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All Bathwater, No Baby: Expressive Theories Of Punishment And The Death Penalty, Susan A. Bandes Apr 2018

All Bathwater, No Baby: Expressive Theories Of Punishment And The Death Penalty, Susan A. Bandes

Michigan Law Review

A review of Carol S. Steiker and Jordan M. Steiker, Courting Death: The Supreme Court and Capital Punishment.


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 ...


The Firing Squad As "A Known And Available Alternative Method Of Execution" Post-Glossip, Deborah W. Denno Jan 2016

The Firing Squad As "A Known And Available Alternative Method Of Execution" Post-Glossip, Deborah W. Denno

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

This Article does not address the medical debate surrounding the role of midazolam in executions; the problems associated with using the drug have been persuasively argued elsewhere. Nor does it question the soundness of the Glossip Court’s “alternative method of execution” requirement. Rather, this Article’s proposed reform is a constitutionally acceptable alternative that meets the Glossip Court’s standard, rendering moot—at least for the purposes of the following discussion—very real concerns regarding the validity of that dictate. Part I of this Article pinpoints several areas where the Glossip Court goes wrong in glaringly inaccurate or misleading ...


Racial Profiling In The War On Drugs Meets The Immigration Removal Process: The Case Of Moncrieffe V. Holder, Kevin R. Johnson Jan 2015

Racial Profiling In The War On Drugs Meets The Immigration Removal Process: The Case Of Moncrieffe V. Holder, Kevin R. Johnson

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

In Moncrieffe v. Holder, the Supreme Court held that the Board of Immigration Appeals could not remove a long-term lawful permanent resident from the United States based on a single misdemeanor conviction for possession of a small amount of marijuana. The decision clarified the meaning of an “aggravated felony” for purposes of removal, an important question under the U.S. immigration laws. In the removal proceedings, Adrian Moncrieffe, a black immigrant from Jamaica, did not challenge his arrest and drug conviction. Consequently, the Supreme Court did not review the facts surrounding, or the lawfulness of, the criminal prosecution. Nonetheless, the ...


Miller V. Alabama: Something Unconsitutional Now Was Equally Unconstitutional Then, W. Patrick Conlon Oct 2014

Miller V. Alabama: Something Unconsitutional Now Was Equally Unconstitutional Then, W. Patrick Conlon

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform Caveat

In June 2012, the United States Supreme Court found mandatory life-without-parole sentences against juvenile offenders unconstitutional in Miller v. Alabama. The Court determined that because children possess “immaturity, impetuosity, and [fail] to appreciate risks and consequences,” they are fundamentally different than adults. Although Miller invalidated every juvenile mandatory life-without-parole (JMLWOP) statute across the United States, there is no clear indication regarding whether Miller retroactively applies to juveniles sentenced to mandatory life-without-parole before the Court’s ruling. As a result, states are split on whether to apply Miller retroactively. Fifteen states have yet to decide whether Miller applies retroactively, while several ...


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

Constitutionally Tailoring Punishment, Richard A. Bierschbach, Stephanos Bibas

Michigan Law Review

Since the turn of the century, the Supreme Court has regulated noncapital 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). Although both lines of authority sound in individual rights, in fact they are fundamentally about the structures of criminal justice. These two seemingly disparate doctrines respond to structural imbalances in noncapital sentencing by promoting morally appropriate punishment judgments that are based on individualized input and that ...


Retroactivity And Crack Sentencing Reform, Harold J. Krent Sep 2013

Retroactivity And Crack Sentencing Reform, Harold J. Krent

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

This Article argues that the strong presumption against retroactive application of reduced punishments articulated in the Supreme Court’s recent decision, Dorsey v. United States, is neither historically grounded nor constitutionally compelled. Although not dispositive in Dorsey, the presumption may mislead legislatures in future contexts, whether addressing marijuana decriminalization or lessened punishment for file sharing, and in no way should signal to Congress that future changes should apply prospectively only. Although the Court reached the right result in applying the reduction in punishment for crack offenses to offenders whose sentences had not been finalized, the Court relied excessively on the ...


On Estimating Disparity And Inferring Causation: Sur-Reply To The U.S. Sentencing Commission Staff, Sonja B. Starr, M. Marit Rehavi Jan 2013

On Estimating Disparity And Inferring Causation: Sur-Reply To The U.S. Sentencing Commission Staff, Sonja B. Starr, M. Marit Rehavi

Articles

In this Essay, Professors Starr and Rehavi respond to the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s empirical staff’s criticisms of their recent article, which found, contrary to the Commission’s prior work, no evidence that racial disparity in sentences increased in response to United States v. Booker. As Starr and Rehavi suggest, their differences with the Commission perhaps relate to differing objectives. The Commission staff’s reply expresses a lack of interest in identifying Booker’s causal effects; in contrast, that is Starr and Rehavi’s central objective. In addition, Starr and Rehavi’s approach also accounts for disparities arising ...


Mandatory Sentencing And Racial Disparity, Assessing The Role Of Prosecutors And The Effects Of Booker, Sonja B. Starr, M. Marit Rehavi Jan 2013

Mandatory Sentencing And Racial Disparity, Assessing The Role Of Prosecutors And The Effects Of Booker, Sonja B. Starr, M. Marit Rehavi

Articles

This Article presents new empirical evidence concerning the effects of United States v. Booker, which loosened the formerly mandatory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, on racial disparities in federal criminal cases. Two serious limitations pervade existing empirical literature on sentencing disparities. First, studies focus on sentencing in isolation, controlling for the “presumptive sentence” or similar measures that themselves result from discretionary charging, plea-bargaining, and fact-finding processes. Any disparities in these earlier processes are excluded from the resulting sentence-disparity estimates. Our research has shown that this exclusion matters: pre-sentencing decision-making can have substantial sentence-disparity consequences. Second, existing studies have used loose causal ...


Assessing Divisibility In The Armed Career Criminal Act, Ted Koehler Jun 2012

Assessing Divisibility In The Armed Career Criminal Act, Ted Koehler

Michigan Law Review

When courts analyze whether a defendant's prior conviction qualifies as a "violent felony" under the Armed Career Criminal Act's "residual clause," they use a "categorical approach," looking only to the statutory language of the prior offense, rather than the facts disclosed by the record of conviction. But when a defendant is convicted under a "divisible" statute, which encompasses a broader range of conduct, only some of which would qualify as a predicate offense, courts may employ the "modified categorical approach." This approach allows courts to view additional documents to determine whether the jury convicted the defendant of the ...


On Strict Liability Crimes: Preserving A Moral Framework For Criminal Intent In An Intent-Free Moral World, W. Robert Thomas Feb 2012

On Strict Liability Crimes: Preserving A Moral Framework For Criminal Intent In An Intent-Free Moral World, W. Robert Thomas

Michigan Law Review

The law has long recognized a presumption against criminal strict liability. This Note situates that presumption in terms of moral intuitions about the role of intention and the unique nature of criminal punishment. Two sources-recent laws from state legislatures and recent advances in moral philosophy-pose distinct challenges to the presumption against strict liability crimes. This Note offers a solution to the philosophical problem that informs how courts could address the legislative problem. First, it argues that the purported problem from philosophy stems from a mistaken relationship drawn between criminal law and morality. Second, it outlines a slightly more nuanced moral ...


David Baldus And The Legacy Of Mccleskey V. Kemp, Samuel R. Gross Jan 2012

David Baldus And The Legacy Of Mccleskey V. Kemp, Samuel R. Gross

Articles

The first major empirical challenge to racial discrimination in the use of the death penalty in the United States was presented in federal court in the case of William L. Maxwell, who was sentenced to death in Arkansas in 1962 for the crime of rape.1 It was based on a landmark study by Marvin Wolfgang, a distinguished criminologist who had collected data on some 3000 rape convictions from 1945 through 1965 in selected counties across eleven southern states.2 He found that black men who were convicted of rape were seven times more likely to be sentenced to death ...


Patent Infringement As Criminal Conduct, Jacob S. Sherkow Jan 2012

Patent Infringement As Criminal Conduct, Jacob S. Sherkow

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

Criminal and civil law differ greatly in their use of the element of intent. The purposes of intent in each legal system are tailored to effectuate very different goals. The Supreme Court's recent decision in Global-Tech Appliances, Inc. v. SEB S.A., 131 S. Ct. 2060 (2011), however, imported a criminal concept of intent--willful blindness--into the statute for patent infringement, a civil offense. This importation of a criminal law concept of intent into the patent statute is novel and calls for examination. This Article compares the purposes behind intent in criminal law with the purposes behind intent in patent ...


Kids Are Different, Stephen St.Vincent Sep 2010

Kids Are Different, Stephen St.Vincent

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

The Supreme Court recently handed down its decision in Graham v. Florida. The case involved a juvenile, Graham, who was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted as an adult of a nonhomicidal crime. The offense, a home invasion robbery, was his second; the first was attempted robbery. Due to Florida's abolition of parole, the judge's imposition of a life sentence meant that Graham was constructively sentenced to life without parole for a nonhomicide crime. Graham challenged this sentence as unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment. Somewhat surprisingly, the Supreme Court invalidated Graham's sentence by a 6-3 ...


Redemption Song: Graham V. Florida And The Evolving Eighth Amendment Jurisprudence, Robert Smith, G. Ben Choen Jan 2010

Redemption Song: Graham V. Florida And The Evolving Eighth Amendment Jurisprudence, Robert Smith, G. Ben Choen

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

In Graham v. Florida, the Supreme Court held that the Eighth Amendment prohibits a sentence of life without parole ("LWOP") for a juvenile under eighteen who commits a non-homicide offense. For Terrance Graham, who committed home-invasion robbery at seventeen, the decision does not mean necessarily that he someday will leave the brick walls of Florida's Taylor Annex Correctional Institution. Unlike previous Eighth Amendment decisions, such as Roper v. Simmons, where the Court barred the death penalty for juveniles, this new categorical rule does not translate into automatic relief for members of the exempted class: "A State need not guarantee ...


What Does Graham Mean In Michigan?, Kimberly A. Thomas Jan 2010

What Does Graham Mean In Michigan?, Kimberly A. Thomas

Articles

In Graham v. Florida, the United States Supreme Court held that life without parole could not be imposed on a juvenile offender for a nonhomicide crime.1 In this context, the Graham Court extensively discussed the diminished culpability of juvenile criminal defendants, as compared to adults. The Court relied on current scientific research regarding adolescent development and neuroscience. While the narrowest holding of Graham has little impact in Michigan, the science it relies on, and the potential broader implications for adolescents in Michigan, are significant.


Vindicating The Matriarch: A Fair Housing Act Challenge To Federal No-Fault Evictions From Public Housing, Melissa A. Cohen Jan 2009

Vindicating The Matriarch: A Fair Housing Act Challenge To Federal No-Fault Evictions From Public Housing, Melissa A. Cohen

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

Pearlie Rucker, sixty-three years old, had been living in public housing in Oakland, California for thirteen years. Ms. Rucker lived with her mentally disabled adult daughter, Gelinda, as well as two grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Ms. Rucker regularly searched Gelinda's room for signs of drugs, and had warned Gelinda that any drug activity on the premises could result in eviction. Nevertheless, Gelinda was caught with drugs three blocks from the apartment. Despite the fact that Ms. Rucker had no knowledge of Gelinda's drug activity, and in fact had been carefully monitoring what happened in her apartment, the Oakland ...


Choosing Those Who Will Die: The Effect Of Race, Gender, And Law In Prosecutorial Decision To Seek The Death Penalty In Durham County, North Carolina, Isaac Unah Jan 2009

Choosing Those Who Will Die: The Effect Of Race, Gender, And Law In Prosecutorial Decision To Seek The Death Penalty In Durham County, North Carolina, Isaac Unah

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

District prosecutors in the United States exercise virtually unfettered power and discretion to decide which murder cases to prosecute for capital punishment. According to neoclassical theory of formal legal rationality, the process for determining criminal punishment should be based upon legal rules established and sanctioned by the state to communicate the priorities of the political community. The theory therefore argues in favor of a determinate mode of decision-making that diminishes the importance of extrinsic elements such as race and gender in the application of law. In the empirical research herein reported, I test this theory using death eligible cases in ...


Furman'S Mythical Mandate, Scott W. Howe May 2007

Furman'S Mythical Mandate, Scott W. Howe

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

This Article argues for the rescue and reform of Supreme Court doctrine regulating capital sentencing trials under the Eighth Amendment. Many legal commentators, both liberal and conservative, including several members of the Supreme Court, have concluded that the Court's regulation of capital sentencing trials is a disaster. The repeated criticisms rest on a commonly accepted view about a principal goal of capital sentencing regulation. The prevailing account, fueled by the rhetoric of the Justices, stems from the notion that Furman v. Georgia, 408 U.S. 208 (1972), revealed a mandate of consistency in the use of the death penalty ...


One Stop, No Stop, Two Stop, Terry Stop: Reasonable Suspicion And Pseudoephedrine Purchases By Suspected Methamphetamine Manufacturers, Andrew C. Goetz May 2007

One Stop, No Stop, Two Stop, Terry Stop: Reasonable Suspicion And Pseudoephedrine Purchases By Suspected Methamphetamine Manufacturers, Andrew C. Goetz

Michigan Law Review

This Note attempts to inject some clarity into courts' reasonable suspicion calculus for cold medicine purchases. It argues that the key factor in analyzing such purchases is whether the purchaser or purchasers appear to be circumventing pseudoephedrine purchasing restrictions in order to obtain inordinately large quantities of pseudoephedrine. Part I provides a general background on the domestic manufacture of methamphetamine in small, clandestine laboratories. Part II then examines the interplay between outward innocence and reasonable suspicion under the Supreme Court's Fourth Amendment jurisprudence. Finally, Part III establishes a framework for identifying purchasing strategies that methamphetamine manufacturers commonly use to ...


Function Over Form: Reviving The Criminal Jury's Historical Role As A Sentencing Body, Chris Kemmitt Oct 2006

Function Over Form: Reviving The Criminal Jury's Historical Role As A Sentencing Body, Chris Kemmitt

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

This Article argues that the Supreme Court, as evinced by its recent spate of criminal jury decisions, has abandoned the criminal jury known to the Founders and, in so doing, has severely eroded the protections intended to inhere in the Sixth Amendment jury trial right. It then proposes one potential solution to this problem.

According to the Supreme Court, this recent line of cases has been motivated by the need to preserve the "ancient guarantee" articulated in the Sixth Amendment under a new set of legal circumstances. Unfortunately, the Court misinterprets the ancient guarantee that it is ostensibly attempting to ...


Stevens's Ratchet: When The Court Should Decide Not To Decide, Joel A. Flaxman Jan 2006

Stevens's Ratchet: When The Court Should Decide Not To Decide, Joel A. Flaxman

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

Hidden underneath the racy death penalty issues in Kansas v. Marsh lurks a seemingly dull procedural issue addressed only in separate opinions by Justices Stevens and Scalia: whether the Court should have heard the case in the first place. As he did in three cases from the Court’s 2005 term, Justice Stevens argued in Marsh that the Court has no legitimate interest in reviewing state court decisions that overprotect federal constitutional rights. Instead, the Supreme Court should exercise its certiorari power to tip the scales against states and in favor of individuals. Granting certiorari in Marsh, Stevens argued, was ...


The High Court Remains As Divided As Ever Over The Death Penalty, George H. Kendall Jan 2006

The High Court Remains As Divided As Ever Over The Death Penalty, George H. Kendall

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

More than three decades ago, in Furman v. Georgia, a sharply divided Supreme Court struck down all existing capital punishment schemes be-cause the results they generated were arbitrary, discriminatory, and unreasoned. No member of that Court remains on the Court today, and the Court has grown increasingly conservative ever since. Nevertheless, impor-tant questions concerning the administration of capital punishment continue to wrought deep divisions within the Court, for instance in determining whether racial bias influences the system, in determining the sufficiency of new evidence of innocence to justify review of a defaulted claim in habeas corpus proceedings, in determining a ...


The Revolution Enters The Court: The Constitutional Significance Of Wrongful Convictions In Contemporary Constitutional Regulation Of The Death Penalty, Jordan Steiker Jan 2006

The Revolution Enters The Court: The Constitutional Significance Of Wrongful Convictions In Contemporary Constitutional Regulation Of The Death Penalty, Jordan Steiker

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

Over the last decade, the most important events in American death pen-alty law have occurred outside the courts. The discovery of numerous wrongfully convicted death-sentenced inmates in Illinois led to the most substantial reflection on the American death penalty system since the late 1960s and early 1970s. Former Illinois Governor George Ryan, a Republi-can, first declared a moratorium on executions in 2000 and eventually commuted all 167 inmates on Illinois’s death row in 2003. The events in Illinois reverberated nationwide. Almost overnight, state legislative agendas shifted from expanding or maintaining the prevailing reach of the death penalty to studying ...


Legitimizing Error, Rebecca E. Woodman Jan 2006

Legitimizing Error, Rebecca E. Woodman

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

Since Furman v. Georgia, the Supreme Court has sought to harmonize competing constitutional demands under Eighth Amendment rules regulat-ing the two-step eligibility and selection stages of the capital decision-making process. Furman’s demand for rationality and consistency requires that, at the eligibility stage, the sentencer’s discretion be limited and guided by clear and objective fact-based standards that rationally narrow the class of death-eligible defendants. The selection stage requires a determination of whether a specific death-eligible defendant actually deserves that punish-ment, as distinguished from other death-eligible defendants. Here, fundamental fairness and respect for the uniqueness of the individual are the ...


Putting The Guesswork Back Into Capital Sentencing, Sean D. O'Brien Jan 2006

Putting The Guesswork Back Into Capital Sentencing, Sean D. O'Brien

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

In 1972, in Furman v. Georgia, the Supreme Court deemed it “incon-testable” that a death sentence is cruel and unusual if inflicted “by reason of [the defendant’s] race, religion, wealth, social position, or class, or if it is imposed under a procedure that gives room for the play of such prejudices.” Arbitrary and discriminatory patterns in capital sentencing moved the Court to strike down death penalty statutes that required judges or juries to cast thumbs-up or thumbs-down verdicts against offenders found guilty of capi-tal crimes. The issue of innocence was barely a footnote in Furman; the Court’s concerns ...


Souter Passant, Scalia Rampant: Combat In The Marsh, Samuel R. Gross Jan 2006

Souter Passant, Scalia Rampant: Combat In The Marsh, Samuel R. Gross

Articles

Kansas law provides that unless a capital sentencing jury concludes that the mitigating factors that apply to the defendant’s crime outweigh the aggravating factors, it must sentence the defendant to death. The Kansas Supreme Court held that this law violates the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments because it “impermissibly mandates the death penalty when the jury finds that the mitigating and aggravating circumstances are in equipoise.” On June 26, in Kansas v. Marsh, the Supreme Court reversed in a 5 to 4 opinion by Justice Thomas.


Two Standards Of Competency Are Better Than One: Why Some Defendants Who Are Not Competent To Stand Trial Should Be Permitted To Plead Guilty, Jason R. Marshall May 2004

Two Standards Of Competency Are Better Than One: Why Some Defendants Who Are Not Competent To Stand Trial Should Be Permitted To Plead Guilty, Jason R. Marshall

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

This Note argues that the present uniform standard of competency, competence to stand trial, be abolished in favor of two standards: competence to stand trial and competence to plea bargain. Part I traces the history of the competency standard by exploring its common law origins, the Supreme Court rulings that frame the debate, an academic reformulation of the competency inquiry, and the interests protected by requiring that defendants be competent to proceed through the criminal process. Part II contrasts the cognitive abilities, capacity to communicate with counsel, and courtroom behavior of defendants standing trial with those qualities required of defendants ...


Verdugo In Cyberspace: Boundaries Of Fourth Amendment Rights For Foreign Nationals In Cybercrime Cases, Stewart M. Young Oct 2003

Verdugo In Cyberspace: Boundaries Of Fourth Amendment Rights For Foreign Nationals In Cybercrime Cases, Stewart M. Young

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

This Comment examines the current legal framework governing Fourth Amendment rights for foreign nationals accused of committing crimes within the United States. Over the past three years, federal courts have tried several cases charging foreign nationals with committing crimes through the use of the Internet; these cases demonstrate a lack of clarity in the standard for warrant requirements regarding these searches. Utilizing these cases, this Comment creates a hypothetical case that presents the issues of Fourth Amendment rights for foreign nationals and seeks to determine how such a question should be answered. It advocates the clear application of United States ...