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The Computer Got It Wrong: Facial Recognition Technology And Establishing Probable Cause To Arrest, T.J. Benedict Apr 2022

The Computer Got It Wrong: Facial Recognition Technology And Establishing Probable Cause To Arrest, T.J. Benedict

Washington and Lee Law Review

Facial recognition technology (FRT) is a popular tool among police, who use it to identify suspects using photographs or still-images from videos. The technology is far from perfect. Recent studies highlight that many FRT systems are less effective at identifying people of color, women, older people, and children. These race, gender, and age biases arise because FRT is often “trained” using non-diverse faces. As a result, police have wrongfully arrested Black men based on mistaken FRT identifications. This Note explores the intersection of facial recognition technology and probable cause to arrest.

Courts rarely, if ever, examine FRT’s role in ...


Using Waller To Uphold First And Sixth Amendment Rights Throughout The Covid-19 Pandemic, Maya Chaudhuri Feb 2022

Using Waller To Uphold First And Sixth Amendment Rights Throughout The Covid-19 Pandemic, Maya Chaudhuri

Washington and Lee Law Review Online

In The Right to a Public Trial in the Time of COVID-19, Professor Stephen Smith argued that the COVID-19 pandemic justified an almost categorical suspension of the right to a public trial. Judges have relied on Smith’s Article to justify closure decisions made without the constitutionally required specific findings. These are part of a larger pattern of improper closure determinations, many made without fully considering alternatives to closure, since the beginning of the pandemic that threatens the rights of individuals with criminal cases and the collective rights of the public. But the Constitution has no pandemic exception, and it ...


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.


Senseless Sentencing: The Uneven Application Of The Career Offender Guidelines, Christopher Ethan Watts Jan 2022

Senseless Sentencing: The Uneven Application Of The Career Offender Guidelines, Christopher Ethan Watts

Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice

Federal appellate courts are currently split on the definition of “controlled substance” in the career offender guideline, with one side using federal law to define the phrase, and the other side allowing standalone state law offenses to trigger the guideline. Allowing state law to define the phrase allows countless substances Congress never intended to penalize to be able to trigger one of the most severe penalties in the Sentencing Guidelines. This Note assesses the landscape of the circuit split and analyzes the arguments for and against federally defining “controlled substance offense.” This Note then proposes a novel way to resolve ...


As Fires Blaze Through California, Could They Blaze A New Path For Incarcerated Individuals: A Model For Back-End Abolition, Jacquelyn Kelsey Arnold Jan 2022

As Fires Blaze Through California, Could They Blaze A New Path For Incarcerated Individuals: A Model For Back-End Abolition, Jacquelyn Kelsey Arnold

Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice

This Note provides a critique on the current system of prison labor through the lens of the California wildfires and the lack of inmate labor due to early release in the wake of COVID-19. This Note provides an overview of the relevant history of the Thirteenth Amendment, contextualizes mass incarceration as a product of the “War on Drugs” in the United States, and consequently, discusses the significant and dramatic expansion of the prison industrial complex and the use of prison labor as a growing source of production labor. It concludes with a recommendation for a provisional back-end abolition model that ...


Submission Of Amicus Curiae Observations In The Case Of The Prosecutor V. Dominic Ongwen, Erin Baines, Kamari M. Clarke, Mark A. Drumbl Dec 2021

Submission Of Amicus Curiae Observations In The Case Of The Prosecutor V. Dominic Ongwen, Erin Baines, Kamari M. Clarke, Mark A. Drumbl

Scholarly Articles

The important questions laid out by the Appeals Chamber in this case highlight the need for the proper delineation and interplay between mental illness and criminal responsibility under international law. Specifically, this case represents a watershed moment for the Appeals Chamber to set a framework for adjudicating mental illness in the context of collectivized child abuse and trauma. This is especially true for former child soldiers who occupy both a victim and alleged perpetrator status.


The Haunting Of Her House: How Virginia Law Punishes Women Who Become Mothers Through Rape, Jordan S. Miceli Dec 2021

The Haunting Of Her House: How Virginia Law Punishes Women Who Become Mothers Through Rape, Jordan S. Miceli

Washington and Lee Law Review Online

If a rape victim becomes pregnant following the attack, she has three options: abort the pregnancy, place the child for adoption, or keep and raise the child. However, by requiring proof of conviction of rape to terminate the parental rights of the man who fathered that child through his rape, the Commonwealth of Virginia imposes a substantial burden on a victim weighing those options. To obtain a conviction under the current scheme, a victim, through her local prosecutor, has to prove to a jury that the accused committed the rape beyond a reasonable doubt. The Commonwealth requires proof of conviction ...


Blood In The Water: Why The First Step Act Of 2018 Fails Those Sentenced Under The Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act, Lauren R. Robertson Oct 2021

Blood In The Water: Why The First Step Act Of 2018 Fails Those Sentenced Under The Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act, Lauren R. Robertson

Washington and Lee Law Review

For some, the open ocean is prison. The Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act (MDLEA) prohibits individuals from knowingly or intentionally distributing a controlled substance or possessing it with the intent to distribute. Empowered by the MDLEA, the United States Coast Guard arrests and detains foreign nationals hundreds of miles outside of U.S. territorial waters. After months shackled to Coast Guard ships, these individuals face the harsh reality of American mandatory minimum drug sentencing, judged by the kilograms of drugs on their vessels. But the MDLEA conflates kilograms with culpability. More often than not, those sentenced are fishermen-turned-smugglers due to ...


Deportation And Depravity: Does Failure To Register As A Sex Offender Involve Moral Turpitude?, Rosa Nielsen Jul 2021

Deportation And Depravity: Does Failure To Register As A Sex Offender Involve Moral Turpitude?, Rosa Nielsen

Washington and Lee Law Review

Under U.S. immigration law, non-citizens are subject to deportation following certain criminal convictions. One deportation category is for “crimes involving moral turpitude,” or CIMTs. This category usually refers to crimes that involve fraud or actions seen as particularly depraved. For example, tax evasion and spousal abuse are CIMTs, but simple assault generally is not. For a crime to qualify as a CIMT, it must include depraved conduct and some level of intent.

The CIMT framework has been criticized for a variety of reasons. Not only is it defined ambiguously with outdated language, but the moral values it enshrines can ...


Antiracist Remedial Approaches In Judge Gregory’S Jurisprudence, Leah M. Litman Jul 2021

Antiracist Remedial Approaches In Judge Gregory’S Jurisprudence, Leah M. Litman

Washington and Lee Law Review

This piece uses the idea of antiracism to highlight parallels between school desegregation cases and cases concerning errors in the criminal justice system. There remain stark, pervasive disparities in both school composition and the criminal justice system. Yet even though judicial remedies are an integral part of rooting out systemic inequality and the vestiges of discrimination, courts have been reticent to use the tools at their disposal to adopt proactive remedial approaches to address these disparities. This piece uses two examples from Judge Roger Gregory’s jurisprudence to illustrate how an antiracist approach to judicial remedies might work.


Antiracism In Action, Daniel Harawa, Brandon Hasbrouck Jul 2021

Antiracism In Action, Daniel Harawa, Brandon Hasbrouck

Washington and Lee Law Review

Racism pervades the criminal legal system, influencing everything from who police stop and search, to who prosecutors charge, to what punishments courts apply. The Supreme Court’s fixation on colorblind application of the Constitution gives judges license to disregard the role race plays in the criminal legal system, and all too often, they do. Yet Chief Judge Roger L. Gregory challenges the facially race-neutral reasoning of criminal justice actors, often applying ostensibly colorblind scrutiny to achieve a color-conscious jurisprudence. Nor is he afraid of engaging directly in a frank discussion of the racial realities of America, rebuking those within the ...


Three Observations About The Worst Of The Worst, Virginia-Style, Corinna Barrett Lain May 2021

Three Observations About The Worst Of The Worst, Virginia-Style, Corinna Barrett Lain

Washington and Lee Law Review Online

Much could be said about Virginia’s historic decision to repeal the death penalty, and Professor Klein’s essay provides a wonderful starting point for any number of important discussions. We could talk about how the decision came to be. Or why the move is so momentous. Or what considerations were particularly important in the decision‑making process. Or where we should go from here. But in this brief comment, I’ll be focusing not on the how, or the why, or the what, or the where, but rather on the who. Who are condemned inmates, both generally and Virginia ...


Giving Due Process Its Due: Why Deliberate Indifference Should Be Confined To Claims Arising Under The Cruel And Unusual Punishment Clause, Shad M. Brown Apr 2021

Giving Due Process Its Due: Why Deliberate Indifference Should Be Confined To Claims Arising Under The Cruel And Unusual Punishment Clause, Shad M. Brown

Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice

This Note discusses culpability requirements for claims brought by pretrial detainees and convicted prisoners. The initial focus is on deliberate indifference, a culpability requirement formulated under the Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause but symmetrically applied to claims arising under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Note then shifts to Kingsley v. Hendrickson, a landmark Supreme Court decision that casts doubt on the application of Eighth-Amendment standards to Fourteenth-Amendment claims. Finally, this Note advocates for the application of objective unreasonableness, a different culpability requirement, to claims arising under the Due Process Clause. It does so on the basis ...


Pretrial Custody And Miranda, Kit Kinports Apr 2021

Pretrial Custody And Miranda, Kit Kinports

Washington and Lee Law Review

In two recent opinions, Maryland v. Shatzer and Howes v. Fields, the Supreme Court concluded that inmates serving prison sentences were not in custody for purposes of Miranda—in Shatzer’s case while he was living among the general prison population and in Fields’s case while he was undergoing police interrogation. The question addressed in this Article is one that has divided the lower courts in the wake of those two decisions: the impact of the Court’s rulings on the hundreds of thousands of pretrial detainees in this country, many of whom are poor, Black, and Brown. This ...


Technological Tethereds: Potential Impact Of Untrustworthy Artificial Intelligence In Criminal Justice Risk Assessment Instruments, Sonia M. Gipson Rankin Apr 2021

Technological Tethereds: Potential Impact Of Untrustworthy Artificial Intelligence In Criminal Justice Risk Assessment Instruments, Sonia M. Gipson Rankin

Washington and Lee Law Review

Issues of racial inequality and violence are front and center today, as are issues surrounding artificial intelligence (“AI”). This Article, written by a law professor who is also a computer scientist, takes a deep dive into understanding how and why hacked and rogue AI creates unlawful and unfair outcomes, particularly for persons of color.

Black Americans are disproportionally featured in criminal justice, and their stories are obfuscated. The seemingly endless back-to-back murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and heartbreakingly countless others have finally shaken the United States from its slumbering journey towards intentional criminal justice reform. Myths about ...


The Beginning Of The End: Abolishing Capital Punishment In Virginia, Alexandra L. Klein Mar 2021

The Beginning Of The End: Abolishing Capital Punishment In Virginia, Alexandra L. Klein

Washington and Lee Law Review Online

When thinking about the history of capital punishment in the United States, I suspect that the average person is likely to identify Texas as the state that has played the most significant role in the death penalty. The state of Texas has killed more than five hundred people in executions since the Supreme Court approved of states’ modified capital punishment schemes in 1976. By contrast, Virginia has executed 113 people since 1976.

But Virginia has played a significant role in the history of capital punishment. After all, the first recorded execution in Colonial America took place in 1608 at Jamestown ...


Blind Justice: Virginia’S Jury Sentencing Scheme And Impermissible Burdens On A Defendant’S Right To A Jury Trial, Mitchell E. Mccloy Jan 2021

Blind Justice: Virginia’S Jury Sentencing Scheme And Impermissible Burdens On A Defendant’S Right To A Jury Trial, Mitchell E. Mccloy

Washington and Lee Law Review

This Note argues that Virginia’s mandatory jury sentencing scheme, which bars juries from reviewing state sentencing guidelines, impermissibly burdens a defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial. By analyzing both judge and jury sentencing guidelines compliance rates from the past twenty-five years, this Note demonstrates that in Virginia, a defendant has a significantly higher chance of receiving a harsher sentence after a jury trial than after a bench trial or a guilty plea. Given that judges rarely modify jury sentences, the defendant is effectively left with a choice between two different sentences before plea negotiations can even ...


The Unconstitutional Police, Brandon Hasbrouck Jan 2021

The Unconstitutional Police, Brandon Hasbrouck

Scholarly Articles

Most Fourth Amendment cases arise under a basic fact pattern. Police decide to do something--say, stop and frisk a suspect. They find some crime--say, a gun or drugs--they arrest the suspect, and the suspect is subsequently charged with a crime. The suspect--who is all too often Black--becomes a defendant and challenges the police officers' initial decision as unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment. The defendant seeks to suppress the evidence against them or perhaps to recover damages for serious injuries under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The courts subsequently constitutionalize the police officers' initial decision with little or no scrutiny. Effectively ...


The Just Prosecutor, Brandon Hasbrouck Jan 2021

The Just Prosecutor, Brandon Hasbrouck

Scholarly Articles

As the most powerful actors in our criminal legal system, prosecutors have been and remain one of the principal drivers of mass incarceration. This was and is by design. Prosecutorial power derives from our constitutional structure--prosecutors are given almost unfettered discretion to determine who to charge, what to charge, and, often, what the sentence will be. Within that structure, the prosecutor's duty is to ensure that justice is done. Yet, in exercising their outsized power, some prosecutors have fully embraced a secondary, adversarial role as a partisan advocate at the significant cost of seeking justice.

The necessary reforms of ...


“No Earlier Confession To Repeat”: Seibert, Dixon, And Question-First Interrogations, Lee S. Brett Jan 2021

“No Earlier Confession To Repeat”: Seibert, Dixon, And Question-First Interrogations, Lee S. Brett

Washington and Lee Law Review

The Supreme Court’s 2004 decision in Missouri v. Seibert forbade the use of so-called question-first interrogations. In a question-first interrogation, police interrogate suspects without giving Miranda warnings. Once the suspect makes incriminating statements, the police give the warnings and induce the suspect to repeat their earlier admissions.

Lower courts are increasingly interpreting a per curiam Supreme Court case, Bobby v. Dixon, to significantly limit the scope and applicability of Seibert. These courts claim that postwarning statements need only be suppressed under Seibert when there is an “earlier confession to repeat.” In this Note, I argue that this reading of ...


Meaningless Guarantees: Comment On Mitchell E. Mccloy’S “Blind Justice: Virginia’S Jury Sentencing Scheme And Impermissible Burdens On A Defendant’S Right To A Jury Trial”, Alexandra L. Klein Jan 2021

Meaningless Guarantees: Comment On Mitchell E. Mccloy’S “Blind Justice: Virginia’S Jury Sentencing Scheme And Impermissible Burdens On A Defendant’S Right To A Jury Trial”, Alexandra L. Klein

Washington and Lee Law Review

Despite the important role that jurors play in the American criminal justice system, jurors are often deprived of critical information that might help them make sense of the law their oaths require them to follow. Such information with regard to sentencing might include the unavailability of parole, geriatric release, sentencing guidelines, or other information that is relevant to determining a defendant’s penalty. Withholding information from juries, particularly in sentencing, risks unjust and inequitable sentences. Keeping jurors in the dark perpetuates injustices and undermines public confidence and trust in the justice system.

Mitch McCloy’s excellent Note provides a compelling ...


Comment: Wysiati And False Confessions, Michael R. Hoernlein Jan 2021

Comment: Wysiati And False Confessions, Michael R. Hoernlein

Washington and Lee Law Review

Decades after the Supreme Court mandated in Miranda v. Arizona that police advise suspects of their constitutional rights before custodial interrogation, confusion remains about the contours of the rule, and some law enforcement officers still try to game the system. In his excellent Note, “No Earlier Confession to Repeat”: Seibert, Dixon, and Question-First Interrogations, Lee Brett presents a careful analysis of the legal landscape applicable to so-called question-first interrogations. Mr. Brett offers a compelling argument urging courts not to interpret Bobby v. Dixon as limiting the application of Missouri v. Seibert to two-step (i.e., question-first) interrogations only when there ...


Gps Tracking At The Border: A Mistaken Expectation Or A Chilling Reality, Kimberly Shi Oct 2020

Gps Tracking At The Border: A Mistaken Expectation Or A Chilling Reality, Kimberly Shi

Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice

In 2018, Matthew C. Allen, the Assistant Director for the Domestic Operations Division within the United States Department of Homeland Security, filed a declaration in United States v. Ignjatov describing a departmental policy allowing for the installation of a “GPS tracking device on a vehicle at the United States border without a warrant or individualized suspicion,” limited “to 48 hours.” While the Border Search Doctrine, which predates the Fourth Amendment, deems that no warrant is necessary at the border for most searches and seizures because of the government’s inherent power to control who or what comes within a nation ...


Keeping The Zombies At Bay: Fourth Amendment Problems In The Fight Against Botnets, Danielle Potter Oct 2020

Keeping The Zombies At Bay: Fourth Amendment Problems In The Fight Against Botnets, Danielle Potter

Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice

You may not have heard of a botnet. If you have, you may have linked it to election shenanigans and nothing else. But if you are reading this on a computer or smartphone, there is a good chance you are in contact with a botnet right now.

Botnets, sometimes called “Zombie Armies,” are networks of devices linked by a computer virus and controlled by cybercriminals. Botnets operate on everyday devices owned by millions of Americans, and thus pose a substantial threat to individual device owners as well as the nation’s institutions and economy.

Accordingly, the United States government has ...


The Pandemic Juror, Melanie D. Wilson Sep 2020

The Pandemic Juror, Melanie D. Wilson

Washington and Lee Law Review Online

While the deadly and highly contagious COVID-19 virus lingers and spreads across the country, courts are resuming criminal jury trials. In moving forward, judges reference case backlogs, speedy trial rights, and other concerns for the rights of the accused. Overlooked in this calculus is the importance of jurors and their safety. The Sixth Amendment guarantees “the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury.” Without jurors, there is no justice.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the justice system sometimes took advantage of juror vulnerability, treating jurors callously, if not rudely, during voir dire by asking them intensely ...


Emergency Parole Release For Older Parole-Eligible Doc Inmates, David I. Bruck Jun 2020

Emergency Parole Release For Older Parole-Eligible Doc Inmates, David I. Bruck

Scholarly Articles

Professor Bruck writes to Secretary Moran and Chairwoman Bennett to urge them to protect elderly Virginia prison inmates from the risk of death from COVID-19 by granting immediate parole release to as many over-60 parole-eligible prisoners as possible, upon a showing that they are at low risk to re-offend, and have a supportive home to go to once released.


Federal Sentencing: A Judge’S Personal Sentencing Journey Told Through The Voices Of Offenders He Sentenced, Mark W. Bennett May 2020

Federal Sentencing: A Judge’S Personal Sentencing Journey Told Through The Voices Of Offenders He Sentenced, Mark W. Bennett

Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice

Federal sentencing is a tragic mess. Thirty years of conflicting legislative experiments began with high hopes but resulted in mass incarceration. Federal sentences, especially in drug cases, are all too often bone-crushingly severe.

In this Article, the Honorable Mark Bennett, a retired federal judge, shares about his journey with federal sentencing and his strong disagreement with the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines by telling the stories of some of the 400 men and women he sentenced during his twenty-five years as a federal judge.


Technology’S Influence On Federal Sentencing: Past, Present, And Future, Matthew G. Rowland May 2020

Technology’S Influence On Federal Sentencing: Past, Present, And Future, Matthew G. Rowland

Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice

The comprehensive reforms that govern today’s federal sentencing processes were fashioned nearly forty years ago. Those reforms were designed to address concerns regarding the effectiveness, transparency, and fairness of the preexisting indeterminant sentencing system. Today, criticisms are mounting against the very reforms that were once held out to save the sentencing process. The more determinant system is being accused of being biased against minorities, overly harsh, and costly.

This Article explores how the criminal justice system might look to technology and build on the practical experience from the indeterminant and determinant systems. Tools such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) can ...


Article Iii Adultification Of Kids: History, Mystery, And Troubling Implications Of Federal Youth Transfers, Mae C. Quinn, Grace R. Mclaughlin May 2020

Article Iii Adultification Of Kids: History, Mystery, And Troubling Implications Of Federal Youth Transfers, Mae C. Quinn, Grace R. Mclaughlin

Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice

There is no federal juvenile court system in the United States. Rather, teens can face charges in Article III courts and can be transferred to be tried and sentenced as adults in these venues. This Article is the first of two articles in the Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice seeking to shed light on the largely invisible processes and populations involved in federal youth prosecution. This Article focuses on the federal transfer and prosecution of American youth as adults. It considers constitutional and statutory law relating to these federal transfers and then considers why current ...


Crime And Punishment: Considering Prison Disciplinary Sanctions As Grounds For Departure Under The U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, Madison Peace May 2020

Crime And Punishment: Considering Prison Disciplinary Sanctions As Grounds For Departure Under The U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, Madison Peace

Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice

There are currently over 175,000 federal inmates in the United States, 146,000 of whom are held in custody by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. When an inmate in federal prison commits a federal crime, he can be both sanctioned by the Federal Bureau of Prisons and referred to a United States Attorney for prosecution of the crime in federal district court. In the federal district court, a judge will look to the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines as a starting point to determine an appropriate sentence.

One question that the U.S. Sentencing Commission has not addressed, and on ...