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Full-Text Articles in Law

Why And How To Compensate Exonerees, Erik Encarnacion Jan 2016

Why And How To Compensate Exonerees, Erik Encarnacion

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

How can we bring greater uniformity to exoneree compensation in a principled and just way? This paper argues that answering this question becomes easier once we identify the principles of justice that best justify and explain compensation statutes. In particular, commentators have assumed incorrectly that the goal of compensating exonerees should be understood primarily in terms of corrective justice, which posits a duty to undo or repair wrongfully inflicted harms. This paper argues, by contrast, that restitutionary justice, which forces parties to relinquish unjust gains, better justifies and explains compensation statutes. The unjust gains at issue are fair wages withheld ...


The Exceptional Circumstances Of Johnson V. United States, Leah M. Litman Jan 2016

The Exceptional Circumstances Of Johnson V. United States, Leah M. Litman

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

Johnson v. United States held that the “residual clause” of the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA) is unconstitutionally vague. Since Johnson was decided six months ago, courts have been sorting out which of the currently incarcerated defendants who were sentenced under ACCA’s residual clause may be resentenced. Determining who can be resentenced in light of Johnson requires courts to answer several questions. For example, does the rule in Johnson apply retroactively to convictions that have already become final? And can prisoners who have already filed one petition for postconviction review—review that occurs after a defendant’s conviction has ...


Mens Rea, Criminal Responsibility, And The Death Of Freddie Gray, Michael Serota Oct 2015

Mens Rea, Criminal Responsibility, And The Death Of Freddie Gray, Michael Serota

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

Who (if anyone) is criminally responsible for the death of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old African-American man who died from injuries suffered while in the custody of Baltimore police? This question has been at the forefront of the extensive coverage of Gray’s death, which has inspired a national discussion about law enforcement’s relationship with black communities. But it is also a question that may never be fairly resolved for reasons wholly unrelated to the topic of community policing, with which Gray’s death has become synonymous. What may ultimately hamper the administration of justice in the prosecution of the ...


Lost In Translation: The Accidental Origins Of Bond V. United States, Kevin L. Cope Apr 2014

Lost In Translation: The Accidental Origins Of Bond V. United States, Kevin L. Cope

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

One of the unusual features of cases about the constitutionality of federal statutes is that they are nearly always foreseeable. Even before the bill’s introduction in Congress, lawmakers are often aware that they are inviting a federal lawsuit. Anticipating a legal challenge, legislators and their staffs attempt to predict the courts’ views of the statute and adapt the bill accordingly. Generally speaking, the bigger the bill’s potential constitutional impact, the more foreseeable the resulting case. By this logic, jurists should have seen the constitutional issues in Bond v. United States from a mile away. In reality, they were ...


Are Cryptocurrencies Super Tax Havens?, Omri Marian Sep 2013

Are Cryptocurrencies Super Tax Havens?, Omri Marian

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

Virtual currencies are online payment systems that may function as real currencies but are not issued or backed by central governments. As demonstrated by recent events, virtual currencies present regulators with significant challenges. On May 23, 2013, the U.S. federal government brought an indictment against the operators of Liberty Reserve, a popular virtual currency, charging the operators with money laundering and operating an unlicensed money-transmitting business. The same month, the Government Accountability Office ("GAO") made public a report exploring the potential tax-compliance risks associated with virtual currencies and economies. Legislators have also taken particular interest in one type of ...


Kids Are Different, Stephen St.Vincent Sep 2010

Kids Are Different, Stephen St.Vincent

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

The Supreme Court recently handed down its decision in Graham v. Florida. The case involved a juvenile, Graham, who was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted as an adult of a nonhomicidal crime. The offense, a home invasion robbery, was his second; the first was attempted robbery. Due to Florida's abolition of parole, the judge's imposition of a life sentence meant that Graham was constructively sentenced to life without parole for a nonhomicide crime. Graham challenged this sentence as unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment. Somewhat surprisingly, the Supreme Court invalidated Graham's sentence by a 6-3 ...


Strong Medicine: Toward Effective Sentencing Of Child Pornography Offenders, Kristin Carlson Sep 2010

Strong Medicine: Toward Effective Sentencing Of Child Pornography Offenders, Kristin Carlson

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

In recent years, possessors of child pornography have entered the federal criminal justice at an alarming rate. In 2006, child pornography cases accounted for sixty-nine percent of the child exploitation cases that were prosecuted federally. Average federal sentences for these offenses also rose sharply, by about 300 percent over the past fourteen years. The mean sentence imposed for child pornography offenses increased from thirty-six months in 1994 to 109 months by 2008. The severe sentences imposed on possessors of child pornography in federal courts have inspired an ongoing deb ate. Critics feel the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines are too harsh ...


Redemption Song: Graham V. Florida And The Evolving Eighth Amendment Jurisprudence, Robert Smith, G. Ben Choen Jan 2010

Redemption Song: Graham V. Florida And The Evolving Eighth Amendment Jurisprudence, Robert Smith, G. Ben Choen

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

In Graham v. Florida, the Supreme Court held that the Eighth Amendment prohibits a sentence of life without parole ("LWOP") for a juvenile under eighteen who commits a non-homicide offense. For Terrance Graham, who committed home-invasion robbery at seventeen, the decision does not mean necessarily that he someday will leave the brick walls of Florida's Taylor Annex Correctional Institution. Unlike previous Eighth Amendment decisions, such as Roper v. Simmons, where the Court barred the death penalty for juveniles, this new categorical rule does not translate into automatic relief for members of the exempted class: "A State need not guarantee ...


Animal Cruelty Laws And Factory Farming, Joseph Vining Jan 2008

Animal Cruelty Laws And Factory Farming, Joseph Vining

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

“Should laws criminalizing animal abuse apply to animals raised for food?” The answer is yes, and yes especially because farm animals are generally now under the control of business corporations. State and federal criminal law have proved critical in modifying corporate policy and practice in other areas, a current example being worker safety. Criminal liability today would include criminal liability of the corporate entity itself, and would thus also introduce the most effective regulation of individual handling of farm animals—regulation by the corporation, which has methods and resources public agencies cannot match. We have a background public policy of ...


Why The County Jail Is Often A Better Choice, Shawn Chapman Holley Jan 2007

Why The County Jail Is Often A Better Choice, Shawn Chapman Holley

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

I have been a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles for almost twenty years. I began my career in the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office, representing defendants who were poor and often homeless. For the past twelve years, I have been in private practice, representing defendants who are wealthy and often famous. Having represented criminal defendants coming from such varied economic circumstances, I have witnessed firsthand the criminal justice system’s disparate treatment of those with money and those without. Pay-to-stay jails are yet another example of that disparity. Yet I believe that those without the money to ...


Stevens's Ratchet: When The Court Should Decide Not To Decide, Joel A. Flaxman Jan 2006

Stevens's Ratchet: When The Court Should Decide Not To Decide, Joel A. Flaxman

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

Hidden underneath the racy death penalty issues in Kansas v. Marsh lurks a seemingly dull procedural issue addressed only in separate opinions by Justices Stevens and Scalia: whether the Court should have heard the case in the first place. As he did in three cases from the Court’s 2005 term, Justice Stevens argued in Marsh that the Court has no legitimate interest in reviewing state court decisions that overprotect federal constitutional rights. Instead, the Supreme Court should exercise its certiorari power to tip the scales against states and in favor of individuals. Granting certiorari in Marsh, Stevens argued, was ...


Putting The Guesswork Back Into Capital Sentencing, Sean D. O'Brien Jan 2006

Putting The Guesswork Back Into Capital Sentencing, Sean D. O'Brien

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

In 1972, in Furman v. Georgia, the Supreme Court deemed it “incon-testable” that a death sentence is cruel and unusual if inflicted “by reason of [the defendant’s] race, religion, wealth, social position, or class, or if it is imposed under a procedure that gives room for the play of such prejudices.” Arbitrary and discriminatory patterns in capital sentencing moved the Court to strike down death penalty statutes that required judges or juries to cast thumbs-up or thumbs-down verdicts against offenders found guilty of capi-tal crimes. The issue of innocence was barely a footnote in Furman; the Court’s concerns ...


The Revolution Enters The Court: The Constitutional Significance Of Wrongful Convictions In Contemporary Constitutional Regulation Of The Death Penalty, Jordan Steiker Jan 2006

The Revolution Enters The Court: The Constitutional Significance Of Wrongful Convictions In Contemporary Constitutional Regulation Of The Death Penalty, Jordan Steiker

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

Over the last decade, the most important events in American death pen-alty law have occurred outside the courts. The discovery of numerous wrongfully convicted death-sentenced inmates in Illinois led to the most substantial reflection on the American death penalty system since the late 1960s and early 1970s. Former Illinois Governor George Ryan, a Republi-can, first declared a moratorium on executions in 2000 and eventually commuted all 167 inmates on Illinois’s death row in 2003. The events in Illinois reverberated nationwide. Almost overnight, state legislative agendas shifted from expanding or maintaining the prevailing reach of the death penalty to studying ...


The High Court Remains As Divided As Ever Over The Death Penalty, George H. Kendall Jan 2006

The High Court Remains As Divided As Ever Over The Death Penalty, George H. Kendall

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

More than three decades ago, in Furman v. Georgia, a sharply divided Supreme Court struck down all existing capital punishment schemes be-cause the results they generated were arbitrary, discriminatory, and unreasoned. No member of that Court remains on the Court today, and the Court has grown increasingly conservative ever since. Nevertheless, impor-tant questions concerning the administration of capital punishment continue to wrought deep divisions within the Court, for instance in determining whether racial bias influences the system, in determining the sufficiency of new evidence of innocence to justify review of a defaulted claim in habeas corpus proceedings, in determining a ...


Legitimizing Error, Rebecca E. Woodman Jan 2006

Legitimizing Error, Rebecca E. Woodman

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

Since Furman v. Georgia, the Supreme Court has sought to harmonize competing constitutional demands under Eighth Amendment rules regulat-ing the two-step eligibility and selection stages of the capital decision-making process. Furman’s demand for rationality and consistency requires that, at the eligibility stage, the sentencer’s discretion be limited and guided by clear and objective fact-based standards that rationally narrow the class of death-eligible defendants. The selection stage requires a determination of whether a specific death-eligible defendant actually deserves that punish-ment, as distinguished from other death-eligible defendants. Here, fundamental fairness and respect for the uniqueness of the individual are the ...