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Victims As Instruments, Rachel J. Wechsler Jun 2022

Victims As Instruments, Rachel J. Wechsler

Faculty Publications

Crime victims are often instrumentalized within the criminal legal process in furtherance of state prosecutorial interests. This is a particularly salient issue concerning victims of gender-based violence (GBV) because victim testimony is typically considered essential for successful prosecution of these types of crimes. Since the U.S. Supreme Court's 2004 decision in Crawford v. Washington, courts require declarants to be available for cross-examination on "testimonial" hearsay evidence. Consequently, criminal legal actors are further incentivized to employ highly coercive practices aimed at securing GBV victims' participation in the criminal legal process as evidentiary tools. These practices include arresting and incarcerating victims through …


Non-State Actors "Under Color Of Law": Closing A Gap In Protection Under The Convention Against Torture, Anna R. Welch, Sangyeon Kim Apr 2022

Non-State Actors "Under Color Of Law": Closing A Gap In Protection Under The Convention Against Torture, Anna R. Welch, Sangyeon Kim

Faculty Publications

The world is experiencing a global restructuring that poses a serious threat to international efforts to prevent and protect against torture. The rise of powerful transnational non-state actors such as gangs, drug cartels, militias, and terrorist organizations is challenging states’ authority to control and govern torture committed within their territory.

In the United States, those seeking protection against deportation under the Convention Against Torture (“CAT”) must establish a likelihood of torture at the instigation of or by consent or acquiescence of a public official acting in an official capacity or other person acting in an official capacity. However, what is …


Whiteness As Guilt: Attacking Critical Race Theory To Redeem The Racial Contract, Marissa Jackson Sow Jan 2022

Whiteness As Guilt: Attacking Critical Race Theory To Redeem The Racial Contract, Marissa Jackson Sow

Faculty Publications

The year of racial justice awakening following George Floyd’s 2020 murder have been accompanied by a rise in attacks on Black thought, including Critical Race Theory, led by far-right activists who are invested in maintenance of a white supremacist status quo in the United States. This Essay uses artist Kara Walker’s 2014 Sugar Sphinx to contextualize the critiques on Critical Race Theory and other manifestations of Black intellectualism as a campaign for perpetual absolution of white guilt, and even redemption of white supremacy, that is openly embraced by white nationalists but also secretly nourished—and cherished—by the white liberal elite.


The Federal Sentencing Guidelines: Some Valedictory Reflections Twenty Years After Apprendi, Frank O. Bowman Iii Jun 2021

The Federal Sentencing Guidelines: Some Valedictory Reflections Twenty Years After Apprendi, Frank O. Bowman Iii

Faculty Publications

This Article reflects on the author's professional experience and intellectual evolution in relation to federal sentencing policy and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines before and after the Supreme Court's decision in Apprendi v. New Jersey.

The account begins with the author's first encounters with the Guidelines when he was a zealous Assistant U.S. Attorney, continues through his transition to teacher, scholar, policy advocate, and occasional sentencing consultant, and concludes with the author pessimistic about the prospects of meaningful federal sentencing reform.

The utility, if any, of these musings will lie partly in the fact that the author has been deeply involved …


The Opioid Doctors: Is Losing Your License A Sufficient Penalty For Dealing Drugs?, Adam M. Gershowitz Mar 2021

The Opioid Doctors: Is Losing Your License A Sufficient Penalty For Dealing Drugs?, Adam M. Gershowitz

Faculty Publications

Imagine that a medical board revokes a doctor's license both because he has been peddling thousands of pills of opioids and also because he was caught with a few grams of cocaine. The doctor is a family physician, not a pain management specialist. Yet, during a one-year period he wrote more than 4,000 prescriptions for opioids--roughly eighteen scripts per day. Patients came from multiple states and from hundreds of miles away to get oxycodone prescriptions. And the doctor prescribed large quantities of opioids--up to 240 pills per month--to patients with no record of previously needing narcotic painkillers. Both federal and …


Victims, Right?, Anna Roberts Jan 2021

Victims, Right?, Anna Roberts

Faculty Publications

In criminal contexts, a “victim” is typically defined as someone who has been harmed by a crime. Yet the word commonly appears in legal contexts that precede the adjudication of whether a crime has occurred. Each U.S. state guarantees “victims’ rights,” including many that apply pre-adjudication; ongoing “Marsy’s Law” efforts seek to expand and constitutionalize them nationwide. At trial, advocates, judges, and jury instructions employ this word even though the existence or not of crime (and thus of a crime victim) is a central question to be decided. This usage matters in part because of its possible consequences: it risks …


Trauma And Memory In The Prosecution Of Sexual Assault, Cynthia V. Ward Jan 2021

Trauma And Memory In The Prosecution Of Sexual Assault, Cynthia V. Ward

Faculty Publications

Part I of this article traces the history of the recovered memory movement in the criminal prosecution of sexual assault, discussing some prominent cases and their consequences for wrongly convicted defendants. Part II asks why the criminal law was so vulnerable to claims of sexual assault, and other violent crimes, that were often wildly improbable on their face. The article concludes that the structure of recovered memory theory had the effect of disabling checks in the criminal process which are designed to prevent unjust convictions. Part III applies that conclusion to the theory of Trauma-informed Investigation (TII) and the "Neurobiology …


When Public Defenders And Prosecutors Plea Bargain Race – A More Truthful Narrative, Elayne E. Greenberg Jan 2021

When Public Defenders And Prosecutors Plea Bargain Race – A More Truthful Narrative, Elayne E. Greenberg

Faculty Publications

(Excerpt)

This paper challenges prevailing stereotypes about public defenders and prosecutors and updates those stereotypes with a more accurate narrative about how reform-minded public defenders and prosecutors can plea bargain race to yield more equitable justice outcomes.

I was invited to the discussion about criminal justice reform in plea bargaining, because of my work in dispute resolution, dispute system design, and discrimination. Plea bargaining is a justice system negotiation that is used in upwards of 97% of criminal case dispositions. Unlike many of my colleagues in criminal justice reform who have also had years of experience working in the criminal …


Preventing Predatory Alienation By High-Control Groups: The Application Of Human Trafficking Laws To Groups Popularly Known As Cults, And Proposed Changes To Laws Regarding Federal Immigration, State Child Marriage, And Undue Influence, Robin Boyle Laisure Jan 2021

Preventing Predatory Alienation By High-Control Groups: The Application Of Human Trafficking Laws To Groups Popularly Known As Cults, And Proposed Changes To Laws Regarding Federal Immigration, State Child Marriage, And Undue Influence, Robin Boyle Laisure

Faculty Publications

In this article, I summarize some of the significant legal developments in the United States that have taken place within the past year. First, United States v. Raniere was a criminal case launched against the founder of a purported self-help organization, NXIVM, and several of his associates. The Raniere case established precedent for using the human-trafficking statutes, among other grounds, to pursue justice for victims of high-demand groups. Second, the number of asylum seekers is increasing annually, and some of these undocumented immigrants are escaping from their countries-of-origin cults, gangs, and other extremist groups. However, once they arrive in the …


Unshackling Plea Bargaining From Racial Bias, Elayne E. Greenberg Jan 2021

Unshackling Plea Bargaining From Racial Bias, Elayne E. Greenberg

Faculty Publications

“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, [but] if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”

Dr. Maya Angelou

When an African American male defendant tries to plea bargain an equitable justice outcome, he finds that the deep-rooted racial bias that casts African American men as dangerous, criminal and animalistic, compromises his justice rights. Plea bargaining has become the preferred process used to secure convictions for upwards of 97 percent of cases because of its efficiency. This efficiency, however, comes at a cost. The structure and process of plea bargaining makes it more likely that the historical racial …


Scarred: The True Story Of How I Escaped Nxivm The Cult That Bound My Life, Robin Boyle Laisure Jan 2021

Scarred: The True Story Of How I Escaped Nxivm The Cult That Bound My Life, Robin Boyle Laisure

Faculty Publications

(Excerpt)

Sarah Edmondson provides us with candid insight into the lure of NXIVM, a business built on the promise of empowering members to achieve their personal goals. In the aftermath of the federal criminal trial of the organization’s kingpin, Keith Raniere, we get a deeper understanding of how Raniere and his cadre of manipulators were able to entice people into believing that, by spending thousands of dollars on workshops and following the ever-changing rules of the organization, they would find success.


The Case Against Prosecuting Refugees, Evan J. Criddle Nov 2020

The Case Against Prosecuting Refugees, Evan J. Criddle

Faculty Publications

Within the past several years, the U.S. Department of Justice has pledged to prosecute asylum-seekers who enter the United States outside an official port of entry without inspection. This practice has contributed to mass incarceration and family separation at the U.S.–Mexico border, and it has prevented bona fide refugees from accessing relief in immigration court. Yet, federal judges have taken refugee prosecution in stride, assuming that refugees, like other foreign migrants, are subject to the full force of American criminal justice if they skirt domestic border controls. This assumption is gravely mistaken.

This Article shows that Congress has not authorized …


Three Questions About "Stand Your Ground" Laws, Cynthia V. Ward Jan 2020

Three Questions About "Stand Your Ground" Laws, Cynthia V. Ward

Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


Convictions As Guilt, Anna Roberts Jan 2020

Convictions As Guilt, Anna Roberts

Faculty Publications

A curious tension exists in scholarly discourse about the criminal legal system. On the one hand, a copious body of work exposes a variety of facets of the system that jeopardize the reliability of convictions. These include factors whose influence is pervasive: the predominance of plea bargaining, for example, and the subordination of the defense. On the other hand, scholars often discuss people who have criminal convictions in a way that appears to assume crime commission. This apparent assumption obscures crucial failings of the system, muddies the role of academia, and, given the unequal distribution of criminal convictions, risks compounding …


Categorical Nonuniformity, Sheldon Evans Jan 2020

Categorical Nonuniformity, Sheldon Evans

Faculty Publications

The categorical approach, which is a method federal courts use to ‘categorize’ which state law criminal convictions can trigger federal sanctions, is one of the most impactful yet misunderstood legal doctrines in criminal and immigration law. For thousands of criminal offenders, the categorical approach determines whether a previous state law conviction—as defined by the legal elements of the crime—sufficiently matches the elements of the federal crime counterpart that justifies imposing harsh federal sentencing enhancements or even deportation for noncitizens. One of the normative goals courts have invoked to uphold this elements-based categorical approach is that it produces nationwide uniformity. Ironically, …


Real Insider Trading, Michael A. Perino Jan 2020

Real Insider Trading, Michael A. Perino

Faculty Publications

In popular rhetoric, insider trading cases are about leveling the playing field between elite market participants and ordinary investors. Academic critiques vary. Some depict an untethered insider trading doctrine that enforcers use to expand their power and enhance their discretion. Others see enforcers beset with agency cost problems who bring predominantly simple, easily resolved cases to create the veneer of vigorous enforcement. The debate has, to this point, been based mostly on anecdote and conjecture rather than empirical evidence. This Article addresses that gap by collecting extensive data on 465 individual defendants in civil, criminal, and administrative actions to assess …


Fictional Pleas, Thea B. Johnson Jul 2019

Fictional Pleas, Thea B. Johnson

Faculty Publications

A fictional plea is one in which the defendant pleads guilty to a crime he has not committed with the knowledge of the defense attorney, prosecutor and judge. With fictional pleas, the plea of conviction is totally detached from the original factual allegations against the defendant. As criminal justice actors become increasingly troubled by the impact of collateral consequences on defendants, the fictional plea serves as an appealing response to this concern. It allows the parties to achieve parallel aims: the prosecutor holds the defendant accountable in the criminal system, while the defendant avoids devastating non-criminal consequences. In this context, …


The Challenge Of Convincing Ethical Prosecutors That Their Profession Has A Brady Problem, Adam M. Gershowitz Apr 2019

The Challenge Of Convincing Ethical Prosecutors That Their Profession Has A Brady Problem, Adam M. Gershowitz

Faculty Publications

In recent decades, both the media and legal scholars have documented the widespread problem of prosecutors failing to disclose favorable evidence to the defense – so called Brady violations. Despite all of this documentation however, many ethical prosecutors reject the notion that the criminal justice system has a Brady problem. These prosecutors – ethical lawyers who themselves have not been accused of misconduct – believe that the scope of the Brady problem is exaggerated. Why do ethical prosecutors downplay the evidence that some of their colleagues have committed serious errors?

This essay, in honor of Professor Bennett Gershman, points to …


Criminal-Justice Apps: A Modest Step Toward Democratizing The Criminal Process, Adam M. Gershowitz Feb 2019

Criminal-Justice Apps: A Modest Step Toward Democratizing The Criminal Process, Adam M. Gershowitz

Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


Two Models For Amending The 'Fleeing Felon' Rule, Cynthia V. Ward Jan 2019

Two Models For Amending The 'Fleeing Felon' Rule, Cynthia V. Ward

Faculty Publications

The so-called “fleeing felon” rule instructs courts and law-enforcement personnel about whether, and when, police may use deadly force to stop a suspect who is attempting to escape arrest. At common law, police were allowed to use deadly force when necessary to prevent the escape of a fleeing felon, even if the escapee did not present an imminent threat of violence to the officers or others. By contrast, the right of private citizens to use deadly force against another person is generally restricted to situations involving self-defense—where an innocent person reasonably believes she is facing an imminent threat of death …


Lead Us Not Into Temptation: A Response To Barbara Fedders’S “Opioid Policing”, Anna Roberts Jan 2019

Lead Us Not Into Temptation: A Response To Barbara Fedders’S “Opioid Policing”, Anna Roberts

Faculty Publications

(Excerpt)

In “Opioid Policing,” Barbara Fedders contributes to the law review literature the first joint scholarly analysis of two drug policing innovations: Seattle’s Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program and the Angel Initiative, which originated in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Even while welcoming the innovation and inspiration of these programs, she remains clear-eyed about the need to scrutinize their potential downsides. Her work is crucially timed. While still just a few years old, LEAD has been replicated many times and appears likely to be replicated still further—and to be written about much more. Inspired by Fedders’s call for a balanced take, this …


Arrests As Guilt, Anna Roberts Jan 2019

Arrests As Guilt, Anna Roberts

Faculty Publications

An arrest puts a halt to one’s free life and may act as prelude to a new process. That new process—prosecution—may culminate in a finding of guilt. But arrest and guilt—concepts that are factually and legally distinct—frequently seem to be fused together. This fusion appears in many of the consequences of arrest, including the use of arrests in assessing “risk,” in calculating “recidivism,” and in identifying “offenders.” An examination of this fusion elucidates obstacles to key aspects of criminal justice reform. Efforts at reform, whether focused on prosecution or defense, police or bail, require a robust understanding of the differences …


The Right To Counsel In Criminal Cases: Still A National Crisis?, Mary Sue Backus, Paul Marcus Nov 2018

The Right To Counsel In Criminal Cases: Still A National Crisis?, Mary Sue Backus, Paul Marcus

Faculty Publications

In 1963, Gideon v. Wainwright dramatically changed the landscape of criminal justice with its mandate that poor criminal defendants be entitled to legal representation funded by the government. As scholars and practitioners have noted repeatedly over more than fifty years, states have generally failed to provide the equal access Gideon promised. This Article revisits the questions raised by the authors over a decade ago when they asserted that a genuine national crisis exists regarding the right to counsel in criminal cases for poor people. Sadly, despite a few isolated instances where litigation has sparked some progress, the issues remain the …


Prosecutorial Dismissals As Teachable Moments (And Databases) For The Police, Adam M. Gershowitz Nov 2018

Prosecutorial Dismissals As Teachable Moments (And Databases) For The Police, Adam M. Gershowitz

Faculty Publications

The criminal justice process typically begins when the police make a warrantless arrest. Although police usually do a good job of bringing in the “right” cases, they do make mistakes. Officers sometimes arrest suspects even though there is no evidence to prove an essential element of the crime. Police also conduct unlawful searches and interrogations. And officers make arrests in marginal cases—schoolyard fights are a good example—in which prosecutors do not think a criminal conviction is appropriate. Accordingly, prosecutors regularly dismiss cases after police have made warrantless arrests and suspects have sat in jail for days, or even weeks. In …


Too Ill To Be Killed: Mental And Physical Competency To Be Executed Pursuant To The Death Penalty, Linda A. Malone Oct 2018

Too Ill To Be Killed: Mental And Physical Competency To Be Executed Pursuant To The Death Penalty, Linda A. Malone

Faculty Publications

Mentally ill individuals are being housed in prisons and jails throughout the country. Due to decreased funding and overpopulation of correctional facilities, individuals with pre-existing illnesses, as well as others who develop illnesses, are in severe need of mental health services and punished for their ailments through the use of solitary confinement, long prison sentences, and lack of care. The stress created by such conditions is amplified for mentally ill prisoners who are awaiting execution or the dismissal of their death row sentences. These individuals must show that they are competent to stand trial, exhibit the mental state required for …


Reassessing Prosecutorial Power Through The Lens Of Mass Incarceration, Jeffrey Bellin Apr 2018

Reassessing Prosecutorial Power Through The Lens Of Mass Incarceration, Jeffrey Bellin

Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


Crime, Punishment, And Causation: The Effect Of Etiological Information On The Perception Of Moral Agency, Paul J. Litton, Philip Robbins Feb 2018

Crime, Punishment, And Causation: The Effect Of Etiological Information On The Perception Of Moral Agency, Paul J. Litton, Philip Robbins

Faculty Publications

Moral judgments about a situation are profoundly shaped by the perception of individuals in that situation as either moral agents or moral patients (Gray & Wegner, 2009; Gray, Young, & Waytz, 2012), Specifically, the more we see someone as a moral agent, the less we see them as a moral patient, and vice versa. As a result, casting the perpetrator of a transgression as a victim tends to have the effect of making them seem less blameworthy (Gray & Wegner, 201 1). Based on this theoretical framework, we predicted that criminal offenders with a mental disorder that predisposes them to …


Capitalizing On Criminal Justice, Eisha Jain Jan 2018

Capitalizing On Criminal Justice, Eisha Jain

Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


The Expansion Of Child Pornography Law, Carissa B. Hessick Jan 2018

The Expansion Of Child Pornography Law, Carissa B. Hessick

Faculty Publications

This Symposium essay identifies two dramatic expansions of child pornography law: prosecutions for possessing images of children who are clothed and not engaged in any sexual activity, and prosecutions for possessing smaller portions of artistic and non-pornographic images. These prosecutions have expanded the definition of the term ‘‘child pornography’’ well beyond its initial meaning. What is more, they signal that child pornography laws are being used to punish people not necessarily because of the nature of the picture they possess, but rather because of the conclusion that those individuals are sexually attracted to children. If law enforcement concludes that a …


Proportionality And Other Misdemeanor Myths, Eisha Jain Jan 2018

Proportionality And Other Misdemeanor Myths, Eisha Jain

Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.