Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Law Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Criminal Law

Punishment

Series

Institution
Publication Year
Publication

Articles 1 - 30 of 192

Full-Text Articles in Law

The Trouble With Time Served, Kimberly Ferzan Jul 2023

The Trouble With Time Served, Kimberly Ferzan

All Faculty Scholarship

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 …


Less Is More?: Accountability For White-Collar Offenses Through An Abolitionist Framework, Pedro Gerson Apr 2023

Less Is More?: Accountability For White-Collar Offenses Through An Abolitionist Framework, Pedro Gerson

Faculty Scholarship

White-collar crime is underenforced: not enough cases are brought, not many convictions are secured, and when they are, those who were convicted usually benefit from leniency not seen in other kinds of criminal wrongdoing. Calls for accountability center on strengthening the traditional tools of criminal law enforcement to reach actors that have so far eluded criminal liability. These responses, however, risk further entrenching the systems that have led the United States to mass incarceration and its many real and tangible harms. In this Article, I question whether an abolitionist framework is possible for white-collar crime. First, I argue that given …


No Sense Of Decency, Kathryn E. Miller Mar 2023

No Sense Of Decency, Kathryn E. Miller

Articles

For nearly seventy years, the Court has assessed Eighth Amendment claims by evaluating “the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society.” In this Article, I examine the evolving standards of decency test, which has long been a punching bag for critics on both the right and the left. Criticism of the doctrine has been fierce, but largely academic until recent years. Some fault the test for being too majoritarian, while others argue that it provides few constraints on the Justices’ discretion, permitting their personal predilections to rule the day. For many, the test is seen …


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

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

All Faculty Scholarship

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 Costs Of The Punishment Clause, Cortney E. Lollar Jan 2022

The Costs Of The Punishment Clause, Cortney E. Lollar

Law Faculty Scholarly Articles

Criminal punishment pursuant to a facially valid conviction in a court of law is an uncontested exception to the Thirteenth Amendment’s prohibition on slavery and involuntary servitude. After all, the Constitutional text reads, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.” And yet, beginning almost immediately after the Thirteenth Amendment was adopted, states regularly employed criminal statutes to limit the movement and behaviors of those previously enslaved and subject them to slavery-type labor camps in conditions that closely mirrored slavery. Because neither the …


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 …


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

Proportionality, Constraint, And Culpability, Mitchell N. Berman

All Faculty Scholarship

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 …


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

Blameworthiness, Desert, And Luck, Mitchell N. Berman

All Faculty Scholarship

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 …


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 …


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

All Faculty Scholarship

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 …


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 …


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.


Entitlement To Punishment, Kyron J. Huigens Jan 2021

Entitlement To Punishment, Kyron J. Huigens

Articles

This Article advances the idea of entitlement to punishment as the core of a normative theory of legal punishment's moral justification. It presents an alternative to normative theories of punishment premised on desert or public welfare; that is, to retributivism and consequentialism. The argument relies on H.L.A. Hart's theory of criminal law as a "choosing system," his theory of legal rules, and his theory of rights. It posits the advancement of positive freedom as a morally justifying function of legal punishment.

An entitlement to punishment is a unique, distinctive legal relation. We impose punishment when an offender initiates an ordered …


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

All Faculty Scholarship

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 …


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.


Detecting Mens Rea In The Brain, Owen D. Jones, Read Montague, Gideon Yaffe Jan 2020

Detecting Mens Rea In The Brain, Owen D. Jones, Read Montague, Gideon Yaffe

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

What if the widely used Model Penal Code (MPC) assumes a distinction between mental states that doesn’t actually exist? The MPC assumes, for instance, that there is a real distinction in real people between the mental states it defines as “knowing” and “reckless.” But is there?

If there are such psychological differences, there must also be brain differences. Consequently, the moral legitimacy of the Model Penal Code’s taxonomy of culpable mental states – which punishes those in defined mental states differently – depends on whether those mental states actually correspond to different brain states in the way the MPC categorization …


Science And The Eighth Amendment, Meghan J. Ryan Jan 2020

Science And The Eighth Amendment, Meghan J. Ryan

Faculty Journal Articles and Book Chapters

As time hurtles forward, new science constantly emerges, and many scientific fields can shed light on whether a punishment is unconstitutionally cruel and unusual, or even on whether bail or fines are unconstitutionally excessive under the Eighth Amendment. In fact, in recent years, science has played an increasingly important role in the Court’s Eighth Amendment jurisprudence. From the development of an offender’s brain, to the composition of lethal injection drugs, even to measurements of pain, knowledge of various scientific fields is becoming central to understanding whether a punishment is unconstitutionally cruel and unusual. There are a number of limits to …


Is Solitary Confinement A Punishment?, John F. Stinneford Jan 2020

Is Solitary Confinement A Punishment?, John F. Stinneford

UF Law Faculty Publications

The United States Constitution imposes a variety of constraints on the imposition of punishment, including the requirements that the punishment be authorized by a preexisting penal statute and ordered by a lawful judicial sentence. Today, prison administrators impose solitary confinement on thousands of prisoners despite the fact that neither of these requirements has been met. Is this imposition a “punishment without law,” or is it a mere exercise of administrative discretion? In an 1890 case called In re Medley, the Supreme Court held that solitary confinement is a separate punishment subject to constitutional restraints, but it has ignored this holding …


The Concept Of Criminal Law, Sandra G. Mayson Jan 2020

The Concept Of Criminal Law, Sandra G. Mayson

All Faculty Scholarship

What distinguishes “criminal law” from all other law? This question should be central to both criminal law theory and criminal justice reform. Clarity about the distinctive feature(s) of criminal law is especially important in the current moment, as the nation awakens to the damage that the carceral state has wrought and reformers debate the value and the future of criminal law institutions. Foundational though it is, however, the question has received limited attention. There is no clear consensus among contemporary scholars or reformers about what makes the criminal law unique.

This Essay argues that Antony Duff’s The Realm of Criminal …


‘It’S Kinda Punishment’: Tandem Logics And Penultimate Power In The Penal Voluntary Sector For Canadian Youth, Abigail Salole Sep 2019

‘It’S Kinda Punishment’: Tandem Logics And Penultimate Power In The Penal Voluntary Sector For Canadian Youth, Abigail Salole

Publications and Scholarship

This paper draws on original empirical research in Ontario, Canada which analyses penal voluntary sector practice with youth in conflict with the law. I illustrate how youth penal voluntary sector practice (YPVS) operates alongside, or in tandem with the statutory criminal justice system. I argue that examining the PVS and the statutory criminal justice system simultaneously, or in tandem, provides fuller understandings of PVS inclusionary (and exclusionary) control practices (Tomczak and Thompson 2017). I introduce the concept of penultimate power, which demonstrates the ability of PVS workers to trigger criminal justice system response toward a young person in conflict …


The Elusive Object Of Punishment, Gabriel S. Mendlow Jun 2019

The Elusive Object Of Punishment, Gabriel S. Mendlow

Articles

All observers of our legal system recognize that criminal statutes can be complex and obscure. But statutory obscurity often takes a particular form that most observers have overlooked: uncertainty about the identity of the wrong a statute aims to punish. It is not uncommon for parties to disagree about the identity of the underlying wrong even as they agree on the statute’s elements. Hidden in plain sight, these unexamined disagreements underlie or exacerbate an assortment of familiar disputes—about venue, vagueness, and mens rea; about DUI and statutory rape; about hate crimes, child pornography, and counterterrorism laws; about proportionality in punishment; …


Reckless Juveniles, Kimberly Thomas Feb 2019

Reckless Juveniles, Kimberly Thomas

Articles

Modern doctrine and scholarship largely take it for granted that offenders should be criminally punished for reckless acts.1 Yet, developments in our understanding of human behavior can shed light on how we define and attribute criminal liability, or at least force us to grapple with the categories that have existed for so long. This Article examines recklessness and related doctrines in light of the shifts in understanding of adolescent behavior and its biological roots, to see what insights we might attain, or what challenges these understandings pose to this foundational mens rea doctrine. Over the past decade, the U.S. Supreme …


‘It’S Kinda Punishment’: Tandem Logics And Penultimate Power In The Penal Voluntary Sector For Canadian Youth, Abigail Salole Jan 2019

‘It’S Kinda Punishment’: Tandem Logics And Penultimate Power In The Penal Voluntary Sector For Canadian Youth, Abigail Salole

Publications and Scholarship

This paper draws on original empirical research in Ontario, Canada which analyses penal voluntary sector practice with youth in conflict with the law. I illustrate how youth penal voluntary sector practice (YPVS) operates alongside, or in tandem with the statutory criminal justice system. I argue that examining the PVS and the statutory criminal justice system simultaneously, or in tandem, provides fuller understandings of PVS inclusionary (and exclusionary) control practices (Tomczak and Thompson 2017). I introduce the concept of penultimate power, which demonstrates the ability of PVS workers to trigger criminal justice system response toward a young person in conflict …


Gundy And The Civil-Criminal Divide, Jenny M. Roberts Jan 2019

Gundy And The Civil-Criminal Divide, Jenny M. Roberts

Articles in Law Reviews & Other Academic Journals

It could have been the case that declared “most of Government ... unconstitutional,” by reviving a robust application of the doctrine that prohibits Congress from delegating its law-making power to the other branches. At least that is what many awaiting the Court’s widely-anticipated 2019 decision in Gundy v. United States believed, after the Court agreed to decide whether “Congress unconstitutionally delegated legislative power when it authorized the Attorney General to ‘specify the applicability’ of [the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act]’s registration requirements to pre-Act offenders.” Gundy did not deliver on its potential to upend the administrative state. Instead, …


Neuroscience, Justice And The "Mental Causation" Fallacy, John A. Humbach Jan 2019

Neuroscience, Justice And The "Mental Causation" Fallacy, John A. Humbach

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

Mental causation is a foundational assumption of modern criminal justice. The law takes it for granted that wrongdoers “deserve” punishment because their acts are caused by intentions, reasons and other mental states. A growing body of neuroscience evidence shows, however, that human behavior is produced by observable physiological activity in the brain and central nervous system--all in accordance with ordinary physical laws. Beyond these ordinary physiological interactions and processes, no hypothesis of mental causation is required to causally explain behavior.

Despite the evidence, neuroskeptics insist that intentions, reasons and other mental states can play a causal role in producing human …