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Full-Text Articles in Law

Countermajoritarian Criminal Law, Michael L. Smith Jan 2023

Countermajoritarian Criminal Law, Michael L. Smith

Pace Law Review

Criminal law pervades American society, subjecting millions to criminal enforcement, prosecution, and punishment every year. All too often, culpability is a minimal or nonexistent aspect of this phenomenon. Criminal law prohibits a wide range of common behaviors and practices, especially when one considers the various federal, state, and municipal levels of law restricting people’s actions. Recent scholarship has criticized not only the scope and impact of these laws but has also critiqued these laws out to the extent that they fail to live up to supermajoritarian ideals that underlie criminal justice.

This Article adds to and amplifies this criticism by …


Negligence And Culpability: Reflections On Alexander And Ferzan, Mitchell N. Berman Oct 2022

Negligence And Culpability: Reflections On Alexander And Ferzan, Mitchell N. Berman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

Philosophers of criminal punishment disagree about whether infliction of punishment for negligence can be morally justified. One contending view holds that it cannot be because punishment requires culpability and culpability requires, at a minimum, advertence to the facts that make one’s conduct wrongful. Larry Alexander and Kim Ferzan are prominent champions of this position. This essay challenges that view and their arguments for it. Invoking a conceptual distinction between an agent’s being blameworthy for an act and their deserving punishment (or suffering) for that act, it explains that an agent can be blameworthy for negligent conduct, and thus liable to …


The Trouble With Time Served, Kimberly Ferzan Mar 2022

The Trouble With Time Served, Kimberly Ferzan

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

Every jurisdiction in the United States gives criminal defendants “credit” against their sentence for the time they spend detained pretrial. In a world of mass incarceration and overcriminalization that disproportionately impacts people of color, this practice appears to be a welcome mechanism for mercy and justice. In fact, however, crediting detainees for time served is perverse. It harms the innocent. A defendant who is found not guilty, or whose case is dismissed, gets nothing. Crediting time served also allows the state to avoid internalizing the full costs of pretrial detention, thereby making overinclusive detention standards less expensive. Finally, crediting time …


Forced Prison Labor: Punishment For A Crime?, Wafa Junaid Jan 2022

Forced Prison Labor: Punishment For A Crime?, Wafa Junaid

Northwestern University Law Review

The Thirteenth Amendment’s prohibition of involuntary servitude carves out an exception to its protections that allows the use of forced labor as “punishment for a crime” when an individual is “duly convicted.” Courts have interpreted this language as placing a categorical bar on Thirteenth Amendment claims alleged by individuals who are incarcerated. Yet, a consistent understanding of the term “punishment” that draws from the term’s use in the Eighth Amendment’s Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause supports a narrower interpretation of the Thirteenth Amendment’s punishment exception. This Note argues that individuals cannot be denied Thirteenth Amendment protections unless they are explicitly …


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.


Criminal Acts And Basic Moral Equality, John A. Humbach Jan 2022

Criminal Acts And Basic Moral Equality, John A. Humbach

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

Modern criminal justice presupposes that persons are not morally equal. On the contrary, those who do wrong are viewed by the law as less worthy of respect, concern and decent treatment: Offenders, it is said, “deserve” to suffer for their misdeeds. Yet, there is scant logical or empirical basis for the law's supposition that offenders are morally inferior. The usual reasoning is that persons who intentionally or knowingly do wrong are the authors and initiators of their acts and, as such, are morally responsible for them. But this reasoning rests on the assumption that a person's mental states, such as …


Criminal Justice Secrets, Meghan J. Ryan Jan 2022

Criminal Justice Secrets, Meghan J. Ryan

Faculty Journal Articles and Book Chapters

The American criminal justice system is cloaked in secrecy. The government employs covert surveillance operations. Grand-jury proceedings are hidden from public view. Prosecutors engage in closed-door plea-bargaining and bury exculpatory evidence. Juries convict defendants on secret evidence. Jury deliberations are a black box. And jails and prisons implement clandestine punishment practices. Although there are some justifications for this secrecy, the ubiquitous nature of it is contrary to this nation’s Founders’ steadfast belief in the transparency of criminal justice proceedings. Further, the pervasiveness of secrecy within today’s criminal justice system raises serious constitutional concerns. The accumulation of secrecy and the aggregation …


Breaking Free: Detectives Let The Guilty Walk, Cassandra Holcombe Jan 2022

Breaking Free: Detectives Let The Guilty Walk, Cassandra Holcombe

All Master's Theses

In a genre like detective fiction, known for affirming social order, the refusal to enforce rule of law seems like an anomaly. The number of famous detectives who have let a perpetrator go suggests that release of suspects is not a break in genre conventions, but is a wider pattern that needs to be acknowledged. This study investigates that pattern by measuring the complexity of thirteen detectives: eleven of whom release perpetrators and two of whom do not, to serve as a control group. The higher the complexity of the character, the more human the character seems to be. The …


Blameworthiness, Desert, And Luck, Mitchell N. Berman Sep 2021

Blameworthiness, Desert, And Luck, Mitchell N. Berman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

Philosophers disagree about whether outcome luck can affect an agent’s “moral responsibility.” Focusing on responsibility’s “negative side,” some maintain, and others deny, that an action’s results bear constitutively on how “blameworthy” the actor is, and on how much blame or punishment they “deserve.” Crucially, both sides to the debate assume that an actor’s blameworthiness and negative desert are equally affected—or unaffected—by an action’s results. This article challenges that previously overlooked assumption, arguing that blameworthiness and desert are distinct moral notions that serve distinct normative functions: blameworthiness serves a liability function (removing a bar to otherwise impermissible treatments), whereas desert serves …


Proportionality, Constraint, And Culpability, Mitchell N. Berman Sep 2021

Proportionality, Constraint, And Culpability, Mitchell N. Berman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

Philosophers of criminal punishment widely agree that criminal punishment should be “proportional” to the “seriousness” of the offense. But this apparent consensus is only superficial, masking significant dissensus below the surface. Proposed proportionality principles differ on several distinct dimensions, including: (1) regarding which offense or offender properties determine offense “seriousness” and thus constitute a proportionality relatum; (2) regarding whether punishment is objectionably disproportionate only when excessively severe, or also when excessively lenient; and (3) regarding whether the principle can deliver absolute (“cardinal”) judgments, or only comparative (“ordinal”) ones. This essay proposes that these differences cannot be successfully adjudicated, and one …


After The Crime: Rewarding Offenders’ Positive Post-Offense Conduct, Paul H. Robinson, Muhammad Sarahne Jul 2021

After The Crime: Rewarding Offenders’ Positive Post-Offense Conduct, Paul H. Robinson, Muhammad Sarahne

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

While an offender’s conduct before and during the crime is the traditional focus of criminal law and sentencing rules, an examination of post-offense conduct can also be important in promoting criminal justice goals. After the crime, different offenders make different choices and have different experiences, and those differences can suggest appropriately different treatment by judges, correctional officials, probation and parole supervisors, and other decision-makers in the criminal justice system.

Positive post-offense conduct ought to be acknowledged and rewarded, not only to encourage it but also as a matter of fair and just treatment. This essay describes four kinds of positive …


American Punishment And Pandemic, Danielle C. Jefferis Jul 2021

American Punishment And Pandemic, Danielle C. Jefferis

Faculty Scholarship

Many of the sites of the worst outbreaks of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) are America’s prisons and jails. As of March 2021, the virus has infected hundreds of thousands of incarcerated people and well over two thousand have died as a result contracting the disease caused by the virus. Prisons and jails have been on perpetual lockdowns since the onset of the pandemic, with family visits suspended and some facilities resorting to solitary confinement to mitigate the virus’s spread, thereby exacerbating the punitiveness and harmfulness of incarceration. With the majority of the 2.3 million people incarcerated …


Darryl Robinson's Model For International Criminal Law: Deontic Principles Developed Through A Coherentist Approach, Milena Sterio Apr 2021

Darryl Robinson's Model For International Criminal Law: Deontic Principles Developed Through A Coherentist Approach, Milena Sterio

Law Faculty Articles and Essays

Darryl Robinson’s new book, Justice in Extreme Cases: Criminal Law Theory Meets International Criminal Law, presents a compelling argument: that international criminal law would benefit from deontic reasoning. According to Robinson, this type of deontic reasoning “requires us to consider the limits of personal fault and punishability,” and is a “normative reasoning that focuses on our duties and obligations to others.” Moreover, Robinson argues in this book that coherentism is the best method for identifying and defining deontic principles. Robinson explains that coherentism is an approach where “[w]e use all of our critical reasoning tools to test past understandings …


The Criminal Complicity An Analytical Study According To The Roman Law, Elsayed Ahmed Badawy Mar 2021

The Criminal Complicity An Analytical Study According To The Roman Law, Elsayed Ahmed Badawy

UAEU Law Journal

The focus of this study is on the criminal complicity in the Roman law. The study is divided into three chapters. In Chapter One, we discuss the moral criminal complicity, while Chapter Two covers the material criminal complicity. Chapter Three explains the provisions provided in this law, concerning the accomplice liability and the punishment consequences that the accessory accomplice is subject to because of his association with the principal accomplice in committing the crime. The main conclusion of this paper is as follows:

  1. The Roman penal legislations had confronted the criminal complicity because of its criminal seriousness, although this was …


Rationalization Of Punishment In Contemporary Criminal Policy, ٍSafaa Otani Feb 2021

Rationalization Of Punishment In Contemporary Criminal Policy, ٍSafaa Otani

UAEU Law Journal

The aim of this study is to highlight the problem of divergence between the principles established in the legal conscience related to minimizing state intervention in enforcing punishment, and the current expansion of the Criminal Law. This problem caused contemporary jurisprudence to sound the alarm that the consequences will be serious, and there is an urgent need to draw new boundaries for the criminal policy under which the Criminal Law operates. Rationalization of punishment is one of the guiding principles which advocate non-excessive use of punitive means to achieve social control, and the pursuit of alternative ways of fighting crimes …


Rethinking The Reasonable Response: Safeguarding The Promise Of Kingsley For Conditions Of Confinement, Hanna Rutkowski Feb 2021

Rethinking The Reasonable Response: Safeguarding The Promise Of Kingsley For Conditions Of Confinement, Hanna Rutkowski

Michigan Law Review

Nearly five million individuals are admitted to America’s jails each year, and at any given time, two-thirds of those held in jail have not been convicted of a crime. Under current Supreme Court doctrine, these pretrial detainees are functionally protected by the same standard as convicted prisoners, despite the fact that they are formally protected by different constitutional amendments. A 2015 decision, Kingsley v. Hendrickson, declared that a different standard would apply to pretrial detainees and convicted prisoners in the context of use of force: consistent with the Constitution’s mandate that they not be punished at all, pretrial detainees …


Objective Punishment, Anthony M. Dillof Jan 2021

Objective Punishment, Anthony M. Dillof

Law Faculty Research Publications

Should the punishment fit the criminal as well as the crime? The article argues that idiosyncratic features of the criminal that might affect subjective punishment experience should not be considered when assessing the severity of the punishment for proportionality purposes.


The Robber Wants To Be Punished, Uri Weiss Jan 2021

The Robber Wants To Be Punished, Uri Weiss

Touro Law Review

It is a commonly held intuition that increasing punishment leads to less crime. Let us move our glance from the punishment for the crime itself to the punishment for the attempt to commit a crime, or to the punishment for the threat to carry it out. We argue that the greater the punishment for the attempted robbery, i.e., for the threat, "give me your money or else," the greater the number of robberies and threats there will be. The punishment for the threat makes the withdrawal from it more expensive for the criminal, making the relative cost of committing the …


(Un)Masking The Truth - The Cruel And Unusual Punishment Of Prisoners Amidst The Covid-19 Pandemic, Ariel Berkowitz Jan 2021

(Un)Masking The Truth - The Cruel And Unusual Punishment Of Prisoners Amidst The Covid-19 Pandemic, Ariel Berkowitz

Touro Law Review

No abstract provided.


United States V. Herman, Tyler Wilkerson Jan 2021

United States V. Herman, Tyler Wilkerson

NYLS Law Review

No abstract provided.


Offenders And Sorn Laws, Amanda Agan, J.J. Prescott Jan 2021

Offenders And Sorn Laws, Amanda Agan, J.J. Prescott

Book Chapters

Chapter 7 describes what we know about the effects of SORN laws on criminal behavior. A coherent story emerges from this review: there is virtually no evidence that SORN laws reduce recidivism or otherwise increase public safety. The chapter first delineates the various ways registration and notification alter the legal environment not only for registrants but also for nonregistrants, the public, and law enforcement. There are many channels through which SORN laws might impact the frequency of sex offenses, including some that would produce an increase in overall offending. The chapter assesses these possibilities in light of a large body …


Is Executive Function The Universal Acid?, Stephen J. Morse Nov 2020

Is Executive Function The Universal Acid?, Stephen J. Morse

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

This essay responds to Hirstein, Sifferd and Fagan’s book, Responsible Brains (MIT Press, 2018), which claims that executive function is the guiding mechanism that supports both responsible agency and the necessity for some excuses. In contrast, I suggest that executive function is not the universal acid and the neuroscience at present contributes almost nothing to the necessary psychological level of explanation and analysis. To the extent neuroscience can be useful, it is virtually entirely dependent on well-validated psychology to correlate with the neuroscientific variables under investigation. The essay considers what executive function is and what the neuroscience adds to our …


May The State Punish What It May Not Prevent?, Gabriel S. Mendlow Jul 2020

May The State Punish What It May Not Prevent?, Gabriel S. Mendlow

Articles

In Why Is It Wrong To Punish Thought? I defended an overlooked principle of criminalization that I called the Enforceability Constraint. The Enforceability Constraint holds that the state may punish transgressions of a given type only if the state in principle may forcibly disrupt such transgressions on the ground that they are criminal wrongs. As I argued in the essay, the reason why the state is forbidden from punishing thought is that the state is forbidden from forcibly disrupting a person’s mental states on the ground that they are criminally wrongful (as opposed to, say, on the ground that they …


Recidivist Sentencing And The Sixth Amendment, Benjamin E. Adams Jun 2020

Recidivist Sentencing And The Sixth Amendment, Benjamin E. Adams

Indiana Journal of Law and Social Equality

No abstract provided.


Demystifying Desert, Gabriel Mendlow May 2020

Demystifying Desert, Gabriel Mendlow

Reviews

In his penetrating book on the criminal culpability of children, Gideon Yaffe advances a novel theory of desert. According to the theory, the punishment you deserve for committing a given crime is the punishment the prospect of which would have led you to deliberate correctly about how to act, had that punishment been presented to you beforehand as an inevitable consequence of your committing the crime. Although fascinating and ambitious, Yaffe’s theory of desert struggles as an account of who deserves what, and it falls short of explaining why and how desert is normatively significant—why and how desert matters.


Bucklew V. Precythe'S Return To The Original Meaning Of "Unusual": Prohibiting Extensive Delays On Death Row, Jacob Leon Apr 2020

Bucklew V. Precythe'S Return To The Original Meaning Of "Unusual": Prohibiting Extensive Delays On Death Row, Jacob Leon

Cleveland State Law Review

The Supreme Court, in Bucklew v. Precythe, provided an originalist interpretation of the term “unusual” in the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution. This originalist interpretation asserted that the word “unusual” proscribes punishments that have “long fallen out of use.” To support its interpretation, the Supreme Court cited John Stinneford’s well-known law review article The Original Meaning of “Unusual”: The Eighth Amendment as a Bar to Cruel Innovation. This Article, as Bucklew did, accepts Stinneford’s interpretation of the word “unusual” as correct. Under Stinneford’s interpretation, the term “unusual” is a legal term of art derived from eighteenth-century …


Conventions And Convictions: A Valuative Theory Of Punishment, Daniel Maggen Mar 2020

Conventions And Convictions: A Valuative Theory Of Punishment, Daniel Maggen

Utah Law Review

The one thing that most scholars of criminal law agree upon is that we are in desperate need of a comprehensive theory of punishment. The theory that comes closest to meeting this demand is the expressive account of punishment, yet it is often criticized for its inability to explain how the expression of communal values justifies punishment and why the condemnation of wrongdoing necessarily requires punishment. The Article answers these criticisms by arguing against the need to necessarily connect punishment to wrongdoing and by developing expressivism into a novel theory of punishment, grounded in the valuative function punishment serves.

Offering …


Law School News: 'Injustice Dehumanizes Everyone It Touches' 1-31-2020, Michael M. Bowden Jan 2020

Law School News: 'Injustice Dehumanizes Everyone It Touches' 1-31-2020, Michael M. Bowden

Life of the Law School (1993- )

No abstract provided.


From The Legal Literature: Disentangling Prison And Punishment, Francesca Laguardia Jan 2020

From The Legal Literature: Disentangling Prison And Punishment, Francesca Laguardia

Department of Justice Studies Faculty Scholarship and Creative Works

No abstract provided.


Applying Maimonides’ Hilkhot Teshuvah–Laws Of Repentance – In The Criminal Law System Of The State Of Israel: An Israeli Judge’S Perspectives, Moshe Drori Jan 2020

Applying Maimonides’ Hilkhot Teshuvah–Laws Of Repentance – In The Criminal Law System Of The State Of Israel: An Israeli Judge’S Perspectives, Moshe Drori

Touro Law Review

No abstract provided.