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Evisceration Of The Right To Appeal: Denial Of Individual Responsibility As Actionable Genocide Denial, Jennifer E. King Jan 2021

Evisceration Of The Right To Appeal: Denial Of Individual Responsibility As Actionable Genocide Denial, Jennifer E. King

Vanderbilt Law Review

Tensions arise during litigation in the international criminal justice system between the practice of the international criminal tribunals, domestic laws, and policy decisions of United Nation (“UN”) Member States. One such tension arises between domestic genocide denial laws, which typically criminalize denial of genocide as a strict liability offense, and the preservation of due process for persons convicted of genocide seeking appeal. In theory, denying individual responsibility during the appeal of a conviction by an international tribunal could constitute punishable genocide denial under some domestic laws. This criminalization of the appeal process would violate the due process rights of international …


Plea Bargaining And Collateral Consequences: An Experimental Analysis, Carlie Malone May 2020

Plea Bargaining And Collateral Consequences: An Experimental Analysis, Carlie Malone

Vanderbilt Law Review

The overwhelming majority of convictions in the United States are obtained through guilty pleas. Many of these guilty pleas are a product of plea bargaining, where a defendant enters a guilty plea in exchange for some form of official concessions. Despite its prominence, plea bargaining is subject to limited regulation. One consequence of this limited regulation is that courts generally only require the direct consequences of a guilty plea to be communicated to a defendant. Thus, when a defendant is deciding whether to plead guilty, he is often operating with incomplete information about the costly collateral consequences that may attach …


Shackling Prejudice: Expanding The Deck V. Missouri Rule To Nonjury Proceedings, Sadie Shourd Mar 2020

Shackling Prejudice: Expanding The Deck V. Missouri Rule To Nonjury Proceedings, Sadie Shourd

Vanderbilt Law Review

Courts in the United States have traditionally held that criminal defendants have the right to be free from unwarranted restraints visible to the jury during the guilt phase of a trial. The term “unwarranted restraints” refers to the use of restraints on a defendant absent a court’s individualized determination that such restraints are justified by an essential state interest. In Deck v. Missouri, the Supreme Court expanded the prohibition against unwarranted restraints to the sentencing phase of a trial. The law regarding the unwarranted shackling of defendants in nonjury proceedings, however, remains unsettled. The U.S. Courts of Appeals for the …


Reestablishing A Knowledge Mens Rea Requirement For Armed Career Criminal Act "Violent Felonies" Post-Voisine, Jeffrey A. Turner Oct 2019

Reestablishing A Knowledge Mens Rea Requirement For Armed Career Criminal Act "Violent Felonies" Post-Voisine, Jeffrey A. Turner

Vanderbilt Law Review

Until 2016, federal courts unanimously concluded that predicate offenses for the Armed Career Criminal Act ('ACCA") required a knowledge mens rea. Therefore, any state law crimes that could be com- mitted with a reckless mens rea were not "violent felonies" and could not serve as ACCA predicates. In 2016, however, the U.S. Supreme Court's opinion in Voisine v. United States disrupted that lower court consensus. The Court stated that a reckless mens rea was sufficient to violate 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9), which bars individuals convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence offenses from possessing firearms.

The ACCA's language is similar to § …


Disclosing Prosecutorial Misconduct, Jason Kreag Jan 2019

Disclosing Prosecutorial Misconduct, Jason Kreag

Vanderbilt Law Review

Prosecutorial misconduct in the form of Brady violations continues to plague the criminal justice system. Brady misconduct represents a fundamental breakdown in the adversarial process, denying defendants a fair trial and undermining the legitimacy of the criminal justice system. Commentators have responded by proposing a range of reforms to increase Brady compliance. Yet these reforms largely ignore the need to remedy the harms from past Brady violations. Furthermore, these proposals focus almost entirely on the harms defendants face from prosecutors'Brady misconduct, ignoring the harms victims, jurors, witnesses, and others endure because of Brady misconduct. This Article proposes a new remedy …


Penile Polygraphy: The Admissibility Of Penile-Plethysmograph Results At Sentencing In Tennessee, Steven Poland Jan 2019

Penile Polygraphy: The Admissibility Of Penile-Plethysmograph Results At Sentencing In Tennessee, Steven Poland

Vanderbilt Law Review

State judges in Tennessee currently consider the results of penile plethysmograph ("PPG") evaluations when sentencing convicted sex offenders. These highly intrusive physical tests purport to identify whether an offender's arousal is considered "deviant" by measuring the change in penis size after viewing various stimuli. Because the results are usually buried in psychosexual evaluations that are part of general presentence assessments of recidivism risk, PPG evaluations suffer from a lack of standardization and little attention under the rules of evidence. Interestingly, PPG testing is similar to polygraphy in a number of ways, although studies have shown that PPG results are more …


The Jim Crow Jury, Thomas W. Frampton Oct 2018

The Jim Crow Jury, Thomas W. Frampton

Vanderbilt Law Review

Since the end of Reconstruction, the criminal jury box has both reflected and reproduced racial hierarchies in the United States. In the Plessy era, racial exclusion from juries was central to the reassertion of white supremacy. But it also generated pushback: a movement resisting "the Jim Crow jury" actively fought, both inside and outside the courtroom, efforts to deny black citizens equal representation on criminal juries. Recovering this forgotten history-a counterpart to the legal struggles against disenfranchisement and de jure segregationunderscores the centrality of the jury to politics and power in the post- Reconstruction era. It also helps explain Louisiana's …


Trafficked In Texas: Combatting The Sex-Trafficking Epidemic Through Prostitution Law And Sentencing Reform In The Lone Star State, Madison T. Santana Oct 2018

Trafficked In Texas: Combatting The Sex-Trafficking Epidemic Through Prostitution Law And Sentencing Reform In The Lone Star State, Madison T. Santana

Vanderbilt Law Review

American law has historically treated prostitution as a victimless crime, a moral trespass between two consenting individuals, rather than a potential act of violence, a product of fraud or coercion. However, growing awareness of the international sex-trafficking epidemic has brought long-settled prostitution law once more under the critical eye of academics and lawmakers as a potential tool in curbing the stillgrowing demand for illicit commercial sex. Whether prostitution law reform may in fact be effective remains a matter of academic debate in the United States; however, such reform has gained substantial ground abroad, with compelling results. This Note argues for …


Decoding Guilty Minds: How Jurors Attribute Knowledge And Guilt, Matthew R. Ginther, Francis X. Shen, Richard J. Bonnie, Morris B. Hoffman, Owen D. Jones, Kenneth W. Simons Jan 2018

Decoding Guilty Minds: How Jurors Attribute Knowledge And Guilt, Matthew R. Ginther, Francis X. Shen, Richard J. Bonnie, Morris B. Hoffman, Owen D. Jones, Kenneth W. Simons

Vanderbilt Law Review

Our personal data is everywhere and anywhere, moving across national borders in ways that defy normal expectations of how things and people travel from Point A to Point B. Yet, whereas data transits the globe without any intrinsic ties to territory, the governments that seek to access or regulate this data operate with territorial-based limits. This Article tackles the inherent tension between how governments and data operate, the jurisdictional conflicts that have emerged, and the power that has been delegated to the multinational corporations that manage our data across borders as a result. It does so through the lens of …


Invisible Bars: Adapting The Crime Of False Imprisonment To Better Address Coercive Control And Domestic Violence In Tennessee, Alexandra M. Ortiz Jan 2018

Invisible Bars: Adapting The Crime Of False Imprisonment To Better Address Coercive Control And Domestic Violence In Tennessee, Alexandra M. Ortiz

Vanderbilt Law Review

On average, three or more women are murdered by their intimate partners in the United States every day. Despite the now well-known correlation between coercive control-the strategic use of oppressive behavior to control primarily female partners-and intimate partner homicide, most states continue to focus their criminal domestic violence laws solely on physical violence. As a result, state laws often fail to protect victims from future and escalating violence. Focusing on Tennessee law and drawing from the work of Evan Stark as well as the United Kingdom's Serious Crime Act of 2015, this Note proposes adapting the preexisting crime of false …


State Criminal Appeals Revealed, Michael Heise, Nancy J. King, Nicole A. Heise Nov 2017

State Criminal Appeals Revealed, Michael Heise, Nancy J. King, Nicole A. Heise

Vanderbilt Law Review

Every state provides appellate review of criminal judgments, yet little research examines which factors correlate with favorable outcomes for defendants who seek appellate relief. To address this scholarly gap, this Article exploits the Survey of Criminal Appeals in State Courts (2010) dataset, recently released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the National Center for State Courts (hereinafter, "NCSC Study"). The NCSC Study is the first and only publicly available national dataset on state criminal appeals and includes unprecedented information from every state court in the nation with jurisdiction to review criminal judgments.


A Theory Of Differential Punishment, Jack Boeglin, Zachary Shapiro Oct 2017

A Theory Of Differential Punishment, Jack Boeglin, Zachary Shapiro

Vanderbilt Law Review

A puzzle has long pervaded the criminal law: why are two offenders who commit the same criminal act punished differently when one of them, due to circumstances beyond her control, causes more harm than the other? This tradition of result-based differential punishment the practice of varying offenders' punishment based on whether or not they cause specific "statutory harms"-has long stood as an intractable problem for scholars and jurists alike.

This Article proposes a solution to this long-standing conceptual problem. We begin by introducing a dichotomy between two broad and exhaustive categories of ideological justifications for punishing criminal offenders. The first …


"Plausible Cause": Explanatory Standards In The Age Of Powerful Machines, Kiel Brennan-Marquez May 2017

"Plausible Cause": Explanatory Standards In The Age Of Powerful Machines, Kiel Brennan-Marquez

Vanderbilt Law Review

Much scholarship in law and political science has long understood the U.S. Supreme Court to be the "apex" court in the federal judicial system, and so to relate hierarchically to "lower" federal courts. On that top-down view, exemplified by the work of Alexander Bickel and many subsequent scholars, the Court is the principal, and lower federal courts are its faithful agents. Other scholarship takes a bottom-up approach, viewing lower federal courts as faithless agents or analyzing the "percolation" of issues in those courts before the Court decides. This Article identifies circumstances in which the relationship between the Court and other …


Unambiguous Deterrence: Ambiguity Attitudes In The Juvenile Justice System And The Case For A Right To Counsel During Intake Proceedings, Hannah Frank Mar 2017

Unambiguous Deterrence: Ambiguity Attitudes In The Juvenile Justice System And The Case For A Right To Counsel During Intake Proceedings, Hannah Frank

Vanderbilt Law Review

According to the traditional rational choice theory of criminal behavior, people choose to commit crimes in a rational manner.' They weigh the costs and benefits and make informed decisions to maximize their utility. Under this framework, the state can deter crime through two main avenues: increasing the probability of detection and increasing the punishment if caught, both of which increase the total cost of committing a crime. Recently, however, behavioral insights have begun to cast doubt on traditional rationality assumptions. Lab experiments and empirical studies using real-world data have shown that people exhibit bounded rationality. For example, individuals have limited …


The Right To Domain Silent: Rebalancing Tort Incentives To Keep Pace With Information Availability For Criminal Suspects And Arrestees, Laura K. Mckenzie Apr 2016

The Right To Domain Silent: Rebalancing Tort Incentives To Keep Pace With Information Availability For Criminal Suspects And Arrestees, Laura K. Mckenzie

Vanderbilt Law Review

One nondescript evening, Dale Menard waited in a park for a friend to pick him up.When his friend did not arrive on schedule, Menard looked into the window of a nearby retirement home to check the time. Shortly thereafter, Menard was arrested based on a resident's prowler report and held by the Los Angeles Police Department for two days. The arrest was based purely on a misunderstanding, and the LAPD never brought charges against Menard. The police did, however, forward his arrest record and fingerprints to the FBI as part of a routine record exchange. One misunderstanding culminated in extended …


Finding "Tapia Error": How Circuit Courts Have Misread 'Tapia V. United States' And Shortchanged The Penological Goals Of The Sentencing Reform Act, Matt J. Gornick Apr 2016

Finding "Tapia Error": How Circuit Courts Have Misread 'Tapia V. United States' And Shortchanged The Penological Goals Of The Sentencing Reform Act, Matt J. Gornick

Vanderbilt Law Review

The American criminal justice system is called many things; "compassionate" is usually not one of them. Yet in the course of federal criminal proceedings, a sentencing hearing allows a judge to convey compassion toward a defendant, if only to say, "I'm sorry about your situation, but this is how I must apply the law." Likewise, a defendant might throw herself on the mercy of the court in hopes that the judge exercises discretion compassionately. Mitigating factors and downward departures suggest that judges are capable of doing so. But how does a sentencing judge show compassion, as opposed to simply feeling …


The Price Of Silence: How The Griffin Roadblock And Protection Against Adverse Inference Condemn The Criminal Defendant, Kelsey Craig Jan 2016

The Price Of Silence: How The Griffin Roadblock And Protection Against Adverse Inference Condemn The Criminal Defendant, Kelsey Craig

Vanderbilt Law Review

In 1965, the Supreme Court held in Griffin v. California that the Fifth Amendment privilege against compelled self-incrimination prohibits judges and prosecutors from pointing to a defendant's failure to testify as substantive evidence of guilt. This doctrine assumes that such a prosecutorial or judicial "adverse comment" compels a negative inference-that the defendant is hiding something. The Griffin Court held that this assumption amounts to an unfair penalty on a defendant's invocation of a constitutionally protected right. This doctrine, however, makes a dangerous misstep in additionally assuming that the prohibition of adverse comment and the administration of limiting instructions curtail a …


Overcriminalization's New Harm Paradigm, Todd Haugh Oct 2015

Overcriminalization's New Harm Paradigm, Todd Haugh

Vanderbilt Law Review

The harms of overcriminalization are usually thought of in a particular way-that the proliferation of criminal laws leads to increasing and inconsistent criminal enforcement and adjudication. For example, an offender commits an unethical or illegal act and, because of the overwhelming depth and breadth of the criminal law, becomes subject to too much prosecutorial discretion and faces disparate enforcement or punishment. But there is an additional, possibly more pernicious, harm of overcriminalization. Drawing from the fields of criminology and behavioral ethics, this Article makes the case that overcriminalization actually increases the commission of criminal behavior itself, particularly by white collar …


Misdemeanor Decriminalization, Alexandra Natapoff May 2015

Misdemeanor Decriminalization, Alexandra Natapoff

Vanderbilt Law Review

As the United States reconsiders its stance on mass incarceration, misdemeanor decriminalization has emerged as an increasingly popular reform. Seen as a potential cure for crowded jails and an overburdened defense bar, many states are eliminating jail time for minor offenses such as marijuana possession and driving violations, replacing those crimes with so-called "nonjailable" or "fine-only" offenses. This form of reclassification is widely perceived as a way of saving millions of state dollars-nonjailable offenses do not trigger the right to counsel-while easing the punitive impact on defendants, and it has strong support from progressives and conservatives alike. But decriminalization has …


Criminal Asset Forfeiture And The Sixth Amendment After "Southern Union" And "Alleyne:" State-Level Ramifications, Brynn Applebaum Mar 2015

Criminal Asset Forfeiture And The Sixth Amendment After "Southern Union" And "Alleyne:" State-Level Ramifications, Brynn Applebaum

Vanderbilt Law Review

The Founding Fathers thought the jury-trial right was so fundamental to our system of justice that they included it in the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The right to trial by jury serves to protect criminal defendants against government overreaching by ensuring that they will be judged by their fellow citizens.' And as a whole, our system of justice and our citizenry have remained committed to the jury trial. But since the Founding, the Supreme Court has narrowed the application of the Sixth Amendment's guaranty.

Two decades ago, the Supreme Court decided in Libretti v. United States that …


The Language Of Mens Rea, Matthew R. Ginther Oct 2014

The Language Of Mens Rea, Matthew R. Ginther

Vanderbilt Law Review

To be guilty of a crime, generally one must commit a bad act while in a culpable state of mind. But the language used to define, partition, and communicate the variety of culpable mental states (in Latin, mens rea) is crucially important. For depending on the mental state that juries attribute to him, a defendant can be convicted-for the very same act and the very same consequence-of different crimes, each with different sentences.

The influential Model Penal Code ("MPC") of 1962 divided culpable mental states into four now-familiar kinds: purposeful, knowing, reckless, and negligent.' Both before the MPC and since, …


In Defense Of American Criminal Justice, J. H. Wilkinson, Iii May 2014

In Defense Of American Criminal Justice, J. H. Wilkinson, Iii

Vanderbilt Law Review

The American criminal justice system is on trial. A chorus of commentators-often but not exclusively in the legal academy-has leveled a sharp indictment of criminal process in our country. The indictment charges that large flaws infect nearly every stage of the adjudicatory process. And the prescriptions are equally far-reaching, with calls for abolition of many current practices and an overhaul of the entire system. What is more, the critics issue their condemnations essentially as givens, often claiming that all reasonable people could not help but agree that fair treatment of the accused has been fatally compromised. For these critics, "We …


Against Proportional Punishment, Adam J. Kolber May 2013

Against Proportional Punishment, Adam J. Kolber

Vanderbilt Law Review

Many criminal defendants are held in detention while they await trial. Though conditions in pretrial detention are much like those in prison, detention is technically not punishment. Since detainees are merely accused of crimes, they are presumed innocent.' Their detention is not intended to punish them, and so, the Supreme Court has said, it is not punishment at all. Rather, detention is a means of promoting public safety, reducing witness intimidation, and preventing people accused of crimes from fleeing before trial. Nevertheless, defendants who are convicted generally receive credit at sentencing for time served in pretrial detention. An offender who …


Extralegal Punishment Factors: A Study Of Forgiveness, Hardship, Good Deeds, Apology, Remorse, And Other Such Discretionary Factors In Assessing Criminal Punishment, Paul H. Robinson, Sean E. Jackowitz, Daniel M. Bartels Apr 2012

Extralegal Punishment Factors: A Study Of Forgiveness, Hardship, Good Deeds, Apology, Remorse, And Other Such Discretionary Factors In Assessing Criminal Punishment, Paul H. Robinson, Sean E. Jackowitz, Daniel M. Bartels

Vanderbilt Law Review

The criminal law's formal criteria for assessing punishment are typically contained in criminal codes, the rules of which fix an offender's liability and the grade of the offense. Those rules classically look to an offender's blameworthiness, taking account of both the seriousness of the harm or the evil of the offense and an offender's culpability and mental capacity. Courts generally examine these desert-based factors as they exist at the time of the offense. To some extent, modern crime-control theory sometimes prompts code drafters to look at circumstances beyond the offense itself, such as prior criminal record, on the grounds that …


Eyewitnesses And Exclusion, Brandon L. Garrett Mar 2012

Eyewitnesses And Exclusion, Brandon L. Garrett

Vanderbilt Law Review

The dramatic moment when an eyewitness takes the stand and points to the defendant in the courtroom can be pivotal in a criminal trial. That piece of theater, however compelling to jurors, is staged: it is obvious where the defendant is sitting, and, importantly, the memory of the eyewitness should have been tested before trial using photo arrays or lineups. Such courtroom displays have been accepted for so long that their role in the U.S. Supreme Court's due process jurisprudence regulating eyewitness identifications has been neglected. The due process test that regulates tens of thousands of eyewitness identifications each year …


Memory And Punishment, O. Carter Snead May 2011

Memory And Punishment, O. Carter Snead

Vanderbilt Law Review

Developments in cognitive neuroscience-the science of how the brain enables the mind--continue to prompt profound scholarly debate and reflection on the practice and theory of criminal law. Advances in the field have raised vexing questions relating to lie detection, interrogation methods, the Fifth Amendment right against compelled self-incrimination, competency to stand trial, defenses to guilt (such as diminished capacity and insanity), sentencing, and the relationship between moral responsibility and punishment. Similarly, for the past decade, philosophers, scientists, clinicians, and legal scholars have been engaged in a major debate about the cognitive neuroscience of memory and new capacities to modify it …


Giving It Another Shot: A Reexamination Of The "Second Or Subsequent Conviction" Language Of The Firearm Possession Sentencing Statute, Rachel E. Moore Apr 2011

Giving It Another Shot: A Reexamination Of The "Second Or Subsequent Conviction" Language Of The Firearm Possession Sentencing Statute, Rachel E. Moore

Vanderbilt Law Review

The effects of the current interpretation of the federal firearm possession sentencing statute are severe, often mandating the imposition of de facto life sentences for first-time offenders. For example, suppose a twenty-three-year-old first-time offender was found guilty in a federal district court of robbing $500 from two financial institutions in two days and carrying a single firearm during the robbery spree. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, this first-time offender would be subject to a sentence ranging between forty-one and fifty-one months for each robbery. Thus, for the substantive offenses, the sentence would total eighty-two to 102 months, or six years …


The Limited Diagnosticity Of Criminal Trials, Dan Simon Jan 2011

The Limited Diagnosticity Of Criminal Trials, Dan Simon

Vanderbilt Law Review

Few political institutions play as palpable, ubiquitous, and solemn a role in the U.S. public life as the criminal justice system. The task of determining the defendant's criminal liability with a high degree of certitude is performed through the ritualized and highly proceduralized adjudicative process, with the trial at its core. The United States Supreme Court has portrayed the criminal trial as a "decisive and portentous" and "paramount" event. Trials are considered "the central institution of law as we know it," the "crown jewel" of the legal system. Amidst its multiple purposes, an essential objective of the criminal trial is …


Admitting Guild By Professing Innocence: When Sentence Enhancements Bases On "Alford" Pleas Are Unconstitutional, Anne D. Gooch Nov 2010

Admitting Guild By Professing Innocence: When Sentence Enhancements Bases On "Alford" Pleas Are Unconstitutional, Anne D. Gooch

Vanderbilt Law Review

A few days before Christmas in 1994, in Vineland, New Jersey, Charles Apprendi, Jr. was drunk. At 2:04 a.m., he fired several shots from a .22 caliber gun into the home of an African-American family in his neighborhood. By 3:05 a.m., he had been arrested and had admitted that he was the shooter. Apprendi was interrogated for several hours after these events. At 6:04 a.m., he apparently stated that he committed the crime because the victims were black, but he later retracted this statement. Apprendi was indicted on twenty-three counts in connection with the shooting, and eventually pleaded guilty to …


Punishment As Suffering, David Gray Nov 2010

Punishment As Suffering, David Gray

Vanderbilt Law Review

When it comes to punishment, should we be subjectivists or objectivists? That is, should we define, measure, and justify punishment based on the subjective experiences of those who are punished or should we instead remain objective, focusing our attention on acts, culpability, and desert? In a recent series of high- profile articles, a group of contemporary scholars has taken up the mantle of subjectivism. In their view, criminal punishment is a grand machine for the production of negative subjective experiences-suffering. The machine requires calibration, of course. According to these scholars, the main standard we use for ours is comparative proportionality. …