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The Subversions And Perversions Of Shadow Vigilantism, Paul H. Robinson, Sarah M. Robinson Jan 2018

The Subversions And Perversions Of Shadow Vigilantism, Paul H. Robinson, Sarah M. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This excerpt from the recently published Shadow Vigilantes book argues that, while vigilantism, even moral vigilantism, can be dangerous to a society, the real danger is not of hordes of citizens, frustrated by the system’s doctrines of disillusionment, rising up to take the law into their own hands. Frustration can spark a vigilante impulse, but such classic aggressive vigilantism is not the typical response. More common is the expression of disillusionment in less brazen ways by a more surreptitious undermining and distortion of the operation of the criminal justice system.

Shadow vigilantes, as they might be called, can affect ...


Still Living After Fifty Years: A Census Of Judicial Review Under The Pennsylvania Constitution Of 1968, Seth F. Kreimer Jan 2018

Still Living After Fifty Years: A Census Of Judicial Review Under The Pennsylvania Constitution Of 1968, Seth F. Kreimer

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The year 2018 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the Pennsylvania Constitution of 1968. The time seems ripe, therefore, to explore the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s exercise of judicial review under the 1968 Pennsylvania Constitution. This Article constitutes the first such comprehensive exploration.

The Article begins with an historical overview of the evolution of the Pennsylvania Constitution, culminating in the Constitution of 1968. It then presents a census of the 372 cases in which the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has vindicated distinctive Pennsylvania Constitutional rights under the Constitution of 1968.

Analysis of these cases leads to three conclusions:

1. Exercise of independent ...


Are There Really "Plenty Of Shapiros Out There"? A Comment On The Courage Of Norma L. Shapiro, Reid K. Weisbord, David A. Hoffman Apr 2017

Are There Really "Plenty Of Shapiros Out There"? A Comment On The Courage Of Norma L. Shapiro, Reid K. Weisbord, David A. Hoffman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Norma Levy Shapiro, a trailblazing United States District Court Judge whose tenure on the Philadelphia federal bench spanned nearly 40 years, died July 22, 2016. This memoriam, written by two former law clerks, reflects fondly on Judge Shapiro’s judicial courage to follow her conscience even when doing so required making deeply unpopular decisions. To illustrate, this memoriam examines three of Judge Shapiro’s most memorable cases from her notable prisoner litigation docket.

First, in Harris v. Pernsley, Judge Shapiro’s principled but polarizing decisions in the Philadelphia prison overcrowding litigation elicited a now-familiar brand of snark from one (tremendous ...


Bail Reform: New Directions For Pretrial Detention And Release, Megan Stevenson, Sandra G. Mayson Mar 2017

Bail Reform: New Directions For Pretrial Detention And Release, Megan Stevenson, Sandra G. Mayson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Our current pretrial system imposes high costs on both the people who are detained pretrial and the taxpayers who foot the bill. These costs have prompted a surge of bail reform around the country. Reformers seek to reduce pretrial detention rates, as well as racial and socioeconomic disparities in the pretrial system, while simultaneously improving appearance rates and reducing pretrial crime. The current state of pretrial practice suggests that there is ample room for improvement. Bail hearings are often cursory, with no defense counsel present. Money-bail practices lead to high rates of detention even among misdemeanor defendants and those who ...


Justice Scalia’S Originalism And Formalism: The Rule Of Criminal Law As A Law Of Rules, Stephanos Bibas Aug 2016

Justice Scalia’S Originalism And Formalism: The Rule Of Criminal Law As A Law Of Rules, Stephanos Bibas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Far too many reporters and pundits collapse law into politics, assuming that the left–right divide between Democratic and Republican appointees neatly explains politically liberal versus politically conservative outcomes at the Supreme Court. The late Justice Antonin Scalia defied such caricatures. His consistent judicial philosophy made him the leading exponent of originalism, textualism, and formalism in American law, and over the course of his three decades on the Court, he changed the terms of judicial debate. Now, as a result, supporters and critics alike start with the plain meaning of the statutory or constitutional text rather than loose appeals to ...


How Being Right Can Risk Wrongs, Paul H. Robinson, Sarah M. Robinson Aug 2016

How Being Right Can Risk Wrongs, Paul H. Robinson, Sarah M. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This is a chapter from the new book The Vigilante Echo. Previous chapters have made clear that some vigilantism can be morally justified where the government has failed in its promise under the social contract to protect and to do justice. But this chapter explains how even moral vigilante action can be problematic for the larger society. Vigilantes may try to do the right thing but are likely to lack the training and professional neutrality of police. They may be successful, but only on pushing the crime problem to an adjacent neighborhood. Because their open lawbreaking may seem admirable to ...


Shadow Vigilante Officials Manipulate And Distort To Force Justice From An Apparently Reluctant System, Paul H. Robinson, Sarah M. Robinson Aug 2016

Shadow Vigilante Officials Manipulate And Distort To Force Justice From An Apparently Reluctant System, Paul H. Robinson, Sarah M. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The real danger of the vigilante impulse is not of hordes of citizens, frustrated by the system’s doctrines of disillusionment, rising up to take the law into their own hands. Frustration can spark a vigilante impulse but such classic aggressive vigilantism is not the typical response. More common is the expression of disillusionment in less brazen ways, by a more surreptitious undermining and distortion of the operation of the criminal justice system.

Shadow vigilantes, as they might be called, can affect the operation of the system in a host of important ways. For example, when people act as classic ...


The Rise And Fall And Resurrection Of American Criminal Codes, Paul H. Robinson Jan 2015

The Rise And Fall And Resurrection Of American Criminal Codes, Paul H. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This brief essay summarizes the virtues of the modern American codification movement of the 1960s and 70s, putting it in a larger global context, then describes how these once-enviable codes have been systematically degraded with thoughtless amendments, a process of degradation that is accelerating each year. After exploring the political dynamics that promote such degradation, the essay suggests the principles and procedures for fixing the current codes and, more importantly, structural changes to the process that could avoid the restart of degradation in the future.


The Moral Vigilante And Her Cousins In The Shadows, Paul H. Robinson Jan 2015

The Moral Vigilante And Her Cousins In The Shadows, Paul H. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

By definition, vigilantes cannot be legally justified – if they satisfied a justification defense, for example, they would not be law-breakers – but they may well be morally justified, if their aim is to provide the order and justice that the criminal justice system has failed to provide in a breach of the social contract. Yet, even moral vigilantism is detrimental to society and ought to be avoided, ideally not by prosecuting moral vigilantism but by avoiding the creation of situations that would call for it. Unfortunately, the U.S. criminal justice system has adopted a wide range of criminal law rules ...


Commentary: Reflections On Remorse, Stephen J. Morse Jan 2014

Commentary: Reflections On Remorse, Stephen J. Morse

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This commentary on Zhong et al. begins by addressing the definition of remorse. It then primarily focuses on the relation between remorse and various justifications for punishment commonly accepted in Anglo-American jurisprudence and suggests that remorse cannot be used in a principled way in sentencing. It examines whether forensic psychiatrists have special expertise in evaluating remorse and concludes that they do not. The final section is a pessimistic meditation on sentencing disparities, which is a striking finding of Zhong et al.


Comments On [Israeli] Proposal For Structuring Judicial Discretion In Sentencing, Paul H. Robinson Mar 2011

Comments On [Israeli] Proposal For Structuring Judicial Discretion In Sentencing, Paul H. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In this essay, Professor Robinson supports the current Israeli proposal for structuring judicial discretion in sentencing, in particular its reliance upon desert as the guiding principle for the distribution of punishment, its reliance upon benchmarks, or “starting-points,” to be adjusted in individual cases by reference to articulated mitigating and aggravating circumstances, and the proposal’s suggestion to use of an expert committee to draft the original guidelines.


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 ...


Judicial Fact-Finding At Sentencing, Stephanos Bibas Dec 2008

Judicial Fact-Finding At Sentencing, Stephanos Bibas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This encyclopedia entry summarizes the pendulum-swings that led the Supreme Court in Apprendi v. New Jersey, Blakely v. Washington, and United States v. Booker to limit judges' ability to find facts at sentencing. Paradoxically, the much-criticized Federal Sentencing Guidelines have survived; a line of cases that began as an effort to restore juries' role has turned into a guarantor of judicial discretion; and the doctrine has quickly moved far from its Sixth Amendment roots to a policy balancing test. The Court could instead have pursued a different, more fruitful path. The Court did not have to force sentencing factors into ...


Rita V. United States Leaves More Open Than It Answers, Stephanos Bibas Oct 2007

Rita V. United States Leaves More Open Than It Answers, Stephanos Bibas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This essay surveys the sentencing issues left open by Rita v. United States and considers how the presumption of reasonableness is likely to operate in practice and how rebutable it is, the roles of safe harbors and individual judges' policy disagreements, and the importance of Justices Stevens and Ginsburg as the swing Justices in this area. This line of cases has drifted far from its roots in a Sixth Amendment concern for juries. Though the resulting sentencing policies may be substantively desirable, the Court cannot articulate how they are rooted in the Sixth Amendment's concern for juries.


White-Collar Plea Bargaining And Sentencing After Booker, Stephanos Bibas Feb 2005

White-Collar Plea Bargaining And Sentencing After Booker, Stephanos Bibas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This symposium essay speculates about how Booker's loosening of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines is likely to affect white-collar plea bargaining and sentencing. Prosecutors' punishment intuitions and the strong white-collar defense bar will keep white-collar sentencing from growing as harsh as drug sentencing, but the parallels are nonetheless ominous. The essay suggests that the Sentencing Commission revise its loss-computation rules, calibrate white-collar sentences to their core purpose of expressing condemnation, and adding shaming punishments and apologies to give moderate prison sentences more bite.


Judicial Fact-Finding And Sentence Enhancements In A World Of Guilty Pleas, Stephanos Bibas Jan 2001

Judicial Fact-Finding And Sentence Enhancements In A World Of Guilty Pleas, Stephanos Bibas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


The Federal Sentencing Guidelines Ten Years Later: An Introduction And Comments, Paul H. Robinson Jan 1997

The Federal Sentencing Guidelines Ten Years Later: An Introduction And Comments, Paul H. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Legality And Discretion In The Distribution Of Criminal Sanctions, Paul H. Robinson Jan 1988

Legality And Discretion In The Distribution Of Criminal Sanctions, Paul H. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


A Sentencing System For The 21st Century?, Paul H. Robinson Jan 1987

A Sentencing System For The 21st Century?, Paul H. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Dissent From The United States Sentencing Commission's Proposed Guidelines, Paul H. Robinson Jan 1987

Dissent From The United States Sentencing Commission's Proposed Guidelines, Paul H. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Judge Friendly's Contributions To Securities Law And Criminal Procedure: "Moderation Is All", Frank Goodman Jan 1984

Judge Friendly's Contributions To Securities Law And Criminal Procedure: "Moderation Is All", Frank Goodman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.