Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Law Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Articles 1 - 30 of 571

Full-Text Articles in Law

Does The Death Penalty Still Matter: Reflections Of A Death Row Lawyer, David I. Bruck Apr 2023

Does The Death Penalty Still Matter: Reflections Of A Death Row Lawyer, David I. Bruck

Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice

This talk was given by Professor David Bruck for the Frances Lewis Law Center at Washington and Lee University School of Law, April, 2002. It is a follow-up to “Does the Death Penalty Matter?,” given by Professor Bruck as the 1990 Ralph E. Shikes Lecture at Harvard Law School.


The Gross Injustices Of Capital Punishment: A Torturous Practice And Justice Thurgood Marshall’S Astute Appraisal Of The Death Penalty’S Cruelty, Discriminatory Use, And Unconstitutionality, John D. Bessler Apr 2023

The Gross Injustices Of Capital Punishment: A Torturous Practice And Justice Thurgood Marshall’S Astute Appraisal Of The Death Penalty’S Cruelty, Discriminatory Use, And Unconstitutionality, John D. Bessler

Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice

Through the centuries, capital punishment and torture have been used by monarchs, authoritarian regimes, and judicial systems around the world. Although torture is now expressly outlawed by international law, capital punishment—questioned by Quakers in the seventeenth century and by the Italian philosopher Cesare Beccaria and many others in the following century—has been authorized over time by various legislative bodies, including in the United States. It was Beccaria’s book, Dei delitti e delle pene (1764), translated into French and then into English as An Essay on Crimes and Punishments (1767), that fueled the still-ongoing international movement to outlaw the death penalty. …


Severe Mental Illness And The Death Penalty: A Menu Of Legislative Options, Richard J. Bonnie Apr 2023

Severe Mental Illness And The Death Penalty: A Menu Of Legislative Options, Richard J. Bonnie

Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice

In 2003, the American Bar Association established a Task Force on Mental Disability and the Death Penalty to further specify and implement the Supreme Court’s ruling banning execution of persons with intellectual disability and to consider an analogous ban against imposing the death penalty on defendants with severe mental disorders. The Task Force established formal links with the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the final report was approved by the ABA and the participating organizations in 2005 and 2006. This brief article focuses primarily on diminished responsibility at the time …


The Court And Capital Punishment On Different Paths: Abolition In Waiting, Carol S. Steiker, Jordan M. Steiker Apr 2023

The Court And Capital Punishment On Different Paths: Abolition In Waiting, Carol S. Steiker, Jordan M. Steiker

Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice

The American death penalty finds itself in an unusual position. On the ground, the practice is weaker than at any other time in our history. Eleven jurisdictions have abandoned the death penalty over the past fifteen years, almost doubling the number of states without the punishment (twenty-three). Executions have declined substantially, totaling twenty-five or fewer a year nationwide for the past six years, compared to an average of seventy-seven a year during the six-year span around the millennium (1997-2002). Most tellingly, death sentences have fallen off a cliff, with fewer the fifty death sentences a year nationwide over the past …


Taking The Knee No More: Police Accountability And The Structure Of Racism, David Dante Troutt Jan 2023

Taking The Knee No More: Police Accountability And The Structure Of Racism, David Dante Troutt

Washington and Lee Law Review

From before the birth of the republic to the present day, police brutality has represented a signature injustice of state authority, especially against African Americans. Defining that injustice is the lack of accountability for official misconduct. The rule of law has systematically failed to deter lawbreaking by its law enforcement departments. This Article explores the various legal and institutional means by which accountability should be imposed and demonstrates the design elements of structured immunity. Using Critical Race Theory and traditional civil rights law notions of how structural racism operates, this Article argues that transformative change can only come about through …


Sheriffs, Shills, Or Just Paying The Bills?: Rethinking The Merits Of Compelling Merchant Cooperation With Third-Party Policing In The Aftermath Of George Floyd’S Death, Stephen Wilks Jan 2023

Sheriffs, Shills, Or Just Paying The Bills?: Rethinking The Merits Of Compelling Merchant Cooperation With Third-Party Policing In The Aftermath Of George Floyd’S Death, Stephen Wilks

Washington and Lee Law Review

This Article frames the killing of George Floyd as the result of flawed business regulation. More specifically, it captures the expansion of third-party policing paradigms throughout local nuisance abatement regulations over a period of time that coincided with the militarization of policing culture across the United States. Premised on the notion that law enforcement alone cannot succeed in reducing crime and disorder, such regulations transform grocery stores, pharmacies, bars, and other retail spaces into surveillance hubs by prescribing situations that obligate businesses to contact the police. This regulatory framework, however, sustains the larger historical project of rationalizing enhanced scrutiny of …


High Time For Change: The Legalization Of Marijuana And Its Impact On Warrantless Roadside Motor Vehicle Searches, Molly E. O'Connell Oct 2022

High Time For Change: The Legalization Of Marijuana And Its Impact On Warrantless Roadside Motor Vehicle Searches, Molly E. O'Connell

Washington and Lee Law Review Online

The proliferation of marijuana legalization has changed the relationship between driving and marijuana use. While impaired driving remains illegal, marijuana use that does not result in impairment is not a bar to operating a motor vehicle. Scientists have yet to find a reliable way for law enforcement officers to make this distinction. In the marijuana impairment context, there is not a scientifically proven equivalent to the Blood Alcohol Content standard nor are there reliable roadside assessments. This scientific and technological void has problematic consequences for marijuana users that get behind the wheel and find themselves suspected of impaired driving. Without …


Sexual Violence, Intangible Harm, And The Promise Of Transformative Remedies, Jill C. Engle Jul 2022

Sexual Violence, Intangible Harm, And The Promise Of Transformative Remedies, Jill C. Engle

Washington and Lee Law Review

This Article describes alternative remedies that survivors of sexual violence can access inside and outside the legal system. It describes the leading restorative justice approaches and recommends one of the newest and most innovative of those—“transformative justice”—to heal the intangible harms of sexual violence. The Article also discusses the intersectional effects of sexual violence on women of color and their communities. It explains the importance of transformative justice’s intersectional approach to redress sexual violence. Transformative justice offers community-based, victim-centric methods that cultivate deep, lasting healing for sexual violence survivors and their communities, with genuine accountability for those who have caused …


Brief Of Professor Brandon Hasbrouck As Amicus Curiae In Support Of Appellant: Bell V. Streeval, Brandon Hasbrouck Jun 2022

Brief Of Professor Brandon Hasbrouck As Amicus Curiae In Support Of Appellant: Bell V. Streeval, Brandon Hasbrouck

Scholarly Articles

The core question raised by this case is whether a federal prisoner serving an unconstitutional sentence can be foreclosed from post-conviction habeas relief by the gatekeeping provisions of § 2255. The Constitution answers that question in the negative through the Suspension Clause. “[F]reedom from unlawful restraint [i]s a fundamental precept of liberty,” and the writ of habeas corpus “a vital instrument to secure that freedom.” Boumediene, 553 U.S. at 739. The importance of the common law writ was such that the Framers specified that it could be suspended only in the most exigent circumstances. U.S. Const. art. I, § …


The Computer Got It Wrong: Facial Recognition Technology And Establishing Probable Cause To Arrest, T.J. Benedict Apr 2022

The Computer Got It Wrong: Facial Recognition Technology And Establishing Probable Cause To Arrest, T.J. Benedict

Washington and Lee Law Review

Facial recognition technology (FRT) is a popular tool among police, who use it to identify suspects using photographs or still-images from videos. The technology is far from perfect. Recent studies highlight that many FRT systems are less effective at identifying people of color, women, older people, and children. These race, gender, and age biases arise because FRT is often “trained” using non-diverse faces. As a result, police have wrongfully arrested Black men based on mistaken FRT identifications. This Note explores the intersection of facial recognition technology and probable cause to arrest.

Courts rarely, if ever, examine FRT’s role in establishing …


How To Get Away With Murder: When A White Male Police Officer Kills A Young Black Person, Mitchell F. Crusto Jan 2022

How To Get Away With Murder: When A White Male Police Officer Kills A Young Black Person, Mitchell F. Crusto

Washington and Lee Law Review Online

Systemic racism in policing allows police officers, in particular white men, to continue to perpetuate the violent killings of Black people. This violence is not accidental. Rather it is intentional and allowed to continue due to a failure by the Supreme Court to hold police officers accountable. This Article explains how the doctrines of qualified immunity, willful intent, and objective reasonableness, as condoned by the Court, allow police officers to “get away with murder.”


The Visualities And Aesthetics Of Prosecuting Aged Defendants, Mark Drumbl, Caroline Fournet Jan 2022

The Visualities And Aesthetics Of Prosecuting Aged Defendants, Mark Drumbl, Caroline Fournet

Scholarly Articles

The prosecution—whether domestic or international—of international crimes and atrocities may implicate extremely aged defendants. Much has been written about the legalisms that inhere (or not) in trying these barely alive individuals. Very little however has been written about the aesthetics the barely alive encrust into the architecture of courtrooms, the optics these defendants suffuse into the trial process, and the expressive value of punishing them. This is what we seek to do in this project.


Who Can Protect Black Protest?, Brandon Hasbrouck Jan 2022

Who Can Protect Black Protest?, Brandon Hasbrouck

Scholarly Articles

Police violence both as the cause of and response to the racial justice protests following George Floyd’s murder called fresh attention to the need for legal remedies to hold police officers accountable. In addition to the well-publicized issue of qualified immunity, the differential regimes for asserting civil rights claims against state and federal agents for constitutional rights violations create a further barrier to relief. Courts have only recognized damages as a remedy for such abuses in limited contexts against federal employees under the Bivens framework. The history of Black protest movements reveals the violent responses police have to such challenges …


Refugees Under Duress: International Law And The Serious Nonpolitical Crime Bar, David Baluarte Jan 2022

Refugees Under Duress: International Law And The Serious Nonpolitical Crime Bar, David Baluarte

Scholarly Articles

Congress intended that the serious nonpolitical crime bar under United States asylum law have the same meaning and scope as the 1F(b) Refugee Convention exclusion clause. The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that it was the intent of Congress to not only replicate the language of the provisions of the Refugee Convention in United States law, but to incorporate the full extent of the meaning of such language and bring the United States into compliance with its treaty obligations. Accordingly, when Congress reproduced exactly the language of the Article 1F(b) exclusion clause in the INA, it intended for that provision …


When Police Volunteer To Kill, Alexandra L. Klein Jan 2022

When Police Volunteer To Kill, Alexandra L. Klein

Scholarly Articles

The Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of lethal injection, yet states continue to struggle with drug shortages and botched executions. Some states have authorized alternative methods of execution, including the firing squad. Utah, which has consistently carried out firing squad executions throughout its history, relies on police officers from the jurisdiction where the crime took place to volunteer to carry out these executions. This represents a plausible--and probable--method for other states in conducting firing squad executions.

Public and academic discussion of the firing squad has centered on questions of pain and suffering. It has not engaged with the consequences …


The Common Prosecutor, Melanie D. Wilson Jan 2022

The Common Prosecutor, Melanie D. Wilson

Scholarly Articles

This symposium piece stems from the Loyola University of Chicago Law Journal’s Criminal Justice Symposium and my engagement with a panel of experts discussing wrongful convictions, pleas, and sentencing. The essay focuses on the role of prosecutors and contends that the system will improve only when more law school graduates of every race, religion, gender identity, background, ideology, ability, sexual orientation, and other characteristics serve as prosecutors. We have witnessed the rise of the “progressive prosecutor.” Now, we need to add more “common prosecutors.”

The homogeneity of prosecutors is well known and well documented. For example, as of October 2020, …


Juries, Democracy, And Petty Crime, John D. King Jan 2022

Juries, Democracy, And Petty Crime, John D. King

Scholarly Articles

The right to trial by jury in criminal cases is basic to the design of American criminal justice and to the structure of American government. Guaranteed by Article III of the Constitution, the Sixth Amendment, and every one of the original state constitutions, the criminal jury was seen as critically important not only to the protection of individual rights but also to the architecture of American democracy. The vast majority of criminal prosecutions today, however, are resolved without even the prospect of community review by a jury. Despite the textual clarity of the guarantee, the Supreme Court has long recognized …


"Only To Have A Say In The Way He Dies": Bodily Autonomy And Methods Of Execution, Alexandra L. Klein Jan 2022

"Only To Have A Say In The Way He Dies": Bodily Autonomy And Methods Of Execution, Alexandra L. Klein

Scholarly Articles

Capital punishment is one of the most significant intrusions into a person's bodily autonomy; the state takes a person's life. Even though the state has stripped a person on death row of much of their autonomy and intends to kill them, removing all autonomy, a person sentenced to death may, in some circumstances, choose how they will die. While most states rely on a single method of execution, some states permit a condemned person to choose among two or more methods of execution. Constitutional challenges to methods of execution requires the challenger to demonstrate a substantial risk of severe pain …


Senseless Sentencing: The Uneven Application Of The Career Offender Guidelines, Christopher Ethan Watts Jan 2022

Senseless Sentencing: The Uneven Application Of The Career Offender Guidelines, Christopher Ethan Watts

Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice

Federal appellate courts are currently split on the definition of “controlled substance” in the career offender guideline, with one side using federal law to define the phrase, and the other side allowing standalone state law offenses to trigger the guideline. Allowing state law to define the phrase allows countless substances Congress never intended to penalize to be able to trigger one of the most severe penalties in the Sentencing Guidelines. This Note assesses the landscape of the circuit split and analyzes the arguments for and against federally defining “controlled substance offense.” This Note then proposes a novel way to resolve …


On Lenity: What Justice Gorsuch Didn’T Say, Brandon Hasbrouck Jan 2022

On Lenity: What Justice Gorsuch Didn’T Say, Brandon Hasbrouck

Scholarly Articles

This Essay was first published online at 108 Va. L. Rev. Online 239 (2022).

Facially neutral doctrines create racially disparate outcomes. Increasingly, legal academia and mainstream commentators recognize that this is by design. The rise of this colorblind racism in Supreme Court jurisprudence parallels the rise of the War on Drugs as a political response to the Civil Rights Movement. But, to date, no member of the Supreme Court has acknowledged the reality of this majestic inequality of the law. Instead, the Court itself has been complicit in upholding facially neutral doctrines when confronted with the racial disparities they create. …


The New Jim And Jane Crow Intersect: Challenges To Defending The Parental Rights Of Mothers During Incarceration, Carla Laroche Jan 2022

The New Jim And Jane Crow Intersect: Challenges To Defending The Parental Rights Of Mothers During Incarceration, Carla Laroche

Scholarly Articles

Family law scholars and advocates have expressed the importance of providing counsel to parents in the family regulation system, especially parents who are incarcerated, because of the system’s complexities. This article establishes, however, that when mothers must navigate both the family regulation and criminal legal systems, the protections appointed parents’ counsel are supposed to provide are weakened. These harms are heightened especially for Black mothers within the carceral state. As this article shows, appointed lawyers in family regulation cases cannot properly protect the due process rights of mothers who are incarcerated because of the added challenges both mothers and their …


Movement Constitutionalism, Brandon Hasbrouck Jan 2022

Movement Constitutionalism, Brandon Hasbrouck

Scholarly Articles

The white supremacy at the heart of the American criminal legal system works to control Black, Brown, and poor people through mass incarceration. Poverty and incarceration act in a vicious circle, with reactionaries mounting a desperate defense against any attempt to mitigate economic exploitation or carceral violence. Ending the cycle will require replacing this inequitable system with the life- and liberty-affirming institutions of abolition democracy. The path to abolition democracy is arduous, but abolitionists can press for change through what I coin “movement constitutionalism.” Movement constitutionalism is the process by which grassroots abolitionist movements shift—through demands and in solidarity with …


Reimagining Public Safety, Brandon Hasbrouck Jan 2022

Reimagining Public Safety, Brandon Hasbrouck

Scholarly Articles

In the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, abolitionists were repeatedly asked to explain what they meant by “abolish the police”—the idea so seemingly foreign that its literal meaning evaded interviewers. The narrative rapidly turned to the abolitionists’ secondary proposals, as interviewers quickly jettisoned the idea of literally abolishing the police. What the incredulous journalists failed to see was that abolishing police and prisons is not aimed merely at eliminating the collateral consequences of other social ills. Abolitionists seek to build a society in which policing and incarceration are unnecessary. Rather than a society without a means of protecting public safety, …


The Black Fourth Amendment, Charisma Hunter Jan 2022

The Black Fourth Amendment, Charisma Hunter

Washington and Lee Law Review Online

Policing Black bodies serves at the forefront of the American policing system. Black bodies are subject to everlasting surveillance through institutions and everyday occurrences. From relaxing in a Starbucks to exercising, Black bodies are deemed criminals, surveilled, profiled, and subjected to perpetual implicit bias when participating in mundane activities. Black people should have the same protections as white people and should possess the ability to engage in everyday, commonplace, and routine activities.

The Fourth Amendment was not drafted with the intention of protecting Black bodies. In fact, Black bodies were considered three-fifths of a person at the drafting of the …


As Fires Blaze Through California, Could They Blaze A New Path For Incarcerated Individuals: A Model For Back-End Abolition, Jacquelyn Kelsey Arnold Jan 2022

As Fires Blaze Through California, Could They Blaze A New Path For Incarcerated Individuals: A Model For Back-End Abolition, Jacquelyn Kelsey Arnold

Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice

This Note provides a critique on the current system of prison labor through the lens of the California wildfires and the lack of inmate labor due to early release in the wake of COVID-19. This Note provides an overview of the relevant history of the Thirteenth Amendment, contextualizes mass incarceration as a product of the “War on Drugs” in the United States, and consequently, discusses the significant and dramatic expansion of the prison industrial complex and the use of prison labor as a growing source of production labor. It concludes with a recommendation for a provisional back-end abolition model that …


Submission Of Amicus Curiae Observations In The Case Of The Prosecutor V. Dominic Ongwen, Erin Baines, Kamari M. Clarke, Mark A. Drumbl Dec 2021

Submission Of Amicus Curiae Observations In The Case Of The Prosecutor V. Dominic Ongwen, Erin Baines, Kamari M. Clarke, Mark A. Drumbl

Scholarly Articles

The important questions laid out by the Appeals Chamber in this case highlight the need for the proper delineation and interplay between mental illness and criminal responsibility under international law. Specifically, this case represents a watershed moment for the Appeals Chamber to set a framework for adjudicating mental illness in the context of collectivized child abuse and trauma. This is especially true for former child soldiers who occupy both a victim and alleged perpetrator status.


The Haunting Of Her House: How Virginia Law Punishes Women Who Become Mothers Through Rape, Jordan S. Miceli Dec 2021

The Haunting Of Her House: How Virginia Law Punishes Women Who Become Mothers Through Rape, Jordan S. Miceli

Washington and Lee Law Review Online

If a rape victim becomes pregnant following the attack, she has three options: abort the pregnancy, place the child for adoption, or keep and raise the child. However, by requiring proof of conviction of rape to terminate the parental rights of the man who fathered that child through his rape, the Commonwealth of Virginia imposes a substantial burden on a victim weighing those options. To obtain a conviction under the current scheme, a victim, through her local prosecutor, has to prove to a jury that the accused committed the rape beyond a reasonable doubt. The Commonwealth requires proof of conviction …


Blood In The Water: Why The First Step Act Of 2018 Fails Those Sentenced Under The Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act, Lauren R. Robertson Oct 2021

Blood In The Water: Why The First Step Act Of 2018 Fails Those Sentenced Under The Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act, Lauren R. Robertson

Washington and Lee Law Review

For some, the open ocean is prison. The Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act (MDLEA) prohibits individuals from knowingly or intentionally distributing a controlled substance or possessing it with the intent to distribute. Empowered by the MDLEA, the United States Coast Guard arrests and detains foreign nationals hundreds of miles outside of U.S. territorial waters. After months shackled to Coast Guard ships, these individuals face the harsh reality of American mandatory minimum drug sentencing, judged by the kilograms of drugs on their vessels. But the MDLEA conflates kilograms with culpability. More often than not, those sentenced are fishermen-turned-smugglers due to financial …


Antiracism In Action, Daniel Harawa, Brandon Hasbrouck Jul 2021

Antiracism In Action, Daniel Harawa, Brandon Hasbrouck

Washington and Lee Law Review

Racism pervades the criminal legal system, influencing everything from who police stop and search, to who prosecutors charge, to what punishments courts apply. The Supreme Court’s fixation on colorblind application of the Constitution gives judges license to disregard the role race plays in the criminal legal system, and all too often, they do. Yet Chief Judge Roger L. Gregory challenges the facially race-neutral reasoning of criminal justice actors, often applying ostensibly colorblind scrutiny to achieve a color-conscious jurisprudence. Nor is he afraid of engaging directly in a frank discussion of the racial realities of America, rebuking those within the system …


Deportation And Depravity: Does Failure To Register As A Sex Offender Involve Moral Turpitude?, Rosa Nielsen Jul 2021

Deportation And Depravity: Does Failure To Register As A Sex Offender Involve Moral Turpitude?, Rosa Nielsen

Washington and Lee Law Review

Under U.S. immigration law, non-citizens are subject to deportation following certain criminal convictions. One deportation category is for “crimes involving moral turpitude,” or CIMTs. This category usually refers to crimes that involve fraud or actions seen as particularly depraved. For example, tax evasion and spousal abuse are CIMTs, but simple assault generally is not. For a crime to qualify as a CIMT, it must include depraved conduct and some level of intent.

The CIMT framework has been criticized for a variety of reasons. Not only is it defined ambiguously with outdated language, but the moral values it enshrines can sometimes …