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Justice Scalia’S Originalism And Formalism: The Rule Of Criminal Law As A Law Of Rules, Stephanos Bibas Aug 2016

Justice Scalia’S Originalism And Formalism: The Rule Of Criminal Law As A Law Of Rules, Stephanos Bibas

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Far too many reporters and pundits collapse law into politics, assuming that the left–right divide between Democratic and Republican appointees neatly explains politically liberal versus politically conservative outcomes at the Supreme Court. The late Justice Antonin Scalia defied such caricatures. His consistent judicial philosophy made him the leading exponent of originalism, textualism, and formalism in American law, and over the course of his three decades on the Court, he changed the terms of judicial debate. Now, as a result, supporters and critics alike start with the plain meaning of the statutory or constitutional text rather than loose appeals to legislative …


How Being Right Can Risk Wrongs, Paul H. Robinson, Sarah M. Robinson Aug 2016

How Being Right Can Risk Wrongs, Paul H. Robinson, Sarah M. Robinson

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This is a chapter from the new book The Vigilante Echo. Previous chapters have made clear that some vigilantism can be morally justified where the government has failed in its promise under the social contract to protect and to do justice. But this chapter explains how even moral vigilante action can be problematic for the larger society. Vigilantes may try to do the right thing but are likely to lack the training and professional neutrality of police. They may be successful, but only on pushing the crime problem to an adjacent neighborhood. Because their open lawbreaking may seem admirable …


Shadow Vigilante Officials Manipulate And Distort To Force Justice From An Apparently Reluctant System, Paul H. Robinson, Sarah M. Robinson Aug 2016

Shadow Vigilante Officials Manipulate And Distort To Force Justice From An Apparently Reluctant System, Paul H. Robinson, Sarah M. Robinson

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The real danger of the vigilante impulse is not of hordes of citizens, frustrated by the system’s doctrines of disillusionment, rising up to take the law into their own hands. Frustration can spark a vigilante impulse but such classic aggressive vigilantism is not the typical response. More common is the expression of disillusionment in less brazen ways, by a more surreptitious undermining and distortion of the operation of the criminal justice system.

Shadow vigilantes, as they might be called, can affect the operation of the system in a host of important ways. For example, when people act as classic vigilantes …


Actions Speak Louder Than Images: The Use Of Neuroscientific Evidence In Criminal Cases, Stephen J. Morse Jun 2016

Actions Speak Louder Than Images: The Use Of Neuroscientific Evidence In Criminal Cases, Stephen J. Morse

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This invited commentary for Journal of Law & the Biosciences considers four empirical studies previously published in the journal of the reception of neuroscientific evidence in criminal cases in the United States, Canada, England and Wales, and the Netherlands. There are conceded methodological problems with all, but the data are nonetheless instructive and suggestive. The thesis of the comment is that the courts are committing the same errors that have bedeviled the reception of psychiatric and psychological evidence. There is insufficient caution about the state of the science, and more importantly, there is insufficient understanding of the relevance of the …


Can The International Criminal Court Deter Atrocity?, Hyeran Jo, Beth A. Simmons Mar 2016

Can The International Criminal Court Deter Atrocity?, Hyeran Jo, Beth A. Simmons

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Whether and how violence can be controlled to spare innocent lives is a central issue in international relations. The most ambitious effort to date has been the International Criminal Court (ICC), designed to enhance security and safety by preventing egregious human rights abuses and deterring international crimes. We offer the first systematic assessment of the ICC's deterrent effects for both state and nonstate actors. Although no institution can deter all actors, the ICC can deter some governments and those rebel groups that seek legitimacy. We find support for this conditional impact of the ICC cross-nationally. Our work has implications for …


Tasers Help Police Avoid Fatal Mistakes, Paul H. Robinson Jan 2016

Tasers Help Police Avoid Fatal Mistakes, Paul H. Robinson

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This op-ed piece argues that police will inevitably be placed in impossible situations in which they reasonably believe they must shoot to defend themselves but where the shooting in fact turns out to be unnecessary. What can save the police, and the community, from these regular tragedies is a more concerted shift to police use of nonlethal weapons. Taser technology, for example, continues to become increasingly more effective and reliable. While we will always have reasonable mistakes by police in the use of force, it need not be the case that each ends in death or permanent injury. Such a …


Whither Reasonable Suspicion: The Supreme Court's Functional Abandonment Of The Reasonableness Requirement For Fourth Amendment Seizures, Steven P. Grossman Jan 2016

Whither Reasonable Suspicion: The Supreme Court's Functional Abandonment Of The Reasonableness Requirement For Fourth Amendment Seizures, Steven P. Grossman

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Although the United States Supreme Court’s approach to issues governing application of the probable cause requirement of the Fourth Amendment has mutated over the years, at least one aspect of its approach has remained constant. Before information leading to probable cause or its lesser iteration of reasonable suspicion is found to exist, the government must demonstrate in some meaningful way the reliability of the person providing the information or of the information itself. Lacking such reliability, no search or seizure based on probable cause or reasonable suspicion is permitted. In its recent decision in Navarette v. California, the Court largely …


The Inequality Of America's Death Penalty: A Crossroads For Capital Punishment At The Intersection Of The Eighth And Fourteenth Amendments, John Bessler Jan 2016

The Inequality Of America's Death Penalty: A Crossroads For Capital Punishment At The Intersection Of The Eighth And Fourteenth Amendments, John Bessler

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We live in a divided society, from gated communities to cell blocks congested with disproportionate numbers of young African-American men. There are rich and poor, privileged and homeless, Democrats and Republicans, wealthy zip codes and stubbornly impoverished ones. There are committed "Black Lives Matter" protesters, and there are those who—invoking "Blue Lives Matter" demonstrate in support of America‘s hardworking police officers. In her new article, "Matters of Strata: Race, Gender, and Class Structures in Capital Cases," George Washington University law professor Phyllis Goldfarb highlights the stratification of our society and offers a compelling critique of America‘s death penalty regime—one, she …


Predicting The Knowledge–Recklessness Distinction In The Human Brain, Iris Vilares, Michael J. Wesley, Woo-Young Woo-Young Ahn, Richard J. Bonnie, Morris B. Hoffman, Owen D. Jones, Stephen J. Morse, Gideon Yaffe, Terry Lohrenz, Read Montague Jan 2016

Predicting The Knowledge–Recklessness Distinction In The Human Brain, Iris Vilares, Michael J. Wesley, Woo-Young Woo-Young Ahn, Richard J. Bonnie, Morris B. Hoffman, Owen D. Jones, Stephen J. Morse, Gideon Yaffe, Terry Lohrenz, Read Montague

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Criminal convictions require proof that a prohibited act was performed in a statutorily specified mental state. Different legal consequences, including greater punishments, are mandated for those who act in a state of knowledge, compared with a state of recklessness. Existing research, however, suggests people have trouble classifying defendants as knowing, rather than reckless, even when instructed on the relevant legal criteria.

We used a machine-learning technique on brain imaging data to predict, with high accuracy, which mental state our participants were in. This predictive ability depended on both the magnitude of the risks and the amount of information about those …


Modest Retributivism, Mitchell N. Berman Jan 2016

Modest Retributivism, Mitchell N. Berman

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No abstract provided.


What's Wrong With Sentencing Equality?, Richard A. Bierschbach, Stephanos Bibas Jan 2016

What's Wrong With Sentencing Equality?, Richard A. Bierschbach, Stephanos Bibas

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Equality in criminal sentencing often translates into equalizing outcomes and stamping out variations, whether race-based, geographic, or random. This approach conflates the concept of equality with one contestable conception focused on outputs and numbers, not inputs and processes. Racial equality is crucial, but a concern with eliminating racism has hypertrophied well beyond race. Equalizing outcomes seems appealing as a neutral way to dodge contentious substantive policy debates about the purposes of punishment. But it actually privileges deterrence and incapacitation over rehabilitation, subjective elements of retribution, and procedural justice, and it provides little normative guidance for punishment. It also has unintended …


Family Ties: Salman And The Scope Of Insider Trading, Jill E. Fisch Jan 2016

Family Ties: Salman And The Scope Of Insider Trading, Jill E. Fisch

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On October 5, 2016, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Salman v. United States. Salman raises questions about the scope of insider trading liability for tippees under the personal benefit test previously articulated in Dirks v. SEC. Some critics have argued the Second Circuit’s decision last year in United States v. Newman demonstrates that the personal benefit test is unduly restrictive and should be reconsidered. Salman offers an opportunity for the Supreme Court to do so.

This essay argues that Salman does not require the Court to reexamine the parameters of insider trading liability. Instead, the Court can …


Public Wrongs And Public Reason, Chad Flanders Jan 2016

Public Wrongs And Public Reason, Chad Flanders

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The distinction between crimes that involve wrongs in themselves and crimes that are wrong because the law makes them so has long puzzled theorists. This essay argues that the distinction, while getting at something real, is based on a mistake. That mistake is made both by those who see moral wrongness as a necessary condition for criminality and by those who believe merely making something illegal is sufficient to make it criminal. Neither is correct. Rather, what makes something a criminal wrong is that it involves a violation of a law that has been justified in terms of “public reason.”


Time, Death, And Retribution, Chad Flanders Jan 2016

Time, Death, And Retribution, Chad Flanders

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The heart of a Lackey claim is that when a death row inmate is kept waiting too long for his execution, this delay can amount to cruel and unusual punishment — either because they delay is itself cruel and unusual, or because the execution on top of the delay is. All Lackey claims brought by death row inmates have failed, but not for want of trying. The usual complaint against Lackey claims is that those who, by their own appeals, delay their execution date cannot turn around and use that delay as an argument against their death sentences. I agree …


Decriminalizing Violence: A Critique Of Restorative Justice And Proposal For Diversionary Mediation, M. Eve Hanan Jan 2016

Decriminalizing Violence: A Critique Of Restorative Justice And Proposal For Diversionary Mediation, M. Eve Hanan

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The movement to reduce over-prosecution and mass incarceration has focused almost exclusively on non-violent offenders despite data showing that over half of all prisoners incarcerated within the United States are sentenced for crimes of violence. As a consequence of the focus on nonviolent offenses, the majority of current and future defendants will not benefit from initiatives offering alternatives to criminal prosecution and incarceration.

A discussion of alternatives to the criminal justice system in cases of violent crime must begin by acknowledging that violent crime is not monolithic. Many incidents meet the statutory elements of a violent crime, that is, the …


Criminal Justice And (A) Catholic Conscience, Leo E. Strine Jr. Jan 2016

Criminal Justice And (A) Catholic Conscience, Leo E. Strine Jr.

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This article is one person's reflections on how an important influence on his own sense of moral values -- Jesus Christ -- affects his thinking about his own approach to his role as a public official in a secular society, using the vital topic of criminal justice as a focal point. This article draws several important lessons from Christ's teachings about the concept of the other that are relevant to issues of criminal justice. Using Catholicism as a framework, this article addresses, among other things, capital punishment and denying the opportunity for redemption; the problem of racial disparities in the …


Identifying Criminals’ Risk Preferences, Murat C. Mungan, Jonathan Klick Jan 2016

Identifying Criminals’ Risk Preferences, Murat C. Mungan, Jonathan Klick

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There is a 250 year old presumption in the criminology and law enforcement literature that people are deterred more by increases in the certainty rather than increases in the severity of legal sanctions. We call this presumption the Certainty Aversion Presumption (CAP). Simple criminal decision making models suggest that criminals must be risk-seeking if they behave consistently with CAP. This implication leads to disturbing interpretations, such as criminals being categorically different than law abiding people, who often display risk-averse behavior while making financial decisions. Moreover, policy discussions that incorrectly rely on criminals’ risk attitudes implied by CAP are ill-informed, and …


Consent, Culpability, And The Law Of Rape, Kimberly Kessler Ferzan Jan 2016

Consent, Culpability, And The Law Of Rape, Kimberly Kessler Ferzan

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This Article explores the relationship between consent and culpability. The goal is to present a thorough exposition of the tradeoffs at play when the law adopts different conceptions of consent. After describing the relationship between culpability, wrongdoing, permissibility, and consent, I argue that the best conception of consent—one that reflects what consent really is—is the conception of willed acquiescence. I then contend that to the extent that affirmative consent standards are aimed at protecting defendants, this can be better achieved through mens rea provisions. I then turn to the current victim-protecting impetus for affirmative expression standards, specifically, requirements that the …


Criminals Behind The Veil: Political Philosophy And Punishment, Chad Flanders Jan 2016

Criminals Behind The Veil: Political Philosophy And Punishment, Chad Flanders

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There is evidence everywhere that our criminal justice system is undergoing a crisis of practice. Increased police violence and the concomitant distrust of police in many communities, fear of aggressive enforcement tactics more generally, worries about widespread governmental surveillance and, above all, a concern with overcriminalization and mass incarceration-these are the dreary and familiar stuff of daily headlines. But, this crisis of practice in tum reflects a deeper crisis of how we theorize about criminal law. We lack, for the most part, any worked-out theory of what the policing and processing of crime should look like. Nor do we have …