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University of Michigan Law School

Series

Criminal Law

Punishment

Articles 1 - 17 of 17

Full-Text Articles in Law

May The State Punish What It May Not Prevent?, Gabriel S. Mendlow Jul 2020

May The State Punish What It May Not Prevent?, Gabriel S. Mendlow

Articles

In Why Is It Wrong To Punish Thought? I defended an overlooked principle of criminalization that I called the Enforceability Constraint. The Enforceability Constraint holds that the state may punish transgressions of a given type only if the state in principle may forcibly disrupt such transgressions on the ground that they are criminal wrongs. As I argued in the essay, the reason why the state is forbidden from punishing thought is that the state is forbidden from forcibly disrupting a person’s mental states on the ground that they are criminally wrongful (as opposed to, say, on the ground that ...


The Elusive Object Of Punishment, Gabriel S. Mendlow Jun 2019

The Elusive Object Of Punishment, Gabriel S. Mendlow

Articles

All observers of our legal system recognize that criminal statutes can be complex and obscure. But statutory obscurity often takes a particular form that most observers have overlooked: uncertainty about the identity of the wrong a statute aims to punish. It is not uncommon for parties to disagree about the identity of the underlying wrong even as they agree on the statute’s elements. Hidden in plain sight, these unexamined disagreements underlie or exacerbate an assortment of familiar disputes—about venue, vagueness, and mens rea; about DUI and statutory rape; about hate crimes, child pornography, and counterterrorism laws; about proportionality ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


Random If Not "Rare"? The Eighth Amendment Weaknesses Of Post-Miller Legislation, Kimberly Thomas Mar 2017

Random If Not "Rare"? The Eighth Amendment Weaknesses Of Post-Miller Legislation, Kimberly Thomas

Articles

First, this Article surveys the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to analogize life without parole for juveniles to the death penalty for adults, and discusses the Eighth Amendment law regarding the parameters around death penalty statutory schemes. Second, this Article examines the state legislative response to Miller, and scrutinizes it with the Court's Eighth Amendment death penalty law-and the states' responses to this case law-in mind. This Article highlights the failure of juvenile homicide sentencing provisions to: 1) narrow offenses that are eligible for life without parole sentences; 2) further limit, once a guilty finding is made, the ...


The Pendulum Swings: Reconsidering Corporate Criminal Prosecution, David M. Uhlmann Jan 2016

The Pendulum Swings: Reconsidering Corporate Criminal Prosecution, David M. Uhlmann

Articles

Corporate crime continues to occur at an alarming rate, yet disagreement persists among scholars and practitioners about the role of corporate criminal prosecution. Some argue that corporations should face criminal prosecution for their misconduct, while others would reserve criminal prosecution for individual corporate officials. Perhaps as a result of this conflict, there has been a dramatic increase over the last decade in the use of deferred prosecution and non-prosecution agreements for some corporate crimes, even as the government continues to bring criminal charges for other corporate crimes. To move beyond our erratic approach to corporate crime, we need a better ...


Reflections On Freedom And Criminal Responsibility In Late Twentieth Century American Legal Thought, Thomas A. Green, Merrill Catharine Hodnefield Jan 2015

Reflections On Freedom And Criminal Responsibility In Late Twentieth Century American Legal Thought, Thomas A. Green, Merrill Catharine Hodnefield

Articles

It is now a commonplace among historians that American criminal jurisprudence underwent a dramatic change something like two-thirds to three-quarters into the last century. Roughly, this development is understood as a shift (or drift) from a more-or-less pure consequentialism to a "mixed theory" wherein retributivism played a major-at times, dominant-role. As the new paradigm remains intact, now approaching a half-century, the development qualifies as a significant historical fact. The fact applies not only to the history of justification for punishment but also to conceptions of the underlying principle of (basis for) responsibility. The two are rightly distinguished: for many scholars ...


Pope John Paul Ii, Vatican Ii, And Capital Punishment, Howard Bromberg Jan 2007

Pope John Paul Ii, Vatican Ii, And Capital Punishment, Howard Bromberg

Articles

Part I of this Article describe s Pope John Paul II’s teaching on capital punishment as based on the Scriptures and expressed in Evangelium Vitae and the Catechism. Part II examines the authority with which this doctrine was issued. Part III suggests that this teaching represents the “traditional teaching of the Church,” although a “more perfect expression” of that teaching than has heretofore been recognized. Parts IV and V indicate why the papacy of John Paul II-—“this time, in which God in His hidden design has entrusted to me... very close to the year 2000”-—was ripe for ...


Hard Cases, Carl E. Schneider Mar 1998

Hard Cases, Carl E. Schneider

Articles

Robert Latimer was born in 1953 on a farm on the prairies of Saskatchewan and grew up to own a 1,280-acre farm. In 1980 he married, and that year Tracy, the first of four children, was born. During her birth, Tracy's brain was terribly damaged by lack of oxygen, and severe cerebral palsy ensued. By 1993 Tracy could laugh, smile, and cry, and she could recognize her parents and her siblings. But she could not understand her own name or even simple words like "yes" and "no." She could not swallow well and would so often vomit her ...


An Epilogue To The Age Of Pound, Thomas A. Green Jan 1996

An Epilogue To The Age Of Pound, Thomas A. Green

Articles

Doubts about the reality of criminal offenders' autonomy have sometimes played a role in the movement to abolish, or greatly reduce the reach of, the sanction of capital punishment.


Freedom And Criminal Responsibility In The Age Of Pound: An Essay On Criminal Justice, Thomas A. Green Jun 1995

Freedom And Criminal Responsibility In The Age Of Pound: An Essay On Criminal Justice, Thomas A. Green

Articles

The concept of freedom has two main aspects: political liberty and freedom of the will. I am concerned here with the latter, although - as these two aspects of freedom are not entirely unrelated to each other - I shall touch also on the former. Enough has been written from a philosophical perspective on the relationship between free will and the law that it is not easy to justify yet another such undertaking. But there may still be room for some informal observations on the manner in which doubts about the concept of freedom of the will affected discussion of criminal responsibility ...


The Romance Of Revenge: Capital Punishment In America, Samuel R. Gross Jan 1993

The Romance Of Revenge: Capital Punishment In America, Samuel R. Gross

Articles

On February 17, 1992, Jeffrey Dahmer was sentenced to 15 consecutive terms of life imprisonment for killing and dismembering 15 young men and boys (Associated Press 1992a). Dahmer had been arrested six months earlier, on July 22, 1991. On January 13 he pled guilty to the fifteen murder counts against him, leaving open only the issue of his sanity. Jury selection began two weeks later, and the trial proper started on January 30. The jury heard two weeks of testimony about murder, mutilation and necrophilia; they deliberated for 5 hours before finding that Dahmer was sane when he committed these ...


Dreams, Prophecy And Sorcery: Blaming The Secret Offender In Medieval Iceland, William I. Miller Jan 1986

Dreams, Prophecy And Sorcery: Blaming The Secret Offender In Medieval Iceland, William I. Miller

Articles

An eminent legal historian once noted that the fundamental problem of law enforcement in primitive societies is that of the secret offender. The Icelandic legal and dispute processing systems depended on a wrongdoer publishing his deed, or at least committing it in an open and notorious manner. No state agencies existed to investigate and discover the non-publishing wrongdoer. But there were strong normative inducements to wrong openly; one's name was at stake. There was absolutely no honor in thievery, only the darkest shame; the ransmadr, on the other hand, suffered no shame for his successful raids, even if he ...


The Reincarnation Of The Death Penalty: Is It Possible?, Yale Kamisar Jan 1973

The Reincarnation Of The Death Penalty: Is It Possible?, Yale Kamisar

Articles

Fifty years ago Clarence Darrow, probably the greatest criminal defense lawyer in American history and a leading opponent of capital punishment, observed: The question of capital punishment has been the subject of endless discussion and will probably never be settled so long as men believe in punishment. Some states have abolished and then reinstated it; some have enjoyed capital punishment for long periods of time and finally prohibited the use of it. The reasons why it cannot be settled are plain. There is first of all no agreement as to the objects of punishment. Next there is no way to ...


Review Of Criminology, By E. H. Sutherland, John B. Waite Jan 1925

Review Of Criminology, By E. H. Sutherland, John B. Waite

Reviews

Professor Waite muses that "It seems rather unfair for a lawyer to review a textbook on criminology, especially as the author himself says, and quite truly, 'Little attention has been paid by law schools, lawyers, or judges to the improvement of the criminal law....'"

Happily: "...[T]he reviewer finds nothing but good to say of the book" (once he gets past how thin the paper is) and gives the reader a generous listing of chapters in the first paragraph.


Extradition, Thomas M. Cooley Dec 1875

Extradition, Thomas M. Cooley

Articles

The policy of returning for trial and punishment the criminal of one country who has escaped to another, is not less manifest than its justice. It would seem, therefore, that there ought to be no great difficulty in agreeing upon the proper international regulations for the purpose. This, ho:wever, has until recently been practically an impossibility. While the leading nations of Christendom were engaged for a very large proportion of the time in inflicting upon each other all the mischief possible, it was not to be expected that they would be solicitous to assist in the enforcement of their ...