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Full-Text Articles in Law

Report On Offense Grading In Pennsylvania, Paul H. Robinson, Criminal Law Research Group, University Of Pennsylvania Law School Dec 2009

Report On Offense Grading In Pennsylvania, Paul H. Robinson, Criminal Law Research Group, University Of Pennsylvania Law School

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The Pennsylvania Legislature's Senate Judiciary Committee and House Judiciary Committee jointly commissioned this study of the criminal offense grading scheme contained in Pennsylvania criminal statutes. This Final Report, which was presented to a joint session of the two Committees on December 15, 2009, examines the extent to which current Pennsylvania law defines offenses with offense grades that are inconsistent with the relative seriousness of the offense as compared to other offenses, based upon an empirical survey of Pennsylvania residents. It also examines whether some offenses include within a single grade forms of conduct of very different degrees of seriousness, for …


Prosecutorial Regulation Versus Prosecutorial Accountability, Stephanos Bibas Apr 2009

Prosecutorial Regulation Versus Prosecutorial Accountability, Stephanos Bibas

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No government official has as much unreviewable power or discretion as the prosecutor. Few regulations bind or even guide prosecutorial discretion, and fewer still work well. Most commentators favor more external regulation by legislatures, judges, or bar authorities. Neither across-the-board legislation nor ex post review of individual cases has proven to be effective, however. Drawing on management literature, this article reframes the issue as a principal-agent problem and suggests corporate strategies for better serving the relevant stakeholders. Fear of voters could better check prosecutors, as could victim participation in individual cases. Scholars have largely neglected the most promising avenue of …


Rewarding Prosecutors For Performance, Stephanos Bibas Feb 2009

Rewarding Prosecutors For Performance, Stephanos Bibas

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Prosecutorial discretion is a problem that most scholars attack from the outside. Most scholars favor external institutional solutions, such as ex ante legislation or ex post judicial and bar review of individual cases of misconduct. At best these approaches can catch the very worst misconduct. They lack inside information and sustained oversight and cannot generate and enforce fine-grained rules to guide prosecutorial decisionmaking. The more promising alternative is to work within prosecutors' offices, to create incentives for good performance. This symposium essay explores a neglected toolbox that head prosecutors can use to influence line prosecutors: compensation and other rewards. Rewards …


Intention, Torture, And The Concept Of State Crime, Aditi Bagchi Jan 2009

Intention, Torture, And The Concept Of State Crime, Aditi Bagchi

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Notwithstanding the universal prohibition against torture, and almost universal agreement that in order to qualify as torture, the act in question must be committed intentionally with an illicit purpose, the intentional element of torture remains ambiguous. I make the following claims about how we should interpret the intent requirement as applied to states. First, state intent should be understood objectively with reference to the apparent reasons for state action. The subjective motivation of particular state actors is not directly relevant. While we focus on subjective intent in the context of individual crime because of its relation to culpability and blameworthiness, …


Policing Politics At Sentencing, Stephanos Bibas, Max M. Schanzenbach, Emerson H. Tiller Jan 2009

Policing Politics At Sentencing, Stephanos Bibas, Max M. Schanzenbach, Emerson H. Tiller

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No abstract provided.


A Right To Bear Firearms But Not To Use Them? Defensive Force Rules And The Increasing Effectiveness Of Non-Lethal Weapons, Paul H. Robinson Jan 2009

A Right To Bear Firearms But Not To Use Them? Defensive Force Rules And The Increasing Effectiveness Of Non-Lethal Weapons, Paul H. Robinson

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Under existing American law, advances in non-lethal weapons increasingly make the use of firearms for defense unlawful and the Second Amendment of little practical significance. As the effectiveness and availability of less lethal weapons increase, the choice of a lethal firearm for protection is a choice to use more force than is necessary, in violation of existing self-defense law. At the same time, a shift to non-lethal weapons increases the frequency of situations in which a person’s use of force is authorized because defenders with non-lethal weapons are freed from the special proportionality requirements that limit the use of deadly …


Restoration But Also More Justice, Stephanos Bibas Jan 2009

Restoration But Also More Justice, Stephanos Bibas

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This short essay replies to Erik Luna's endorsement of restorative justice. He is right that the goal of healing victims, defendants, and their families is important but all too often neglected by substantive criminal law and procedure, which is far too state-centered and impersonal. The problem with restorative justice is that too often it seeks to sweep away punishment as barbaric and downplays the need for deterrence and incapacitation as well. In short, restorative justice deserves more of a role in American criminal justice. Shorn of its political baggage and reflexive hostility to punishment, restorative justice has much to teach …


The Pace Of International Criminal Justice, Jean Galbraith Jan 2009

The Pace Of International Criminal Justice, Jean Galbraith

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This article examines how long international criminal cases take in practice. It considers the cases of all 305 individuals charged at six international and hybrid criminal tribunals (as of shortly before this article's publication). Contrary to the conventional wisdom, on average today’s international criminal cases do not take much longer than comparably complex domestic criminal cases, once the defendants are in custody. Nonetheless, international criminal cases may take too long to achieve the goal of helping to reconcile the affected communities – particularly where a community has abruptly transitioned from an abusive old regime to an entirely new one. Where …


Liability Insurance At The Tort-Crime Boundary, Tom Baker Jan 2009

Liability Insurance At The Tort-Crime Boundary, Tom Baker

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This essay explores how liability insurance mediates the boundary between torts and crime. Liability insurance sometimes separates these two legal fields, for example through the application of standard insurance contract provisions that exclude insurance coverage for some crimes that are also torts. Perhaps less obviously, liability insurance also can draw parts of the tort and criminal fields together. For example, professional liability insurance civilizes the criminal law experience for some crimes that are also torts by providing defendants with an insurance-paid criminal defense that provides more than ordinary means to contest the state’s accusations. The crime-tort separation in liability insurance …


A System Of Excuses: How Criminal Law’S Excuse Defenses Do, And Don’T, Work Together To Exculpate Blameless (And Only Blameless) Offenders, Paul H. Robinson Jan 2009

A System Of Excuses: How Criminal Law’S Excuse Defenses Do, And Don’T, Work Together To Exculpate Blameless (And Only Blameless) Offenders, Paul H. Robinson

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Criminal law excuses are analyzed as a group of analogous doctrines working together to exculpate blameless offenders. The analysis reveals that current law doctrine, although it often is not explicit about the parallel and integrated operation of its excuse defenses, does much to perform this exculpatory function. However, the systematic perspective of excuses also reveals some serious shortcomings of current doctrines.


The Irreducibly Normative Nature Of Provocation/Passion, Stephen J. Morse Jan 2009

The Irreducibly Normative Nature Of Provocation/Passion, Stephen J. Morse

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No abstract provided.