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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 …


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 …


The Temptations Of Scapegoating, Daniel B. Yeager Jan 2019

The Temptations Of Scapegoating, Daniel B. Yeager

Faculty Scholarship

We say “it is better that ten guilty persons escape, than one innocent suffer.” Evidence of the law’s 10:1 preference for false acquittals, however, is weak. In actuality, the “twofold aim … that guilt shall not escape or innocence suffer” weights the avoidance of false convictions and false acquittals equally. Likewise, the Supreme Court’s claim that “the central purpose of a criminal trial is to decide the factual question of the defendant’s guilt or innocence” is, it turns out, porous. The truth sought at trial need be only true enough—verdicts are legally true if fairly arrived at. While the risk …


Crime, Punishment, And Legal Error: A Review Of The Experimental Literature, Kathryn Zeiler, Erica Puccetti Aug 2018

Crime, Punishment, And Legal Error: A Review Of The Experimental Literature, Kathryn Zeiler, Erica Puccetti

Faculty Scholarship

When individuals violate the law, detection and verification of the violation are rarely, if ever, perfect. Before the state can dole out punishment, it must first identify a suspect and then produce sufficient evidence to persuade a judge and/or jury beyond some threshold level of confidence that the suspect, in fact, violated the law. The court might be uncertain that the state has the right person. If the suspect is undoubtedly the one who caused the harm, the court might be unsure about whether his act constitutes a violation of the law (e.g., whether the suspect was, in fact, speeding). …


How Should Justice Policy Treat Young Offenders?: A Knowledge Brief Of The Macarthur Foundation Research Network On Law And Neuroscience, Bj Casey, Richard J. Bonnie, Andre Davis, David L. Faigman, Morris B. Hoffman, Owen D. Jones, Read Montague, Stephen J. Morse, Marcus E. Raichle, Jennifer E. Richeson, Elizabeth S. Scott, Laurence Steinberg, Kim Taylor-Thompson, Anthony Wagner Jan 2017

How Should Justice Policy Treat Young Offenders?: A Knowledge Brief Of The Macarthur Foundation Research Network On Law And Neuroscience, Bj Casey, Richard J. Bonnie, Andre Davis, David L. Faigman, Morris B. Hoffman, Owen D. Jones, Read Montague, Stephen J. Morse, Marcus E. Raichle, Jennifer E. Richeson, Elizabeth S. Scott, Laurence Steinberg, Kim Taylor-Thompson, Anthony Wagner

Faculty Scholarship

The justice system in the United States has long recognized that juvenile offenders are not the same as adults, and has tried to incorporate those differences into law and policy. But only in recent decades have behavioral scientists and neuroscientists, along with policymakers, looked rigorously at developmental differences, seeking answers to two overarching questions: Are young offenders, purely by virtue of their immaturity, different from older individuals who commit crimes? And, if they are, how should justice policy take this into account?

A growing body of research on adolescent development now confirms that teenagers are indeed inherently different from adults, …


Punishment And Blame For Culpable Indifference, Kenneth Simons Jan 2015

Punishment And Blame For Culpable Indifference, Kenneth Simons

Faculty Scholarship

In criminal law, the mental state of the defendant is a crucial determinant of the grade of crime that the defendant has committed and of whether the conduct is criminal at all. Under the widely accepted modern hierarchy of mental states, an actor is most culpable for causing harm purposely, and progressively less culpable for doing so knowingly, recklessly, or negligently. Notably, this hierarchy emphasizes cognitive rather than conative mental states. But this emphasis, I argue, is often unjustified. When we punish and blame for wrongful acts, we should look beyond the cognitive dimensions of the actor’s culpability, and should …


The ’73 Graft: Punishment, Political Economy, And The Genealogy Of Morals, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2015

The ’73 Graft: Punishment, Political Economy, And The Genealogy Of Morals, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

In this essay, I explore the place of a genealogy of morals within the context of a history of political economy. More specifically, I investigate the types of moralization – of criminals and delinquents, of the disorderly, but also of political economic systems, of workers and managers, of rules and rule-breaking – that are necessary and integral to making a population accept new styles of political and economic governance, especially the punitive institutions that accompany modern political economies in the contemporary period.

The marriage of political economy and a genealogy of morals: this essay explores how the moralization of certain …


Law And Neuroscience: Recommendations Submitted To The President's Bioethics Commission, Owen D. Jones, Richard J. Bonnie, Bj Casey, Andre Davis, David L. Faigman, Morris B. Hoffman, Read Montague, Stephen J. Morse, Marcus E. Raichle, Jennifer A. Richeson, Elizabeth S. Scott, Laurence Steinberg, Kim Taylor-Thompson, Anthony Wagner, Gideon Yaffe Jan 2014

Law And Neuroscience: Recommendations Submitted To The President's Bioethics Commission, Owen D. Jones, Richard J. Bonnie, Bj Casey, Andre Davis, David L. Faigman, Morris B. Hoffman, Read Montague, Stephen J. Morse, Marcus E. Raichle, Jennifer A. Richeson, Elizabeth S. Scott, Laurence Steinberg, Kim Taylor-Thompson, Anthony Wagner, Gideon Yaffe

Faculty Scholarship

It has become increasingly clear that implications for criminal justice – both negative and positive – emerge from the rapid, important, and challenging developments in cognitive neuroscience, the study of how the brain thinks. Two examples will illustrate.

First, lawyers are ever more frequently bringing neuroscientific evidence into the courtroom, often in the forms of testimony about, and graphic images of, human brains. This trend has produced many new challenges for judges as they attempt to provide fair rulings on the admissibility of such technical evidence, consider its proper interpretation, and assess whether the probative value of such testimony may …


Beccaria's On Crimes And Punishments: A Mirror On The History Of The Foundations Of Modern Criminal Law, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2014

Beccaria's On Crimes And Punishments: A Mirror On The History Of The Foundations Of Modern Criminal Law, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

Beccaria’s treatise On Crimes and Punishments (1764) has become a placeholder for the classical school of thought in criminology, for deterrence-based public policy, for death penalty abolitionism, and for liberal ideals of legality and the rule of law. A source of inspiration for Bentham and Blackstone, an object of praise for Voltaire and the Philosophes, a target of pointed critiques by Kant and Hegel, the subject of a genealogy by Foucault, the object of derision by the Physiocrats, rehabilitated and appropriated by the Chicago School of law and economics — these ricochets and reflections on Beccaria’s treatise reveal multiple dimensions …


The Language Of Mens Rea, Kenneth Simons, Matthew R. Ginther, Francis X. Shen, Richard J. Bonnie Jan 2014

The Language Of Mens Rea, Kenneth Simons, Matthew R. Ginther, Francis X. Shen, Richard J. Bonnie

Faculty Scholarship

This article answers two key questions. First: Do jurors understand and apply the criminal mental state categories the way that the widely influential Model Penal Code (MPC) assumes? Second: If not, what can be done about it?


Punitive Preventive Justice: A Critique, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2013

Punitive Preventive Justice: A Critique, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

This chapter identifies the origins of contemporary preventive endeavour in the work of the RAND Corporation in America, which developed highly technical studies of crime prevention based upon systems analysis. It suggests that RAND promoted a decidedly punitive style of prevention based upon policing and punishment that is replicated in modern ‘punitive preventive measures’. It criticizes these measures, emphasizing the perils they pose and the weakness of their empirical foundations. Most worryingly, these measures typically claim an apolitical, neutral emphasis on efficiency that fails to engage with the political values underlying them. In so doing, it tends to displace much …


What Real-World Criminal Cases Tell Us About Genetics Evidence, Deborah W. Denno Jan 2013

What Real-World Criminal Cases Tell Us About Genetics Evidence, Deborah W. Denno

Faculty Scholarship

This Article, which is part of a symposium on "Law and Ethics at the Frontier of Genetic Technology," examines an unprecedented experimental study published in Science. The Science study indicated that psychopathic criminal offenders were more likely to receive lighter sentences if a judge was aware of genetic and neurobiological explanations for the offender’s psychopathy. This Article contends that the study’s conclusions derive from substantial flaws in the study’s design and methodology. The hypothetical case upon which the study is based captures just one narrow and unrepresentative component of how genetic and neurobiological information operates, and the study suffers from …


Book Review, Samuel W. Buell Jan 2012

Book Review, Samuel W. Buell

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Beyond Experience: Getting Retributive Justice Right, Dan Markel, Chad Flanders, David C. Gray Jan 2011

Beyond Experience: Getting Retributive Justice Right, Dan Markel, Chad Flanders, David C. Gray

Faculty Scholarship

How central should hedonic adaptation be to the establishment of sentencing policy? In earlier work, Professors Bronsteen, Buccafusco, and Masur (BBM) drew some normative significance from the psychological studies of adaptability for punishment policy. In particular, they argued that retributivists and utilitarians alike are obliged on pain of inconsistency to take account of the fact that most prisoners, most of the time, adapt to imprisonment in fairly short order, and therefore suffer much less than most of us would expect. They also argued that ex-prisoners don't adapt well upon re-entry to society and that social planners should consider their post-release …


Retributivism For Progressives: A Response To Professor Flanders, David C. Gray, Jonathan Huber Jan 2010

Retributivism For Progressives: A Response To Professor Flanders, David C. Gray, Jonathan Huber

Faculty Scholarship

In his engaging article "Retributivism and Reform," published in the Maryland Law Review, Chad Flanders engages two claims he ascribes to James Q. Whitman: 1) that American criminal justice is too "harsh," and 2) that Americans’ reliance on retributivist theories of criminal punishment is implicated in that harshness. In this invited response, to which Flanders subsequently replied, we first ask what "harsh" might mean in the context of a critique of criminal justice and punishment. We conclude that the most likely candidate is something along the lines of "disproportionate or otherwise unjustified." With this working definition in hand, we measure …


Retributivism Refined - Or Run Amok?, Kenneth Simons Jan 2010

Retributivism Refined - Or Run Amok?, Kenneth Simons

Faculty Scholarship

What would the criminal law look like if we took retributivist principles very seriously? In their book, Crime and Culpability: A Theory of Criminal Law, the authors - Larry Alexander and Kimberly Kessler Ferzan, with contributions by Stephen J. Morse - provide a controversial set of answers. Whether a criminal act does ordoes not result in harm should not affect the actor’s punishment. Only the last act of risk creation should suffice for liability. Conscious awareness of risk should always be necessary. And all of criminal law, each and every category of mens rea and actus reus, should be reduced …


Meditaciones Postmodernas Sobre El Castigo: Acerca De Los Límites De La Razón Y De Las Virtudes De La Aleatoriedad (Una Polémica Y Un Manifiesto Para El Siglo Xxi), Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2010

Meditaciones Postmodernas Sobre El Castigo: Acerca De Los Límites De La Razón Y De Las Virtudes De La Aleatoriedad (Una Polémica Y Un Manifiesto Para El Siglo Xxi), Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

Abstract in Spanish
Durante la Modernidad, el discurso sobre la pena ha girado circularmente en torno a tres grupos de interrogantes. El primero, surgido de la propia Ilustración, preguntaba: ¿En qué basa el soberano su derecho de penar? Nietzsche con mayor determinación, pero también otros, argumentaron que la propia pregunta implicaba ya su respuesta. Con el nacimiento de las ciencias sociales, este escepticismo hizo surgir un segundo conjunto de interrogantes: ¿Cuál es, entonces, la verdadera función de la pena? ¿Qué es lo que hacemos cuando penamos? Una serie de críticas ulteriores – de metanarrativas, funcionalistas o de objetividad científica – …


Thug Life: Hip Hop’S Curious Relationship With Criminal Justice, André Douglas Pond Cummings Jul 2009

Thug Life: Hip Hop’S Curious Relationship With Criminal Justice, André Douglas Pond Cummings

Faculty Scholarship

I argue that hip hop music and culture profoundly influences attitudes toward and perceptions about criminal justice in the United States. At base, hip hop lyrics and their cultural accoutrements turns U.S. punishment philosophy upon its head, effectively defeating the foundational purposes of American crime and punishment. Prison and punishment philosophy in the U.S. is based on clear principles of retribution and incapacitation, where prison time for crime should serve to deter individuals from engaging in criminal behavior. In addition, the stigma that attaches to imprisonment should dissuade criminals from recidivism. Hip hop culture denounces crime and punishment in the …


Cruel And Unequal Punishment, Nita A. Farahany Jan 2009

Cruel And Unequal Punishment, Nita A. Farahany

Faculty Scholarship

This article argues Atkins and its progeny of categorical exemptions to the death penalty create and new and as of yet undiscovered interaction between the Eighth and the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The United States Supreme Court, the legal academy and commentators have failed to consider the relationship between the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause and the Equal Protection Clause that the Court's new Eighth Amendment jurisprudence demands. This article puts forth a new synthesis of these two clauses, and demonstrates how the Court's new Eighth Amendment jurisprudence has remarkable Fourteenth Amendment implications. To see the point in …


Neoliberal Penality: A Brief Genealogy, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2009

Neoliberal Penality: A Brief Genealogy, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

The turn of the twenty first century witnessed important shifts in punishment practices. The most shocking is mass incarceration – the exponential rise in prisoners in state and federal penitentiaries and in county jails beginning in 1973. It is tempting to view these developments as evidence of something new that emerged in the 1970s – of a new culture of control, a new penology, or a new turn to biopower. But it would be a mistake to place too much emphasis on the 1970s since most of the recent trends have antecedents and parallels in the early twentieth century. It …


Post-Modern Meditations On Punishment: On The Limits Of Reason And The Virtues Of Randomization, Bernard E. Harcourt, Alon Harel, Ken Levy, Michael M. O'Hear, Alice Ristroph Jan 2009

Post-Modern Meditations On Punishment: On The Limits Of Reason And The Virtues Of Randomization, Bernard E. Harcourt, Alon Harel, Ken Levy, Michael M. O'Hear, Alice Ristroph

Faculty Scholarship

In this Criminal Law Conversation (Robinson, Ferzan & Garvey, eds., Oxford 2009), the authors debate whether there is a role for randomization in the penal sphere - in the criminal law, in policing, and in punishment theory. In his Tanner lectures back in 1987, Jon Elster had argued that there was no role for chance in the criminal law: “I do not think there are any arguments for incorporating lotteries in present-day criminal law,” Elster declared. Bernard Harcourt takes a very different position and embraces chance in the penal sphere, arguing that randomization is often the only way to avoid …


Post-Modern Meditations On Punishment: On The Limits Of Reason And The Virtues Of Randomization, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2009

Post-Modern Meditations On Punishment: On The Limits Of Reason And The Virtues Of Randomization, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

This chapter presents an authoritative overview of punishment, with particular emphasis on the limits of reason and the virtue of randomization. It includes comments by some of the nation's top legal scholars from the field of criminal law, tackling topics such as the Enlightenment ideal of social engineering through punishment and the role of chance in the administration of criminal justice.


Symposium: Cruel And Unusual Punishment: Litigating Under The Eighth Amendment: Preserving The Rule Of Law In America's Jails And Prisons: The Case For Amending The Prison Litigation Reform Act, Margo Schlanger, Giovanna Shay Jan 2008

Symposium: Cruel And Unusual Punishment: Litigating Under The Eighth Amendment: Preserving The Rule Of Law In America's Jails And Prisons: The Case For Amending The Prison Litigation Reform Act, Margo Schlanger, Giovanna Shay

Faculty Scholarship

Prisons and jails pose a significant challenge to the rule of law within American boundaries. As a nation, we are committed to constitutional regulation of governmental treatment of even those who have broken society’s rules. And accordingly, most of our prisons and jails are run by committed professionals who care about prisoner welfare and constitutional compliance. At the same time, for prisons—closed institutions holding an ever-growing disempowered population—most of the methods by which we, as a polity, foster government accountability and equality among citizens are unavailable or at least not currently practiced. In the absence of other levers by which …


The Upside Of Overbreadth, Samuel W. Buell Jan 2008

The Upside Of Overbreadth, Samuel W. Buell

Faculty Scholarship

Overbreadth in criminal liability rules, especially in federal law, is abundant and much lamented. Overbreadth is avoidable if it results from normative mistakes about how much conduct to criminalize or from insufficient care to limit open texture in statutes. Social planners cannot so easily avoid overbreadth if they cannot reach behaviors for which criminalization is well justified without also reaching behaviors for which it is not. This mismatch problem is acute if persons engaging in properly criminalized behaviors deliberately alter their conduct to avoid punishment and have resources to devote to avoidance efforts. In response to such efforts, legal actors …


Reforming Punishment Of Financial Reporting Fraud, Samuel W. Buell Jan 2007

Reforming Punishment Of Financial Reporting Fraud, Samuel W. Buell

Faculty Scholarship

Present sentencing law in criminal cases of financial reporting fraud is embarrassingly flawed. The problem is urgent given that courts are now regularly sentencing corporate offenders, sometimes (but sometimes not) to extremely punitive terms of imprisonment. Policing of fraud by multiple jurisdictions in a federal system means that principled sentencing law is necessary not only for first-order policy reasons but also for coordination of sanctioning efforts. Proportionality and rationality demand that sentencing law have an agreed scale for measuring cases of financial reporting fraud in relation to each other, a sound methodology for fixing a given case on that scale, …


Purposes And Effects In Criminal Law, Samuel W. Buell Jan 2007

Purposes And Effects In Criminal Law, Samuel W. Buell

Faculty Scholarship

This brief comment, published in the Virginia Law Review's online companion, responds to Richard Bierschbach's and Alex Stein's article, Mediating Rules in Criminal Law.


Public Preferences For Rehabilitation Versus Incarceration Of Juvenile Offenders: Evidence From A Contingent Valuation Survey, Daniel S. Nagin, Alex R. Piquero, Elizabeth S. Scott, Laurence Steinberg Jan 2006

Public Preferences For Rehabilitation Versus Incarceration Of Juvenile Offenders: Evidence From A Contingent Valuation Survey, Daniel S. Nagin, Alex R. Piquero, Elizabeth S. Scott, Laurence Steinberg

Faculty Scholarship

Research Summary:
Accurately gauging the public's support for alternative responses to juvenile offending is important, because policy makers often justify expenditures for punitive juvenile justice reforms on the basis of popular demand for tougher policies. In this study, we assess public support for both punitively and nonpunitively oriented juvenile justice policies by measuring respondents' willingness to pay for various policy proposals. We employ a methodology known as "contingent valuation" (CV) that permits the comparison of respondents' willingness to pay (WTP) for competing policy alternatives. Specifically, we compare CV-based estimates for the public's WTP for two distinctively different responses to serious …


Embracing Chance: Post-Modern Meditations On Punishment, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2006

Embracing Chance: Post-Modern Meditations On Punishment, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

Since the modern era, the discourse of punishment has cycled through three sets of questions. The first, born of the Enlightenment itself, asked: On what ground does the sovereign have the right to punish? Nietzsche most forcefully, but others as well, argued that the question itself begged its own answer. The right to punish, they suggested, is what defines sovereignty, and as such, can never serve to limit sovereign power. With the birth of the social sciences, this skepticism gave rise to a second set of questions: What then is the true function of punishment? What is it that we …


Capital Punishment And Capital Murder: Market Share And The Deterrent Effects Of The Death Penalty, Jeffrey Fagan, Franklin Zimring, Amanda Geller Jan 2006

Capital Punishment And Capital Murder: Market Share And The Deterrent Effects Of The Death Penalty, Jeffrey Fagan, Franklin Zimring, Amanda Geller

Faculty Scholarship

The modem debate on deterrence and capital punishment, now in its fourth decade, was launched by two closely timed events. The first was the 1976 United States Supreme Court decision in Gregg v. Georgia, which restored capital punishment after its brief constitutional ban following Furman v. Georgia in 1972. In 1975, Professor Isaac Ehrlich published an influential article saying that during the 1950s and 1960s, each execution averted eight murders. Although Ehrlich's article was a highly technical study prepared for an audience of economists, its influence went well beyond the economics profession. Ehrlich's work was cited favorably in Gregg …


When Bad Things Happen To Good Intentions: The Development And Demise Of A Task Force Examining The Drugs-Violence Interrelationship Symposium On Drug Crimes, Deborah W. Denno Jan 1999

When Bad Things Happen To Good Intentions: The Development And Demise Of A Task Force Examining The Drugs-Violence Interrelationship Symposium On Drug Crimes, Deborah W. Denno

Faculty Scholarship

Between 1994-1996, I was one of twenty-eight members of a Drugs-Violence Task Force, created to report to the United States Sentencing Commission specific findings, conclusions, and recommendations concerning the interrelationship (if any) between drugs and violence. Much of the controversy concerning how to approach the drugs-violence problem reflects two conflicting and long-held views of drugs and crime: the criminal justice view, which emphasizes detecting and punishing drug offenders, and the public health view, which advocates treating the drug addiction that leads some individuals to commit crime. Traditionally, the criminal justice view is associated with a “tough on crime” attitude that …