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Wage Theft Criminalization, Benjamin Levin Jan 2021

Wage Theft Criminalization, Benjamin Levin

Articles

Over the past decade, workers’ rights activists and legal scholars have embraced the language of “wage theft” in describing the abuses of the contemporary workplace. The phrase invokes a certain moral clarity: theft is wrong. The phrase is not merely a rhetorical flourish. Increasingly, it has a specific content for activists, politicians, advocates, and academics: wage theft speaks the language of criminal law, and wage theft is a crime that should be punished. Harshly. Self-proclaimed “progressive prosecutors” have made wage theft cases a priority, and left-leaning politicians in the United States and abroad have begun to propose more criminal statutes ...


What's Wrong With Police Unions?, Benjamin Levin Jan 2020

What's Wrong With Police Unions?, Benjamin Levin

Articles

In an era of declining labor power, police unions stand as a rare success story for worker organizing—they exert political clout and negotiate favorable terms for their members. Yet, despite broad support for unionization on the political left, police unions have become public enemy number one for academics and activists concerned about race and police violence. Much criticism of police unions focuses on their obstructionist nature and how they prioritize the interests of their members over the interests of the communities they police. These critiques are compelling—police unions shield officers and block oversight. But, taken seriously, they often ...


Intersectionality In The Opioid Crisis: Anti-Black Racism And White, Pregnant, Opioid Users, Craig Konnoth Jan 2020

Intersectionality In The Opioid Crisis: Anti-Black Racism And White, Pregnant, Opioid Users, Craig Konnoth

Articles

No abstract provided.


Criminal Law In Crisis, Benjamin Levin Jan 2020

Criminal Law In Crisis, Benjamin Levin

Articles

In this Essay, I offer a brief account of how the COVID-19 pandemic lays bare the realities and structural flaws of the carceral state. I provide two primary examples or illustrations, but they are not meant to serve as an exhaustive list. Rather, by highlighting these issues, problems, or (perhaps) features, I mean to suggest that this moment of crisis should serve not just as an opportunity to marshal resources to address the pandemic, but also as a chance to address the harsh realities of the U.S. criminal system. Further, my claim isn’t that criminal law is in ...


The Troubling Alliance Between Feminism And Policing, Aya Gruber Jan 2020

The Troubling Alliance Between Feminism And Policing, Aya Gruber

Articles

No abstract provided.


#Metoo And Mass Incarceration, Aya Gruber Jan 2020

#Metoo And Mass Incarceration, Aya Gruber

Articles

This Symposium Guest Editor’s Note is an adapted version of the Introduction to The Feminist War on Crime: The Unexpected Role of Women’s Liberation in Mass Incarceration (UC Press 2020). The book examines how American feminists, in the quest to secure women’s protection from domestic violence and rape, often acted as soldiers in the war on crime by emphasizing white female victimhood, expanding the power of police and prosecutors, touting incarceration, and diverting resources toward law enforcement and away from marginalized communities Today, despite deep concerns over racist policing and mass incarceration, many feminists continue to assert ...


Do Abolitionism And Constitutionalism Mix?, Aya Gruber Jan 2020

Do Abolitionism And Constitutionalism Mix?, Aya Gruber

Articles

No abstract provided.


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


When Theory Met Practice: Distributional Analysis In Critical Criminal Law Theorizing, Aya Gruber Jan 2015

When Theory Met Practice: Distributional Analysis In Critical Criminal Law Theorizing, Aya Gruber

Articles

Progressive (critical race and feminist) theorizing on criminal law exists within an overarching American criminal law culture in which the U.S penal system has become a "peculiar institution" and a defining governance structure. Much of criminal law discourse is subject to a type of ideological capture in which it is natural to assume that criminalization is a valid, if not preferred, solution to social dysfunction. Accordingly, progressives’ primary concerns about harms to minority victims takes place in a political-legal context in which criminalization is the technique of addressing harm. In turn, progressive criminal law theorizing manifests some deep internal ...


The Stereotyped Offender: Domestic Violence And The Failure Of Intervention, Carolyn B. Ramsey Jan 2015

The Stereotyped Offender: Domestic Violence And The Failure Of Intervention, Carolyn B. Ramsey

Articles

Scholars and battered women's advocates now recognize that many facets of the legal response to intimate-partner abuse stereotype victims and harm abuse survivors who do not fit commonly accepted paradigms. However, it is less often acknowledged that the feminist analysis of domestic violence also tends to stereotype offenders and that state action, including court-mandated batterer intervention, is premised on these offender stereotypes. The feminist approach can be faulted for minimizing or denying the role of substance abuse, mental illness, childhood trauma, race, culture, and poverty in intimate-partner abuse. Moreover, those arrested for domestic violence crimes now include heterosexual women ...


Murder, Minority Victims, And Mercy, Aya Gruber Jan 2014

Murder, Minority Victims, And Mercy, Aya Gruber

Articles

Should the jury have acquitted George Zimmerman of Trayvon Martin's murder? Should enraged husbands receive a pass for killing their cheating wives? Should the law treat a homosexual advance as adequate provocation for killing? Criminal law scholars generally answer these questions with a resounding "no." Theorists argue that criminal laws should not reflect bigoted perceptions of African Americans, women, and gays by permitting judges and jurors to treat those who kill racial and gender minorities with undue mercy. According to this view, murder defenses like provocation should be restricted to ensure that those who kill minority victims receive the ...


Race To Incarcerate: Punitive Impulse And The Bid To Repeal Stand Your Ground, Aya Gruber Jan 2014

Race To Incarcerate: Punitive Impulse And The Bid To Repeal Stand Your Ground, Aya Gruber

Articles

Stand-your-ground laws have come to symbolize, especially for many in the center-to-left, the intense racial injustice of the modern American criminal system. The idea now ingrained in the minds of many racial justice-seekers is that only by narrowing the definition of self-defense (and thereby generally strengthening murder law) can we ensure Trayvon Martin's death was not in vain. However, when the story of Martin's killing first appeared on the national stage, the conversation was not primarily about the overly lenient nature of Florida's self-defense law. It was a multi-faceted dialogue about neighborhood warriors, criminal racial profiling, and ...


Leniency As A Miscarriage Of Race And Gender Justice, Aya Gruber Jan 2013

Leniency As A Miscarriage Of Race And Gender Justice, Aya Gruber

Articles

No abstract provided.


Neofeminism, Aya Gruber Jan 2013

Neofeminism, Aya Gruber

Articles

Today it is prosaic to say that "feminism is dead." Far from being moribund, feminist legal theory is breaking from its somewhat dogmatic past and forging ahead with new vigor. Many modern feminist legal scholars seek innovative ways to better the legal, social, and economic status of women while simultaneously questioning some of the more troubling moves of second-wave feminism, such as the tendency to essentialize the woman's experience, the turn to authoritarian state policies, and the characterization of women as pure objects or agents. These "neofeminists" prioritize women's issues but maintain a strong commitment to distributive justice ...


Why We Need A Progressive Account Of Violence, Aya Gruber Jan 2012

Why We Need A Progressive Account Of Violence, Aya Gruber

Articles

No abstract provided.


¡Silencio! Undocumented Immigrant Witnesses And The Right To Silence, Violeta R. Chapin Jan 2011

¡Silencio! Undocumented Immigrant Witnesses And The Right To Silence, Violeta R. Chapin

Articles

At a time referred to as "an unprecedented era of immigration enforcement," undocumented immigrants who have the misfortune to witness a crime in this country face a terrible decision. Calling the police to report that crime will likely lead to questions that reveal a witness's immigration status, resulting in detention and deportation for the undocumented immigrant witness. Programs like Secure Communities and 287(g) partnerships evidence an increase in local immigration enforcement, and this Article argues that undocumented witnesses' only logical response to these programs is silence. Silence, in the form of a complete refusal to call the police ...


Note, A Defensible Defense?: Reexamining Castle Doctrine Statutes, Benjamin Levin Jan 2010

Note, A Defensible Defense?: Reexamining Castle Doctrine Statutes, Benjamin Levin

Articles

Recent years have seen a proliferation of so-called “castle doctrine” statutes – laws that provide home dwellers with more expansive self-defense protections if they resort to lethal force in confrontations with intruders. The passage of such laws and subsequent uses of the defense have captured the public imagination, prompting significant media attention, as well as skeptical and critical scholarship from the legal academic community.

Considering the current prevalence of castle laws and the often polarized nature of the debate concerning their application, this Article argues that it is important to excavate the doctrine from the culture wars rhetoric in which it ...


Victim Wrongs: The Case For A General Criminal Defense Based On Wrongful Victim Behavior In An Era Of Victims' Rights, Aya Gruber Jan 2003

Victim Wrongs: The Case For A General Criminal Defense Based On Wrongful Victim Behavior In An Era Of Victims' Rights, Aya Gruber

Articles

Criminal law scholarship is rife with analysis of the victims' rights movement. Many articles identify with the outrage of victims harmed by deviant criminal elements. Other scholarly pieces criticize the movement's denuding of defendants' constitutional trial rights. The point upon which proponents and opponents of the movement tend to agree, however, is that the victim should never be blamed for the crime. The helpless, harmed, innocent victim is someone with whom we can all identify and someone to whom we can all express sympathy. Victim blaming, by all accounts, is an act of legal heresy to feminists, victim advocates ...


Race And Criminal Justice, Richard B. Collins Jan 1997

Race And Criminal Justice, Richard B. Collins

Articles

No abstract provided.


Introduction: O.J. Simpson And The Criminal Justice System On Trial, Christopher B. Mueller Jan 1996

Introduction: O.J. Simpson And The Criminal Justice System On Trial, Christopher B. Mueller

Articles

No abstract provided.


That's My Story And I'M Stickin' To It: The Jury As Fifth Business In The Trial Of O.J. Simpson And Other Matters, Marianne Wesson Jan 1996

That's My Story And I'M Stickin' To It: The Jury As Fifth Business In The Trial Of O.J. Simpson And Other Matters, Marianne Wesson

Articles

No abstract provided.


The Color Of Money, Paul F. Campos Jan 1996

The Color Of Money, Paul F. Campos

Articles

No abstract provided.