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University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Criminal Procedure

Criminal procedure

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Fair Questions: A Call And Proposal For Using General Verdicts With Special Interrogatories To Prevent Biased And Unjust Convictions, Charles E. Hintz Jan 2021

Fair Questions: A Call And Proposal For Using General Verdicts With Special Interrogatories To Prevent Biased And Unjust Convictions, Charles E. Hintz

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Bias and other forms of logical corner-cutting are an unfortunate aspect of criminal jury deliberations. However, the preferred verdict system in the federal courts, the general verdict, does nothing to counter that. Rather, by forcing jurors into a simple binary choice — guilty or not guilty — the general verdict facilitates and encourages such flawed reasoning. Yet the federal courts continue to stick to the general verdict, ironically out of a concern that deviating from it will harm defendants by leading juries to convict.

This Essay calls for a change: expand the use of a special findings verdict, the general verdict with ...


The Reverse Agency Problem In The Age Of Compliance, Asaf Eckstein, Gideon Parchomovsky Sep 2019

The Reverse Agency Problem In The Age Of Compliance, Asaf Eckstein, Gideon Parchomovsky

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The agency problem, the idea that corporate directors and officers are motivated to prioritize their self-interest over the interest of their corporation, has had long-lasting impact on corporate law theory and practice. In recent years, however, as federal agencies have stepped up enforcement efforts against corporations, a new problem that is the mirror image of the agency problem has surfaced—the reverse agency problem. The surge in criminal investigations against corporations, combined with the rising popularity of settlement mechanisms including Pretrial Diversion Agreements (PDAs), and corporate plea agreements, has led corporations to sacrifice directors and officers in order to reach ...


Neuroscience In Forensic Contexts: Ethical Concerns, Stephen J. Morse Feb 2017

Neuroscience In Forensic Contexts: Ethical Concerns, Stephen J. Morse

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This is a chapter in a volume, Ethics Challenges in Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology Practice, edited by Ezra E. H. Griffith, M.D. and to be published by Columbia University Press. The chapter addresses whether the use of new neuroscience techniques, especially non-invasive functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and the data from studies employing them raise new ethical issues for forensic psychiatrists and psychologists. The implicit thesis throughout is that if the legal questions, the limits of the new techniques and the relevance of neuroscience to law are properly understood, no new ethical issues are raised. A major ethical lapse ...


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

Rationing Criminal Justice, Richard A. Bierschbach, Stephanos Bibas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

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 ...


Seizing Family Homes From The Innocent: Can The Eighth Amendment Protect Minorities And The Poor From Excessive Punishment In Civil Forfeiture?, Louis S. Rulli Jan 2017

Seizing Family Homes From The Innocent: Can The Eighth Amendment Protect Minorities And The Poor From Excessive Punishment In Civil Forfeiture?, Louis S. Rulli

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Civil forfeiture laws permit the government to seize and forfeit private property that has allegedly facilitated a crime without ever charging the owner with any criminal offense. The government extracts payment in kind—property—and gives nothing to the owner in return, based upon a legal fiction that the property has done wrong. As such, the government’s taking of property through civil forfeiture is punitive in nature and constrained by the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause, which is intended to curb abusive punishments.

The Supreme Court’s failure to announce a definitive test for determining the constitutional excessiveness ...


The Legal Limits Of “Yes Means Yes”, Paul H. Robinson Jan 2016

The Legal Limits Of “Yes Means Yes”, Paul H. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This op-ed piece for the Chronicle of Higher Education argues that the affirmative consent rule of "yes means yes" is a useful standard that can help educate and ideally change norms regarding consent to sexual intercourse. But that goal can best be achieved by using “yes means yes” as an ex ante announcement of the society's desired rule of conduct. That standard only becomes problematic when used as the ex post principle of adjudication for allegations of rape. Indeed, those most interested in changing existing norms ought to be the persons most in support of distinguishing these two importantly ...


What's Wrong With Sentencing Equality?, Richard A. Bierschbach, Stephanos Bibas Jan 2016

What's Wrong With Sentencing Equality?, Richard A. Bierschbach, Stephanos Bibas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Equality in criminal sentencing often translates into equalizing outcomes and stamping out variations, whether race-based, geographic, or random. This approach conflates the concept of equality with one contestable conception focused on outputs and numbers, not inputs and processes. Racial equality is crucial, but a concern with eliminating racism has hypertrophied well beyond race. Equalizing outcomes seems appealing as a neutral way to dodge contentious substantive policy debates about the purposes of punishment. But it actually privileges deterrence and incapacitation over rehabilitation, subjective elements of retribution, and procedural justice, and it provides little normative guidance for punishment. It also has unintended ...


What Gideon Did, Sara Mayeux Jan 2016

What Gideon Did, Sara Mayeux

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Many accounts of Gideon v. Wainwright’s legacy focus on what Gideon did not do—its doctrinal and practical limits. For constitutional theorists, Gideon imposed a preexisting national consensus upon a few “outlier” states, and therefore did not represent a dramatic doctrinal shift. For criminal procedure scholars, advocates, and journalists, Gideon has failed, in practice, to guarantee meaningful legal help for poor people charged with crimes.

Drawing on original historical research, this Article instead chronicles what Gideon did—the doctrinal and institutional changes it inspired between 1963 and the early 1970s. Gideon shifted the legal profession’s policy consensus on ...


Designing Plea Bargaining From The Ground Up: Accuracy And Fairness Without Trials As Backstops, Stephanos Bibas Jan 2016

Designing Plea Bargaining From The Ground Up: Accuracy And Fairness Without Trials As Backstops, Stephanos Bibas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

American criminal procedure developed on the assumption that grand juries and petit jury trials were the ultimate safeguards of fair procedures and accurate outcomes. But now that plea bargaining has all but supplanted juries, we need to think through what safeguards our plea-bargaining system should be built around. This Symposium Article sketches out principles for redesigning our plea-bargaining system from the ground up around safeguards. Part I explores the causes of factual, moral, and legal inaccuracies in guilty pleas. To prevent and remedy these inaccuracies, it proposes a combination of quasi-inquisitorial safeguards, more vigorous criminal defense, and better normative evaluation ...


Neuroprediction: New Technology, Old Problems, Stephen J. Morse Jan 2015

Neuroprediction: New Technology, Old Problems, Stephen J. Morse

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Neuroprediction is the use of structural or functional brain or nervous system variables to make any type of prediction, including medical prognoses and behavioral forecasts, such as an indicator of future dangerous behavior. This commentary will focus on behavioral predictions, but the analysis applies to any context. The general thesis is that using neurovariables for prediction is a new technology, but that it raises no new ethical issues, at least for now. Only if neuroscience achieves the ability to “read” mental content will genuinely new ethical issues be raised, but that is not possible at present.


"Not Just A Common Criminal": The Case For Sentencing Mitigation Videos, Regina Austin Apr 2014

"Not Just A Common Criminal": The Case For Sentencing Mitigation Videos, Regina Austin

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Sentencing mitigation or sentencing videos are a form of visual legal advocacy that is produced on behalf of defendants for use in the sentencing phases of criminal cases (from charging to clemency). The videos are typically short (5 to 10 minutes or so) nonfiction films that explore a defendant’s background, character, and family situation with the aim of raising factual and moral issues that support the argument for a shorter or more lenient sentence. Very few examples of mitigation videos are in the public domain and available for viewing. This article provides a complete analysis of the constituent elements ...


The Duties Of Non-Judicial Actors In Ensuring Competent Negotiation, Stephanos Bibas Jul 2013

The Duties Of Non-Judicial Actors In Ensuring Competent Negotiation, Stephanos Bibas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This essay, written for a symposium at Duquesne Law School entitled Plea Bargaining After Lafler and Frye, offers thoughts on how lawyers could learn from doctors’ experience in catching and preventing medical errors and aviation experts’ learning from airplane crashes and near misses. It also expresses skepticism about the efficacy of judges’ ex post review of ineffective assistance of counsel, but holds out more hope that public-defender organizations, bar associations, probation officers, sentencing judges, sentencing commissions, and line and supervisory prosecutors can do much more to prevent misunderstanding and remedy ineffective bargaining advice in the first place.


Shrinking Gideon And Expanding Alternatives To Lawyers, Stephanos Bibas Apr 2013

Shrinking Gideon And Expanding Alternatives To Lawyers, Stephanos Bibas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This essay, written as part of a symposium at Washington and Lee Law School entitled Gideon at 50: Reassessing the Right to Counsel, argues that the standard academic dream of expanding the right to counsel to all criminal and major civil cases has proven to be an unattainable mirage. We have been spreading resources too thin, in the process slighting the core cases such as capital and other serious felonies that are the most complex and need the most time and money. Moreover, our legal system is overengineered, making the law too complex and legal services too expensive for the ...


Bulk Misdemeanor Justice, Stephanos Bibas Feb 2013

Bulk Misdemeanor Justice, Stephanos Bibas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This short essay responds to Alexandra Natapoff’s article Misdemeanors, which shines a much-needed spotlight on the mass production of criminal justice and injustice in millions of low-level cases. The prime culprit in Natapoff’s story is the hidden, informal discretion that police officers enjoy to arrest, charge, and effect convictions, abetted by prosecutors’ and judges’ abdication and defense counsel’s absence or impotence. The roots of the problem she identifies, I argue, go all the way down to the system’s professionalization and mechanization. Given the magnitude of the problem, Natapoff’s solutions are surprisingly half-hearted, masking the deeper ...


Abolition Of The Insanity Defense Violates Due Process, Stephen J. Morse, Richard J. Bonnie Jan 2013

Abolition Of The Insanity Defense Violates Due Process, Stephen J. Morse, Richard J. Bonnie

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This article, which is based on and expands on an amicus brief the authors submitted to the United States Supreme Court, first provides the moral argument in favor of the insanity defense. It considers and rejects the most important moral counterargument and suggests that jurisdictions have considerable leeway in deciding what test best meets their legal and moral policies. The article then discusses why the two primary alternatives to the insanity defense, the negation of mens rea and considering mental disorder at sentencing, are insufficient to achieve the goal of responding justly to severely mentally disordered offenders. The last section ...


Debate: The Constitutionality Of Stop-And-Frisk In New York City, David Rudovsky, Lawrence Rosenthal Jan 2013

Debate: The Constitutionality Of Stop-And-Frisk In New York City, David Rudovsky, Lawrence Rosenthal

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Stop-and-frisk, a crime prevention tactic that allows a police officer to stop a person based on “reasonable suspicion” of criminal activity and frisk based on reasonable suspicion that the person is armed and dangerous, has been a contentious police practice since first approved by the Supreme Court in 1968. In Floyd v. City of New York, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled that New York City’s stop-and-frisk practices violate both the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. Professors David Rudovsky and Lawrence Rosenthal debate the constitutionality of stop-and-frisk in New York City in light ...


Introduction: Appreciating Bill Stuntz, Michael Klarman, David A. Skeel Jr., Carol Steiker Jul 2011

Introduction: Appreciating Bill Stuntz, Michael Klarman, David A. Skeel Jr., Carol Steiker

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The past several decades have seen a renaissance in criminal procedure as a cutting edge discipline, and as one inseparably linked to substantive criminal law. The renaissance can be traced in no small part to the work of a single scholar: William Stuntz. This essay is the introductory chapter to The Political Heart of Criminal Procedure: Essays on Themes of William J. Stuntz (forthcoming, Cambridge University Press, 2012), which brings together twelve leading American criminal justice scholars whose own writings have been profoundly influenced by Stuntz and his work. After briefly chronicling the arc of Stuntz’s career, the essay ...


The Right To Counsel Under Attack, David Rudovsky Jan 1988

The Right To Counsel Under Attack, David Rudovsky

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.