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

Law Commons

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

Articles 1 - 8 of 8

Full-Text Articles in Law

#Wetoo, Kimberly Kessler Ferzan Apr 2021

#Wetoo, Kimberly Kessler Ferzan

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The #MeToo movement has caused a widespread cultural reckoning over sexual violence, abuse, and harassment. “Me too” was meant to express and symbolize that each individual victim was not alone in their experiences of sexual harm; they added their voice to others who had faced similar injustices. But viewing the #MeToo movement as a collection of singular voices fails to appreciate that the cases that filled our popular discourse were not cases of individual victims coming forward. Rather, case after case involved multiple victims, typically women, accusing single perpetrators. Victims were believed because there was both safety and strength in ...


Enhanced Public Defense Improves Pretrial Outcomes And Reduces Racial Disparities, Paul S. Heaton Apr 2021

Enhanced Public Defense Improves Pretrial Outcomes And Reduces Racial Disparities, Paul S. Heaton

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Numerous jurisdictions are working to reform pretrial processes to reduce or eliminate money bail and decrease pretrial detention. Although reforms such as the abandonment of bail schedules or adoption of actuarial risk assessment tools have been widely enacted, the role of defense counsel in the pretrial process has received less attention.

This Article considers an approach to pretrial reform focused on improving the quality of defense counsel. In Philadelphia, a substantial fraction of people facing criminal charges are detained following rapid preliminary hearings where initial release conditions are set by bail magistrates operating with limited information. Beginning in 2017, the ...


Pretrial Detention And The Value Of Liberty, Megan Stevenson, Sandra G. Mayson Feb 2021

Pretrial Detention And The Value Of Liberty, Megan Stevenson, Sandra G. Mayson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

How dangerous must a person be to justify the state in locking her up for the greater good? The bail reform movement, which aspires to limit pretrial detention to the truly dangerous—and which has looked to algorithmic risk assessments to quantify danger—has brought this question to the fore. Constitutional doctrine authorizes pretrial detention when the government’s interest in safety “outweighs” an individual’s interest in liberty, but it does not specify how to balance these goods. If detaining ten presumptively innocent people for three months is projected to prevent one robbery, is it worth it?

This Article ...


Before And After Hinckley: Legal Insanity In The United States, Stephen J. Morse Feb 2021

Before And After Hinckley: Legal Insanity In The United States, Stephen J. Morse

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This chapter first considers the direction of the affirmative defense of legal insanity in the United States before John Hinckley was acquitted by reason of insanity in 1982 for attempting to assassinate President Reagan and others and the immediate aftermath of that acquittal. Since the middle of the 20th Century, the tale is one of the rise and fall of the American Law Institute’s Model Penal Code test for legal insanity. Then it turns to the constitutional decisions of the United States Supreme Court concerning the status of legal insanity. Finally, it addresses the substantive and procedural changes ...


Exposing Police Misconduct In Pre-Trial Criminal Proceedings, Anjelica Hendricks Jan 2021

Exposing Police Misconduct In Pre-Trial Criminal Proceedings, Anjelica Hendricks

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This Article presents a unique argument: police misconduct records should be accessible and applicable for pre-trial criminal proceedings. Unfortunately, the existing narrative on the value of police misconduct records is narrow because it exclusively considers how these records can be used to impeach officer credibility at trial. This focus is limiting for several reasons. First, it addresses too few defendants, since fewer than 3% of criminal cases make it to trial. Second, it overlooks misconduct records not directly addressing credibility—such as records demonstrating paperwork deficiencies, failures to appear in court, and “mistakes” that upon examination are patterns of abuse ...


A Formulaic Recitation Will Not Do: Why The Federal Rules Demand More Detail In Criminal Pleading, Charles Eric Hintz Jan 2021

A Formulaic Recitation Will Not Do: Why The Federal Rules Demand More Detail In Criminal Pleading, Charles Eric Hintz

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

When a plaintiff files a civil lawsuit in federal court, her complaint must satisfy certain minimum standards. Specifically, under the prevailing understanding of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a), a complaint must plead sufficient factual matter to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face, rather than mere conclusory statements. Given the significantly higher stakes involved in criminal cases, one might think that an even more robust requirement would exist in that context. But in fact a weaker pleading standard reigns. Under the governing interpretation of Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 7(c), indictments that simply ...


Undemocratic Crimes, Paul H. Robinson, Jonathan C. Wilt Jan 2021

Undemocratic Crimes, Paul H. Robinson, Jonathan C. Wilt

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

One might assume that in a working democracy the criminal law rules would reflect the community’s shared judgments regarding justice and punishment. This is especially true because social science research shows that lay people generally think about criminal liability and punishment in consistent ways: in terms of desert, doing justice and avoiding injustice. Moreover, there are compelling arguments for demanding consistency between community views and criminal law rules based upon the importance of democratic values, effective crime-control, and the deontological value of justice itself.

It may then come as a surprise, and a disappointment, that a wide range of ...


Fair Questions: A Call And Proposal For Using General Verdicts With Special Interrogatories To Prevent Biased And Unjust Convictions, Charles Eric Hintz Jan 2021

Fair Questions: A Call And Proposal For Using General Verdicts With Special Interrogatories To Prevent Biased And Unjust Convictions, Charles Eric Hintz

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Bias and other forms of logical corner-cutting are an unfortunate aspect of criminal jury deliberations. However, the preferred verdict system in the federal courts, the general verdict, does nothing to counter that. Rather, by forcing jurors into a simple binary choice — guilty or not guilty — the general verdict facilitates and encourages such flawed reasoning. Yet the federal courts continue to stick to the general verdict, ironically out of a concern that deviating from it will harm defendants by leading juries to convict.

This Essay calls for a change: expand the use of a special findings verdict, the general verdict with ...