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Justice On The Line: Prosecutorial Screening Before Arrest, Adam M. Gershowitz Aug 2019

Justice On The Line: Prosecutorial Screening Before Arrest, Adam M. Gershowitz

Faculty Publications

Police make more than eleven million arrests every year. Yet prosecutors dismiss about 25% of criminal charges with no conviction being entered. Needless arrests are therefore clogging the criminal justice system and harming criminal defendants. For instance, Freddie Gray was fatally injured in police custody after being arrested for possession of a switchblade knife. Prosecutors later announced, however, that they did not believe the knife was actually illegal. If prosecutors had to approve warrantless arrests before police could take suspects into custody, Freddie Gray would still be alive. Yet prosecutors’ offices almost never dictate who the police should or should ...


Fictional Pleas, Thea B. Johnson Jul 2019

Fictional Pleas, Thea B. Johnson

Faculty Publications

A fictional plea is one in which the defendant pleads guilty to a crime he has not committed with the knowledge of the defense attorney, prosecutor and judge. With fictional pleas, the plea of conviction is totally detached from the original factual allegations against the defendant. As criminal justice actors become increasingly troubled by the impact of collateral consequences on defendants, the fictional plea serves as an appealing response to this concern. It allows the parties to achieve parallel aims: the prosecutor holds the defendant accountable in the criminal system, while the defendant avoids devastating non-criminal consequences. In this context ...


The Power Of Prosecutors, Jeffrey Bellin May 2019

The Power Of Prosecutors, Jeffrey Bellin

Faculty Publications

One of the predominant themes in the criminal justice literature is that prosecutors dominate the justice system. Over seventy-five years ago, Attorney General Robert Jackson famously proclaimed that the “prosecutor has more control over life, liberty, and reputation than any other person in America.” In one of the most cited law review articles of all time, Bill Stuntz added that prosecutors—not legislators, judges, or police—“are the criminal justice system’s real lawmakers.” And an unchallenged modern consensus holds that prosecutors “rule the criminal justice system.”

This Article applies a critical lens to longstanding claims of prosecutorial preeminence. It ...


Sixth Amendment Sentencing After Hurst, Carissa B. Hessick, W. W. Berry Apr 2019

Sixth Amendment Sentencing After Hurst, Carissa B. Hessick, W. W. Berry

Faculty Publications

The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2016 decision in Hurst v. Florida, which struck down Florida’s capital sentencing scheme, altered the Court’s Sixth Amendment sentencing doctrine. That doctrine has undergone several important changes since it was first recognized. At times the doctrine has expanded, invalidating sentencing practices across the country, and at times it has contracted, allowing restrictions on judicial sentencing discretion based on findings that are not submitted to a jury. Hurst represents another expansion of the doctrine. Although the precise scope of the decision is unclear, the most sensible reading of Hurst suggests that any finding ...


The Challenge Of Convicting Ethical Prosecutors That Their Profession Has A Brady Problem, Adam M. Gershowitz Apr 2019

The Challenge Of Convicting Ethical Prosecutors That Their Profession Has A Brady Problem, Adam M. Gershowitz

Faculty Publications

In recent decades, both the media and legal scholars have documented the widespread problem of prosecutors failing to disclose favorable evidence to the defense – so called Brady violations. Despite all of this documentation however, many ethical prosecutors reject the notion that the criminal justice system has a Brady problem. These prosecutors – ethical lawyers who themselves have not been accused of misconduct – believe that the scope of the Brady problem is exaggerated. Why do ethical prosecutors downplay the evidence that some of their colleagues have committed serious errors?

This essay, in honor of Professor Bennett Gershman, points to what psychologists have ...


Lead Us Not Into Temptation: A Response To Barbara Fedders’S “Opioid Policing”, Anna Roberts Jan 2019

Lead Us Not Into Temptation: A Response To Barbara Fedders’S “Opioid Policing”, Anna Roberts

Faculty Publications

(Excerpt)

In “Opioid Policing,” Barbara Fedders contributes to the law review literature the first joint scholarly analysis of two drug policing innovations: Seattle’s Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program and the Angel Initiative, which originated in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Even while welcoming the innovation and inspiration of these programs, she remains clear-eyed about the need to scrutinize their potential downsides. Her work is crucially timed. While still just a few years old, LEAD has been replicated many times and appears likely to be replicated still further—and to be written about much more. Inspired by Fedders’s call for a ...


Arrests As Guilt, Anna Roberts Jan 2019

Arrests As Guilt, Anna Roberts

Faculty Publications

An arrest puts a halt to one’s free life and may act as prelude to a new process. That new process—prosecution—may culminate in a finding of guilt. But arrest and guilt—concepts that are factually and legally distinct—frequently seem to be fused together. This fusion appears in many of the consequences of arrest, including the use of arrests in assessing “risk,” in calculating “recidivism,” and in identifying “offenders.” An examination of this fusion elucidates obstacles to key aspects of criminal justice reform. Efforts at reform, whether focused on prosecution or defense, police or bail, require a ...


Too Ill To Be Killed: Mental And Physical Competency To Be Executed Pursuant To The Death Penalty, Linda A. Malone Oct 2018

Too Ill To Be Killed: Mental And Physical Competency To Be Executed Pursuant To The Death Penalty, Linda A. Malone

Faculty Publications

Mentally ill individuals are being housed in prisons and jails throughout the country. Due to decreased funding and overpopulation of correctional facilities, individuals with pre-existing illnesses, as well as others who develop illnesses, are in severe need of mental health services and punished for their ailments through the use of solitary confinement, long prison sentences, and lack of care. The stress created by such conditions is amplified for mentally ill prisoners who are awaiting execution or the dismissal of their death row sentences. These individuals must show that they are competent to stand trial, exhibit the mental state required for ...


Reassessing Prosecutorial Power Through The Lens Of Mass Incarceration, Jeffrey Bellin Apr 2018

Reassessing Prosecutorial Power Through The Lens Of Mass Incarceration, Jeffrey Bellin

Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


The Miranda Custody Requirement And Juveniles, Paul Marcus Oct 2017

The Miranda Custody Requirement And Juveniles, Paul Marcus

Faculty Publications

Concerns about the interrogation process and the ability of minors to navigate the criminal justice system often intersect. The impact of the age of juveniles can be seen in a variety of judicial decisions, most markedly those dealing with punishment. But judicial concern for juveniles goes well beyond sentencing. The interrogation process raises especially grave fears.

Since the Supreme Court issued its landmark ruling in Miranda v. Arizona disallowing compelled inculpatory statements by criminal suspects and defendants, there has been concern as to whether juveniles fully understand and appreciate their rights as articulated in Miranda and based in the Fifth ...


Terry V. Ohio And The (Un)Forgettable Frisk, Seth W. Stoughton Oct 2017

Terry V. Ohio And The (Un)Forgettable Frisk, Seth W. Stoughton

Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


We Need To Talk About Police Disciplinary Records, Kate Levine Aug 2017

We Need To Talk About Police Disciplinary Records, Kate Levine

Faculty Publications

In March 2017, an employee of New York’s Civilian Complaint Review Board leaked the disciplinary record of Daniel Pantaleo to the media. Pantaleo, the police officer who choked Eric Garner to death in the video that went public and horrified many citizens, is under federal investigation after a Staten Island grand jury refused to indict him for Garner’s death. Legal Aid Society attorneys had unsuccessfully sought the release of his records in the courts for years. The leak of his records is the public face of an important but rarely discussed issue facing police, legislators, judges, lawyers, and ...


Removal Of Women And African-Americans In Jury Selection In South Carolina Capital Cases, 1997- 2012, Ann M. Eisenberg Jul 2017

Removal Of Women And African-Americans In Jury Selection In South Carolina Capital Cases, 1997- 2012, Ann M. Eisenberg

Faculty Publications

The Supreme Court’s May 2016 decision in Foster v. Chatman involved smoking-gun evidence that the State of Georgia discriminated against African-Americans in jury selection during Foster’s 1987 capital trial. Foster was decided on the thirtieth anniversary of Batson v. Kentucky, the first in the line of cases to prohibit striking prospective jurors on the basis of their race or gender. But the evidence of discrimination for Batson challenges is rarely so obvious and available as it was in Foster.

Where litigants have struggled to produce evidence of discrimination in individual cases, empirical studies have been able to assess ...


Grounding Criminal Procedure, Catherine M. Grosso, Barbara O'Brien Jan 2017

Grounding Criminal Procedure, Catherine M. Grosso, Barbara O'Brien

Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


Measuring The Creative Plea Bargain, Thea B. Johnson Jan 2017

Measuring The Creative Plea Bargain, Thea B. Johnson

Faculty Publications

A great deal of criminal law scholarship and practice turns on whether a defendant gets a good deal through plea bargaining. But what is a good deal? And how do defense attorneys secure such deals? Much scholarship measures plea bargains by one metric: how many years the defendant receives at sentencing. In the era of collateral consequences, however, this is no longer an adequate metric as it misses a world of bargaining that happens outside of the sentence. Through empirical research, this Article examines the measure of a good plea and the work that goes into negotiating such a plea ...


Grave Crimes And Weak Evidence: Fact-Finding Evolution In International Criminal Law, Nancy Amoury Combs Jan 2017

Grave Crimes And Weak Evidence: Fact-Finding Evolution In International Criminal Law, Nancy Amoury Combs

Faculty Publications

International criminal courts carry out some of the most important work that a legal system can conduct: prosecuting those who have visited death and destruction on millions. Despite the significance of their work--or perhaps because of it--international courts face tremendous challenges. Chief among them is accurate fact-finding. With alarming regularity, international criminal trials feature inconsistent, vague, and sometimes false testimony that renders judges unable to assess with any measure of certainty who did what to whom in the context of a mass atrocity. This Article provides the first-ever empirical study quantifying fact-finding in an international criminal court. The study shines ...


Dismissals As Justice, Anna Roberts Jan 2017

Dismissals As Justice, Anna Roberts

Faculty Publications

More than a third of our states have given judges a little-known power to dismiss prosecutions, not because of legal or factual insufficiency, but for the sake of justice. Whether phrased as dismissals “in furtherance of justice” or dismissals of de minimis prosecutions, these exercises of judicial power teach two important lessons.

First, judges exercising these dismissals are rebutting the common notion that in the face of over-criminalization and over-incarceration they are powerless to do more than rubber-stamp prosecutorial decision making. In individual cases, they push back against some of the most problematic aspects of our criminal justice system: its ...


Consolidating Local Criminal Justice: Should Prosecutors Control The Jails?, Adam M. Gershowitz Oct 2016

Consolidating Local Criminal Justice: Should Prosecutors Control The Jails?, Adam M. Gershowitz

Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


Post-Trial Pleas Bargaining In Capital Cases: Using Conditional Commutations To Remove Weak Cases From Death Row, Adam M. Gershowitz Jul 2016

Post-Trial Pleas Bargaining In Capital Cases: Using Conditional Commutations To Remove Weak Cases From Death Row, Adam M. Gershowitz

Faculty Publications

Plea bargaining accounts for over ninety percent of criminal convictions and it dominates the American criminal justice system. Yet, once a defendant is convicted, bargaining almost completely disappears from the system. Even though years of litigation are on the horizon, there is nearly no bargaining in the appellate and habeas corpus process. There are two reasons for this. First, prosecutors and courts typically lack the power to alter a sentence that has already been imposed. Second, even if prosecutors had the authority to negotiate following a conviction, they would have little incentive to do so. Affirmance rates in ordinary criminal ...


The United States Supreme Court (Mostly) Gives Up Its Review Role With Ineffective Assistance Of Counsel Cases, Paul Marcus Jun 2016

The United States Supreme Court (Mostly) Gives Up Its Review Role With Ineffective Assistance Of Counsel Cases, Paul Marcus

Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


Choosing A Criminal Procedure Casebook: On Lesser Evils And Free Books, Ben L. Trachtenberg Apr 2016

Choosing A Criminal Procedure Casebook: On Lesser Evils And Free Books, Ben L. Trachtenberg

Faculty Publications

Among the more important decisions a law teacher makes when preparing a new course is what materials to assign. Criminal procedure teachers are spoiled for choice, with legal publishers offering several options written by teams of renowned scholars. This Article considers how a teacher might choose from the myriad options available and suggests two potentially overlooked criteria: weight and price.


Untangling The Role Of Race In Capital Charging And Sentencing In North Carolina, 1990-2009, Barbara O'Brien, Catherine M. Grosso, George Woodworth, Abijah Taylor Jan 2016

Untangling The Role Of Race In Capital Charging And Sentencing In North Carolina, 1990-2009, Barbara O'Brien, Catherine M. Grosso, George Woodworth, Abijah Taylor

Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


Seeking Inconsistency: Advancing Pluralism In International Criminal Sentencing, Nancy Amoury Combs Jan 2016

Seeking Inconsistency: Advancing Pluralism In International Criminal Sentencing, Nancy Amoury Combs

Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


How We Prosecute The Police, Kate Levine Jan 2016

How We Prosecute The Police, Kate Levine

Faculty Publications

Police brutality is at the center of a growing national conversation on state power, race, and our problematic law enforcement culture. Focus on police conduct, in particular when and whether it should be criminal, is on the minds of scholars and political actors like never before. Yet this new focus has brought up a host of undertheorized questions about how the police are treated when they become the subject of criminal prosecutions.

This essay is part of a larger project wherein I examine the ways in which criminal procedure is different for the police than other suspects. Here, my focus ...


Police Suspects, Kate Levine Jan 2016

Police Suspects, Kate Levine

Faculty Publications

Recent attention to police brutality has brought to the fore how police, when they become the subject of criminal investigations, are given special procedural protections not available to any other criminal suspect. Prosecutors’ special treatment of police suspects, particularly their perceived use of grand juries to exculpate accused officers, has received the lion’s share of scholarly and media attention. But police suspects also benefit from formal affirmative rights that protect them from interrogation by other officers. Police, in most jurisdictions, have a special shield against interrogation known as the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights (LEOBORs). These statutes and ...


Who Shouldn't Prosecute The Police, Kate Levine Jan 2016

Who Shouldn't Prosecute The Police, Kate Levine

Faculty Publications

The job of prosecuting police officers who commit crimes falls on local prosecutors, as it has in the wakes of the recent killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Although prosecutors officially represent “the people,” there is no group more closely linked to prosecutors than the officers they work with daily. This article focuses on the undertheorized but critically important role that conflict of interest law plays in supporting the now-popular conclusion that local prosecutors should not handle cases against police suspects. Surprisingly, scholars have paid little attention to the policies and practices of local district attorneys who are tasked ...


Conviction By Prior Impeachment, Anna Roberts Jan 2016

Conviction By Prior Impeachment, Anna Roberts

Faculty Publications

Impeaching the testimony of criminal defendants through the use of their prior convictions is a practice that is triply flawed. (1) it relies on assumptions belied by data; (2) it has devastating impacts on individual trials; and (3) it contributes to many of the criminal justice system's most urgent dysfunctions. Yet critiques of the practice are often paired with resignation. Abolition is thought too ambitious because this practice is widespread, long-standing, and beloved by prosecutors. Widespread does not mean universal, however, and a careful focus on the states that have abolished this practice reveals arguments that overcame prosecutorial resistance ...


Reclaiming The Importance Of The Defendant's Testimony: Prior Conviction Impeachment And The Fight Against Implicit Stereotyping, Anna Roberts Jan 2016

Reclaiming The Importance Of The Defendant's Testimony: Prior Conviction Impeachment And The Fight Against Implicit Stereotyping, Anna Roberts

Faculty Publications

Implicit courtroom stereotypes are an urgent problem. When trial defendants are African American, as is disproportionately the case, they are vulnerable to implicit fact finder stereotypes that threaten the presumption of innocence: unconscious associations linking the defendants with violence, weaponry, hostility, aggression, immorality, and guilt. Implicit-social-cognition research reveals that one valuable tool in combating this threat is individuating information — information that, through methods such as defendant testimony, brings an individual to unique life.

Yet courts frequently chill defendant testimony by permitting impeachment by prior conviction. Courts determining whether criminal defendants should be impeached by their prior convictions use a multifactor ...


Book Review Of Fraudulent Evidence Before Public International Tribunals: The Dirty Stories Of International Law, Nancy Amoury Combs Jul 2015

Book Review Of Fraudulent Evidence Before Public International Tribunals: The Dirty Stories Of International Law, Nancy Amoury Combs

Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


Instrumentalizing The Expressive: Transplanting Sentencing Circles Into The Canadian Criminal Trial, Toby S. Goldbach Jan 2015

Instrumentalizing The Expressive: Transplanting Sentencing Circles Into The Canadian Criminal Trial, Toby S. Goldbach

Faculty Publications

This Article examines reforms to criminal sentencing procedures in Canada, focusing on Aboriginal healing circles, which were incorporated as “sentencing circles” into the criminal trial. Using the lens of comparative law and legal transplants, this Article recounts the period of sentencing reform in Canada in the 1990s, when scholars, practitioners, and activists inquired into Aboriginal confrontation with the criminal justice system by comparing Euro-Canadian and Aboriginal justice values and principles. As a way to bridge the gap between vastly differing worldviews and approaches to justice, judges and Aboriginal justice advocates transplanted sentencing circles into the sentencing phase of the criminal ...