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Full-Text Articles in Law

Judicial Fact-Finding At Sentencing, Stephanos Bibas Dec 2008

Judicial Fact-Finding At Sentencing, Stephanos Bibas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This encyclopedia entry summarizes the pendulum-swings that led the Supreme Court in Apprendi v. New Jersey, Blakely v. Washington, and United States v. Booker to limit judges' ability to find facts at sentencing. Paradoxically, the much-criticized Federal Sentencing Guidelines have survived; a line of cases that began as an effort to restore juries' role has turned into a guarantor of judicial discretion; and the doctrine has quickly moved far from its Sixth Amendment roots to a policy balancing test. The Court could instead have pursued a different, more fruitful path. The Court did not have to force sentencing factors into ...


Exacerbating Injustice, Stephanos Bibas Nov 2008

Exacerbating Injustice, Stephanos Bibas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This brief essay responds to Josh Bowers' argument that criminal procedure should openly allow innocent defendants to plead guilty as a legal fiction. Though most scholars emphasize the few but salient serious felony cases, Bowers is right to refocus attention on misdemeanors and violations, which are far more numerous. And though the phrase wrongful convictions conjures up images of punishing upstanding citizens, Bowers is also right to emphasize that recidivists are far more likely to suffer wrongful suspicion and conviction. Bowers' mistake is to treat the criminal justice system as simply a means of satisfying defendants' preferences and choices. This ...


Contrived Defenses And Deterrent Threats: Two Facets Of One Problem, Claire Oakes Finkelstein, Leo Katz Jan 2008

Contrived Defenses And Deterrent Threats: Two Facets Of One Problem, Claire Oakes Finkelstein, Leo Katz

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

What relation do the various parts of a plan bear to the overall aim of the plan? In this essay we consider this question in the context of two very different problems in the criminal law. The first, known in the German criminal law literature as the Actio Libera in Causa, involves defendants who contrive to commit crimes under conditions that would normally afford them a justification or excuse. The question is whether such defendants should be allowed to claim the defense when the defense is itself either contrived or anticipated in advance. The second is what we call the ...


The Sixth Amendment And Criminal Sentencing, Stephanos Bibas, Susan R. Klein Jan 2008

The Sixth Amendment And Criminal Sentencing, Stephanos Bibas, Susan R. Klein

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This symposium essay explores the impact of Rita, Gall, and Kimbrough on state and federal sentencing and plea bargaining systems. The Court continues to try to explain how the Sixth Amendment jury trial right limits legislative and judicial control of criminal sentencing. Equally important, the opposing sides in this debate have begun to form a stable consensus. These decisions inject more uncertainty in the process and free trial judges to counterbalance prosecutors. Thus, we predict, these decisions will move the balance of plea bargaining power back toward criminal defendants.