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Sentencing Co-Offenders, Ehud Guttel, Ittai Paldor, Gideon Parchomovsky Oct 2022

Sentencing Co-Offenders, Ehud Guttel, Ittai Paldor, Gideon Parchomovsky

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

Tort law and criminal law are the two main vehicles utilized by the state to deter wrongful behavior. Despite the many similarities between the two legal fields, they differ in their treatment of collaborations. While tort law divides liability among joint-tortfeasors, criminal law abides by a no-division rule that imposes on each co-offender the full brunt of the sanction. Thus, each of two offenders who jointly steal $1,000, will be subject to the full corresponding penalty (rather than the divided penalty for stealing $500).

This Article demonstrates that in property and financial crimes, the no-division regime of criminal law harms …


Negligence And Culpability: Reflections On Alexander And Ferzan, Mitchell N. Berman Oct 2022

Negligence And Culpability: Reflections On Alexander And Ferzan, Mitchell N. Berman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

Philosophers of criminal punishment disagree about whether infliction of punishment for negligence can be morally justified. One contending view holds that it cannot be because punishment requires culpability and culpability requires, at a minimum, advertence to the facts that make one’s conduct wrongful. Larry Alexander and Kim Ferzan are prominent champions of this position. This essay challenges that view and their arguments for it. Invoking a conceptual distinction between an agent’s being blameworthy for an act and their deserving punishment (or suffering) for that act, it explains that an agent can be blameworthy for negligent conduct, and thus liable to …


The Trouble With Time Served, Kimberly Ferzan Mar 2022

The Trouble With Time Served, Kimberly Ferzan

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

Every jurisdiction in the United States gives criminal defendants “credit” against their sentence for the time they spend detained pretrial. In a world of mass incarceration and overcriminalization that disproportionately impacts people of color, this practice appears to be a welcome mechanism for mercy and justice. In fact, however, crediting detainees for time served is perverse. It harms the innocent. A defendant who is found not guilty, or whose case is dismissed, gets nothing. Crediting time served also allows the state to avoid internalizing the full costs of pretrial detention, thereby making overinclusive detention standards less expensive. Finally, crediting time …


Remodelling Criminal Insanity: Exploring Philosophical, Legal, And Medical Premises Of The Medical Model Used In Norwegian Law, Linda Gröning, Unn K. Haukvik, Stephen J. Morse, Susanna Radovic Jan 2022

Remodelling Criminal Insanity: Exploring Philosophical, Legal, And Medical Premises Of The Medical Model Used In Norwegian Law, Linda Gröning, Unn K. Haukvik, Stephen J. Morse, Susanna Radovic

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

This paper clarifies the conceptual space of discussion of legal insanity by considering the virtues of the ‘medical model’ model that has been used in Norway for almost a century. The medical model identifies insanity exclusively with mental disorder, and especially with psychosis, without any requirement that the disorder causally influenced the commission of the crime. We explore the medical model from a transdisciplinary perspective and show how it can be utilised to systematise and reconsider the central philosophical, legal and medical premises involved in the insanity debate. A key concern is how recent transdiagnostic and dimensional approaches to psychosis …


Internal And External Challenges To Culpability, Stephen J. Morse Jan 2022

Internal And External Challenges To Culpability, Stephen J. Morse

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

This article was presented at “Guilty Minds: A Virtual Conference on Mens Rea and Criminal Justice Reform” at Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. It is forthcoming in Arizona State Law Journal Volume 53, Issue 2.

The thesis of this article is simple: As long as we maintain the current folk psychological conception of ourselves as intentional and potentially rational creatures, as people and not simply as machines, mental states will inevitably remain central to ascriptions of culpability and responsibility more generally. It is also desirable. Nonetheless, we are in a condition of unprecedented internal challenges to …


Decarceration's Inside Partners, Seema Saifee Jan 2022

Decarceration's Inside Partners, Seema Saifee

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

This Article examines a hidden phenomenon in criminal punishment. People in prison, during their incarceration, have made important—and sometimes extraordinary—strides toward reducing prison populations. In fact, stakeholders in many corners, from policy makers to researchers to abolitionists, have harnessed legal and conceptual strategies generated inside the walls to pursue decarceral strategies outside the walls. Despite this outside use of inside moves, legal scholarship has directed little attention to theorizing the potential of looking to people on the inside as partners in the long-term project of meaningfully reducing prison populations, or “decarceration.”

Building on the change-making agency and revolutionary ideation inside …


The Criminogenic Effects Of Damaging Criminal Law’S Moral Credibility, Paul H. Robinson, Lindsay Holcomb Jan 2022

The Criminogenic Effects Of Damaging Criminal Law’S Moral Credibility, Paul H. Robinson, Lindsay Holcomb

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

The criminal justice system’s reputation with the community can have a significant effect on the extent to which people are willing to comply with its demands and internalize its norms. In the context of criminal law, the empirical studies suggest that ordinary people expect the criminal justice system to do justice and avoid injustice, as they perceive it – what has been called “empirical desert” to distinguish it from the “deontological desert” of moral philosophers. The empirical studies and many real-world natural experiments suggest that a criminal justice system that regularly deviates from empirical desert loses moral credibility and thereby …


Presidential Accountability And The Rule Of Law: Can The President Claim Immunity If He Shoots Someone On Fifth Avenue?, Claire Oakes Finkelstein, Richard Painter Jan 2022

Presidential Accountability And The Rule Of Law: Can The President Claim Immunity If He Shoots Someone On Fifth Avenue?, Claire Oakes Finkelstein, Richard Painter

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

Can a sitting President be indicted while in office? This critical constitutional question has never been directly answered by any court or legislative body. The prevailing wisdom, however, is that, though he may be investigated, a sitting President is immune from actual prosecution. The concept of presidential immunity, however, has hastened the erosion of checks and balances in the federal government and weakened our ability to rein in renegade Presidents. It has enabled sitting Presidents to impede the enforcement of subpoenas and other tools of investigation by prosecutors, both federal and state, as well as to claim imperviousness to civil …


Individualizing Criminal Law’S Justice Judgments: Shortcomings In The Doctrines Of Culpability, Mitigation, And Excuse, Paul H. Robinson, Lindsay Holcomb Jan 2022

Individualizing Criminal Law’S Justice Judgments: Shortcomings In The Doctrines Of Culpability, Mitigation, And Excuse, Paul H. Robinson, Lindsay Holcomb

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

In judging an offender’s culpability, mitigation, or excuse, there seems to be general agreement that it is appropriate for the criminal law to take into account such things as the offender’s youthfulness or her significantly low IQ. There is even support for taking account of their distorted perceptions and reasoning induced by traumatic experiences, as in battered spouse syndrome. On the other hand, there seems to be equally strong opposition to taking account of things such as racism or homophobia that played a role in bringing about the offense. In between these two clear points, however, exists a large collection …


Criminal Law’S Core Principles, Paul H. Robinson Oct 2021

Criminal Law’S Core Principles, Paul H. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

Modern criminal law scholars and policymakers assume they are free to construct criminal law rules by focusing exclusively on the criminal justice theory of the day. But this “blank slate” conception of criminal lawmaking is dangerously misguided. In fact, lawmakers are writing on a slate on which core principles are already indelibly written and realistically they are free only to add detail in the implementation of those principles and to add additional provisions not inconsistent with them. Attempts to do otherwise are destined to produce tragic results from both utilitarian and retributivist views.

Many writers dispute that such core principles …


Proportionality, Constraint, And Culpability, Mitchell N. Berman Sep 2021

Proportionality, Constraint, And Culpability, Mitchell N. Berman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

Philosophers of criminal punishment widely agree that criminal punishment should be “proportional” to the “seriousness” of the offense. But this apparent consensus is only superficial, masking significant dissensus below the surface. Proposed proportionality principles differ on several distinct dimensions, including: (1) regarding which offense or offender properties determine offense “seriousness” and thus constitute a proportionality relatum; (2) regarding whether punishment is objectionably disproportionate only when excessively severe, or also when excessively lenient; and (3) regarding whether the principle can deliver absolute (“cardinal”) judgments, or only comparative (“ordinal”) ones. This essay proposes that these differences cannot be successfully adjudicated, and one …


Blameworthiness, Desert, And Luck, Mitchell N. Berman Sep 2021

Blameworthiness, Desert, And Luck, Mitchell N. Berman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

Philosophers disagree about whether outcome luck can affect an agent’s “moral responsibility.” Focusing on responsibility’s “negative side,” some maintain, and others deny, that an action’s results bear constitutively on how “blameworthy” the actor is, and on how much blame or punishment they “deserve.” Crucially, both sides to the debate assume that an actor’s blameworthiness and negative desert are equally affected—or unaffected—by an action’s results. This article challenges that previously overlooked assumption, arguing that blameworthiness and desert are distinct moral notions that serve distinct normative functions: blameworthiness serves a liability function (removing a bar to otherwise impermissible treatments), whereas desert serves …


After The Crime: Rewarding Offenders’ Positive Post-Offense Conduct, Paul H. Robinson, Muhammad Sarahne Jul 2021

After The Crime: Rewarding Offenders’ Positive Post-Offense Conduct, Paul H. Robinson, Muhammad Sarahne

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

While an offender’s conduct before and during the crime is the traditional focus of criminal law and sentencing rules, an examination of post-offense conduct can also be important in promoting criminal justice goals. After the crime, different offenders make different choices and have different experiences, and those differences can suggest appropriately different treatment by judges, correctional officials, probation and parole supervisors, and other decision-makers in the criminal justice system.

Positive post-offense conduct ought to be acknowledged and rewarded, not only to encourage it but also as a matter of fair and just treatment. This essay describes four kinds of positive …


How Criminal Code Drafting Form Can Restrain Prosecutorial And Legislative Excesses: Consolidated Offense Drafting, Paul H. Robinson, Matthew Kussmaul, Muhammad Sarahne Mar 2021

How Criminal Code Drafting Form Can Restrain Prosecutorial And Legislative Excesses: Consolidated Offense Drafting, Paul H. Robinson, Matthew Kussmaul, Muhammad Sarahne

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

Solving criminal justice problems typically requires the enactment of new rules or the modification of existing ones. But there are some serious problems that can best be solved simply by altering the way in which the existing rules are drafted rather than by altering their content. This is the case with two of the most serious problems in criminal justice today: the problem of overlapping criminal offenses that create excessive prosecutorial charging discretion and the problem of legislative inconsistency and irrationality in grading offenses.

After examining these two problems and demonstrating their serious effects in perverting criminal justice, the essay …


Before And After Hinckley: Legal Insanity In The United States, Stephen J. Morse Feb 2021

Before And After Hinckley: Legal Insanity In The United States, Stephen J. Morse

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

This chapter first considers the direction of the affirmative defense of legal insanity in the United States before John Hinckley was acquitted by reason of insanity in 1982 for attempting to assassinate President Reagan and others and the immediate aftermath of that acquittal. Since the middle of the 20th Century, the tale is one of the rise and fall of the American Law Institute’s Model Penal Code test for legal insanity. Then it turns to the constitutional decisions of the United States Supreme Court concerning the status of legal insanity. Finally, it addresses the substantive and procedural changes that …


Exposing Police Misconduct In Pre-Trial Criminal Proceedings, Anjelica Hendricks Jan 2021

Exposing Police Misconduct In Pre-Trial Criminal Proceedings, Anjelica Hendricks

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

This Article presents a unique argument: police misconduct records should be accessible and applicable for pre-trial criminal proceedings. Unfortunately, the existing narrative on the value of police misconduct records is narrow because it exclusively considers how these records can be used to impeach officer credibility at trial. This focus is limiting for several reasons. First, it addresses too few defendants, since fewer than 3% of criminal cases make it to trial. Second, it overlooks misconduct records not directly addressing credibility—such as records demonstrating paperwork deficiencies, failures to appear in court, and “mistakes” that upon examination are patterns of abuse. Finally, …


Kangaroo Courts, Shaun Ossei-Owusu Jan 2021

Kangaroo Courts, Shaun Ossei-Owusu

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

Kangaroo courts are seemingly everywhere and nowhere. Legal actors often use this term to describe substandard and defective tribunals across various areas of American law. Yet there are few scholarly treatments of this evocative term. Without embracing this specific description, Professor Alexandra Natapoff’s Criminal Municipal Courts provides vivid insights into a rarely explored world of administration that has many of the trappings of kangaroo courts. Natapoff catalogs how municipal courts — also referred to as “town,” “summary,” “justice,” “mayor,” and “police” courts — are sometimes replete with conflicts of interests, shockingly staffed with nonlawyer judges, and often flouting standard criminal …


Prosecuting Civil Asset Forfeiture On Contingency Fees: Looking For Profit In All The Wrong Places, Louis S. Rulli Jan 2021

Prosecuting Civil Asset Forfeiture On Contingency Fees: Looking For Profit In All The Wrong Places, Louis S. Rulli

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

Civil asset forfeiture has strayed far from its intended purpose. Designed to give law enforcement powerful tools to combat maritime offenses and criminal enterprises, forfeiture laws are now used to prey upon innocent motorists and lawful homeowners who are never charged with crimes. Their only sins are that they are carrying legal tender while driving on busy highways or providing shelter in their homes to adult children and grandchildren who allegedly sold small amounts of low-level drugs. Civil forfeiture abuses are commonplace throughout the country with some police even armed with legal waivers for property owners to sign on the …


Criminal Legal Education, Shaun Ossei-Owusu Jan 2021

Criminal Legal Education, Shaun Ossei-Owusu

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

The protests of 2020 have jumpstarted conversations about criminal justice reform in the public and professoriate. Although there have been longstanding demands for reformation and reimagining of the criminal justice system, recent calls have taken on a new urgency. Greater public awareness of racial bias, increasing visual evidence of state-sanctioned killings, and the televised policing of peaceful dissent have forced the public to reckon with a penal state whose brutality was comfortably tolerated. Scholars are publishing op-eds, policy proposals, and articles with rapidity, pointing to different factors and actors that produce the need for reform. However, one input has gone …


Sustaining Lawyers, Seema Saifee Jan 2021

Sustaining Lawyers, Seema Saifee

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

Many lawyers are drawn to a career in social justice, in part, to help others and, in part, to fulfill their own path to wellness. Advocacy that sustains personal well-being, however, also poses considerable obstacles to well-being. Some of these obstacles are inherent to social justice work but some are embedded within organizational culture. These cultural norms impair the health of advocates, harm the communities with whom they work, and portend far-reaching consequences for the future of progressive struggles for freedom. Drawing on the author's personal experience, this Essay identifies three cultural norms, described as pathologies, that are rarely discussed …


Ai In Adjudication And Administration, Cary Coglianese, Lavi M. Ben Dor Jan 2021

Ai In Adjudication And Administration, Cary Coglianese, Lavi M. Ben Dor

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

The use of artificial intelligence has expanded rapidly in recent years across many aspects of the economy. For federal, state, and local governments in the United States, interest in artificial intelligence has manifested in the use of a series of digital tools, including the occasional deployment of machine learning, to aid in the performance of a variety of governmental functions. In this paper, we canvas the current uses of such digital tools and machine-learning technologies by the judiciary and administrative agencies in the United States. Although we have yet to see fully automated decision-making find its way into either adjudication …


Indoctrination And Social Influence As A Defense To Crime: Are We Responsible For Who We Are?, Paul H. Robinson, Lindsay Holcomb Jan 2021

Indoctrination And Social Influence As A Defense To Crime: Are We Responsible For Who We Are?, Paul H. Robinson, Lindsay Holcomb

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

A patriotic POW is brainwashed by his North Korean captors into refusing repatriation and undertaking treasonous anti-American propaganda for the communist regime. Despite the general abhorrence of treason in time of war, the American public opposes criminal liability for such indoctrinated soldiers, yet existing criminal law provides no defense or mitigation because, at the time of the offense, the indoctrinated offender suffers no cognitive or control dysfunction, no mental or emotional impairment, and no external or internal compulsion. Rather, he was acting purely in the exercise of free of will, albeit based upon beliefs and values that he had not …


Fair Questions: A Call And Proposal For Using General Verdicts With Special Interrogatories To Prevent Biased And Unjust Convictions, Charles Eric Hintz Jan 2021

Fair Questions: A Call And Proposal For Using General Verdicts With Special Interrogatories To Prevent Biased And Unjust Convictions, Charles Eric Hintz

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

Bias and other forms of logical corner-cutting are an unfortunate aspect of criminal jury deliberations. However, the preferred verdict system in the federal courts, the general verdict, does nothing to counter that. Rather, by forcing jurors into a simple binary choice — guilty or not guilty — the general verdict facilitates and encourages such flawed reasoning. Yet the federal courts continue to stick to the general verdict, ironically out of a concern that deviating from it will harm defendants by leading juries to convict.

This Essay calls for a change: expand the use of a special findings verdict, the general …


#Believewomen And The Presumption Of Innocence: Clarifying The Questions For Law And Life, Kimberly Kessler Ferzan Jan 2021

#Believewomen And The Presumption Of Innocence: Clarifying The Questions For Law And Life, Kimberly Kessler Ferzan

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

The presumption of innocence and #BelieveWomen both embody compelling considerations, and we may wonder how to reconcile them. My project does not aim to reconcile the positions, but rather, it is prior to it. My goal in this paper is to better explicate the claims that underlie both #BelieveWomen and the presumption of innocence in law and life, as well as to identify instances in which cross-pollination, between our everyday evaluations and the legal system, is contaminating our thinking.

First, I begin with #BelieveWomen and sort through various ways to interpret this demand (though my survey is not exhaustive). I …


Undemocratic Crimes, Paul H. Robinson, Jonathan C. Wilt Jan 2021

Undemocratic Crimes, Paul H. Robinson, Jonathan C. Wilt

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

One might assume that in a working democracy the criminal law rules would reflect the community’s shared judgments regarding justice and punishment. This is especially true because social science research shows that lay people generally think about criminal liability and punishment in consistent ways: in terms of desert, doing justice and avoiding injustice. Moreover, there are compelling arguments for demanding consistency between community views and criminal law rules based upon the importance of democratic values, effective crime-control, and the deontological value of justice itself.

It may then come as a surprise, and a disappointment, that a wide range of common …


Taking Aim At Pointing Guns? Start With Citizen’S Arrest, Not Stand Your Ground: A Reply To Joseph Blocher, Samuel W. Buell, Jacob D. Charles, And Darrell A.H. Miller, Pointing Guns, 99 Texas L. Rev. 1173 (2021), Kimberly Kessler Ferzan Jan 2021

Taking Aim At Pointing Guns? Start With Citizen’S Arrest, Not Stand Your Ground: A Reply To Joseph Blocher, Samuel W. Buell, Jacob D. Charles, And Darrell A.H. Miller, Pointing Guns, 99 Texas L. Rev. 1173 (2021), Kimberly Kessler Ferzan

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

No abstract provided.


Is Executive Function The Universal Acid?, Stephen J. Morse Nov 2020

Is Executive Function The Universal Acid?, Stephen J. Morse

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

This essay responds to Hirstein, Sifferd and Fagan’s book, Responsible Brains (MIT Press, 2018), which claims that executive function is the guiding mechanism that supports both responsible agency and the necessity for some excuses. In contrast, I suggest that executive function is not the universal acid and the neuroscience at present contributes almost nothing to the necessary psychological level of explanation and analysis. To the extent neuroscience can be useful, it is virtually entirely dependent on well-validated psychology to correlate with the neuroscientific variables under investigation. The essay considers what executive function is and what the neuroscience adds to our …


Covid And Crime: An Early Empirical Look, David S. Abrams Nov 2020

Covid And Crime: An Early Empirical Look, David S. Abrams

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

Data from 25 large U.S. cities is assembled to estimate the impact of the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic on crime. There is a widespread immediate drop in both criminal incidents and arrests most heavily pronounced among drug crimes, theft, residential burglaries, and most violent crimes. The decline appears to precede stay-at-home orders, and arrests follow a similar pattern as reports. There is no decline in homicides and shootings, and an increase in non-residential burglary and car theft in most cities, suggesting that criminal activity was displaced to locations with fewer people. Pittsburgh, New York City, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Washington …


A Truce In Criminal Law's Distributive Principle Wars?, Paul H. Robinson Oct 2020

A Truce In Criminal Law's Distributive Principle Wars?, Paul H. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

Crime-control utilitarians and retributivist philosophers have long been at war over the appropriate distributive principle for criminal liability and punishment, with little apparent possibility of reconciliation between the two. In the utilitarians’ view, the imposition of punishment can be justified only by the practical benefit that it provides: avoiding future crime. In the retributivists’ view, doing justice for past wrongs is a value in itself that requires no further justification. The competing approaches simply use different currencies: fighting future crime versus doing justice for past wrongs.

It is argued here that the two are in fact reconcilable, in a fashion. …


Sobering Up After The Seventh Inning: Alcohol And Crime Around The Ballpark, Jonathan Klick, John M. Macdonald Apr 2020

Sobering Up After The Seventh Inning: Alcohol And Crime Around The Ballpark, Jonathan Klick, John M. Macdonald

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

Objectives: This study examines the impact of alcohol consumption in a Major League Baseball (MLB) stadium on area level counts of crime. The modal practice at MLB stadiums is to stop selling alcoholic beverages after the seventh inning. Baseball is not a timed game, so the duration between end of the seventh inning (last call for alcohol) and the end of the game varies considerably, providing a unique natural experiment that allows us to estimate the relationship between alcohol consumption and crime near a stadium on game days to non-game days and to areas around sports bars that fans also …