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University of Michigan Law School

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Criminal Law

Law reform

Articles 1 - 8 of 8

Full-Text Articles in Law

Expungement Of Criminal Convictions: An Empirical Study, J.J. Prescott, Sonja B. Starr May 2020

Expungement Of Criminal Convictions: An Empirical Study, J.J. Prescott, Sonja B. Starr

Articles

Laws permitting the expungement of criminal convictions are a key component of modern criminal justice reform efforts and have been the subject of a recent upsurge in legislative activity. This debate has been almost entirely devoid of evidence about the laws’ effects, in part because the necessary data (such as sealed records themselves) have been unavailable. We were able to obtain access to de-identified data that overcome that problem, and we use it to carry out a comprehensive statewide study of expungement recipients and comparable nonrecipients in Michigan. We offer three key sets of empirical findings. First, among those legally ...


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 ...


Mandatory Sentencing And Racial Disparity, Assessing The Role Of Prosecutors And The Effects Of Booker, Sonja B. Starr, M. Marit Rehavi Jan 2013

Mandatory Sentencing And Racial Disparity, Assessing The Role Of Prosecutors And The Effects Of Booker, Sonja B. Starr, M. Marit Rehavi

Articles

This Article presents new empirical evidence concerning the effects of United States v. Booker, which loosened the formerly mandatory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, on racial disparities in federal criminal cases. Two serious limitations pervade existing empirical literature on sentencing disparities. First, studies focus on sentencing in isolation, controlling for the “presumptive sentence” or similar measures that themselves result from discretionary charging, plea-bargaining, and fact-finding processes. Any disparities in these earlier processes are excluded from the resulting sentence-disparity estimates. Our research has shown that this exclusion matters: pre-sentencing decision-making can have substantial sentence-disparity consequences. Second, existing studies have used loose causal ...


On Estimating Disparity And Inferring Causation: Sur-Reply To The U.S. Sentencing Commission Staff, Sonja B. Starr, M. Marit Rehavi Jan 2013

On Estimating Disparity And Inferring Causation: Sur-Reply To The U.S. Sentencing Commission Staff, Sonja B. Starr, M. Marit Rehavi

Articles

In this Essay, Professors Starr and Rehavi respond to the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s empirical staff’s criticisms of their recent article, which found, contrary to the Commission’s prior work, no evidence that racial disparity in sentences increased in response to United States v. Booker. As Starr and Rehavi suggest, their differences with the Commission perhaps relate to differing objectives. The Commission staff’s reply expresses a lack of interest in identifying Booker’s causal effects; in contrast, that is Starr and Rehavi’s central objective. In addition, Starr and Rehavi’s approach also accounts for disparities arising ...


Sentence Reduction As A Remedy For Prosecutorial Misconduct, Sonja B. Starr Jan 2009

Sentence Reduction As A Remedy For Prosecutorial Misconduct, Sonja B. Starr

Articles

Current remedies for prosecutorial misconduct, such as reversal of conviction or dismissal of charges, are rarely granted by courts and thus do not deter prosecutors effectively. Further, such all-or-nothing remedial schemes are often problematic from corrective and expressive perspectives, especially when misconduct has not affected the trial verdict. When granted, these remedies produce windfalls to guilty defendants and provoke public resentment, undermining their expressive value in condemning misconduct. To avoid these windfalls, courts refuse to grant any remedy at all, either refusing to recognize violations or deeming them harmless. This often leaves significant non-conviction-related harms unremedied and egregious prosecutorial misconduct ...


Prosecuting Worker Endangerment: The Need For Stronger Criminal Penalties For Violations Of The Occupational Safety And Health Act, David M. Uhlmann Jan 2009

Prosecuting Worker Endangerment: The Need For Stronger Criminal Penalties For Violations Of The Occupational Safety And Health Act, David M. Uhlmann

Articles

A recent spate of construction deaths in New York City, similar incidents in Las Vegas, and scores of fatalities in recent years at mines and industrial facilities across the country have highlighted the need for greater commitment to worker safety in the United States and stronger penalties for violators of the worker safety laws. Approximately 6,000 workers are killed on the job each year1—and thousands more suffer grievous injuries—yet penalties for worker safety violations remain appallingly small, and criminal prosecutions are almost non-existent. In recent years, most of the criminal prosecutions for worker safety violations have been ...


Juvenile Obscenity Statutes: A Proposal And Analysis, Jerold H. Israel, Rita Ann Burns Jan 1976

Juvenile Obscenity Statutes: A Proposal And Analysis, Jerold H. Israel, Rita Ann Burns

Articles

The article that follows is based largely upon a Study Report on juvenile obscenity statutes prepared for the Michigan Law Revision Commission. The objectives of the Report were (1) to analyze the various issues presented in drafting a juvenile obscenity provision, (2) to survey the treatment of those issues in statutes adopted by various states and statutes proposed by several distinguished commissions, and (3) to propose a comprehensive model statute that offers a choice of alternative provisions on key areas of controversy. Certain limitations placed upon the scope of the Report (and this article) should be noted. First, we were ...


The Process Of Penal Law Reform—A Look At The Proposed Michigan Revised Criminal Code, Jerold H. Israel Jan 1968

The Process Of Penal Law Reform—A Look At The Proposed Michigan Revised Criminal Code, Jerold H. Israel

Articles

T HE subject of this symposium, the proposed Michigan Revised Criminal Code (Proposed Code),' is the product of a three-year study by a Joint Committee of the State Bar. The study was undertaken pursuant to a 1964 resolution of the State Bar Commissioners calling for a "complete revision of the criminal code to redefine crimes and penalties."'2 The Joint Committee is an extraordinarily large group, being composed of members of both the standing Criminal Jurisprudence Committee and the Special Code Revision Committee.' Its membership reflects great diversity in viewpoint and professional interests, including not only prosecutors, defense attorneys and ...