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Criminal Law

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Territoriality In American Criminal Law, Emma Kaufman Dec 2022

Territoriality In American Criminal Law, Emma Kaufman

Michigan Law Review

It is a bedrock principle of American criminal law that the authority to try and punish someone for a crime arises from the crime’s connection to a particular place. Thus, we assume that a person who commits a crime in some location— say, Philadelphia—can be arrested by Philadelphia police for conduct deemed criminal by the Pennsylvania legislature, prosecuted in a Philadelphia court, and punished in a Pennsylvania prison. The idea that criminal law is tied to geography in this way is called the territoriality principle. This idea is so familiar that it usually goes unstated.

This Article foregrounds and questions …


Second Chances: Why Michigan Should Categorically Prohibit The Sentence Of Juvenile Life Without Parole, Richard Zhao Apr 2022

Second Chances: Why Michigan Should Categorically Prohibit The Sentence Of Juvenile Life Without Parole, Richard Zhao

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

The United States is the only country in the world that sentences children to die in prison. This practice, known as juvenile life without parole (JLWOP), is condemned by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Yet twenty-five states still permit the sentence, and Michigan houses one of the nation’s largest JLWOP populations. Despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s ban on some forms of JLWOP, more must be done to further limit the use of this sentence. The current JLWOP sentencing scheme is untenable, imposes a significant financial burden on taxpayers, and perpetuates racial inequality. This Note explores …


Criminal Law In A World Of States, Ryan Liss Mar 2022

Criminal Law In A World Of States, Ryan Liss

Michigan Journal of International Law

In recent decades, a new school of criminal law theory has emerged. Its proponents reject the traditional story that criminal law ought to be justified on either retributivist or utilitarian grounds alone. Instead, they argue that justifications for criminal law must be rooted in a broader political theory of the state’s authority. While this political theory turn is becoming increasingly dominant in the literature, it gives rise to two significant challenges that scholars have thus far failed to recognize. These challenges emerge when we turn our attention from an internal, domestic view of the state to the world beyond its …


Cedaw And Transformative Judicial Obligations: The Vulnerable Migrant Domestic Worker And Root Causes Of Abuse, Cheah W. L. Jan 2022

Cedaw And Transformative Judicial Obligations: The Vulnerable Migrant Domestic Worker And Root Causes Of Abuse, Cheah W. L.

Michigan Journal of International Law

CEDAW’s transformative provisions, which require states to address root causes of injustice and discrimination, can be made more effective not only through legislation and policy, as commonly argued, but through the judiciary. This article highlights the need to develop the content and implementation of transformative judicial obligations under CEDAW through a comparative study of judicial decisions on the abuse of female MDWs in three key MDW destinations that are party to CEDAW—Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia. By engaging with scholarship on CEDAW’s positive obligations, transformative equality, and theories of adjudication, this article argues that criminal law courts should not only …


Evaporating Into Thin Air: The Prosecution Of Air Pollution Crimes During The Trump Administration, Joshua Ozymy, Melissa Jarrell Ozymy Jan 2022

Evaporating Into Thin Air: The Prosecution Of Air Pollution Crimes During The Trump Administration, Joshua Ozymy, Melissa Jarrell Ozymy

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

Antagonistic to environmental regulation, the Trump Administration sought to significantly roll back federal clean air law enforcement. Yet, we know very little about the impact of the Administration on air pollution criminal enforcement. Through content analysis of all EPA criminal investigations leading to prosecution, we analyze patterns in charging and sentencing and draw out the broader themes in air pollution prosecutions during this period. Our results show a sizable drop in prosecutions compared to the Obama Administration. Although prosecutors managed to pursue serious crimes involving significant harm and criminal conduct and secure over $2.9 billion in monetary penalties, roughly 160 …


Mich. Ruling Widens Sentencing Protections For Young Adults, Kimberly A. Thomas Jan 2022

Mich. Ruling Widens Sentencing Protections For Young Adults, Kimberly A. Thomas

Other Publications

On July 28, the Michigan Supreme Court held that the mandatory imposition of a life-without-parole sentence on an 18-year-old violated the state constitution.

This decision expands the protections provided for young defendants by the U.S. Supreme Court in Miller v. Alabama and builds on a nascent trend that provides additional constitutional and statutory protections for young people over 17 years old who are charged with serious offenses.


Through A Glass, Darkly: Systemic Racism, Affirmative Action, And Disproportionate Minority Contact, Robin Walker Sterling Dec 2021

Through A Glass, Darkly: Systemic Racism, Affirmative Action, And Disproportionate Minority Contact, Robin Walker Sterling

Michigan Law Review

This Article is the first to describe how systemic racism persists in a society that openly denounces racism and racist behaviors, using affirmative action and disproportionate minority contact as contrasting examples. Affirmative action and disproportionate minority contact are two sides of the same coin. Far from being distinct, these two social institutions function as two sides of the same ideology, sharing a common historical nucleus rooted in the mythologies that sustained chattel slavery in the United States. The effects of these narratives continue to operate in race-related jurisprudence and in the criminal legal system, sending normative messages about race and …


Failed Interventions: Domestic Violence, Human Trafficking, And The Criminalization Of Survival, Alaina Richert Nov 2021

Failed Interventions: Domestic Violence, Human Trafficking, And The Criminalization Of Survival, Alaina Richert

Michigan Law Review

Over the last decade, state legislators have enacted statutes acknowledging the link between criminal behavior and trauma resulting from domestic violence and human trafficking. While these interventions take a step in the right direction, they still have major shortcomings that prevent meaningful relief for survivor-defendants. Until now, there has been no systematic overview of the statutes that require courts to consider a defendant’s history of trauma in the contexts of domestic violence and human trafficking. There has also been no attempt to explore how these statutes relate to each other. This Note fills those gaps. It also identifies essential elements …


Antiracist Remedial Approaches In Judge Gregory’S Jurisprudence, Leah M. Litman Jul 2021

Antiracist Remedial Approaches In Judge Gregory’S Jurisprudence, Leah M. Litman

Articles

This piece uses the idea of antiracism to highlight parallels between school desegregation cases and cases concerning errors in the criminal justice system. There remain stark, pervasive disparities in both school composition and the criminal justice system. Yet even though judicial remedies are an integral part of rooting out systemic inequality and the vestiges of discrimination, courts have been reticent to use the tools at their disposal to adopt proactive remedial approaches to address these disparities. This piece uses two examples from Judge Roger Gregory’s jurisprudence to illustrate how an antiracist approach to judicial remedies might work.


Propaganda Warfare On The International Criminal Court, Sara L. Ochs Jun 2021

Propaganda Warfare On The International Criminal Court, Sara L. Ochs

Michigan Journal of International Law

Propaganda warfare, while novel in nomenclature, is far from new in practice. In an era dominated by constant news, battles for public opinion complement physical attacks. In fact, “winning modern wars is as much dependent on carrying domestic and international public opinion as it is on defeating the enemy on the battlefield.” The fight for public opinion has become so valuable to military initiatives that the U.S. Department of Defense Law of War Manual specifically recognizes propaganda directed towards “civilian or neutral audiences” as a “permissible means of war.”


How The Rational Basis Test Protects Policing For Profit, William R. Maurer Jun 2021

How The Rational Basis Test Protects Policing For Profit, William R. Maurer

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Since the police shooting of Michael Brown in 2014 and the civil unrest that followed, numerous lawsuits have challenged laws that use the government’s ability to impose fines and fees for reasons other than the protection of the public. These challenges have usually raised equal protection challenges to these laws—that is, that the laws punish the poor more harshly than others. The challenges have been unsuccessful, largely because courts examine these laws using “rational basis review,” a standard that is highly deferential to the government and one in which the courts themselves are often required to actively advocate for the …


What The Great Recession Revealed About Taxation By Citation And What Can Be Done About It, Dick M. Carpenter Ii, Chelsea Lawson, Courtney Deuser Jun 2021

What The Great Recession Revealed About Taxation By Citation And What Can Be Done About It, Dick M. Carpenter Ii, Chelsea Lawson, Courtney Deuser

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

In recent years, the issue of “taxation by citation” has grown in national prominence. It is generally defined as municipal revenue generation through fines and fees that transcends a clear relationship to public health and safety and serves more as a revenue generating device. According to critics, taxation by citation creates conflicts of interest, violates the rights of those with low income, and distorts law enforcement priorities. Municipal leaders reject such criticisms by denying taxation by citation even exists. To date, research findings have been mixed on whether cities practice taxation by citation. This Article examines whether there is a …


The Problem With Assumptions: Revisiting The Dark Figure Of Sexual Recidivism, Tamara Rice Lave, Jj Prescott, Grady Bridges Jun 2021

The Problem With Assumptions: Revisiting The Dark Figure Of Sexual Recidivism, Tamara Rice Lave, Jj Prescott, Grady Bridges

Law & Economics Working Papers

What is the actual rate of sexual recidivism given the well-known fact that many crimes go unreported? This is a difficult and important problem, and in The Dark Figure of Sexual Recidivism, Nicholas Scurich and Richard S. John (2019) attempt to make progress on it by “estimate[ing] actual recidivism rates given observed rates of reoffending” (p.172). In this article, we show that the math in their probabilistic model is flawed, but more important, we demonstrate that their conclusions follow ineluctably from their empirical assumptions and the unrepresentative empirical research they cite to benchmark their calculations. Scurich and John contend that …


Debt To Society: The Role Of Fines & Fees Reform In Dismantling The Carceral State, Wesley Dozier, Daniel Kiel Jun 2021

Debt To Society: The Role Of Fines & Fees Reform In Dismantling The Carceral State, Wesley Dozier, Daniel Kiel

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Fines and fees that result from contact with the criminal legal system serve as a suffocating debt for those against whom they are assessed. Many states have countless laws that require taxes, fines, and fees to be assessed against individuals involved in the criminal legal system at various stages of the criminal legal process, and they have the effect of permanently trapping individuals within the system. In Tennessee, for example, these debts, which can accumulate to over $10,000 in a single criminal case, stand in the way of individuals getting their criminal records expunged, keeping valid driver’s licenses, and restoring …


Remarks, Lisa Foster Jun 2021

Remarks, Lisa Foster

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

In both Greek and Roman mythology, a Hydra guards the entrance to the underworld. For those who don’t remember their mythology, a Hydra is a multi-headed serpent who exhales poisonous fumes. If you get close enough to the Hydra and are able to cut off one of its heads, two grow back in its place. Slaying the Hydra was number two on Hercules’ famous list of Labors. He was successful, but not without a fierce struggle.

As you’ve heard over the last four days, fines and fees are Hydralike. Fines are imposed for almost every minor offense — misdemeanors, infractions, …


Researching Marijuana Law, Seth Quidachay-Swan Jun 2021

Researching Marijuana Law, Seth Quidachay-Swan

Law Librarian Scholarship

This article provides a brief overview of the current legal framework governing the regulation of marijuana at the federal and state levels in the United States. It also provides an overview of the state of Michigan’s current regulatory framework and resources for attorneys interested in learning more about marijuana regulation.


The Problem With Assumptions: Revisiting “The Dark Figure Of Sexual Recidivism”, Tamara Rice Lave, Jj Prescott, Grady Bridges Jun 2021

The Problem With Assumptions: Revisiting “The Dark Figure Of Sexual Recidivism”, Tamara Rice Lave, Jj Prescott, Grady Bridges

Articles

What is the actual rate of sexual recidivism given the well‐ known fact that many crimes go unreported? This is a difficult and important problem, and in “The dark figure of sexual recidivism,” Nicholas Scurich and Richard S. John (2019) attempt to make progress on it by “estimat[ing] actual recidivism rates . . . given observed rates of reoffending” (p. 171). In this article, we show that the math in their probabilistic model is flawed, but more importantly, we demonstrate that their conclusions follow ineluctably from their empirical assumptions and the unrepresentative empirical research they cite to benchmark their calculations. …


Considering Sanctions Compliance In Light Of Ucc 4a, Michael Zytnick, Alaina Gimbert Apr 2021

Considering Sanctions Compliance In Light Of Ucc 4a, Michael Zytnick, Alaina Gimbert

Michigan Business & Entrepreneurial Law Review

As part of a bank’s financial crime compliance program, it is increasingly common to screen and halt the processing of a payment order for compliance investigation where reference is made to a potential, but unconfirmed, target of United States economic sanctions. This essay discusses challenges under Article 4A of the Uniform Commercial Code concerning the timing of such an investigation and the creation of potential liability where a bank wrongly accepts by execution a previously halted payment order received from a sender following five funds transfer business days after the relevant execution date or payment date of that order. In …


The Moral Ambiguity Of Public Prosecution, Gabriel S. Mendlow Mar 2021

The Moral Ambiguity Of Public Prosecution, Gabriel S. Mendlow

Articles

Classic crimes like theft and assault are in the first instance wrongs against individuals, not against the state or the polity that it represents. Yet our legal system denies crime victims the right to initiate or intervene in the criminal process, relegating them to the roles of witness or bystander—even as the system treats prosecution as an institutional analog of the interpersonal processes of moral blame and accountability, which give pride of place to those most directly wronged. Public prosecution reigns supreme, with the state claiming primary and exclusive moral standing to call offenders to account for their wrongs. Although …


The Stability Paradox: The Two-Parent Paradigm And The Perpetuation Of Violence Against Women In Termination Of Parental Rights And Custody Cases, Judith Lewis Feb 2021

The Stability Paradox: The Two-Parent Paradigm And The Perpetuation Of Violence Against Women In Termination Of Parental Rights And Custody Cases, Judith Lewis

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

Despite changing family compositions, entrenched in family law is the antiquated idea that a two-parent household, or its approximation vis-à-vis a shared custody arrangement, promotes stability and integrity and, thus, is in the best interest of the child. Yet, the concept that the two-parent household (or shared involvement of both parents in the child’s life if the parents separate) promotes stability for the family and is best for the child is a dangerous fallacy. When rape or intimate partner violence (IPV) is present, or the re-occurrence of violence remains a threat, the family unit is far from stable.

This Article …


Rethinking The Reasonable Response: Safeguarding The Promise Of Kingsley For Conditions Of Confinement, Hanna Rutkowski Feb 2021

Rethinking The Reasonable Response: Safeguarding The Promise Of Kingsley For Conditions Of Confinement, Hanna Rutkowski

Michigan Law Review

Nearly five million individuals are admitted to America’s jails each year, and at any given time, two-thirds of those held in jail have not been convicted of a crime. Under current Supreme Court doctrine, these pretrial detainees are functionally protected by the same standard as convicted prisoners, despite the fact that they are formally protected by different constitutional amendments. A 2015 decision, Kingsley v. Hendrickson, declared that a different standard would apply to pretrial detainees and convicted prisoners in the context of use of force: consistent with the Constitution’s mandate that they not be punished at all, pretrial detainees …


The Intersection Of Wrongful Convictions And Gender In Cases Where Women Were Sentenced To Death Or Life In Prison Without Parole, Connor F. Lang Feb 2021

The Intersection Of Wrongful Convictions And Gender In Cases Where Women Were Sentenced To Death Or Life In Prison Without Parole, Connor F. Lang

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

This Note examines National Registry of Exonerations data and discusses the prevalence of false confessions and presence of a child victim in cases of women who were convicted of murder, received a serious sentence, and were later exonerated. After looking at the cases of women exonerated after receiving death sentences or life without parole sentences in light of the prevalence of these factors, this Note argues that examination of the cases reveals that the presence of a false confession or a child victim may have contributed to some of the wrongful convictions where these factors may have led to the …


Criminal Record Relief For Human Trafficking Survivors: Analysis Of Current State Statutes And The Need For A Federal Model Statute, Ashleigh Pelto Feb 2021

Criminal Record Relief For Human Trafficking Survivors: Analysis Of Current State Statutes And The Need For A Federal Model Statute, Ashleigh Pelto

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

This Note defines criminal record relief and analyzes the effectiveness of three state criminal record relief statutes at protecting trafficking survivors. This analysis is based on State Report Cards: Grading Criminal Record Relief Laws for Survivors of Human Trafficking by Polaris, a leading human trafficking nonprofit. It next discusses the absence of federal criminal record relief and how a statute at the federal level could provide relief for survivors with federal convictions while simultaneously providing a model for states to ensure their statutes incorporate best practices for record relief moving forward. This Note then discusses how Polaris’s report stops short …


Prohibiting The Punishment Of Poverty: The Abolition Of Wealth-Based Criminal Disenfranchisement, Amy Ciardiello Jan 2021

Prohibiting The Punishment Of Poverty: The Abolition Of Wealth-Based Criminal Disenfranchisement, Amy Ciardiello

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

The majority of U.S. states disenfranchise formerly incarcerated individuals because of their poverty by conditioning re-enfranchisement on the full payment of legal financial obligations. This Note discusses the practice of wealth-based criminal disenfranchisement where the inability to pay legal financial obligations, including fines, fees, restitution, interest payments, court debts, and other economic penalties, prohibits low-income, formerly incarcerated individuals from voting. This Note argues this issue has not been adequately addressed due to unsuccessful legislative reforms and failed legal challenges. An examination of state policies, federal and state legislative reforms, and litigation shows that a more drastic state legislative solution is …


A Fresh Start: The Evolving Use Of Juvenile Records In College Admissions, Eve Rips Jan 2021

A Fresh Start: The Evolving Use Of Juvenile Records In College Admissions, Eve Rips

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Questions about criminal and juvenile records in the college application process are common and frequently fail to account for the unique characteristics of juvenile justice systems. The ways in which colleges and universities ask about juvenile records often encourage applicants to disclose information in spite of statutory protections. These questions fly in the face of the public policy underlying a range of legal safeguards that are intended to help individuals with records from juvenile systems in moving forward and receiving a second chance.

In recent years, a series of legislative and institutional changes have begun to restrict how colleges and …


Driver's License Suspension For Unpaid Fines And Fees: The Movement For Reform, Joni Hirsch, Priya Sarathy Jones Jan 2021

Driver's License Suspension For Unpaid Fines And Fees: The Movement For Reform, Joni Hirsch, Priya Sarathy Jones

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Nearly eleven million people in the United States have a suspended driver’s license for unpaid fines and fees. Laws that suspend, revoke, or prevent renewal of driver’s licenses and/or restrict driving privileges (i.e., registration holds and non-renewals) for nonpayment of traffic- and court-related debt criminalize poverty and disproportionately impact those with a lower economic status. These unproductive and harmful debt-based restrictions not only fail to increase collections of fines and fees, but also divert important public resources for law enforcement and courts away from public safety. The primary way in which these restrictions manifest themselves is through driver’s license suspensions, …


Dismantling Policing For Profit: How To Build On Missouri's Post-Ferguson Court Reforms, Samuel Lev Rubinstein Jan 2021

Dismantling Policing For Profit: How To Build On Missouri's Post-Ferguson Court Reforms, Samuel Lev Rubinstein

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

This Note argues that legal reforms enacted after the 2014 Ferguson, Missouri uprising are insufficient to address the problem of using courts as revenue generators and the related problem of predatory policing. Reforms to date have merely capped how much money towns can raise from their courts; they have not fixed the perverse incentive problem, which allows towns like Ferguson to extract wealth from vulnerable, low-income residents through the court system. This Note argues that towns should be required to remit the money their courts raise to a state education fund, which puts legal separation between the entity collecting the …


Asian Americans And Pacific Islanders And The Prison Industrial Complex, Raymond Magsaysay Jan 2021

Asian Americans And Pacific Islanders And The Prison Industrial Complex, Raymond Magsaysay

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Recent uprisings against racial injustice, sparked by the killings of George Floyd and others, have triggered urgent calls to overhaul the U.S. criminal “justice” system. Yet Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs), the fastest-growing racial group in the country, have largely been left out of these conversations. Identifying and addressing this issue, I intercalate AAPIs into powerful, contemporary critiques of the prison industrial complex, including emergent abolitionist legal scholarship. I argue that the model minority myth, an anti-Black racial project, leads to the exclusion of AAPIs in mainstream and critical studies of crime and carcerality. I begin the intervention by …


Offenders And Sorn Laws, Amanda Agan, J.J. Prescott Jan 2021

Offenders And Sorn Laws, Amanda Agan, J.J. Prescott

Book Chapters

Chapter 7 describes what we know about the effects of SORN laws on criminal behavior. A coherent story emerges from this review: there is virtually no evidence that SORN laws reduce recidivism or otherwise increase public safety. The chapter first delineates the various ways registration and notification alter the legal environment not only for registrants but also for nonregistrants, the public, and law enforcement. There are many channels through which SORN laws might impact the frequency of sex offenses, including some that would produce an increase in overall offending. The chapter assesses these possibilities in light of a large body …


Reconsidering Ross: The Interplay Of Aedpa, Criminal Appeals, And The Right To Counsel, Kimberly A. Thomas Jan 2021

Reconsidering Ross: The Interplay Of Aedpa, Criminal Appeals, And The Right To Counsel, Kimberly A. Thomas

Articles

This piece highlights features of our current law that converge to say that we should reconsider Ross: (1) the utility of counsel on discretionary review, which has been underexplored, both before and after Ross; (2) the increased importance, in modern criminal law, of direct appeals; and relatedly, the U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation of AEDPA that has moved most of the significant windows for substantive criminal law change into the direct appeal; and, finally, (3) perhaps an increased sliver of doctrinal sunlight in which to think about chipping away at Ross. Given the first two developments, the possible window to think …