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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 ...


Secret Searches: The Sca's Standing Conundrum, Aviv S. Halpern Jun 2019

Secret Searches: The Sca's Standing Conundrum, Aviv S. Halpern

Michigan Law Review

The Stored Communications Act (“SCA”) arms federal law enforcement agencies with the ability to use a special type of warrant to access users’ electronically stored communications. In some circumstances, SCA warrants can require service providers to bundle and produce a user’s electronically stored communications without ever disclosing the existence of the warrant to the individual user until charges are brought. Users that are charged will ultimately receive notice of the search after the fact through their legal proceedings. Users that are never charged, however, may never know that their communications were obtained and searched. This practice effectively makes the ...


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 Quantum Of Suspicion Needed For An Exigent Circumstances Search, Kit Kinports Apr 2019

The Quantum Of Suspicion Needed For An Exigent Circumstances Search, Kit Kinports

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

For decades, the United States Supreme Court opinions articulating the standard of exigency necessary to trigger the exigent circumstances exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement have been maddeningly opaque and confusing. Some cases require probable cause, others call for reasonable suspicion, and still, others use undefined and unhelpful terms such as “reasonable to believe” in describing how exigent the situation must be to permit the police to proceed without a warrant. Not surprisingly, the conflicting signals coming from the Supreme Court have led to disagreement in the lower courts.

To resolve this conflict and provide guidance to law ...


Tort Justice Reform, Paul David Stern Apr 2019

Tort Justice Reform, Paul David Stern

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

This Article calls for a comprehensive reform of public tort law with respect to law enforcement conduct. It articulates an effective and equitable remedial regime that reconciles the aspirational goals of public tort law with the practical realities of devising payment and disciplinary procedures that are responsive to tort settlements and judgments. This proposed statutory scheme seeks to deter law enforcement misconduct without disincentivizing prudent officers from performing their duties or overburdening them with extensive litigation. Rather than lamenting the dissolution of Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics or the insurmountability of qualified immunity, reform ...


Is The Exclusionary Rule A Prohibition-Era Relic?, Thomas M. Hardiman, Lauren Gailey Apr 2019

Is The Exclusionary Rule A Prohibition-Era Relic?, Thomas M. Hardiman, Lauren Gailey

Michigan Law Review

Review of Wesley M. Oliver's The Prohibition Era and Policing: A Legacy of Misregulation.


Failed Protectors: The Indian Trust And Killers Of The Flower Moon, Matthew L.M. Fletcher Apr 2019

Failed Protectors: The Indian Trust And Killers Of The Flower Moon, Matthew L.M. Fletcher

Michigan Law Review

Review of David Grann's Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI.


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 ...


White Caller Crime: Racialized Police Communication And Existing While Black, Chan Tov Mcnamarah Jan 2019

White Caller Crime: Racialized Police Communication And Existing While Black, Chan Tov Mcnamarah

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Over the past year, reports to the police about Black persons engaged in innocuous behaviors have bombarded the American consciousness. What do we make of them? And, equally important, what are the consequences of such reports?

This Article is the first to argue that the recent spike in calls to the police against Black persons who are simply existing must be understood as a systematic phenomenon which it dubs racialized police communication. The label captures two related practices. First, racially motivated police reporting—calls, complaints, or reports made when Black persons are engaged in behavior that would not have been ...


Centering Women In Prisoners' Rights Litigation, Amber Baylor Dec 2018

Centering Women In Prisoners' Rights Litigation, Amber Baylor

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

This Article consciously employs both a dignity rights-based framing and methodology. Dignity rights are those rights that are based on the Kantian assertion of “inalienable human worth.”29 This framework for defining rights spans across a number of disciplines, including medicine and human rights law.30 Disciplinary sanctions like solitary confinement or forced medication might be described as anathema to human dignity because of their degrading effect on an individual’s emotional and social well-being.

This Article relies on first-person oral histories where possible. Bioethics scholar Claire Hooker argues that including narratives in work on dignity rights “is both a ...


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 ...


From Pelican Bay To Palestine: The Legal Normalization Of Force-Feeding Hunger-Strikers, Azadeh Shahshahani, Priya Arvind Patel Oct 2018

From Pelican Bay To Palestine: The Legal Normalization Of Force-Feeding Hunger-Strikers, Azadeh Shahshahani, Priya Arvind Patel

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Hunger-strikes present a challenge to state authority and abuse from powerless individuals with limited access to various forms of protest and speech—those in detention. For as long as hunger-strikes have occurred throughout history, governments have force-fed strikers out of a stated obligation to preserve life. Some of the earliest known hunger-strikers, British suffragettes, were force-fed and even died as a result of these invasive procedures during the second half of the 19th century.

This Article examines the rationale and necessity behind hunger strikes for imprisoned individuals, the prevailing issues behind force-feeding, the international public response to force-feeding, and the ...


Do You See What I See? Problems With Juror Bias In Viewing Body-Camera Video Evidence, Morgan A. Birck Oct 2018

Do You See What I See? Problems With Juror Bias In Viewing Body-Camera Video Evidence, Morgan A. Birck

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

In the wake of the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, advocates and activists called for greater oversight and accountability for police. One of the measures called for and adopted in many jurisdictions was the implementation of body cameras in police departments. Many treated this implementation as a sign of change that police officers would be held accountable for the violence they perpetrate. This Note argues that although body-camera footage may be useful as one form of evidence in cases of police violence, lawyers and judges should be extremely careful about how it is presented to the jury. Namely, the ...


Ensuring That Punishment Does, In Fact, Fit The Crime, Meredith D. Mcphail Oct 2018

Ensuring That Punishment Does, In Fact, Fit The Crime, Meredith D. Mcphail

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

The United States imprisons a greater proportion of its own population than any other country in the world.2 A legal framework provides protections for those individuals who are incarcerated, but that framework is flawed. The jurisprudence distinguishes pretrial detainees (who have not been convicted) from convicted persons (who are serving a sentence).3 Based on that distinction, different standards apply to conditions of confinement and use of force cases brought by pretrial detainees and those brought by convicted persons.4 That distinction–and the resulting disparate application of legal standards–does not comport with the reality of incarceration, the ...


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 ...


The Case Against Police Militarization, Eliav Lieblich, Adam Shinar Jun 2018

The Case Against Police Militarization, Eliav Lieblich, Adam Shinar

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

We usually think there is a difference between the police and the military. Recently, however, the police have become increasingly militarized – a process which is likely to intensify in coming years. Unsurprisingly, many find this process alarming and call for its reversal. However, while most of the objections to police militarization are framed as instrumental arguments, these arguments are unable to capture the core problem with militarization.

This Article remedies this shortcoming by developing a novel and principled argument against police militarization. Contrary to arguments that are preoccupied with the consequences of militarization, the real problem with police militarization is ...


Wrong Turn On The Ex Post Facto Clause, Paul D. Reingold, Kimberly Thomas Jun 2018

Wrong Turn On The Ex Post Facto Clause, Paul D. Reingold, Kimberly Thomas

Articles

The Ex Post Facto Clause bars any increase in punishment after the commission of a crime. But deciding what constitutes an increase in punishment can be tricky. At the front end of a criminal case, where new or amended criminal laws might lengthen prisoners’ sentences if applied retroactively, courts have routinely struck down such changes under the Ex Post Facto Clause. At the back end, however, where new or amended parole laws or policies might lengthen prisoners’ sentences in exactly the same way if applied retroactively, courts have used a different standard and upheld the changes under the Ex Post ...


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.


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 ...


The Constitutional Law Of Incarceration, Reconfigured, Margo Schlanger Jan 2018

The Constitutional Law Of Incarceration, Reconfigured, Margo Schlanger

Articles

On any given day, about 2.2 million people are confined in U.S. jails and prisons—nearly 0.9% of American men are in prison, and another 0.4% are in jail. This year, 9 or 10 million people will spend time in our prisons and jails; about 5000 of them will die there. A decade into a frustratingly gradual decline in incarceration numbers, the statistics have grown familiar: We have 4.4% of the world’s population but over 20% of its prisoners. Our incarceration rate is 57% higher than Russia’s (our closest major country rival in ...


How Does The Law Put A Historical Analogy To Work?: Defining The Imposition Of "A Condition Analogous To That Of A Slave" In Modern Brazil, Rebecca J. Scott, Leonardo Augusto De Andrade Barbosa, Carlos Henrique Borlido Haddad Dec 2017

How Does The Law Put A Historical Analogy To Work?: Defining The Imposition Of "A Condition Analogous To That Of A Slave" In Modern Brazil, Rebecca J. Scott, Leonardo Augusto De Andrade Barbosa, Carlos Henrique Borlido Haddad

Articles

Over the last decades, the Brazilian state has engaged in concerted legal efforts to identify and prosecute cases of what officials refer to as “slave labor” (trabalho escravo). At a conceptual level, the campaign has paired the constitutional protection of human dignity and the “social value of labor” with an expansive interpretation of the offense described in Article 149 of the Criminal Code as “the reduction of a person to a condition analogous to that of a slave.” At the operational level, mobile teams of inspectors and prosecutors have intervened in thousands of work sites, and labor prosecutors have obtained ...


Prisoners With Disabilities, Margo Schlanger Nov 2017

Prisoners With Disabilities, Margo Schlanger

Book Chapters

A majority of American prisoners have at least one disability. So how jails and prisons deal with those prisoners’ needs is central to institutional safety and humaneness, and to reentry success or failure. In this chapter, I explain what current law requires of prison and jail officials, focusing on statutory and constitutional law mandating non-discrimination, accommodation, integration, and treatment. Jails and prisons have been very slow to learn the most general lesson of these strictures, which is that officials must individualize their assessment of and response to prisoners with disabilities. In addition, I look past current law to additional policies ...


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

Rationing Criminal Justice, Richard A. Bierschbach, Stephanos Bibas

Michigan Law Review

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 ...


Juvenile Lifers And Juveniles In Michigan Prisons: A Population Of Special Concern, Kimberly A. Thomas Sep 2017

Juvenile Lifers And Juveniles In Michigan Prisons: A Population Of Special Concern, Kimberly A. Thomas

Articles

Prisoners serving life without parole for offenses they committed when they were juveniles have received much attention after the United States Supreme Court found in Miller v Alabama that mandatory life without parole for juveniles violated the Eighth Amendment and found that its Miller decision applied retroactively. Courts have begun the process of sentencing and resentencing these individuals, some of whom are still teens and some of whom have served 40 years or more in the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC). All told, not including new cases that come before the court, approximately 370 prisoners will receive individualized sentences under ...


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 ...


The Effect Of Criminal Records On Access To Employment, Amanda Agan, Sonja B. Starr May 2017

The Effect Of Criminal Records On Access To Employment, Amanda Agan, Sonja B. Starr

Articles

This paper adds to the empirical evidence that criminal records are a barrier to employment. Using data from 2,655 online applications sent on behalf of fictitious male applicants, we show that employers are 60 percent more likely to call applicants that do not have a felony conviction. We further investigate whether this effect varies based on applicant race (black versus white), crime type (drug versus property crime), industry (restaurants versus retail), jurisdiction (New Jersey versus New York City), local crime rate, and local racial composition. Although magnitudes vary somewhat, in every subsample the conviction effect is large, significant, and ...


Bureaucracy As Violence, Jonathan Weinberg Apr 2017

Bureaucracy As Violence, Jonathan Weinberg

Michigan Law Review

Review of The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy by David Graeber.


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 ...


Concealed Motives: Rethinking Fourteenth Amendment And Voting Rights Challenges To Felon Disenfranchisement, Lauren Latterell Powell Mar 2017

Concealed Motives: Rethinking Fourteenth Amendment And Voting Rights Challenges To Felon Disenfranchisement, Lauren Latterell Powell

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Felon disenfranchisement provisions are justified by many Americans under the principle that voting is a privilege to be enjoyed only by upstanding citizens. The provisions are intimately tied, however, to the country’s legacy of racism and systemic disenfranchisement and are at odds with the values of American democracy. In virtually every state, felon disenfranchisement provisions affect the poor and communities of color on a grossly disproportionate scale. Yet to date, most challenges to the provisions under the Equal Protection Clause and Voting Rights Act have been unsuccessful, frustrating proponents of re-enfranchisement and the disenfranchised alike.

In light of those ...