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Full-Text Articles in Law

Legislating Racial Fairness In Criminal Justice, Olatunde C.A. Johnson Dec 2006

Legislating Racial Fairness In Criminal Justice, Olatunde C.A. Johnson

Faculty Scholarship

Twenty years ago, in McCleskey v. Kemp, the Supreme Court rejected a capital defendant's claim that statistical evidence of racial discrimination in the administration of Georgia's death penalty system constituted a violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. Yet, even as McCleskey effectively bars constitutional challenges to racial disparities in the criminal justice system where invidious bias is difficult to establish, the Court invites advocates to pursue legislation as a remedy to racial disparities. Indeed, the McCleskey Court offers as a rationale for its ruling the judiciary's institutional incompetence to remedy these disparities, holding that "McCleskey's ...


Muslim Profiles Post-9/11: Is Racial Profiling An Effective Counterterrorist Measure And Does It Violate The Right To Be Free From Discrimination?, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2006

Muslim Profiles Post-9/11: Is Racial Profiling An Effective Counterterrorist Measure And Does It Violate The Right To Be Free From Discrimination?, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

Racial profiling as a defensive counterterrorism measure necessarily implicates a rights trade-off: if effective, racial profiling limits the right of young Muslim men to be free from discrimination in order to promote the security and well-being of others. Proponents of racial profiling argue that it is based on simple statistical fact and represents just smart law enforcement. Opponents of racial profiling, like New York City police commissioner Raymond Kelly, say that it is dangerous and just nuts.

As a theoretical matter, both sides are partly right. Racial profiling in the context of counterterrorism measures may increase the detection of terrorist ...


Crime And Punishment In Taxation: Deceit, Deterrence, And The Self-Adjusting Penalty, Alex Raskolnikov Jan 2006

Crime And Punishment In Taxation: Deceit, Deterrence, And The Self-Adjusting Penalty, Alex Raskolnikov

Faculty Scholarship

Avoidance and evasion continue to frustrate the government's efforts to collect much-needed tax revenues. This Article articulates one of the reasons for this lack of success and proposes a new type of penalty that would strengthen tax enforcement while improving efficiency. Economic analysis of deterrence suggests that rational taxpayers choose avoidance and evasion strategies based on expected rather than nominal sanctions. I argue that many taxpayers do just that. Because the probability of detection varies dramatically among different items on a tax return while nominal penalties do not take the likelihood of detection into account, expected penalties for inconspicuous ...


Broken Windows: New Evidence From New York City And A Five-City Social Experiment, Bernard Harcourt, Jens Ludwig Jan 2006

Broken Windows: New Evidence From New York City And A Five-City Social Experiment, Bernard Harcourt, Jens Ludwig

Faculty Scholarship

In 1982, James Q. Wilson and George Kelling suggested in an influential article in the Atlantic Monthly that targeting minor disorder could help reduce more serious crime. More than twenty years later, the three most populous cities in the United States – New York, Chicago, and, most recently, Los Angeles – have all adopted at least some aspect of Wilson and Kelling's theory, primarily through more aggressive enforcement of minor misdemeanor laws. Remarkably little, though, is currently known about the effect of broken windows policing on crime.

According to a recent National Research Council report, existing research does not provide strong ...


Adolescence And The Regulation Of Youth Crime, Elizabeth S. Scott Jan 2006

Adolescence And The Regulation Of Youth Crime, Elizabeth S. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

I am delighted to be a part of this Symposium on Law and Adolescence. My talk today is about adolescent development and juvenile justice policy. Specifically, I will focus on why a legal regime that is grounded in scientific knowledge about adolescence and the role of criminal activity during this developmental period is better for young offenders and for society than the contemporary policy, which often pays little attention to differences between adolescents and adults.

My talk is based on a book on juvenile justice policy I am currently writing with Larry Steinberg, a developmental psychologist who is a leading ...


From The Asylum To The Prison: Rethinking The Incarceration Revolution, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2006

From The Asylum To The Prison: Rethinking The Incarceration Revolution, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

The incarceration explosion of the late twentieth century set off a storm of longitudinal research on the relationship between rates of imprisonment and crime, unemployment, education, and other social indicators. Those studies, however, are fundamentally flawed because they fail to measure confinement properly. They rely on imprisonment data only, and ignore historical rates of mental hospitalization. With the exception of a discrete literature on the interdependence of the mental hospital and prison populations and some studies on the explanations for the prison expansion, none of the empirical work related to the incarceration explosion – or for that matter, older research on ...


Capital Punishment And Capital Murder: Market Share And The Deterrent Effects Of The Death Penalty, Jeffrey Fagan, Franklin Zimring, Amanda Geller Jan 2006

Capital Punishment And Capital Murder: Market Share And The Deterrent Effects Of The Death Penalty, Jeffrey Fagan, Franklin Zimring, Amanda Geller

Faculty Scholarship

Both legal scholars and social scientists have leveraged new research evidence on the deterrent effects of the death penalty into calls for more executions that they claim will save lives and new rules to remove procedural roadblocks and hasten executions. However, the use of total intentional homicides to estimate deterrence is a recurring aggregation error in the death penalty debate in the U.S.: by studying whether executions and death sentences affect all homicides, these studies fail to identify a more plausible target of deterrence - namely, those homicides that are punishable by death. By broadening the targets of deterrence, these ...


Rational Choice And Developmental Influences On Recidivism Among Adolescent Felony Offenders, Jeffrey Fagan, Alex R. Piquero Jan 2006

Rational Choice And Developmental Influences On Recidivism Among Adolescent Felony Offenders, Jeffrey Fagan, Alex R. Piquero

Faculty Scholarship

Recent law and scholarship has claimed that the developmental limitations of adolescents affect their capacity for control and decision making with respect to crime, diminishing their culpability and reducing their exposure to punishment. Social science has focused on two concurrent adolescent developmental influence: the internalization of legal rules and norms that regulate social and antisocial behaviors, and the development of rational thought to frame behavioral choices and decisions. The interaction of these two developmental processes, and the identification of one domain of socialization and development as the primary source of motivation or restraint in adolescence, is the focus of this ...


Public Attitudes About The Culpability And Punishment Of Young Offenders, Elizabeth S. Scott, N. Dickon Reppucci, Jill Antonishak, Jennifer T. Degennaro Jan 2006

Public Attitudes About The Culpability And Punishment Of Young Offenders, Elizabeth S. Scott, N. Dickon Reppucci, Jill Antonishak, Jennifer T. Degennaro

Faculty Scholarship

Conventional wisdom holds that the public supports harsh punishment of juvenile offenders, and politicians often argue that the public demands tough policies. But public opinion is usually gauged through simplistic polls, often conducted in the wake of highly publicized violent crimes by juveniles. This study seeks to probe public opinion about the culpability of young offenders as compared to adult counterparts through more nuanced and comprehensive measures in a neutral setting (i.e. not in response to a high profile crime or during a political campaign when the media focuses on the issue). The opinions of 788 community adults were ...


Embracing Chance: Post-Modern Meditations On Punishment, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2006

Embracing Chance: Post-Modern Meditations On Punishment, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

Since the modern era, the discourse of punishment has cycled through three sets of questions. The first, born of the Enlightenment itself, asked: On what ground does the sovereign have the right to punish? Nietzsche most forcefully, but others as well, argued that the question itself begged its own answer. The right to punish, they suggested, is what defines sovereignty, and as such, can never serve to limit sovereign power. With the birth of the social sciences, this skepticism gave rise to a second set of questions: What then is the true function of punishment? What is it that we ...


Reefer Madness: Broken Windows Policing And Misdemeanor Marijuana Arrests In New York City, 1989-2000, Bernard E. Harcourt, Jens Ludwig Jan 2006

Reefer Madness: Broken Windows Policing And Misdemeanor Marijuana Arrests In New York City, 1989-2000, Bernard E. Harcourt, Jens Ludwig

Faculty Scholarship

The pattern of misdemeanor marijuana arrests in New York City since the introduction of "broken windows" policing in 1994 is remarkable. By the year 2000, arrests on misdemeanor charges of smoking marijuana in public view (MPV) had reached 51,267 for the city, up 2,670 percent from 1,851 arrests in 1994. In 2000, misdemeanor MPV arrests accounted for 15 percent of all felony and misdemeanor arrests in New York City and 92 percent of total marijuana-related arrests in the State of New York. In addition, the pattern of arrests disproportionately targeted African-Americans and Hispanics.

In this paper, we ...


Death And Deterrence Redux: Science, Law And Causal Reasoning On Capital Punishment, Jeffrey Fagan Jan 2006

Death And Deterrence Redux: Science, Law And Causal Reasoning On Capital Punishment, Jeffrey Fagan

Faculty Scholarship

A recent cohort of studies report deterrent effects of capital punishment that substantially exceed almost all previous estimates of lives saved by execution. Some of the new studies go further to claim that pardons, commutations, and exonerations cause murders to increase, as does trial delay. This putative life-life tradeoff is the basis for claims by legal academics and advocates of a moral imperative to aggressively prosecute capital crimes, brushing off evidentiary doubts as unreasonable cautions that place potential beneficiaries at risk of severe harm. Challenges to this "new deterrence" literature find that the evidence is too unstable and unreliable to ...


Social Contagion Of Violence, Jeffrey Fagan, Deanna L. Wilkinson, Garth Davies Jan 2006

Social Contagion Of Violence, Jeffrey Fagan, Deanna L. Wilkinson, Garth Davies

Faculty Scholarship

Since 1968, violence and other crimes in New York City have followed a pattern of recurring epidemics. There have been three consecutive and contiguous cycles characterized by sharp increases in homicides and assaults to an elevated rate followed by equally steep declines to levels near the previous starting point. The most recent epidemic, from 1985-96, had the sharpest rise and steepest decline of the three epidemics. Popular explanations of the current epidemic fail to account for both the rise and fall of the decline, or for the repetitive pattern of these epidemics. In this article, we use public health data ...


Public Preferences For Rehabilitation Versus Incarceration Of Juvenile Offenders: Evidence From A Contingent Valuation Survey, Daniel S. Nagin, Alex R. Piquero, Elizabeth S. Scott, Laurence Steinberg Jan 2006

Public Preferences For Rehabilitation Versus Incarceration Of Juvenile Offenders: Evidence From A Contingent Valuation Survey, Daniel S. Nagin, Alex R. Piquero, Elizabeth S. Scott, Laurence Steinberg

Faculty Scholarship

Research Summary:
Accurately gauging the public's support for alternative responses to juvenile offending is important, because policy makers often justify expenditures for punitive juvenile justice reforms on the basis of popular demand for tougher policies. In this study, we assess public support for both punitively and nonpunitively oriented juvenile justice policies by measuring respondents' willingness to pay for various policy proposals. We employ a methodology known as "contingent valuation" (CV) that permits the comparison of respondents' willingness to pay (WTP) for competing policy alternatives. Specifically, we compare CV-based estimates for the public's WTP for two distinctively different responses ...


The Past, Present, And Future Of Violent Crime Federalism, Daniel C. Richman Jan 2006

The Past, Present, And Future Of Violent Crime Federalism, Daniel C. Richman

Faculty Scholarship

The history of the federal involvement in violent crime frequently is told as one of entrepreneurial or opportunistic action by presidential administrations and Congress. The problem with this story, however, is that it treats state and local governments as objects of federal initiatives, not as independent agents. Appreciating that state and local governments courted and benefited from the federal interest is important for understanding the past two decades, but also for understanding the institutional strains created by the absolute priority the feds have given to counterterrorism since September 11, 2001. Intergovernmental relations are at a crossroads. For two decades, the ...