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Full-Text Articles in Law

Do Judges Vary In Their Treatment Of Race?, David S. Abrams, Marianne Bertrand, Sendhil Mullainathan Sep 2010

Do Judges Vary In Their Treatment Of Race?, David S. Abrams, Marianne Bertrand, Sendhil Mullainathan

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Are minorities treated differently by the legal system? Systematic racial differences in case characteristics, many unobservable, make this a difficult question to answer directly. In this paper, we estimate whether judges differ from each other in how they sentence minorities, avoiding potential bias from unobservable case characteristics by exploiting the random assignment of cases to judges. We measure the between-judge variation in the difference in incarceration rates and sentence lengths between African-American and White defendants. We perform a Monte Carlo simulation in order to explicitly construct the appropriate counterfactual, where race does not influence judicial sentencing. In our data set ...


Lost In Translation?: An Essay On Law And Neuroscience, Stephen J. Morse Jan 2010

Lost In Translation?: An Essay On Law And Neuroscience, Stephen J. Morse

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The rapid expansion in neuroscientific research fuelled by the advent of functional magnetic resonance imaging [fMRI] has been accompanied by popular and scholarly commentary suggesting that neuroscience may substantially alter, and perhaps will even revolutionize, both law and morality. This essay, a contribution to, Law and Neuroscience (M. Freeman, Ed. 2011), will attempt to put such claims in perspective and to consider how properly to think about the relation between law and neuroscience. The overarching thesis is that neuroscience may indeed make some contributions to legal doctrine, practice and theory, but such contributions will be few and modest for the ...


International Idealism Meets Domestic-Criminal-Procedure Realism, Stephanos Bibas, William W. Burke-White Jan 2010

International Idealism Meets Domestic-Criminal-Procedure Realism, Stephanos Bibas, William W. Burke-White

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Though international criminal justice has developed into a flourishing judicial system over the last two decades, scholars have neglected institutional design and procedure questions. International criminal-procedure scholarship has developed in isolation from its domestic counterpart but could learn much realism from it. Given its current focus on atrocities like genocide, international criminal law’s main purpose should be not only to inflict retribution, but also to restore wounded communities by bringing the truth to light. The international justice system needs more ideological balance, more stable career paths, and civil-service expertise. It also needs to draw on the domestic experience of ...


Documentation, Documentary, And The Law: What Should Be Made Of Victim Impact Videos?, Regina Austin Jan 2010

Documentation, Documentary, And The Law: What Should Be Made Of Victim Impact Videos?, Regina Austin

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Since the Supreme Court sanctioned the introduction of victim impact evidence in the sentencing phase of capital cases in Payne v. Tennessee, 501 U.S. 808 (1991), there have been a number of reported decisions in which that evidence has taken the form of videos composed of home-produced still photographs and moving images of the victim. Most of these videos were first shown at funerals or memorial services and contain music appropriate for such occasions. This article considers the probative value of victim impact videos and responds to the call of Justice John Paul Stevens, made in a statement regarding ...