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The Moral Vigilante And Her Cousins In The Shadows, Paul H. Robinson Jan 2015

The Moral Vigilante And Her Cousins In The Shadows, Paul H. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

By definition, vigilantes cannot be legally justified – if they satisfied a justification defense, for example, they would not be law-breakers – but they may well be morally justified, if their aim is to provide the order and justice that the criminal justice system has failed to provide in a breach of the social contract. Yet, even moral vigilantism is detrimental to society and ought to be avoided, ideally not by prosecuting moral vigilantism but by avoiding the creation of situations that would call for it. Unfortunately, the U.S. criminal justice system has adopted a wide range of criminal law rules ...


Justice: 1850s San Francisco And The California Gold Rush, Paul H. Robinson, Sarah M. Robinson Jan 2015

Justice: 1850s San Francisco And The California Gold Rush, Paul H. Robinson, Sarah M. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Using stories from the 1848-1851 California gold miners, the 1851 San Francisco vigilante committees, Nazi concentration camps of the 1940s, and wagon trains of American westward migration in the 1840s, the chapter illustrates that it is part of human nature to see doing justice as a value in itself—in people’s minds it is not dependent for justification on the practical benefits it brings. Having justice done is sufficiently important to people that they willingly suffer enormous costs to obtain it, even when they were neither hurt by the wrong nor in a position to benefit from punishing the ...


The Structure And Limits Of Criminal Law, Paul H. Robinson, Joshua Samuel Barton Jul 2014

The Structure And Limits Of Criminal Law, Paul H. Robinson, Joshua Samuel Barton

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The book The Structure and Limits of Criminal Law (Ashgate) collects and reprints classic articles on three topics: the conceptual structure of criminal law doctrine, the conduct necessary and that sufficient for criminal liability, and the offender culpability and blameworthiness necessary and that sufficient for criminal liability. The collection includes articles by H.L.A. Hart, Sanford Kadish, George Fletcher, Herbert Packer, Norval Morris, Gordon Hawkins, Andrew von Hirsch, Bernard Harcourt, Richard Wasserstrom, Andrew Simester, John Darley, Kent Greenawalt, and Paul Robinson. This essay serves as an introduction to the collection, explaining how each article fits into the larger debate ...


Murder Mitigation In The Fifty-Two American Jurisdictions: A Case Study In Doctrinal Interrelation Analysis, Paul H. Robinson Apr 2014

Murder Mitigation In The Fifty-Two American Jurisdictions: A Case Study In Doctrinal Interrelation Analysis, Paul H. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The essay surveys the law in the fifty-two American jurisdictions with regard to the three doctrines that commonly provide a mitigation or defense to murder liability: common law provocation and its modern counterpart, extreme mental or emotional disturbance; the so-called diminished capacity defense and its modern counterpart, mental illness negating an offense element; and the insanity defense. The essay then examines the patterns among the jurisdictions in the particular formulation they adopt for the three doctrines, and the combinations in which those formulations commonly appear in different jurisdictions. After this review, the essay steps back to see what kinds of ...


A Systems Approach To Error Reduction In Criminal Justice, John Hollway Feb 2014

A Systems Approach To Error Reduction In Criminal Justice, John Hollway

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The “systems approach” has been used, improved, and refined over time to improve safety and reduce errors in a variety of complex, high-risk industries, including health care, aviation, and manufacturing, among others. Such an approach targets the system for improvement rather than specific individuals within the system, and seeks to provide an environment that maximizes each participant’s ability to act safely and in a way that achieves the goals of the system. It prizes a non-punitive culture of disclosure to identify errors, gathers and applies data to understand the causes of the error, and tests systems changes to prevent ...


The Proper Role Of Community In Determining Criminal Liability And Punishment, Paul H. Robinson Jan 2014

The Proper Role Of Community In Determining Criminal Liability And Punishment, Paul H. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This essay argues that community views ought to have a central role in constructing criminal law and punishment rules, for both democratic and crime-control reasons, but ought not to have a role in the adjudication of individual cases. The differences in the American and Chinese debates on these issues are examined and discussed.


Empirical Desert, Individual Prevention, And Limiting Retributivism: A Reply, Paul H. Robinson, Joshua Samuel Barton, Matthew J. Lister Jan 2014

Empirical Desert, Individual Prevention, And Limiting Retributivism: A Reply, Paul H. Robinson, Joshua Samuel Barton, Matthew J. Lister

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

A number of articles and empirical studies over the past decade, most by Paul Robinson and co-authors, have suggested a relationship between the extent of the criminal law's reputation for being just in its distribution of criminal liability and punishment in the eyes of the community – its "moral credibility" – and its ability to gain that community's deference and compliance through a variety of mechanisms that enhance its crime-control effectiveness. This has led to proposals to have criminal liability and punishment rules reflect lay intuitions of justice – "empirical desert" – as a means of enhancing the system's moral credibility ...


Commentary: Reflections On Remorse, Stephen J. Morse Jan 2014

Commentary: Reflections On Remorse, Stephen J. Morse

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This commentary on Zhong et al. begins by addressing the definition of remorse. It then primarily focuses on the relation between remorse and various justifications for punishment commonly accepted in Anglo-American jurisprudence and suggests that remorse cannot be used in a principled way in sentencing. It examines whether forensic psychiatrists have special expertise in evaluating remorse and concludes that they do not. The final section is a pessimistic meditation on sentencing disparities, which is a striking finding of Zhong et al.


The Effect Of Mental Illness Under U.S. Criminal Law, Paul H. Robinson Jan 2014

The Effect Of Mental Illness Under U.S. Criminal Law, Paul H. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This paper reviews the various ways in which an offender's mental illness can have an effect on liability and offense grading under American criminal law. The 52 American jurisdictions have adopted a variety of different formulations of the insanity defense. A similar diversity of views is seen in the way in which different states deal with mental illness that negates an offense culpability requirement, a bare majority of which limit a defendant's ability to introduce mental illness for this purpose. Finally, the modern successor of the common law provocation mitigation allows, in its new breadth, certain forms of ...


Public Assistance, Drug Testing, And The Law: The Limits Of Population-Based Legal Analysis, Candice T. Player Jan 2014

Public Assistance, Drug Testing, And The Law: The Limits Of Population-Based Legal Analysis, Candice T. Player

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In Populations, Public Health and the Law, legal scholar Wendy Parmet urges courts to embrace population-based legal analysis, a public health inspired approach to legal reasoning. Parmet contends that population-based legal analysis offers a way to analyze legal issues—not unlike law and economics—as well as a set of values from which to critique contemporary legal discourse. Population-based analysis has been warmly embraced by the health law community as a bold new way of analyzing legal issues. Still, population-based analysis is not without its problems. At times, Parmet claims too much territory for the population perspective. Moreover, Parmet urges ...


Forfeiture Of Illegal Gains, Attempts And Implied Risk Preferences, Jonathan Klick, Murat C. Mungan Jan 2014

Forfeiture Of Illegal Gains, Attempts And Implied Risk Preferences, Jonathan Klick, Murat C. Mungan

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Gideon And The Effective Assistance Of Counsel: The Rhetoric And The Reality, David Rudovsky Jan 2014

Gideon And The Effective Assistance Of Counsel: The Rhetoric And The Reality, David Rudovsky

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

There is general agreement that the “promise” of Gideon has been systematically denied to large numbers of criminal defendants. In some cases, no counsel is provided; in many others, excessive caseloads and lack of resources prevent appointed counsel from providing effective assistance. Public defenders are forced to violate their ethical obligations by excessive case assignments that make it impossible for them to practice law in accordance with professional standards, to say nothing of Sixth Amendment commands. This worsening situation is caused by the failure of governmental bodies to properly fund indigent defense services and by the refusal of courts to ...


Constitutionally Tailoring Punishment, Richard A. Bierschbach, Stephanos Bibas Dec 2013

Constitutionally Tailoring Punishment, Richard A. Bierschbach, Stephanos Bibas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Since the turn of the century, the Supreme Court has begun to regulate non-capital sentencing under the Sixth Amendment in the Apprendi line of cases (requiring jury findings of fact to justify sentence enhancements) as well as under the Eighth Amendment in the Miller and Graham line of cases (forbidding mandatory life imprisonment for juvenile defendants). Though both lines of authority sound in individual rights, in fact they are fundamentally about the structures of criminal justice. These two seemingly disparate lines of doctrine respond to structural imbalances in non-capital sentencing by promoting morally appropriate punishment judgments that are based on ...


Putting The Trial Penalty On Trial, David S. Abrams Jul 2013

Putting The Trial Penalty On Trial, David S. Abrams

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The "trial penalty" is a concept widely accepted by all the major actors in the criminal justice system: defendants, prosecutors, defense attorneys, court employees, and judges. The notion is that defendants receive longer sentences at trial than they would have through plea bargain, often substantially longer. The concept is intuitive: longer sentences are necessary in order to induce settlements and without a high settlement rate it would be impossible for courts as currently structured to sustain their immense caseload. While intuitively appealing, this view of the trial penalty is completely at odds with economic prediction. Since both prosecutors and defendants ...


Natural Law & Lawlessness: Modern Lessons From Pirates, Lepers, Eskimos, And Survivors, Paul H. Robinson Jan 2013

Natural Law & Lawlessness: Modern Lessons From Pirates, Lepers, Eskimos, And Survivors, Paul H. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The natural experiments of history present an opportunity to test Hobbes' view of government and law as the wellspring of social order. Groups have found themselves in a wide variety of situations in which no governmental law existed, from shipwrecks to gold mining camps to failed states. Yet the wide variety of situations show common patterns among the groups in their responses to their often difficult circumstances. Rather than survival of the fittest, a more common reaction is social cooperation and a commitment to fairness and justice, although both can be subverted in certain predictable ways. The absent-law situations also ...


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 ...


The Effect Of Privately Provided Police Services On Crime, John M. Macdonald, Jonathan Klick, Ben Grunwald Nov 2012

The Effect Of Privately Provided Police Services On Crime, John M. Macdonald, Jonathan Klick, Ben Grunwald

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Research demonstrates that police reduce crime. The implication of this research for investment in a particular form of extra police services, those provided by private institutions, has not been rigorously examined. We capitalize on the discontinuity in police force size at the geographic boundary of a private university police department to estimate the effect of the extra police services on crime. Extra police provided by the university generate approximately 45-60 percent fewer crimes in the surrounding neighborhood. These effects appear to be similar to other estimates in the literature.


"Life Without Parole" Under Modern Theories Of Punishment, Paul H. Robinson Jun 2012

"Life Without Parole" Under Modern Theories Of Punishment, Paul H. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Life without parole seems an attractive and logical punishment under the modern coercive crime-control principles of general deterrence and incapacitation, a point reinforced by its common use under habitual offender statutes like "three strikes." Yet, there is increasing evidence to doubt the efficacy of using such principles to distributive punishment. The prerequisite conditions for effective general deterrence are the exception rather than the rule. Moreover, effective and fair preventive detention is difficult when attempted through the criminal justice system. If we really are committed to preventive detention, it is better for both society and potential detainees that it be done ...


Extralegal Punishment Factors: A Study Of Forgiveness, Hardship, Good-Deeds, Apology, Remorse, And Other Such Discretionary Factors In Assessing Criminal Punishment, Paul H. Robinson, Sean Jackowitz, Daniel M. Bartels Jan 2012

Extralegal Punishment Factors: A Study Of Forgiveness, Hardship, Good-Deeds, Apology, Remorse, And Other Such Discretionary Factors In Assessing Criminal Punishment, Paul H. Robinson, Sean Jackowitz, Daniel M. Bartels

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The criminal law's formal criteria for assessing punishment are typically contained in criminal codes, the rules of which fix an offender's liability and the grade of the offense. A look at how the punishment decision-making process actually works, however, suggests that courts and other decisionmakers frequently go beyond the formal legal factors and take account of what might be called "extralegal punishment factors" (XPFs).

XPFs, the subject of this Article, include matters as diverse as an offender's apology, remorse, history of good or bad deeds, public acknowledgment of guilt, special talents, old age, extralegal suffering from the ...


The Machinery Of Criminal Justice, Stephanos Bibas Jan 2012

The Machinery Of Criminal Justice, Stephanos Bibas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Two centuries ago, the American criminal justice was run primarily by laymen. Jury trials passed moral judgment on crimes, vindicated victims and innocent defendants, and denounced the guilty. But over the last two centuries, lawyers have taken over the process, silencing victims and defendants and, in many cases, substituting a plea-bargaining system for the voice of the jury. The public sees little of how this assembly-line justice works, and victims and defendants have largely lost their day in court. As a result, victims rarely hear defendants express remorse and apologize, and defendants rarely receive forgiveness. This lawyerized machinery has purchased ...


Triaging Appointed-Counsel Funding And Pro Se Access To Justice, Benjamin H. Barton, Stephanos Bibas Jan 2012

Triaging Appointed-Counsel Funding And Pro Se Access To Justice, Benjamin H. Barton, Stephanos Bibas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

For decades, scholars and advocates have lauded Gideon’s guarantee of appointed counsel in criminal cases and sought to extend it into a civil-Gideon right in a range of civil cases. This past Term, the Supreme Court disappointed the civil-Gideon movement in Turner v. Rogers, unanimously rejecting an across-the-board right to counsel while encouraging reforms to make courts more accessible to pro se litigants. Turner is mostly right, we argue, because funding limitations require reserving counsel mostly for criminal cases, where they are needed most. For the first time, the Court recognized that lawyers can make cases not only slower ...


Mobile Phones And Crime Deterrence: An Underappreciated Link, Jonathan Klick, John Macdonald, Thomas Stratmann Jan 2012

Mobile Phones And Crime Deterrence: An Underappreciated Link, Jonathan Klick, John Macdonald, Thomas Stratmann

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Between 1991 and 2001, crime rates dropped by about a third across all crime categories. We suggest that the introduction and growth of mobile phone technology may have contributed to the crime decline in the 1990s, specifically in the areas of rape and assault. Given that mobile phones increase surveillance and the risks of apprehension when committing crimes against strangers, an expansion of this technology would increase the costs of crime as perceived by forward-looking criminals. We use the available mobile phone data to show that there is a strongly negative association between mobile phones and violent crimes, although data ...


Notice-And-Comment Sentencing, Stephanos Bibas, Richard A. Bierschbach Jan 2012

Notice-And-Comment Sentencing, Stephanos Bibas, Richard A. Bierschbach

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Apprendi And The Dynamics Of Guilty Pleas, Stephanos Bibas Nov 2011

Apprendi And The Dynamics Of Guilty Pleas, Stephanos Bibas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Protecting Liberty And Autonomy: Desert/Disease Jurisprudence, Stephen J. Morse Oct 2011

Protecting Liberty And Autonomy: Desert/Disease Jurisprudence, Stephen J. Morse

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This contribution to a symposium on the morality of preventive restriction on liberty begins by describing the positive law of preventive detention, which I term "desert/disease jurisprudence." Then it provides a brief excursus about risk prediction (estimation), which is at the heart of all preventive detention practices. Part IV considers whether proposed expansions of desert jurisprudence are consistent with retributive theories of justice, which ground desert jurisprudence. I conclude that this is a circle that cannot be squared. The following Part canvasses expansions of disease jurisprudence, especially the involuntary civil commitment of mentally abnormal, sexually violent predators, and the ...


Mental Disorder And Criminal Law, Stephen J. Morse Apr 2011

Mental Disorder And Criminal Law, Stephen J. Morse

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Mental disorder among criminal defendants affects every stage of the criminal justice process, from investigational issues to competence to be executed. As in all other areas of mental health law, at least some people with mental disorders, are treated specially. The underlying thesis of this Article is that people with mental disorder should, as far as is practicable and consistent with justice, be treated just like everyone else. In some areas, the law is relatively sensible and just. In others, too often the opposite is true and the laws sweep too broadly. I believe, however, that special rules to deal ...


Comments On [Israeli] Proposal For Structuring Judicial Discretion In Sentencing, Paul H. Robinson Mar 2011

Comments On [Israeli] Proposal For Structuring Judicial Discretion In Sentencing, Paul H. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In this essay, Professor Robinson supports the current Israeli proposal for structuring judicial discretion in sentencing, in particular its reliance upon desert as the guiding principle for the distribution of punishment, its reliance upon benchmarks, or “starting-points,” to be adjusted in individual cases by reference to articulated mitigating and aggravating circumstances, and the proposal’s suggestion to use of an expert committee to draft the original guidelines.


Report On Offense Grading In New Jersey, Paul H. Robinson, Rebecca Levenson, Nicholas Feltham, Andrew Sperl, Kristen-Elise Brooks, Agatha Koprowski, Jessica Peake, Benjamin Probber, Brian Trainor Feb 2011

Report On Offense Grading In New Jersey, Paul H. Robinson, Rebecca Levenson, Nicholas Feltham, Andrew Sperl, Kristen-Elise Brooks, Agatha Koprowski, Jessica Peake, Benjamin Probber, Brian Trainor

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The University of Pennsylvania Criminal Law Research Group was commissioned to do a study of offense grading in New Jersey. After an examination of New Jersey criminal law and a survey of New Jersey residents, the CLRG issued this Final Report. (For the report of a similar project for Pennsylvania, see Report on Offense Grading in Pennsylvania, http://ssrn.com/abstract=1527149, and for an article about the grading project, see The Modern Irrationalities of American Criminal Codes: An Empirical Study of Offense Grading, http://ssrn.com/abstract=1539083, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology (forthcoming 2011).) The New Jersey ...


Provocation As Partial Justification And Partial Excuse, Mitchell N. Berman Jan 2011

Provocation As Partial Justification And Partial Excuse, Mitchell N. Berman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The partial defense of provocation provides that a person who kills in the heat of passion brought on by legally adequate provocation is guilty of manslaughter rather than murder. It traces back to the twelfth century, and exists today, in some form, in almost every U.S. state and other common law jurisdictions. But long history and wide application have not produced agreement on the rationale for the doctrine. To the contrary, the search for a coherent and satisfying rationale remains among the main occupations of criminal law theorists. The dominant scholarly view holds that provocation is best explained and ...


Estimating The Deterrent Effect Of Incarceration Using Sentencing Enhancements, David S. Abrams Jan 2011

Estimating The Deterrent Effect Of Incarceration Using Sentencing Enhancements, David S. Abrams

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Increasing criminal sanctions may reduce crime through two primary mechanisms: deterrence and incapacitation. Disentangling their effects is crucial, since each mechanism has different implications for optimal policy setting. I use the introduction of state add-on gun laws, which enhance sentences for defendants possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony, to isolate the deterrent effect of incarceration. Defendants subject to add-ons would be incarcerated in the absence of the law change, so any short-term impact on crime can be attributed solely to deterrence. Using cross-state variation in the timing of law passage dates, I find that the average add-on ...