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Full-Text Articles in Law

Equitable Gateways: Toward Expanded Federal Habeas Corpus Review Of State Court Criminal Convictions, Eve Brensike Primus Apr 2019

Equitable Gateways: Toward Expanded Federal Habeas Corpus Review Of State Court Criminal Convictions, Eve Brensike Primus

Articles

State prisoners who file federal habeas corpus petitions face a maze of procedural and substantive restrictions that effectively prevent almost all prisoners from obtaining meaningful review of their convictions. But it is a mistake to think that habeas litigation is just a Kafkaesque nightmare with no constructive potential. Federal courts do sometimes cut through the doctrinal morass to consider state prisoners’ claims, relying on what this Articleterms "equitable gateways" to federal habeas relief. Litigants and courts generally underestimate the potential these gateways offer, with the result that habeas litigation does not focus on them as often as it should. Here ...


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 ...


Targeting Poverty In The Courts: Improving The Measurement Of Ability To Pay Fines, Meghan M. O'Neil, J.J. Prescott Jan 2019

Targeting Poverty In The Courts: Improving The Measurement Of Ability To Pay Fines, Meghan M. O'Neil, J.J. Prescott

Articles

Ability-to-pay determinations are essential when governments use money-based alternative sanctions, like fines, to enforce laws. One longstanding difficulty in the U.S. has been the extreme lack of guidance on how courts are to determine a litigant’s ability to pay. The result has been a seat-of-the-pants approach that is inefficient and inaccurate, and, as a consequence, very socially costly. Fortunately, online platform technology presents a promising avenue for reform. In particular, platform technology offers the potential to increase litigant access, reduce costs, and ensure consistent and fair treatment—all of which should lead to more accurate sanctions. We use ...


Mens Rea Reform And Its Discontents, Benjamin Levin Jan 2019

Mens Rea Reform And Its Discontents, Benjamin Levin

Articles

This Article examines the debates over recent proposals for “mens rea reform.” The substantive criminal law has expanded dramatically, and legislators have criminalized a great deal of common conduct. Often, new criminal laws do not require that defendants know they are acting unlawfully. Mens rea reform proposals seek to address the problems of overcriminalization and unintentional offending by increasing the burden on prosecutors to prove a defendant’s culpable mental state. These proposals have been a staple of conservative-backed bills on criminal justice reform. Many on the left remain skeptical of mens rea reform and view it as a deregulatory ...


Sex Wars As Proxy Wars, Aya Gruber Jan 2019

Sex Wars As Proxy Wars, Aya Gruber

Articles

The clash between feminists and queer theorists over the meaning of sex—danger versus pleasure—is well- trodden academic territory. Less discussed is what the theories have in common. There is an important presumption uniting many feminist and queer accounts of sexuality: sex, relative to all other human activities, is something of great, or grave, importance. The theories reflect Gayle Rubin’s postulation that "everything pertaining to sex has been a ‘special case’ in our culture.” In the #MeToo era, we can see all too clearly how sex has an outsized influence in public debate. Raging against sexual harm has ...


The Left's Law-And-Order Agenda, Aya Gruber Jan 2019

The Left's Law-And-Order Agenda, Aya Gruber

Articles

No abstract provided.


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 ...


Errors In Misdemeanor Adjudication, Samuel R. Gross May 2018

Errors In Misdemeanor Adjudication, Samuel R. Gross

Articles

Millions of defendants are convicted of misdemeanors in the United States each year but almost none obtain exonerations, primarily because ordinarily exoneration is far too costly and time consuming to pursue for anything less than years of imprisonment. The National Registry of Exonerations lists all known exonerations in the United States since 1989 — 2,145 cases, as of the end of 2017; only 85 are misdemeanors, 4%. In all but one of these misdemeanor exonerations the defendants were convicted of crimes that never happened; by comparison, more than three-quarters of felony exonerees were convicted of actual crimes that other people ...


The Consensus Myth In Criminal Justice Reform, Benjamin Levin Jan 2018

The Consensus Myth In Criminal Justice Reform, Benjamin Levin

Articles

It has become popular to identify a “consensus” on criminal justice reform, but how deep is that consensus, actually? This Article argues that the purported consensus is much more limited than it initially appears. Despite shared reformist vocabulary, the consensus rests on distinct critiques that identify different flaws and justify distinct policy solutions. The underlying disagreements transcend traditional left/right political divides and speak to deeper disputes about the state and the role of criminal law in society.

The Article maps two prevailing, but fundamentally distinct, critiques of criminal law: (1) the quantitative approach (what I call the “over” frame ...


Rethinking The Boundaries Of "Criminal Justice", Benjamin Levin Jan 2018

Rethinking The Boundaries Of "Criminal Justice", Benjamin Levin

Articles

This review of The New Criminal Justice Thinking (Sharon Dolovich & Alexandra Natapoff, eds.) tracks the shifting and uncertain contours of “criminal justice” as an object of study and critique.

Specifically, I trace two themes in the book:

(1) the uncertain boundaries of the “criminal justice system” as a web of laws, actors, and institutions; and

(2) the uncertain boundaries of “criminal justice thinking” as a universe of interdisciplinary scholarship, policy discourse, and public engagement.

I argue that these two themes speak to critically important questions about the nature of criminal justice scholarship and reform efforts. Without a firm understanding of what constitutes the “criminal justice system,” it is difficult to agree on the proper targets of critique or to determine what legal, social, and political problems are properly the province of “criminal justice thinking.” And, deciding which voices to accept and privilege in these ...


Criminal Employment Law, Benjamin Levin Jan 2018

Criminal Employment Law, Benjamin Levin

Articles

This Article diagnoses a phenomenon, “criminal employment law,” which exists at the nexus of employment law and the criminal justice system. Courts and legislatures discourage employers from hiring workers with criminal records and encourage employers to discipline workers for non-work-related criminal misconduct. In analyzing this phenomenon, my goals are threefold: (1) to examine how criminal employment law works; (2) to hypothesize why criminal employment law has proliferated; and (3) to assess what is wrong with criminal employment law. This Article examines the ways in which the laws that govern the workplace create incentives for employers not to hire individuals with ...


Equal Protection Under The Carceral State, Aya Gruber Jan 2018

Equal Protection Under The Carceral State, Aya Gruber

Articles

McCleskey v. Kemp, the case that upheld the death penalty despite undeniable evidence of its racially disparate impact, is indelibly marked by Justice William Brennan’s phrase, “a fear of too much justice.” The popular interpretation of this phrase is that the Supreme Court harbored what I call a “disparity-claim fear,” dreading a future docket of racial discrimination claims and erecting an impossibly high bar for proving an equal protection violation. A related interpretation is that the majority had a “color-consciousness fear” of remedying discrimination through race-remedial policies. In contrast to these conventional views, I argue that the primary anxiety ...


Symposium Introduction: Terry V. Ohio At 50: The Past, Present, & Future Of Stop And Frisk, Katherine Macfarlane Jan 2018

Symposium Introduction: Terry V. Ohio At 50: The Past, Present, & Future Of Stop And Frisk, Katherine Macfarlane

Articles

No abstract provided.


Assessing The Real Risk Of Sexually Violent Predators: Doctor Padilla's Dangerous Data, Tamara Rice Lave, Franklin E. Zimring Jan 2018

Assessing The Real Risk Of Sexually Violent Predators: Doctor Padilla's Dangerous Data, Tamara Rice Lave, Franklin E. Zimring

Articles

This Article uses internal memoranda and emails to describe the efforts of the California Department of Mental Health to suppress a serious and well-designed study that showed just 6.5% of untreated sexually violent predators were arrested for a new sex crime within 4.8 years of release from a locked mental facility. The Article begins by historically situating sexually violent predator laws and then explains the constitutionally critical role that prospective sexual dangerousness plays in justifying these laws. The Article next explains how the U.S. Supreme Court and the highest state courts have allowed these laws to exist ...


Responsible Resource Development: A Strategic Plan To Consider Social And Cultural Impacts Of Tribal Extractive Industry Development, Carla F. Fredericks, Kate Finn, Erica Gajda, Jesse Heibel Jan 2018

Responsible Resource Development: A Strategic Plan To Consider Social And Cultural Impacts Of Tribal Extractive Industry Development, Carla F. Fredericks, Kate Finn, Erica Gajda, Jesse Heibel

Articles

This paper presents a strategic, solution-based plan as a companion to our recent article, Responsible Resource Development and Prevention of Sex Trafficking: Safeguarding Native Women and Children on the Fort Berthold Reservation, 40 Harv. J.L. Gender 1 (2017). As a second phase of our work to combat the issues of human trafficking and attendant drug abuse on the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation (MHA Nation), we developed a strategic plan to better understand the time, scale, and capacity necessary to address the rising social problems accompanying the boom of oil and gas development there. During our process, we discovered ...


From Grace To Grids: Rethinking Due Process Protections For Parole., Paul D. Reingold, Kimberly A. Thomas May 2017

From Grace To Grids: Rethinking Due Process Protections For Parole., Paul D. Reingold, Kimberly A. Thomas

Articles

Current due process law gives little protection to prisoners at the point of parole, even though the parole decision, like sentencing, determines whether or not a person will serve more time or will go free. The doctrine regarding parole, which developed mostly in the late 1970s, was based on a judicial understanding of parole as an experimental, subjective, and largely standardless art—rooted in assessing the individual “character” of the potential parolee. In this Article we examine the foundations of the doctrine, and conclude that the due process inquiry at the point of parole should take into account the stark ...


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 ...


Firearms In The Family, Carolyn B. Ramsey Jan 2017

Firearms In The Family, Carolyn B. Ramsey

Articles

This Article considers firearms prohibitions for domestic violence offenders, in light of recent Supreme Court decisions and the larger, national debate about gun control. Unlike other scholarship in the area, it confronts the costs of ratcheting up the scope and enforcement of such firearms bans and argues that the politicization of safety has come at the expense of a sound approach to gun control in the context of intimate-partner abuse. In doing so, it expands scholarly arguments against mandatory, one-size-fits-all criminal justice responses to domestic violence in a direction that other critics have been reluctant to go, perhaps because of ...


What We Think, What We Know And What We Think We Know About False Convictions, Samuel Gross Jan 2017

What We Think, What We Know And What We Think We Know About False Convictions, Samuel Gross

Articles

False convictions are notoriously difficult to study because they can neither be observed when they occur nor identified after the fact by any plausible research strategy. Our best shot is to collect data on those that come to light in legal proceedings that result in the exoneration of the convicted defendants. In May 2012, the National Registry of Exonerations released its first report, covering 873 exonerations from January 1989 through February 2012. By October 15, 2016, we had added 1,027 cases: 599 exonerations since March 1, 2012, and 428 that had already happened when we issued our initial report ...


"Revenge Porn" Reform: A View From The Front Lines, Mary Anne Franks Jan 2017

"Revenge Porn" Reform: A View From The Front Lines, Mary Anne Franks

Articles

The legal and social landscape of "revenge porn" has changed dramatically in the last few years. Before 2013, only three states criminalized the unauthorized disclosure of sexually explicit images of adults and few people had ever heard the ternm "revenge porn." As of July 2017, thirty-eight states and Washington, D.C. had criminalized the conduct; federal criminal legislation on the issue had been introduced in Congress; Google, Facebook, and Twitter had banned nonconsensual pornography from their platforms; and the term "revenge porn" had been added to the Merriam- Webster Dictionary. I have had the privilege of playing a role in ...


Responsible Resource Development And Prevention Of Sex Trafficking: Safeguarding Native Women And Children On The Fort Berthold Reservation, Kathleen Finn, Erica Gadja, Thomas Perin, Carla Fredericks Jan 2017

Responsible Resource Development And Prevention Of Sex Trafficking: Safeguarding Native Women And Children On The Fort Berthold Reservation, Kathleen Finn, Erica Gadja, Thomas Perin, Carla Fredericks

Articles

In 2010, large deposits of oil and natural gas were found in the Bakken shale formation, much of which is encompassed by the Fort Berthold Indian reservation, home to the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation (“MHA Nation” or “Three Affiliated Tribes” or “the Tribe”). However, rapid oil and gas development has brought an unprecedented rise of violent crime on and near the Fort Berthold reservation. Specifically, the influx of well-paid male oil and gas workers, living in temporary housing often referred to as “man camps,” has coincided with a disturbing increase in sex trafficking of Native women. The social risks ...


The Wages Of Genetic Entitlement: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly In The Rape Survivor Child Custody Act, Jennifer S. Hendricks Jan 2017

The Wages Of Genetic Entitlement: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly In The Rape Survivor Child Custody Act, Jennifer S. Hendricks

Articles

This Essay analyzes flaws and assumptions in the recently enacted Rape Survivor Child Custody Act. The RSCCA offers a window into the problems with defining parenthood in terms of genes instead of caretaking relationships, which is what led to the problem of rapists being able to claim parental rights in the first place. Rather than address that underlying defect in family law, the statute attempts a solution that might work if all rapists were strangers, all rapists were men, and all rape victims were women, but glosses over complicated problems of violence and coercion in relationships. Despite this failure to ...


Anti-Rape Culture, Aya Gruber Jan 2016

Anti-Rape Culture, Aya Gruber

Articles

This essay, written for the Kansas Law Review Symposium on Campus Sexual Assault, critically analyzes “anti-rape culture” ― a set of empirical claims about rape’s prevalence, causes, and effects and a set of normative ideas about sex, gender, and institutional authority ― which has heralded a new era of discipline, in all senses of the word, on college campuses. In the past few years, publicity about the campus rape crisis has created widespread anxiety, despite the fact that incidents of sexual assault have generally declined and one-in-four-type statistics have been around for decades. The recent surge of interest is due less ...


Consent Confusion, Aya Gruber Jan 2016

Consent Confusion, Aya Gruber

Articles

The slogans are ubiquitous: “Only ‘Yes’ Means ‘Yes’”; “Got Consent?”; “Consent is Hot, Assault is Not!” Clear consent is the rule, but the meaning of sexual consent is far from clear. The current state of confusion is evident in the numerous competing views about what constitutes mental agreement (grudging acceptance or eager desire?) and what comprises performative consent (passive acquiescence or an enthusiastic “yes”?). This paper seeks to clear up the consent confusion. It charts the contours of the sexual consent framework, categorizes different definitions of affirmative consent, and critically describes arguments for and against affirmative consent. Today’s widespread ...


Criminal Labor Law, Benjamin Levin Jan 2016

Criminal Labor Law, Benjamin Levin

Articles

This Article examines a recent rise in civil suits brought against unions under criminal statutes. By looking at the long history of criminal regulation of labor, the Article argues that these suits represent an attack on the theoretical underpinnings of post-New Deal U.S. labor law and an attempt to revive a nineteenth century conception of unions as extortionate criminal conspiracies. The Article further argues that this criminal turn is reflective of a broader contemporary preference for finding criminal solutions to social and economic problems. In a moment of political gridlock, parties seeking regulation increasingly do so via criminal statute ...


Guns And Drugs, Benjamin Levin Jan 2016

Guns And Drugs, Benjamin Levin

Articles

This Article argues that the increasingly prevalent critiques of the War on Drugs apply to other areas of criminal law. To highlight the broader relevance of these critiques, this Article uses as its test case the criminal regulation of gun possession. This Article identifies and distills three lines of drug war criticism and argues that they apply to possessory gun crimes in much the same way that they apply to drug crimes. Specifically, this Article focuses on: (1) race- and class-based critiques; (2) concerns about police and prosecutorial power; and (3) worries about the social and economic costs of mass ...


Zero-Tolerance Comes To International Law, Aya Gruber Jan 2016

Zero-Tolerance Comes To International Law, Aya Gruber

Articles

No abstract provided.


Protecting The Free-Range Kid: Recalibrating Parents' Rights And The Best Interest Of The Child, David Pimentel Jan 2016

Protecting The Free-Range Kid: Recalibrating Parents' Rights And The Best Interest Of The Child, David Pimentel

Articles

No abstract provided.


Response, Values And Assumptions In Criminal Adjudication, Benjamin Levin Jan 2016

Response, Values And Assumptions In Criminal Adjudication, Benjamin Levin

Articles

This Response to Andrew Manuel Crespo's Systemic Facts: Toward Institutional Awareness in Criminal Courts proceeds in two Parts. In Part I, I argue that Crespo presents a compelling case for the importance of systemic factfinding to the task of criminal court judges. If, as a range of scholars has argued, criminal courts are increasingly serving a quasi-administrative function, then shouldn’t they at least be administrating accurately? Systemic Facts provides a novel account of how — with comparatively little institutional reform — courts might begin to serve as more effective administrators. However, in Part II, I also argue that Crespo’s ...


Privacy, Public Disclosure, Police Body Cameras: Policy Splits, Mary D. Fan Jan 2016

Privacy, Public Disclosure, Police Body Cameras: Policy Splits, Mary D. Fan

Articles

When you call the police for help—or someone calls the police on you—do you bear the risk that your worst moments will be posted on YouTube for public viewing? Police officers enter some of the most intimate incidences of our lives—after an assault, when we are drunk and disorderly, when someone we love dies in an accident, when we are distraught, enraged, fighting, and more. As police officers around the nation begin wearing body cameras in response to calls for greater transparency, communities are wrestling with how to balance privacy with public disclosure.

This Article sheds light ...