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Full-Text Articles in Law

Constitutionally Tailoring Punishment, Richard A. Bierschbach, Stephanos Bibas Dec 2013

Constitutionally Tailoring Punishment, Richard A. Bierschbach, Stephanos Bibas

All Faculty Scholarship

Since the turn of the century, the Supreme Court has begun to regulate non-capital sentencing under the Sixth Amendment in the Apprendi line of cases (requiring jury findings of fact to justify sentence enhancements) as well as under the Eighth Amendment in the Miller and Graham line of cases (forbidding mandatory life imprisonment for juvenile defendants). Though both lines of authority sound in individual rights, in fact they are fundamentally about the structures of criminal justice. These two seemingly disparate lines of doctrine respond to structural imbalances in non-capital sentencing by promoting morally appropriate punishment judgments that are based on …


Constitutionally Tailoring Punishment, Richard A. Bierschbach, Stephanos Bibas Dec 2013

Constitutionally Tailoring Punishment, Richard A. Bierschbach, Stephanos Bibas

Michigan Law Review

Since the turn of the century, the Supreme Court has regulated noncapital sentencing under the Sixth Amendment in the Apprendi line of cases (requiring jury findings of fact to justify sentence enhancements) as well as under the Eighth Amendment in the Miller and Graham line of cases (forbidding mandatory life imprisonment for juvenile defendants). Although both lines of authority sound in individual rights, in fact they are fundamentally about the structures of criminal justice. These two seemingly disparate doctrines respond to structural imbalances in noncapital sentencing by promoting morally appropriate punishment judgments that are based on individualized input and that …


Pre-Crime Restraints: The Explosion Of Targeted, Non-Custodial Prevention, Jennifer Daskal Sep 2013

Pre-Crime Restraints: The Explosion Of Targeted, Non-Custodial Prevention, Jennifer Daskal

Jennifer Daskal

This Article exposes the ways in which non-custodial, pre-crime restraints have proliferated over the past decade, focusing in particular on three notable examples – terrorism-related financial sanctions, the No Fly List, and the array of residential, employment, and related restrictions imposed on sex offenders. Because such restraints do not involve physical incapacitation, they are rarely deemed to infringe core liberty interests. Because they are preventive, not punitive, none of the criminal law procedural protections apply. They have exploded largely unchecked – subject to little more than bare rationality review and negligible procedural protections – and without any coherent theory as …


Retroactivity And Crack Sentencing Reform, Harold J. Krent Sep 2013

Retroactivity And Crack Sentencing Reform, Harold J. Krent

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

This Article argues that the strong presumption against retroactive application of reduced punishments articulated in the Supreme Court’s recent decision, Dorsey v. United States, is neither historically grounded nor constitutionally compelled. Although not dispositive in Dorsey, the presumption may mislead legislatures in future contexts, whether addressing marijuana decriminalization or lessened punishment for file sharing, and in no way should signal to Congress that future changes should apply prospectively only. Although the Court reached the right result in applying the reduction in punishment for crack offenses to offenders whose sentences had not been finalized, the Court relied excessively on the general …


An Anachronism Too Discordant To Be Suffered: A Comparative Study Of Parliamentary And Presidential Approaches To Regulation Of The Death Penalty, Derek R. Verhagen Aug 2013

An Anachronism Too Discordant To Be Suffered: A Comparative Study Of Parliamentary And Presidential Approaches To Regulation Of The Death Penalty, Derek R. Verhagen

Derek R VerHagen

It is well-documented that the United States remains the only western democracy to retain the death penalty and finds itself ranked among the world's leading human rights violators in executions per year. However, prior to the Gregg v. Georgia decision in 1976, ending America's first and only moratorium on capital punishment, the U.S. was well in line with the rest of the civilized world in its approach to the death penalty. This Note argues that America's return to the death penalty is based primarily on the differences between classic parliamentary approaches to regulation and that of the American presidential system. …


Dangerous Psychopaths: Criminally Responsible But Not Morally Responsible, Subject To Criminal Punishment And To Preventive Detention, Ken M. Levy May 2013

Dangerous Psychopaths: Criminally Responsible But Not Morally Responsible, Subject To Criminal Punishment And To Preventive Detention, Ken M. Levy

Ken Levy

How should we judge psychopaths, both morally and in the criminal justice system? This Article will argue that psychopaths are generally not morally responsible for their bad acts simply because they cannot understand, and therefore be guided by, moral reasons.

Scholars and lawyers who endorse the same conclusion automatically tend to infer from this premise that psychopaths should not be held criminally punishable for their criminal acts. These scholars and lawyers are making this assumption (that just criminal punishment requires moral responsibility) on the basis of one of two deeper assumptions: that either criminal punishment directly requires moral responsibility or …


Killing, Letting Die, And The Case For Mildly Punishing Bad Samaritanism, Ken M. Levy May 2013

Killing, Letting Die, And The Case For Mildly Punishing Bad Samaritanism, Ken M. Levy

Ken Levy

For over a century now, American scholars (among others) have been debating the merits of “bad-samaritan” laws – laws punishing people for failing to attempt “easy rescues.” Unfortunately, the opponents of bad-samaritan laws have mostly prevailed. In the United States, the “no-duty-to-rescue” rule dominates. Only four states even have bad-samaritan laws, and these laws impose only the most minimal punishment – either sub-$500 fines or short-term imprisonment.

This Article argues that this situation needs to be remedied. Every state should criminalize bad samaritanism. For, first, criminalization is required by the supreme value that we place on protecting human life, a …


What The Sentencing Commission Ought To Be Doing Reducing Mass Incarceration, Lynn Adelman Apr 2013

What The Sentencing Commission Ought To Be Doing Reducing Mass Incarceration, Lynn Adelman

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Beginning in the 1970s, the United States embarked on a shift in its penal policies, tripling the percentage of convicted felons sentenced to confinement and doubling the length of their sentences. This shift included a dramatic increase in the prosecution and incarceration of drug offenders. As a result of its move toward long prison sentences, the United States now incarcerates so many people that it has become an outlier; this is not just among developed democracies, but among all nations, including highly punitive states such as Russia and South Africa, and also in comparison to the United States' own long-standing …


Vulnerability And Just Desert: A Theory Of Sentencing And Mental Illness, E. Lea Johnston Mar 2013

Vulnerability And Just Desert: A Theory Of Sentencing And Mental Illness, E. Lea Johnston

UF Law Faculty Publications

This Article analyzes risks of serious harms posed to prisoners with major mental disorders and investigates their import for sentencing under a just deserts analysis. Drawing upon social science research, the Article first establishes that offenders with serious mental illnesses are more likely than non-ill offenders to suffer physical and sexual assaults, endure housing in solitary confinement, and experience psychological deterioration during their carceral terms. The Article then explores the significance of this differential impact for sentencing within a retributive framework. It first suggests a particular expressive understanding of punishment, capacious enough to encompass foreseeable, substantial risks of serious harm …


Consecutive Misdemeanor Sentencing: Curing The Inequity , Gary R. Nicols, Harry M. Caldwell Jan 2013

Consecutive Misdemeanor Sentencing: Curing The Inequity , Gary R. Nicols, Harry M. Caldwell

Pepperdine Law Review

No abstract provided.


Collective Violence And Individual Punishment: The Criminality Of Mass Atrocity, Mark A. Drumbl Jan 2013

Collective Violence And Individual Punishment: The Criminality Of Mass Atrocity, Mark A. Drumbl

Mark A. Drumbl

There is a recent proliferation of courts and tribunals to prosecute perpetrators of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. The zenith of this institution-building is the permanent International Criminal Court, which came into force in 2002. Each of these new institutions rests on the foundational premise that it is appropriate to treat the perpetrator of mass atrocity in the same manner that domestic criminal law treats the common criminal. The modalities and rationales of international criminal law are directly borrowed from the domestic criminal law of those states that dominate the international order. In this Article, I challenge this …


Crashing The Misdemeanor System, Jenny M. Roberts Jan 2013

Crashing The Misdemeanor System, Jenny M. Roberts

Articles in Law Reviews & Other Academic Journals

With “minor crimes” making up more than 75% of state criminal caseloads, the United States faces a misdemeanor crisis. Although mass incarceration continues to plague the nation, the current criminal justice system is faltering under the weight of misdemeanor processing.

Operating under the “broken windows theory,” which claims that public order law enforcement prevents more serious crime, the police send many petty offenses to criminal court. This is so even though the original authors of the theory noted that “[o]rdinarily, no judge or jury ever sees the persons caught up in a dispute over the appropriate level of neighborhood order” …


"Off With His __": Analyzing The Sex Disparity In Chemical Castration Sentences, Zachary Edmonds Oswald Jan 2013

"Off With His __": Analyzing The Sex Disparity In Chemical Castration Sentences, Zachary Edmonds Oswald

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

Societies around the world have performed castration, in its various forms, on their male and female members for thousands of years, for numerous reasons. Even within the United States, prisoners have been sentenced to castration (as a form of punishment or crime prevention) since the early twentieth century. In recent years, legislatures have perpetuated this practice but with a modern twist. Now, states use chemical injections to castrate their inmates. It turns out, however, that systemic problems plague the chemical castration sentencing regime. These problems arise from the nature of the crimes eligible for chemical castration sentences, the manner of …


Criminal Punishment And The Pursuit Of Justice, Michele C. Materni Jan 2013

Criminal Punishment And The Pursuit Of Justice, Michele C. Materni

Mike C Materni

Since the beginning of recorded history societies have punished offenders while at the same time trying to justify the practice on moral and rational grounds and to clarify the relationship between punishment and justice. Traditionally, deontological justifications, utilitarian justifications, or a mix of the two have been advanced to justify the imposition of punishment upon wrongdoers. In this article, I advance a new conceptual spin on the mixed theorist approach to criminal punishment – one that can hopefully resonate not just among legal philosophers, but also among ordinary citi- zens, i.e. the people who are most affected by the criminal …


A Good Enough Reason: Addiction, Agency And Criminal Responsibility, Stephen J. Morse Jan 2013

A Good Enough Reason: Addiction, Agency And Criminal Responsibility, Stephen J. Morse

All Faculty Scholarship

The article begins by contrasting medical and moral views of addiction and how such views influence responsibility and policy analysis. It suggests that since addiction always involves action and action can always be morally evaluated, we must independently decide whether addicts do not meet responsibility criteria rather than begging the question and deciding by the label of ‘disease’ or ‘moral weakness’. It then turns to the criteria for criminal responsibility and shows that the criteria for criminal responsibility, like the criteria for addiction, are all folk psychological. Therefore, any scientific information about addiction must be ‘translated’ into the law’s folk …


Legal Punishment As Civil Ritual: Making Cultural Sense Of Harsh Punishment, Spearit Jan 2013

Legal Punishment As Civil Ritual: Making Cultural Sense Of Harsh Punishment, Spearit

Articles

This work examines mass incarceration through a ritual studies perspective, paying explicit attention to the religious underpinnings. Conventional analyses of criminal punishment focus on the purpose of punishment in relation to legal or moral norms, or attempt to provide a general theory of punishment. The goals of this work are different, and instead try to understand the cultural aspects of punishment that have helped make the United States a global leader in imprisonment and execution. It links the boom in incarceration to social ruptures of the 1950s and 1960s and posits the United States’ world leader status as having more …


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 …


Vulnerability And Just Desert: A Theory Of Sentencing And Mental Illness, E. Lea Johnston Jan 2013

Vulnerability And Just Desert: A Theory Of Sentencing And Mental Illness, E. Lea Johnston

UF Law Faculty Publications

This Article analyzes risks of serious harms posed to prisoners with major mental disorders and investigates their import for sentencing under a just deserts analysis. Drawing upon social science research, the Article first establishes that offenders with serious mental illnesses are more likely than non-ill offenders to suffer physical and sexual assaults, endure housing in solitary confinement, and experience psychological deterioration during their carceral terms. The Article then explores the significance of this differential impact for sentencing within a retributive framework. It first suggests a particular expressive understanding of punishment, capacious enough to encompass foreseeable, substantial risks of serious harm …


Abolition Of The Insanity Defense Violates Due Process, Stephen J. Morse, Richard J. Bonnie Jan 2013

Abolition Of The Insanity Defense Violates Due Process, Stephen J. Morse, Richard J. Bonnie

All Faculty Scholarship

This article, which is based on and expands on an amicus brief the authors submitted to the United States Supreme Court, first provides the moral argument in favor of the insanity defense. It considers and rejects the most important moral counterargument and suggests that jurisdictions have considerable leeway in deciding what test best meets their legal and moral policies. The article then discusses why the two primary alternatives to the insanity defense, the negation of mens rea and considering mental disorder at sentencing, are insufficient to achieve the goal of responding justly to severely mentally disordered offenders. The last section …


Putting Desert In Its Place, Christopher Slobogin, Lauren Brinkley-Rubinstein Jan 2013

Putting Desert In Its Place, Christopher Slobogin, Lauren Brinkley-Rubinstein

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Based on an impressive array of studies, Paul Robinson and his coauthors have developed a new theory of criminal justice, which they call empirical desert. The theory asserts that, because people are more likely to be compliant with a legal regime that is perceived to be morally credible, a criminal justice system that tracks empirically derived lay views about how much punishment is deserved is the most efficient way of achieving utilitarian goals, or at least is as efficient at crime prevention as a system that focuses solely on deterrence and incapacitation. This Article describes seven original studies that test …


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 …


A Victimless Sex Crime: The Case For Decriminalizing Consensual Teen Sexting, Joanna R. Lampe Jan 2013

A Victimless Sex Crime: The Case For Decriminalizing Consensual Teen Sexting, Joanna R. Lampe

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

As teenagers' access to cellular phones and the internet has increased over the past two decades, so has their ability to harm themselves and others through misuse of new technology. One risky behavior that has become common among teenagers is "sexting"--the digital sharing of sexually suggestive images. To combat the dangers of teen sexting, many states have criminalized the act. Criminalization does not resolve the issue of teen sexting, however, and in many cases it may cause additional harm. This Note reviews existing state laws related to teen sexting, and critiques these laws on constitutional and policy grounds. It then …


Did Changes In Juvenile Sanctions Reduce Juvenile Crime Rates? A Natural Experiment, Franklin Zimring, Stephen Rushin Dec 2012

Did Changes In Juvenile Sanctions Reduce Juvenile Crime Rates? A Natural Experiment, Franklin Zimring, Stephen Rushin

Franklin E. Zimring

This essay examines whether state statutory changes to the juvenile justice system during the 1990s contributed to the subsequent decline in juvenile homicide rates. Between 1985 and 1993, juvenile crime rates soared in the United States. Many prominent scholars and politicians argued that this uptick in youth crime was just the beginning of a forthcoming wave of juvenile violence. In response, between 1992 and 1997, forty-seven states enacted statutory changes that made the juvenile justice system more punitive. Between 1993 and 2010, juvenile crime declined markedly, leading some to conclude that that the punitive statutory changes caused the decline in …