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Full-Text Articles in Law and Race

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 ...


#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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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.