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Bargaining For Abolition, Zohra Ahmed Jan 2022

Bargaining For Abolition, Zohra Ahmed

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What if instead of seeing criminal court as an institution driven by the operation of rules, we saw it as a workplace where people labor to criminalize those with the misfortune to be prosecuted? I offer three different ways to think about labor in criminal court: (1) labor as a source of sociological value, (2) labor as an input that generates certain measurable outcomes, and (3) labor as a vehicle to advance abolitionist reforms. First, through their quotidian activities, criminal courts’ workers enact a practical philosophy that communicates lessons about who and how we value each other. Drawing on ethnographic …


Suspicionless Policing, Julian A. Cook Dec 2021

Suspicionless Policing, Julian A. Cook

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The tragic death of Elijah McClain—a twenty-three-year-old, slightly built, unarmed African American male who was walking home along a sidewalk when he was accosted by three Aurora, Colorado police officers—epitomizes the problems with policing that have become a prominent topic of national conversation. Embedded within far too many police organizations is a culture that promotes aggressive investigative behaviors and a disregard for individual liberties. Incentivized by a Supreme Court that has, over the course of several decades, empowered the police with expansive powers, law enforcement organizations have often tested—and crossed—the constitutional limits of their investigative authorities. And too often it …


Justice As Message Symposium: What We See When We See Law … Through The Eyes Of Dame Laura Knight, Diane Marie Amann Dec 2020

Justice As Message Symposium: What We See When We See Law … Through The Eyes Of Dame Laura Knight, Diane Marie Amann

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The eye cannot help but be drawn to the cover of Justice as Message, the new analysis by Carsten Stahn of, to quote the subtitle, Expressivist Foundations of International Criminal Justice. On the high-gloss paper jacket we see a tableau of blacks and browns and olive drab, accented only by the purple of a lawyer’s robe and the teal of a dossier perched on the bar behind him. In front, we see that the bench is buried in paper – paper that turns to ashes as the back wall gives way to a vision of buildings in ruin …


Detention By Any Other Name, Sandra G. Mayson Jan 2020

Detention By Any Other Name, Sandra G. Mayson

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An unaffordable bail requirement has precisely the same effect as an order of pretrial detention: the accused person is jailed pending trial. It follows as a logical matter that an order requiring an unaffordable bail bond as a condition of release should be subject to the same substantive and procedural protections as an order denying bail altogether. Yet this has not been the practice.

This Article lays out the logical and legal case for the proposition that an order that functionally imposes detention must be treated as an order of detention. It addresses counterarguments and complexities, including both empirical and …


Reform Prosecutors And Separation Of Powers, Logan E. Sawyer Iii Jan 2020

Reform Prosecutors And Separation Of Powers, Logan E. Sawyer Iii

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For decades, state and local prosecutors won election by promising to be tough on crime. Today, a new breed of prosecutor has gained prominence by campaigning on, and then implementing, reform agendas. Rather than emphasize the crimes they plan to prosecute, these reform prosecutors promise to use their discretion to stop the prosecution of certain crimes and halt the application of certain sanctions. They base their decision not on a lack of resources, but rather on a belief that the enforcement of those laws is unwise or unjust. Critics have decried such policies as both inappropriate and undemocratic. Prosecutors, critics …


Boots And Bail On The Ground: Assessing The Implementation Of Misdemeanor Bail Reforms In Georgia, Andrea Woods, Sandra G. Mayson, Lauren Sudeall, Guthrie Armstrong, Anthony Potts Jan 2020

Boots And Bail On The Ground: Assessing The Implementation Of Misdemeanor Bail Reforms In Georgia, Andrea Woods, Sandra G. Mayson, Lauren Sudeall, Guthrie Armstrong, Anthony Potts

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This Article presents a mixed-methods study of misdemeanor bail practice across Georgia in the wake of reform. We observed bail hearings and interviewed system actors in a representative sample of fifty-five counties in order to assess the extent to which pretrial practice conforms to legal standards clarified in Senate Bill 407 and Walker v. Calhoun. We also analyzed jail population data published by county jails and by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. We found that a handful of counties have made promising headway in adhering to law and best practices, but that the majority have some distance to …


Presidential Crimes Matter, Julian A. Cook Jan 2020

Presidential Crimes Matter, Julian A. Cook

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The resignations of United States Attorneys Geoffrey Berman and Jessie Liu from their respective positions in the Southern District of New York and the District of Columbia, and Attorney General William Barr’s and President Donald Trump’s persistent undermining of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russian interference and obstruction of justice investigations and prosecutions are clarion calls to reform the process by which the executive branch criminally investigates itself. But there is another critical circumstance—the Special Counsel regulations—that has been largely overlooked and has been grossly underappreciated in the public discussion about undue executive branch influence. These regulations are foundational, their impact …


Boots And Bail On The Ground: Assessing The Implementation Of Misdemeanor Bail Reforms In Georgia, Sandra Mayson, Andrea Woods, Lauren Sudeall, Guthrie Armstrong, Anthony Potts Jan 2020

Boots And Bail On The Ground: Assessing The Implementation Of Misdemeanor Bail Reforms In Georgia, Sandra Mayson, Andrea Woods, Lauren Sudeall, Guthrie Armstrong, Anthony Potts

Scholarly Works

This Article presents a mixed-methods study of misdemeanor bail practice across Georgia in the wake of reform. We observed bail hearings and interviewed system actors in a representative sample of fifty-five counties in order to assess the extent to which pretrial practice conforms to legal standards clarified in Senate Bill 407 and Walker v. Calhoun. We also analyzed jail population data published by county jails and by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. We found that a handful of counties have made promising headway in adhering to law and best practices, but that the majority have some distance to …


The Concept Of Criminal Law, Sandra Mayson Jan 2020

The Concept Of Criminal Law, Sandra Mayson

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What distinguishes “criminal law” from all other law? This question should be central to both criminal law theory and criminal justice reform. Clarity about the distinctive feature(s) of criminal law is especially important in the current moment, as the nation awakens to the damage that the carceral state has wrought and reformers debate the value and the future of criminal law institutions. Foundational though it is, however, the question has received limited attention. There is no clear consensus among contemporary scholars or reformers about what makes the criminal law unique. This Essay argues that Antony Duff’s The Realm of Criminal …


The Persistence Of Fatal Police Taserings In 2018, Donald E. Wilkes Jr. Feb 2019

The Persistence Of Fatal Police Taserings In 2018, Donald E. Wilkes Jr.

Popular Media

Fatal police taserings have been a persistent phenomenon in the United States for nearly two decades. Steadily, relentlessly, year after year, month after month, our police kill citizens with tasers. This article reviews the history of fatal police taserings and those that occurred in 2018.


The Case That Stirred The State Of Georgia, Donald E. Wilkes Jr. Jan 2019

The Case That Stirred The State Of Georgia, Donald E. Wilkes Jr.

Popular Media

In the second half of the 19th Century, hundreds of murders occurred in Georgia, but only two murder cases electrified the entire state. Both cases were the subject of massive amounts of publicity in Georgia newspapers, and for years both cases were ceaselessly talked about in every part of this state.

One of these two notable murder cases was the Woolfolk murder case, involving Tom Woolfolk, nicknamed Bloody Woolfolk, who in 1887 murdered nine members of his family with an axe in Bibb County and after two trials was hanged in 1890. In 1997, I published a book review in …


Bias In, Bias Out, Sandra G. Mayson Jan 2019

Bias In, Bias Out, Sandra G. Mayson

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Police, prosecutors, judges, and other criminal justice actors increasingly use algorithmic risk assessment to estimate the likelihood that a person will commit future crime. As many scholars have noted, these algorithms tend to have disparate racial impact. In response, critics advocate three strategies of resistance: (1) the exclusion of input factors that correlate closely with race, (2) adjustments to algorithmic design to equalize predictions across racial lines, and (3) rejection of algorithmic methods altogether.

This Article’s central claim is that these strategies are at best superficial and at worst counterproductive, because the source of racial inequality in risk assessment lies …


Federal Guilty Pleas: Inequities, Indigence And The Rule 11 Process, Julian A. Cook Jan 2019

Federal Guilty Pleas: Inequities, Indigence And The Rule 11 Process, Julian A. Cook

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In 2017 and 2018, the Supreme Court issued two little-noticed decisions—Lee v. United States and Class v. United States. While neither case captured the attention of the national media nor generated meaningful academic commentary, both cases are well deserving of critical examination for reasons independent of the issues presented to the Court. They deserve review because of a consequential shared fact; a fact representative of a commonplace, yet largely overlooked, federal court practice that routinely disadvantages the indigent (and disproportionately minority populations), and compromises the integrity of arguably the most consequential component of the federal criminal justice process. In each …


Neil Gorsuch And The Return Of Rule-Of-Law Due Process, Nathan Chapman Apr 2018

Neil Gorsuch And The Return Of Rule-Of-Law Due Process, Nathan Chapman

Popular Media

Something curious happened at the Supreme Court last week. While the country was glued to the Cirque du Trump, the rule of law made a comeback, revived by Neil Gorsuch, whose place on the Court may prove to be one of Trump’s most important legacies.

Unlike the partisan gerrymander and First Amendment cases currently pending before the Court, immigration cases are usually long on textual analysis and short on grand themes. Accordingly, court-watchers didn’t have especially high expectations for Sessions v. Dimaya.


The Persistence Of Fatal Police Taserings In 2017, Donald E. Wilkes Jr. Feb 2018

The Persistence Of Fatal Police Taserings In 2017, Donald E. Wilkes Jr.

Popular Media

Fatal police taserings are a persistent phenomenon in the United States. Every year dozens of Americans are fatally tasered by our police.This article looks at the number of deaths cause by police tasering during 2017.


Dangerous Defendants, Sandra G. Mayson Jan 2018

Dangerous Defendants, Sandra G. Mayson

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Bail reform is gaining momentum nationwide. Reformers aspire to untether pretrial detention from wealth (the ability to post money bail) and condition it instead on statistical risk, particularly the risk that a defendant will commit crime if he remains at liberty pending trial. The bail reform movement holds tremendous promise, but also forces the criminal justice system to confront a difficult question: What statistical risk that a person will commit future crime justifies short-term detention? What about lesser restraints, like GPS monitoring? Although the turn to actuarial risk assessment in the pretrial context has engendered both excitement and concern, the …


The Scale Of Misdemeanor Justice, Megan T. Stevenson, Sandra G. Mayson Jan 2018

The Scale Of Misdemeanor Justice, Megan T. Stevenson, Sandra G. Mayson

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This Article seeks to provide the most comprehensive national-level empirical analysis of misdemeanor criminal justice that is currently feasible given the state of data collection in the United States. First, we estimate that there are 13.2 million misdemeanor cases filed in the United States each year. Second, contrary to conventional wisdom, this number is not rising. Both the number of misdemeanor arrests and cases filed have declined markedly in recent years. In fact, national arrest rates for almost every misdemeanor offense category have been declining for at least two decades, and the misdemeanor arrest rate was lower in 2014 than …


Backyard Breeding: Regulatory Nuisance, Crime Precursor, Lisa Milot Jan 2018

Backyard Breeding: Regulatory Nuisance, Crime Precursor, Lisa Milot

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The harms of puppy mills have been well-publicized over the past decade: hundreds of female dogs living out their lives in small cages, producing puppies for sale with each heat cycle, with neither the breeding stock nor puppies receiving normal veterinary care. In popular media, academic critiques, activist publications, and legislative discussion, puppy mills are contrasted with smallvolume dog breeders—the hobby breeder or inadvertent breeder who has only a few dogs and treats them as pets or members of the family, breeding occasionally for personal reasons. Both state and federal laws have been designed to regulate puppy mills and other …


Due Process Abroad, Nathan Chapman Dec 2017

Due Process Abroad, Nathan Chapman

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Defining the scope of the Constitution’s application outside U.S. territory is more important than ever. This month the Supreme Court will hear oral argument about whether the Constitution applies when a U.S. officer shoots a Mexican child across the border. Meanwhile the federal courts are scrambling to evaluate the constitutionality of an Executive Order that, among other things, deprives immigrants of their right to reenter the United States. Yet the extraterritorial reach of the Due Process Clause — the broadest constitutional limit on the government’s authority to deprive persons of “life, liberty, and property” — remains obscure. Up to now, …


The Persistence Of Fatal Police Taserings 2016, Donald E. Wilkes Jr. Feb 2017

The Persistence Of Fatal Police Taserings 2016, Donald E. Wilkes Jr.

Popular Media

In this Article, Professor Wilkes updates his research on police tasering by surveying the fatal taserings by police officers that occurred in 2016.


Criminal Law As Family Law, Andrea L. Dennis Jan 2017

Criminal Law As Family Law, Andrea L. Dennis

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The criminal justice system has expanded dramatically over the last several decades, extending its reach into family life. This expansion has disproportionately and negatively impacted Black communities and social networks, including Black families. Despite these pervasive shifts, legal scholars have virtually ignored the intersection of criminal, family, and racial justice. This Article explores the gap in literature in two respects. First, the Article weaves together criminal law, family law, and racial justice by cataloging ways in which the modern criminal justice state regulates family life, particularly for Black families. Second, the Article examines the depth of criminal justice interference in …


The Downstream Consequences Of Misdemeanor Pretrial Detention, Paul Heaton, Sandra G. Mayson, Megan Stevenson Jan 2017

The Downstream Consequences Of Misdemeanor Pretrial Detention, Paul Heaton, Sandra G. Mayson, Megan Stevenson

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In misdemeanor cases, pretrial detention poses a particular problem because it may induce innocent defendants to plead guilty in order to exit jail, potentially creating widespread error in case adjudication. While practitioners have long recognized this possibility, empirical evidence on the downstream impacts of pretrial detention on misdemeanor defendants and their cases remains limited. This Article uses detailed data on hundreds of thousands of misdemeanor cases resolved in Harris County, Texas—the thirdlargest county in the United States—to measure the effects of pretrial detention on case outcomes and future crime. We find that detained defendants are 25% more likely than similarly …


“New Judgment” And The Federal Habeas Statutes, Thomas V. Burch Jan 2017

“New Judgment” And The Federal Habeas Statutes, Thomas V. Burch

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Prisoners love to file habeas petitions. Maybe a little too much. That is why Congress drafted the federal habeas statutes to preclude prisoners from filing “second or successive” petitions attacking their judgments. This essay explains the shortcomings of how some courts have assessed that meaning, and it proposes a straightforward test for determining when a new judgment exists.


The Grand Jury: A Shield Of A Different Sort, R. Michael Cassidy, Julian A. Cook Jan 2017

The Grand Jury: A Shield Of A Different Sort, R. Michael Cassidy, Julian A. Cook

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According to the Washington Post, 991 people were shot to death by police officers in the United States during calendar year 2015, and 957 people were fatally shot in 2016. A disproportionate percentage of the citizens killed in these police-civilian encounters were black. Events in Ferguson, Missouri; Chicago, Illinois; Charlotte, North Carolina; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Staten Island, New York - to name but a few affected cities - have now exposed deep distrust between communities of color and law enforcement. Greater transparency is necessary to begin to heal this culture of distrust and to inform the debate going forward …


Different Lyrics, Same Song: Watts, Ferguson, And The Stagnating Effect Of The Politics Of Law And Order, Lonnie T. Brown Jan 2017

Different Lyrics, Same Song: Watts, Ferguson, And The Stagnating Effect Of The Politics Of Law And Order, Lonnie T. Brown

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This Article critically examines the Watts riots and their aftermath in comparison to the Ferguson situation, and demonstrates how little progress America has made in a span of fifty years in the area of race relations. More importantly, the Article points to the politics of “law and order” as the primary culprit for this static social condition.


Decriminalizing Childhood, Andrea L. Dennis Jan 2017

Decriminalizing Childhood, Andrea L. Dennis

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Even though the number of juveniles arrested, tried and detained has recently declined, there are still a large number of delinquency cases, children under supervision by state officials, and children living in state facilities for youth and adults. Additionally, any positive developments in juvenile justice have not been evenly experienced by all youth. Juveniles living in urban areas are more likely to have their cases formally processed in the juvenile justice system rather than informally resolved. Further, the reach of the justice system has a particularly disparate effect on minority youth who tend to live in heavily-policed urban areas.

The …


The Wrong Decision At The Wrong Time: Utah V. Strieff In The Era Of Aggressive Policing, Julian A. Cook Jan 2017

The Wrong Decision At The Wrong Time: Utah V. Strieff In The Era Of Aggressive Policing, Julian A. Cook

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On June 20, 2016, the United States Supreme Court held in Utah v. Strieff that evidence discovered incident to an unconstitutional arrest of an individual should not be suppressed given that the subsequent discovery of an outstanding warrant attenuated the taint from the unlawful detention. Approximately two weeks later the issue of aggressive policing was again thrust into the national spotlight when two African-American individuals — Alton Sterling and Philando Castile — were killed by policemen in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Falcon Heights, Minnesota, respectively, under questionable circumstances. Though connected by proximity in time, this article will demonstrate that these …


Freedom Of Speech And The Criminal Law, Dan T. Coenen Jan 2017

Freedom Of Speech And The Criminal Law, Dan T. Coenen

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Because the Free Speech Clause limits government power to enact penal statutes, it has a close relationship to American criminal law. This Article explores that relationship at a time when a fast-growing “decriminalization movement” has taken hold across the nation. At the heart of the Article is the idea that free speech law has developed in ways that have positioned the Supreme Court to use that law to impose significant new limits on the criminalization of speech. More particularly, this article claims that the Court has developed three distinct decision-making strategies for decriminalizing speech based on constitutional principles. The first …


Posthumous Organ Donation As Prisoner Agency And Rehabilitation, Amanda Seals Bersinger, Lisa Milot Jul 2016

Posthumous Organ Donation As Prisoner Agency And Rehabilitation, Amanda Seals Bersinger, Lisa Milot

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Unlike U.S. citizens generally, who are encouraged to become organ donors through drivers' license designations, advance directives, and state registries, in most instances inmates are barred from donating their organs until release.

To date, the scholarship in favor of allowing inmates to donate their organs has largely focused on the benefit these donations could offer patients languishing on organ transplant lists, while objections center on the vulnerability of the imprisoned potential donors and their inability to make decisions freely. A donor-focused case for donation, however, is missing in this debate. This Article fills that gap by setting out the philosophical …


Louisiana Rapper’S Case Speaks To Bigger Problems In The Criminal Justice System, Andrea L. Dennis, Erik Nelson, Michael Render Apr 2016

Louisiana Rapper’S Case Speaks To Bigger Problems In The Criminal Justice System, Andrea L. Dennis, Erik Nelson, Michael Render

Popular Media

This article published on April 25, 2016 at the Huffington Post examines the case of McKinley Phipps. He was sentenced to thirty years of hard labor for a crime that, to this day, he insists he did not commit. During the trial prosecutors used Phipps’s rap persona and lyrics - remixed for special effect - to carefully construct a story of Phipps’s guilt. The article discusses how Phipps lyrics and persona contributed to his conviction and the progress of his appeals.