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Full-Text Articles in Law

Virtual Life Sentences: An Exploratory Study, Jessica S. Henry, Christopher Salvatore, Bai-Eyse Pugh Oct 2019

Virtual Life Sentences: An Exploratory Study, Jessica S. Henry, Christopher Salvatore, Bai-Eyse Pugh

Christopher Salvatore

Virtual life sentences are sentences with a term of years that exceed an individual’s natural life expectancy. This exploratory study is one of the first to collect data that establish the existence, prevalence, and scope of virtual life sentences in state prisons in the United States. Initial data reveal that more than 31,000 people in 26 states are serving virtual life sentences for violent and nonviolent offenses, and suggest racial disparities in the distribution of these sentences. This study also presents potential policy implications and suggestions for future research.


Statewide Capital Punishment: The Case For Eliminating Counties’ Role In The Death Penalty, Adam M. Gershowitz Sep 2019

Statewide Capital Punishment: The Case For Eliminating Counties’ Role In The Death Penalty, Adam M. Gershowitz

Adam M. Gershowitz

No abstract provided.


‘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 …


"Declinations With Disgorgement" In Fcpa Enforcement, Karen Woody Jul 2019

"Declinations With Disgorgement" In Fcpa Enforcement, Karen Woody

Karen Woody

This Article addresses the recent pretrial diversion scheme undertaken by the Department of Justice in conjunction with its Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Pilot Program—specifically, “declinations with disgorgement.” Pursuant to the Pilot Program, the Department of Justice declined to prosecute or even continue an investigation, provided the company disgorge its alleged ill-gotten gains. This Article dissects both the purpose of, and terminology used in, declinations with disgorgement and argues that this novel and creative pretrial diversion is a dangerous conflation of legal remedial theories and terms. A criminal disposition cannot be a declination with attendant penalties because either illegal activity occurred …


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; …


Guilt By Alt-Association: A Review Of Enhanced Punishment For Suspected Gang Members, Rebecca J. Marston Jun 2019

Guilt By Alt-Association: A Review Of Enhanced Punishment For Suspected Gang Members, Rebecca J. Marston

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

This essay, written in reaction to the University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform’s 2018 Symposium entitled “Alt-Association: The Role of Law in Combating Extremism” (the Symposium), does not dispute the seriousness of gang-related violence. Rather, it examines ways in which current strategies for combating gang-related crimes are ineffective or problematic and suggests possible reforms. Part One of this essay will describe current methods used in labeling, tracking, and prosecuting gang members, which result in a cycle of enhanced punishment. Part Two will evaluate these practices and reflect on whether enhanced punishment is the best way to reduce gang-related violence, …


Prosecutorial Discretion And Environmental Crime Redux: Charging Trends, Aggravating Factors, And Individual Outcome Data For 2005-2014, David M. Uhlmann May 2019

Prosecutorial Discretion And Environmental Crime Redux: Charging Trends, Aggravating Factors, And Individual Outcome Data For 2005-2014, David M. Uhlmann

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

In a 2014 article entitled “Prosecutorial Discretion and Environmental Crime,” I presented empirical data developed by student researchers participating in the Environmental Crimes Project at the University of Michigan Law School. My 2014 article reported that 96 percent of defendants investigated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and charged with federal environmental crimes from 2005 through 2010 engaged in conduct that involved at least one of the aggravating factors identified in my previous scholarship, namely significant harm, deceptive or misleading conduct, operating outside the regulatory system, and repetitive violations. On that basis, I concluded that prosecutors charged violations that …


Sorting Guilty Minds, Owen D. Jones, Francis X. Shen, Morris B. Hoffman, Joshua D. Greene, Rene Marois Apr 2019

Sorting Guilty Minds, Owen D. Jones, Francis X. Shen, Morris B. Hoffman, Joshua D. Greene, Rene Marois

Owen Jones

Because punishable guilt requires that bad thoughts accompany bad acts, the Model Penal Code (MPC) typically requires that jurors infer the past mental state of a criminal defendant. More specifically, jurors must sort that mental state into one of four specific categories - purposeful, knowing, reckless, or negligent - which in turn defines the nature of the crime and the extent of the punishment. The MPC therefore assumes that ordinary people naturally sort mental states into these four categories with a high degree of accuracy, or at least can reliably do so when properly instructed. It also assumes that ordinary …


Intuitions Of Punishment, Owen D. Jones, Robert Kurzban Apr 2019

Intuitions Of Punishment, Owen D. Jones, Robert Kurzban

Owen Jones

Recent work reveals, contrary to wide-spread assumptions, remarkably high levels of agreement about how to rank order, by blameworthiness, wrongs that involve physical harms, takings of property, or deception in exchanges. In The Origins of Shared Intuitions of Justice (http://ssrn.com/abstract=952726) we proposed a new explanation for these unexpectedly high levels of agreement.

Elsewhere in this issue, Professors Braman, Kahan, and Hoffman offer a critique of our views, to which we reply here. Our reply clarifies a number of important issues, such as the interconnected roles that culture, variation, and evolutionary processes play in generating intuitions of 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 …


Methods And Severity: The Two Tracks Of Section 12, Benjamin Berger, Lisa Kerr Jan 2019

Methods And Severity: The Two Tracks Of Section 12, Benjamin Berger, Lisa Kerr

Articles & Book Chapters

This paper argues that there are two main routes – two tracks – by which one can arrive at the fundamental wrong at the heart of section 12 of the Charter. On the “methods track”, the state can run afoul of section 12 by using intrinsically unacceptable methods of treatment or punishment. For historical reasons, jurisprudence on this track is not well developed in Canada, though it would clearly prohibit the death penalty and most methods of corporal punishment. On the “severity track”, the concern is with excessive punishment. Here, even where the state has chosen a legitimate method of …


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 …


Solitary Confinement Of Juvenile Offenders And Pre-Trial Detainees, Nicole Johnson Jan 2019

Solitary Confinement Of Juvenile Offenders And Pre-Trial Detainees, Nicole Johnson

Touro Law Review

No abstract provided.


In Fear We Trust: Anxious Political Rhetoric & The Politics Of Punishment, 1960s-80s, Stella Michelle Frank Jan 2019

In Fear We Trust: Anxious Political Rhetoric & The Politics Of Punishment, 1960s-80s, Stella Michelle Frank

Senior Projects Spring 2019

Senior Project submitted to The Division of Social Studies of Bard College.


Torture And Respect, Jacob Bronsther Jan 2019

Torture And Respect, Jacob Bronsther

Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology

There are two well-worn arguments against a severe punishment like long-term incarceration: it is disproportionate to the offender’s wrongdoing and an inefficient use of state resources. This Article considers a third response, one which penal reformers and theorists have radically neglected, even though it is recognized in the law: the punishment is degrading. In considering penal degradation, this Article examines what judges and scholars have deemed the exemplar of degrading treatment—torture. What is torture, and why is it wrong to torture people? If we can answer this question, this Article maintains, then we can understand when and why certain …


Foreword: Abolition Constitutionalism, Dorothy E. Roberts Jan 2019

Foreword: Abolition Constitutionalism, Dorothy E. Roberts

All Faculty Scholarship

In this Foreword, I make the case for an abolition constitutionalism that attends to the theorizing of prison abolitionists. In Part I, I provide a summary of prison abolition theory and highlight its foundational tenets that engage with the institution of slavery and its eradication. I discuss how abolition theorists view the current prison industrial complex as originating in, though distinct from, racialized chattel slavery and the racial capitalist regime that relied on and sustained it, and their movement as completing the “unfinished liberation” sought by slavery abolitionists in the past. Part II considers whether the U.S. Constitution is an …


Small Crimes, Big Injustices, Stephanos Bibas Jan 2019

Small Crimes, Big Injustices, Stephanos Bibas

Michigan Law Review

Review of Alexandra Natapoff's Punishment Without Crime: How Our Massive Misdemeanor System Traps the Innocent and Makes America More Unequal.


Mass Incarceration Paradigm Shift?: Convergence In An Age Of Divergence, Mugambi Jouet Jan 2019

Mass Incarceration Paradigm Shift?: Convergence In An Age Of Divergence, Mugambi Jouet

Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology

The peculiar harshness of modern American justice has led to a vigorous scholarly debate about the roots of mass incarceration and its divergence from humanitarian sentencing norms prevalent in other Western democracies. Even though the United States reached virtually world-record imprisonment levels between 1983 and 2010, the Supreme Court never found a prison term to be “cruel and unusual punishment” under the Eighth Amendment. By countenancing extreme punishments with no equivalent elsewhere in the West, such as life sentences for petty recidivists, the Justices’ reasoning came to exemplify the exceptional nature of American justice. Many scholars concluded that punitiveness had …