obtaining meaningful review of their convictions. But it is a mistake to think that habeas litigation is just a Kafkaesque nightmare with no constructive potential. Federal courts do sometimes cut through the doctrinal morass to consider state prisoners’ claims, relying on what this Articleterms "equitable gateways" to federal habeas relief. Litigants and courts generally underestimate the potential these gateways offer, with the result that habeas litigation does not focus on them as often as it should. Here ...


The Innocent Villain: Involuntary Manslaughter By Text, Charles Adside Iii Apr 2019

The Innocent Villain: Involuntary Manslaughter By Text, Charles Adside Iii

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Michelle Carter’s texts instructing her mentally ill online boyfriend to commit suicide offended the social moral code. But the law does not categorize all morally reprehensible behavior as criminal. Commonwealth v. Carter is unprecedented in manslaughter law because Carter was convicted on the theory that she was virtually present as opposed to physically present—at the crime scene. The court’s reasoning is expansive, as the framework it employs is excessively vague and does not provide fair notice to the public of which actions constitute involuntary manslaughter. Disturbingly, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the trial court’s logic ...


Small Crimes, Big Injustices, Stephanos Bibas Apr 2019

Small Crimes, Big Injustices, Stephanos Bibas

Michigan Law Review

Review of Alexandra Natapoff's Punishment Without Crime: How Our Massive Misdemeanor System Traps the Innocent and Makes America More Unequal.


Reckless Juveniles, Kimberly Thomas Feb 2019

Reckless Juveniles, Kimberly Thomas

Articles

Modern doctrine and scholarship largely take it for granted that offenders should be criminally punished for reckless acts.1 Yet, developments in our understanding of human behavior can shed light on how we define and attribute criminal liability, or at least force us to grapple with the categories that have existed for so long. This Article examines recklessness and related doctrines in light of the shifts in understanding of adolescent behavior and its biological roots, to see what insights we might attain, or what challenges these understandings pose to this foundational mens rea doctrine. Over the past decade, the U ...


Policing, Danger Narratives, And Routine Traffic Stops, Jordan Blair Woods Feb 2019

Policing, Danger Narratives, And Routine Traffic Stops, Jordan Blair Woods

Michigan Law Review

This Article presents findings from the largest and most comprehensive study to date on violence against the police during traffic stops. Every year, police officers conduct tens of millions of traffic stops. Many of these stops are entirely unremarkable—so much so that they may be fairly described as routine. Nonetheless, the narrative that routine traffic stops are fraught with grave and unpredictable danger to the police permeates police training and animates Fourth Amendment doctrine. This Article challenges this dominant danger narrative and its centrality within key institutions that regulate the police.

The presented study is the first to offer ...


Research Resources For Michigan Criminal Law, Kate E. Britt Jan 2019

Research Resources For Michigan Criminal Law, Kate E. Britt

Law Librarian Scholarship

Few areas of the law are as consequential to the personal lives of those involved as criminal law. The law can, and does, change quickly, and attorneys need to stay abreast of the latest developments to effectively represent their clients. Thankfully, modern government bodies publish current primary law (and many useful secondary sources) online. The sites outlined below will take users to reliable sources of Michigan criminal law and procedure.


Targeting Poverty In The Courts: Improving The Measurement Of Ability To Pay Fines, Meghan M. O'Neil, J.J. Prescott Jan 2019

Targeting Poverty In The Courts: Improving The Measurement Of Ability To Pay Fines, Meghan M. O'Neil, J.J. Prescott

Articles

Ability-to-pay determinations are essential when governments use money-based alternative sanctions, like fines, to enforce laws. One longstanding difficulty in the U.S. has been the extreme lack of guidance on how courts are to determine a litigant’s ability to pay. The result has been a seat-of-the-pants approach that is inefficient and inaccurate, and, as a consequence, very socially costly. Fortunately, online platform technology presents a promising avenue for reform. In particular, platform technology offers the potential to increase litigant access, reduce costs, and ensure consistent and fair treatment—all of which should lead to more accurate sanctions. We use ...


A Higher Authority: Canada’S Cannabis Legalization In The Context Of International Law, Antonia Eliason, Robert Howse Jan 2019

A Higher Authority: Canada’S Cannabis Legalization In The Context Of International Law, Antonia Eliason, Robert Howse

Michigan Journal of International Law

Part I of this Article provides an overview of some of the key terms and provisions of Canada’s Cannabis Act. Part II looks at the Cannabis Act in the context of the International Drug Conventions, examining how the various convention provisions might apply, looking first at the Single Convention and then at the 1988 Convention and how that convention fits with Canadian constitutional provisions. Part III focuses on the international human rights framework and how the Cannabis Act might be viewed as compatible with international human rights law even where incompatible with the International Drug Conventions. This Part also ...


Robot Criminals, Ying Hu Jan 2019

Robot Criminals, Ying Hu

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

When a robot harms humans, are there any grounds for holding it criminally liable for its misconduct? Yes, provided that the robot is capable of making, acting on, and communicating the reasons behind its moral decisions. If such a robot fails to observe the minimum moral standards that society requires of it, labeling it as a criminal can effectively fulfill criminal law’s function of censuring wrongful conduct and alleviating the emotional harm that may be inflicted on human victims.

Imposing criminal liability on robots does not absolve robot manufacturers, trainers, or owners of their individual criminal liability. The former ...


The Consensus Myth In Criminal Justice Reform, Benjamin Levin Nov 2018

The Consensus Myth In Criminal Justice Reform, Benjamin Levin

Michigan Law Review

It has become popular to identify a “consensus” on criminal justice reform, but how deep is that consensus, actually? This Article argues that the purported consensus is much more limited than it initially appears. Despite shared reformist vocabulary, the consensus rests on distinct critiques that identify different flaws and justify distinct policy solutions. The underlying disagreements transcend traditional left/right political divides and speak to deeper disputes about the state and the role of criminal law in society.

The Article maps two prevailing, but fundamentally distinct, critiques of criminal law: (1) the quantitative approach (what I call the “over” frame ...


Divine Justice And The Library Of Babel: Or, Was Al Capone Really Punished For Tax Evasion?, Gabriel Mendlow Oct 2018

Divine Justice And The Library Of Babel: Or, Was Al Capone Really Punished For Tax Evasion?, Gabriel Mendlow

Articles

A criminal defendant enjoys an array of legal rights. These include the right not to be punished for an offense unless charged, tried, and proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; the right not to be punished disproportionately; and the right not to be punished for the same offense more than once. I contend that the design of our criminal legal system imperils these rights in ways few observers appreciate. Because criminal codes describe misconduct imprecisely and prohibit more misconduct than any legislature actually aspires to punish, prosecutors decide which violations of the code merit punishment, and judges decide how much ...


Litigating Federal Habeas Corpus Cases: One Equitable Gateway At A Time, Eve Brensike Primus Jul 2018

Litigating Federal Habeas Corpus Cases: One Equitable Gateway At A Time, Eve Brensike Primus

Other Publications

Habeas corpus, also known as the Great Writ, was meant to be a “bulwark against convictions that violate fundamental fairness,” according to the Supreme Court. Yet today, federal courts provide relief in fewer than half of one percent of cases in which a non-capital state prisoner seeks relief through habeas. The Great Writ, it would seem, is no longer so great. In Litigating Federal Habeas Corpus Cases: One Equitable Gateway at a Time, Eve Brensike Primus examines the various procedural and substantive hurdles that have been erected in the past half century that make it nearly impossible for state prisoners ...


Why Is It Wrong To Punish Thought?, Gabriel S. Mendlow Jun 2018

Why Is It Wrong To Punish Thought?, Gabriel S. Mendlow

Articles

It’s a venerable maxim of criminal jurisprudence that the state must never punish people for their mere thoughts—for their beliefs, desires, fantasies, and unexecuted intentions. This maxim is all but unquestioned, yet its true justification is something of a mystery. In this Essay, I argue that each of the prevailing justifications is deficient, and I conclude by proposing a novel one. The proposed justification captures the widely shared intuition that punishing a person for her mere thoughts isn’t simply disfavored by the balance of reasons but is morally wrongful in itself, an intrinsic (i.e., consequence-independent) injustice ...


Errors In Misdemeanor Adjudication, Samuel R. Gross May 2018

Errors In Misdemeanor Adjudication, Samuel R. Gross

Articles

Millions of defendants are convicted of misdemeanors in the United States each year but almost none obtain exonerations, primarily because ordinarily exoneration is far too costly and time consuming to pursue for anything less than years of imprisonment. The National Registry of Exonerations lists all known exonerations in the United States since 1989 — 2,145 cases, as of the end of 2017; only 85 are misdemeanors, 4%. In all but one of these misdemeanor exonerations the defendants were convicted of crimes that never happened; by comparison, more than three-quarters of felony exonerees were convicted of actual crimes that other people ...


Reassessing Prosecutorial Power Through The Lens Of Mass Incarceration, Jeffrey Bellin Apr 2018

Reassessing Prosecutorial Power Through The Lens Of Mass Incarceration, Jeffrey Bellin

Michigan Law Review

A review of John F. Pfaff, Locked In: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration - And How to Achieve Real Reform.


All Bathwater, No Baby: Expressive Theories Of Punishment And The Death Penalty, Susan A. Bandes Apr 2018

All Bathwater, No Baby: Expressive Theories Of Punishment And The Death Penalty, Susan A. Bandes

Michigan Law Review

A review of Carol S. Steiker and Jordan M. Steiker, Courting Death: The Supreme Court and Capital Punishment.


Insider Trading Law And The Ambiguous Quest For Edge, A. C. Pritchard Apr 2018

Insider Trading Law And The Ambiguous Quest For Edge, A. C. Pritchard

Michigan Law Review

A review of Sheelah Kolhatkar, Black Edge.


Criminal Justice And The Mattering Of Lives, Deborah Tuerkheimer Apr 2018

Criminal Justice And The Mattering Of Lives, Deborah Tuerkheimer

Michigan Law Review

A review of James Forman Jr., Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America.


Prosecutors Matter: A Response To Bellin’S Review Of Locked In, John P. Pfaff Jan 2018

Prosecutors Matter: A Response To Bellin’S Review Of Locked In, John P. Pfaff

Michigan Law Review Online

In this year's Book Review issue, Jeffrey Bellin reviews my book, Locked In: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration and How to Achieve Real Reform, and he finds much to disagree with. I appreciate the editors of the Law Review providing me with the opportunity to correct a significant error he makes when discussing some of my data. In the book, I use data from the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) to show that prosecutors filed increasingly more felony cases over the 1990s and 2000s, even as crime fell. Bellin makes two primary claims about how I used ...


"Declinations With Disgorgement" In Fcpa Enforcement, Karen Woody Jan 2018

"Declinations With Disgorgement" In Fcpa Enforcement, Karen Woody

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

This Article addresses the recent pretrial diversion scheme undertaken by the Department of Justice in conjunction with its Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Pilot Program—specifically, “declinations with disgorgement.” Pursuant to the Pilot Program, the Department of Justice declined to prosecute or even continue an investigation, provided the company disgorge its alleged ill-gotten gains. This Article dissects both the purpose of, and terminology used in, declinations with disgorgement and argues that this novel and creative pretrial diversion is a dangerous conflation of legal remedial theories and terms. A criminal disposition cannot be a declination with attendant penalties because either illegal activity ...


The Definition Of Slave Labor For Criminal Enforcement And The Experience Of Adjudication: The Case Of Brazil, Carlos H. B. Haddad Nov 2017

The Definition Of Slave Labor For Criminal Enforcement And The Experience Of Adjudication: The Case Of Brazil, Carlos H. B. Haddad

Michigan Journal of International Law

The paper examines the intersections and differences between “slave labor” as used in the Brazilian domestic sphere and “slave labor” as applied to international law. The former shows an approach centered on criminal law, as opposed to human rights law. This paper explains why degrading working conditions and debilitating workdays should continue to be prohibited and punished. It also compares the sanctions of the Brazilian Criminal Code with those of similar crimes in other jurisdictions. It concludes with a discussion of the current bill proposed by Senator José Sarney, which would replace the current definition with one that more closely ...


Criminal Certification: Restoring Comity In The Categorical Approach, Joshua Rothenberg Nov 2017

Criminal Certification: Restoring Comity In The Categorical Approach, Joshua Rothenberg

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Federal sentencing enhancements force federal courts to delve into the world of substantive state criminal law. Does a state assault statute require violent force or just offensive touching? Does a state burglary statute that criminalizes breaking into a car or a house require prosecutors to charge the location entered as an element? Whether a person with prior convictions convicted of violating 18 U.S.C. § 922(g) faces a minimum sentence of fifteen years and a maximum of life imprisonment rather than a maximum sentence of ten years turns upon the answers to these questions. Yet, state law often does ...


Humanizing The Corporation While Dehumanizing The Individual: The Misuse Of Deferred-Prosecution Agreements In The United States, Andrea Amulic Oct 2017

Humanizing The Corporation While Dehumanizing The Individual: The Misuse Of Deferred-Prosecution Agreements In The United States, Andrea Amulic

Michigan Law Review

American prosecutors routinely offer deferred-prosecution and nonprosecution agreements to corporate defendants, but not to noncorporate defendants. The drafters of the Speedy Trial Act expressly contemplated such agreements, as originally developed for use in cases involving low-level, nonviolent, noncorporate defendants. This Note posits that the almost exclusive use of deferrals in corporate cases is inconsistent with the goal that these agreements initially sought to serve. The Note further argues that this exclusivity can be attributed to prosecutors’ tendency to only consider collateral consequences in corporate cases and not in noncorporate cases. Ultimately, this Note recommends that prosecutors evaluate collateral fallout when ...


From Grace To Grids: Rethinking Due Process Protections For Parole., Paul D. Reingold, Kimberly A. Thomas May 2017

From Grace To Grids: Rethinking Due Process Protections For Parole., Paul D. Reingold, Kimberly A. Thomas

Articles

Current due process law gives little protection to prisoners at the point of parole, even though the parole decision, like sentencing, determines whether or not a person will serve more time or will go free. The doctrine regarding parole, which developed mostly in the late 1970s, was based on a judicial understanding of parole as an experimental, subjective, and largely standardless art—rooted in assessing the individual “character” of the potential parolee. In this Article we examine the foundations of the doctrine, and conclude that the due process inquiry at the point of parole should take into account the stark ...


Race And Wrongful Convictions In The United States, Samuel R. Gross, Maurice Possley, Klara Stephens Mar 2017

Race And Wrongful Convictions In The United States, Samuel R. Gross, Maurice Possley, Klara Stephens

Other Publications

African Americans are only 13% of the American population but a majority of innocent defendants wrongfully convicted of crimes and later exonerated. They constitute 47% of the 1,900 exonerations listed in the National Registry of Exonerations (as of October 2016), and the great majority of more than 1,800 additional innocent defendants who were framed and convicted of crimes in 15 large-scale police scandals and later cleared in “group exonerations.” We see this racial disparity for all major crime categories, but we examine it in this report in the context of the three types of crime that produce the ...