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Full-Text Articles in Law

Populist Prosecutorial Nullification, Kerrel Murray Jan 2021

Populist Prosecutorial Nullification, Kerrel Murray

Faculty Scholarship

No one doubts that prosecutors may sometimes decline prosecution notwithstanding factual guilt. Everyone expects prosecutors to prioritize enforcement based on resource limitation and, occasionally, to decline prosecution on a case-by-case basis when they deem justice requires it. Recently, however, some state prosecutors have gone further, asserting the right to refuse categorically to enforce certain state laws. Examples include refusals to seek the death penalty and refusals to prosecute prostitution or recreational drug use. When may a single actor render inert her state’s democratically enacted law in this way? If the answer is anything other than “never,” the vast reach ...


Defining Crime, Delegating Authority – How Different Are Administrative Crimes?, Daniel C. Richman Jan 2021

Defining Crime, Delegating Authority – How Different Are Administrative Crimes?, Daniel C. Richman

Faculty Scholarship

As the Supreme Court reconsiders whether Congress can so freely provide for criminal enforcement of agency rules, this Article assesses the critique of administrative crimes though a federal criminal law lens. It explores the extent to which this critique carries over to other instances of mostly well-accepted, delegated federal criminal lawmaking – to courts, states, foreign governments, and international institutions. By considering these other delegations through the lens of the administrative crime critique, the Article destabilizes the critique’s doctrinal foundations. It then suggests that if one really cares about liberty – not the abstract “liberty” said to be protected by the ...


Design Justice In Municipal Criminal Regulation, Amber Baylor Jan 2021

Design Justice In Municipal Criminal Regulation, Amber Baylor

Faculty Scholarship

This article explores design justice as a framework for deeper inclusion in municipal criminal court reform. Section I provides a brief summary of a typical litigant’s path through modern municipal courts. Then, section I explores the historic role of municipal courts, the insider/outsider dichotomy of municipal criminal regulation, and the limitations of past reform efforts. Section II shifts into an overview of participatory design and discusses the new emergence of design justice. Within the discussion of design justice, the article focuses on three precepts of design justice: excavating the history and impact of the courts, creating tools for ...


Constructing Countervailing Power: Law And Organizing In An Era Of Political Inequality, Kate Andrias Jan 2021

Constructing Countervailing Power: Law And Organizing In An Era Of Political Inequality, Kate Andrias

Faculty Scholarship

This Article proposes an innovative approach to remedying the crisis of political inequality: using law to facilitate organizing by the poor and working class, not only as workers, but also as tenants, debtors, welfare beneficiaries, and others. The piece draws on the social-movements literature, and the successes and failures of labor law, to show how law can supplement the deficient regimes of campaign finance and lobbying reform and enable lower-income groups to build organizations capable of countervailing the political power of the wealthy. As such, the Article offers a new direction forward for the public-law literature on political power and ...


Law In The Time Of Covid-19, Katharina Pistor Apr 2020

Law In The Time Of Covid-19, Katharina Pistor

Faculty Books

The COVID-19 crisis has ended and upended lives around the globe. In addition to killing over 160,000 people, more than 35,000 in the United States alone, its secondary effects have been as devastating. These secondary effects pose fundamental challenges to the rules that govern our social, political, and economic lives. These rules are the domain of lawyers. Law in the Time of COVID-19 is the product of a joint effort by members of the faculty of Columbia Law School and several law professors from other schools.

This volume offers guidance for thinking about some the most pressing legal ...


Board Compliance, John Armour, Brandon L. Garrett, Jeffrey N. Gordon, Geeyoung Min Jan 2020

Board Compliance, John Armour, Brandon L. Garrett, Jeffrey N. Gordon, Geeyoung Min

Faculty Scholarship

What role do corporate boards play in compliance? Compliance programs are internal enforcement programs, whereby firms train, monitor and discipline employees with respect to applicable laws and regulations. Corporate enforcement and compliance failures could not be more high-profile, and have placed boards in the position of responding to systemic problems. Both case law on boards’ fiduciary duties and guidance from prosecutors suggest that the board should have a continuing role in overseeing compliance activity. Yet very little is actually known about the role of boards in compliance. This paper offers the first empirical account of public companies’ engagement with compliance ...


The Case Against Equity In American Contract Law, Jody S. Kraus, Robert E. Scott Jan 2020

The Case Against Equity In American Contract Law, Jody S. Kraus, Robert E. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

The American common law of contracts appears to direct courts to decide contract disputes by considering two opposing points of view: the ex ante perspective of the parties’ intent at the time of formation, and the ex post perspective of justice and fairness to the parties at the time of adjudication. Despite the black letter authority for both perspectives, the ex post perspective cannot withstand scrutiny. Contract doctrines taking the ex post perspective – such as the penalty, just compensation, and forfeiture doctrines – were created by equity in the early common law to police against abuses of the then prevalent penal ...


Race And Reasonableness In Police Killings, Jeffrey A. Fagan, Alexis D. Campbell Jan 2020

Race And Reasonableness In Police Killings, Jeffrey A. Fagan, Alexis D. Campbell

Faculty Scholarship

Police officers in the United States have killed over 1000 civilians each year since 2013. The constitutional landscape that regulates these encounters defaults to the judgments of the reasonable police officer at the time of a civilian encounter based on the officer’s assessment of whether threats to their safety or the safety of others requires deadly force. As many of these killings have begun to occur under similar circumstances, scholars have renewed a contentious debate on whether police disproportionately use deadly force against African Americans and other nonwhite civilians and whether such killings reflect racial bias. We analyze data ...


Political Wine In A Judicial Bottle: Justice Sotomayor's Surprising Concurrence In Aurelius, Christina D. Ponsa-Kraus Jan 2020

Political Wine In A Judicial Bottle: Justice Sotomayor's Surprising Concurrence In Aurelius, Christina D. Ponsa-Kraus

Faculty Scholarship

For seventy years, Puerto Ricans have been bitterly divided over how to decolonize the island, a U.S. territory. Many favor Puerto Rico’s admission into statehood. But many others support a different kind of relationship with the United States: they believe that in 1952, Puerto Rico entered into a “compact” with the United States that transformed it from a territory into a “commonwealth,” and they insist that “commonwealth” status made Puerto Rico a separate sovereign in permanent union with the United States. Statehood supporters argue that there is no compact, nor should there be: it is neither constitutionally possible ...


Boynton V. Virginia And The Anxieties Of The Modern African-American Customer, Amber Baylor Jan 2020

Boynton V. Virginia And The Anxieties Of The Modern African-American Customer, Amber Baylor

Faculty Scholarship

In 1958, Bruce Boynton was arrested for ordering food in a Whites-Only diner and charged with criminal trespass. Sixty years later, African Americans continue to face arrest and threat of arrest in commercial establishments based on discriminatory trespass claims. When store owners or employees decide to exclude would-be patrons from their establishment for discriminatory reasons, both overt and implicit, they rely on the police to enforce this form of discrimination. This article considers the legacy of Boynton v. Virginia, particularly the resonance of Boynton’s unaddressed claim, that the state enforcement of discriminatory trespass allegations is an Equal Protection violation ...


Criminal Deterrence: A Review Of The Missing Literature, Alex Raskolnikov Jan 2020

Criminal Deterrence: A Review Of The Missing Literature, Alex Raskolnikov

Faculty Scholarship

This review of the criminal deterrence literature focuses on the questions that are largely missing from many recent, excellent, comprehensive reviews of that literature, and from the literature itself. By “missing” I mean, first, questions that criminal deterrence scholars have ignored either completely or to a large extent. These questions range from fundamental (the distributional analysis of the criminal justice system), to those hidden in plain sight (economic analysis of misdemeanors), to those that are well-known yet mostly overlooked (the role of positive incentives, offender’s mental state, and celerity of punishment). I also use “missing” to refer to the ...


Linked Fate: Justice And The Criminal Legal System During The Covid-19 Pandemic, Susan P. Sturm, Faiz Pirani, Hyun Kim, Natalie Behr, Zachary D. Hardwick Jan 2020

Linked Fate: Justice And The Criminal Legal System During The Covid-19 Pandemic, Susan P. Sturm, Faiz Pirani, Hyun Kim, Natalie Behr, Zachary D. Hardwick

Faculty Scholarship

The concept of “linked fate” has taken on new meaning in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. People all over the world – from every walk of life, spanning class, race, gender, and nationality – face a potentially deadly threat requiring cooperation and sacrifice. The plight of the most vulnerable among us affects the capacity of the larger community to cope with, recover, and learn from COVID-19’s devastating impact. COVID-19 makes visible and urgent the need to embrace our linked fate, “develop a sense of commonality and shared circumstances,” and unstick dysfunctional and inequitable political and legal systems.

Nowhere is the ...


Death By Stereotype: Race, Ethnicity, And California’S Failure To Implement Furman’S Narrowing Requirement, Catherine M. Grosso, Jeffrey A. Fagan, Michael Laurence, David C. Baldus, George W. Woodworth, Richard Newell Jan 2019

Death By Stereotype: Race, Ethnicity, And California’S Failure To Implement Furman’S Narrowing Requirement, Catherine M. Grosso, Jeffrey A. Fagan, Michael Laurence, David C. Baldus, George W. Woodworth, Richard Newell

Faculty Scholarship

This Article examines the possible racial and ethnic implications of California’s expansive death penalty statute in light of the Eighth Amendment’s requirement that each state statute narrow the subclass of offenders on whom a death sentence may be imposed. The narrowing requirement derives from the holding in Furman v. Georgia over forty-five years ago, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that existing death penalty statutes violated the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments. Citing statistics demonstrating arbitrary and capricious application of capital punishment, a majority of the Justices concluded that a death sentencing scheme ...


Democratic Policing Before The Due Process Revolution, Sarah Seo Jan 2019

Democratic Policing Before The Due Process Revolution, Sarah Seo

Faculty Scholarship

According to prevailing interpretations of the Warren Court’s Due Process Revolution, the Supreme Court constitutionalized criminal procedure to constrain the discretion of individual officers. These narratives, however, fail to account for the Court’s decisions during that revolutionary period that enabled discretionary policing. Instead of beginning with the Warren Court, this Essay looks to the legal culture before the Due Process Revolution to provide a more coherent synthesis of the Court’s criminal procedure decisions. It reconstructs that culture by analyzing the prominent criminal law scholar Jerome Hall’s public lectures, Police and Law in a Democratic Society, which ...


The Present Crisis In American Bail, Kellen R. Funk Jan 2019

The Present Crisis In American Bail, Kellen R. Funk

Faculty Scholarship

More than fifty years after a predicted coming federal courts crisis in bail, district courts have begun granting major systemic injunctions against money bail systems. This Essay surveys the constitutional theories and circuit splits that are forming through these litigations. The major point of controversy is the level of federal court scrutiny triggered by allegedly unconstitutional bail regimes, an inquiry complicated by ambiguous Supreme Court precedents on (1) post-conviction fines, (2) preventive detention at the federal level, and (3) the adequacy of probable cause hearings. The Essay argues that the application of strict scrutiny makes the best sense of these ...


The End Of Intuition-Based High-Crime Areas, Ben Grunwald, Jeffrey A. Fagan Jan 2019

The End Of Intuition-Based High-Crime Areas, Ben Grunwald, Jeffrey A. Fagan

Faculty Scholarship

In 2000, the Supreme Court held in Illinois v. Wardlow that a suspect’s presence in a “high-crime area” is relevant in determining whether an officer has reasonable suspicion to conduct an investigative stop. Despite the importance of the decision, the Court provided no guidance about what that standard means, and over fifteen years later, we still have no idea how police officers understand and apply it in practice. This Article conducts the first empirical analysis of Wardlow by examining data on over two million investigative stops conducted by the New York Police Department from 2007 to 2012.

Our results ...


The Systems Fallacy: A Genealogy And Critique Of Public Policy And Cost-Benefit Analysis, Bernard Harcourt Jan 2018

The Systems Fallacy: A Genealogy And Critique Of Public Policy And Cost-Benefit Analysis, Bernard Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

This essay identifies the systems fallacy: the mistaken belief that systems-analytic decision-making techniques, such as cost-benefit or public policy analysis, are neutral and objective, when in fact they normatively shape political outcomes. The systems fallacy is the mistaken belief that there could be a nonnormative or scientific way to analyze and implement public policy that would not affect political values. That pretense is mistaken because the very act of conceptualizing and defining a metaphorical system, and the accompanying choice-of-scope decisions, constitute inherently normative decisions that are value laden and political in nature. The ambition of decision theorists to render policy ...


Brain Development, Social Context And Justice Policy, Elizabeth S. Scott, Natasha Duell, Laurence Steinberg Jan 2018

Brain Development, Social Context And Justice Policy, Elizabeth S. Scott, Natasha Duell, Laurence Steinberg

Faculty Scholarship

Justice policy reform in the past decade has been driven by research evidence indicating that brain development is ongoing through adolescence, and that neurological and psychological immaturity likely contributes in important ways to teenagers’ involvement in crime. But despite the power of this trend, skeptics point out that many (perhaps most) adolescents do not engage in serious criminal activity; on this basis, critics argue that normative biological and psychological factors associated with adolescence are unlikely to play the important role in juvenile offending that is posited by supporters of the reform trend. This Article explains that features associated with biological ...


Aggressive Policing And The Educational Performance Of Minority Youth, Joscha Legewie, Jeffrey A. Fagan Jan 2018

Aggressive Policing And The Educational Performance Of Minority Youth, Joscha Legewie, Jeffrey A. Fagan

Faculty Scholarship

An increasing number of minority youth are confronted with the criminal justice system. But how does the expansion of police presence in poor urban communities affect educational outcomes? Previous research points at multiple mechanisms with opposing effects. This article presents the first causal evidence of the impact of aggressive policing on the educational performance of minority youth. Under Operation Impact, the New York Police Department (NYPD) saturated high crime areas with additional police officers with the mission to engage in aggressive, order maintenance policing. To estimate the effect, we use administrative data from about 250,000 adolescents aged 9 to ...


The Supreme Court, Judicial Elections, And Dark Money, Richard Briffault Jan 2018

The Supreme Court, Judicial Elections, And Dark Money, Richard Briffault

Faculty Scholarship

In its cases dealing with judicial elections, the Court has cycled back and forth over whether to treat judges as representatives of the voters, like other elected officials, with judicial elections subject to the same constitutional rules as other elections or to emphasize the distinctive nature of the judicial role, which could support special limits on judicial campaign activity. Over a trilogy of cases decided between 2002 and 2015 – Republican Party of Minnesota v. White, Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Co., and Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar – a divided Court has struggled to hold together the First Amendment’s commitment ...


Do The Ends Justify The Means? Policing And Rights Tradeoffs In New York City, Amanda Geller, Jeffrey Fagan, Tom R. Tyler Jan 2018

Do The Ends Justify The Means? Policing And Rights Tradeoffs In New York City, Amanda Geller, Jeffrey Fagan, Tom R. Tyler

Faculty Scholarship

Policing has become an integral component of urban life. New models of proactive policing create a double-edged sword for communities with strong police presence. While the new policing creates conditions that may deter and prevent crime, close surveillance and frequent intrusive police-citizen contacts have strained police-community relations. The burdens of the new policing often fall on communities with high proportions of African American and Latino residents, yet the returns to crime control are small and the risks of intrusive, impersonal, aggressive non-productive interactions are high. As part of the proffered tradeoff, citizens are often asked to view and accept these ...


Police, Race, And The Production Of Capital Homicides, Jeffrey A. Fagan, Amanda Geller Jan 2018

Police, Race, And The Production Of Capital Homicides, Jeffrey A. Fagan, Amanda Geller

Faculty Scholarship

Racial disparities in capital punishment have been well documented for decades. Over 50 studies have shown that Black defendants more likely than their white counterparts to be charged with capital-eligible crimes, to be convicted and sentenced to death. Racial disparities in charging and sentencing in capital-eligible homicides are the largest for the small number of cases where black defendants murder white victims compared to within-race killings, or where whites murder black or other ethnic minority victims. These patterns are robust to rich controls for non-racial characteristics and state sentencing guidelines. This article backs up the research on racial disparities to ...


The Case For Dropping Preferential Rules Of Origin, Jeffrey Selbin, Justin Mccrary, Joshua Epstein Jan 2018

The Case For Dropping Preferential Rules Of Origin, Jeffrey Selbin, Justin Mccrary, Joshua Epstein

Faculty Scholarship

An estimated one in three American adults has a criminal record. While some records are for serious offenses, most are for arrests or relatively low-level misdemeanors. In an era of heightened security concerns, easily available data, and increased criminal background checks, these records act as a substantial barrier to gainful employment and other opportunities. Harvard sociologist Devah Pager describes people with criminal records as “marked” with a negative job credential.

In response to this problem, lawyers have launched unmarking programs to help people take advantage of legal record clearing remedies. We studied a random sample of participants in one such ...


Personal Benefit Has No Place In Misappropriation Tipping Cases, Merritt B. Fox, George N. Tepe Jan 2018

Personal Benefit Has No Place In Misappropriation Tipping Cases, Merritt B. Fox, George N. Tepe

Faculty Scholarship

The Supreme Court’s decision in Salman v. United States left unanswered an important issue concerning the reach of Rule 10b-5’s prohibitions with respect to trades based on a tip of material inside information: in cases based on the misappropriation theory, is it necessary to show that the tipper enjoyed a personal benefit of which the trader was aware? The personal benefit test was originally developed in the context of tipping cases based on the classical theory of insider trading. The Supreme Court in Salman explicitly said that it was not reaching the matter of whether the test should ...


The Ideological Roots Of America's Market Power Problem, Lina M. Khan Jan 2018

The Ideological Roots Of America's Market Power Problem, Lina M. Khan

Faculty Scholarship

Mounting research shows that America has a market power problem. In sectors ranging from airlines and poultry to eyeglasses and semiconductors, just a handful of companies dominate. The decline in competition is so consistent across markets that excessive concentration and undue market power now look to be not an isolated issue but rather a systemic feature of America’s political economy. This is troubling because monopolies and oligopolies produce a host of harms. They depress wages and salaries, raise consumer costs, block entrepreneurship, stunt investment, retard innovation, and render supply chains and complex systems highly fragile. Dominant firms’ economic power ...


Understanding Recent Spikes And Longer Trends In American Murders, Jeffrey Fagan, Daniel C. Richman Jan 2017

Understanding Recent Spikes And Longer Trends In American Murders, Jeffrey Fagan, Daniel C. Richman

Faculty Scholarship

Since 2015, homicide rates have increased in several U.S. cities, while remaining stable in many others. Examining both recent and long-term trends in homicides and other violent crime across major cities, we find no reason to believe that these increases presage a new homicide epidemic, or that we will return to the era of elevated homicide rates that persisted in many U.S. cities over three decades through the mid-1990s. The homicide spikes may be momentary upticks in the two-decade long-term decline, and may also signal a new era of unpredictable and random surges or declines during an otherwise ...


Our Criminal Laws, Our Constitution, Sarah Seo Jan 2017

Our Criminal Laws, Our Constitution, Sarah Seo

Faculty Scholarship

This essay reviews three recently published books that further explore this insight in the twentieth century. At first glance, vagrancy laws, the free will problem, and criminal records may seem to share little in common. But each study illuminates how criminal laws have defined our nation by creating what historian Barbara Welke has termed "borders of belonging," a boundary that laws create between people who enjoy full citizenship and those who do not. After all, a conviction and imprisonment are acts of social and political exclusion. Even the policing of suspected offenders often reveals who does not completely belong.

The ...


Criminal Deterrence: A Review Of The Literature, Aaron Chalfin, Justin Mccrary Jan 2017

Criminal Deterrence: A Review Of The Literature, Aaron Chalfin, Justin Mccrary

Faculty Scholarship

We review economics research regarding the effect of police, punishments, and work on crime, with a particular focus on papers from the last twenty years. Evidence in favor of deterrence effects is mixed. While there is considerable evidence that crime is responsive to police and to the existence of attractive legitimate labor-market opportunities, there is far less evidence that crime responds to the severity of criminal sanctions. We discuss fruitful directions for future work and implications for public policy.


Understanding Recent Spikes And Longer Trends In American Murders, Jeffery Fagan, Daniel Richman Jan 2017

Understanding Recent Spikes And Longer Trends In American Murders, Jeffery Fagan, Daniel Richman

Faculty Scholarship

On September 7, 2016, four of the nation’s newspapers of record weighed in on the connected crises in crime and policing. The New York Times revealed the tensions between the Mayor’s office in Chicago and several community and professional groups over a plan to overhaul Chicago’s police disciplinary board – a plan developed in the wake of the shooting of an unarmed teenager, Laquan McDonald, and the release of a video of that killing. The Wall Street Journal related a vigorous defense of New York City’s “broken windows” policing strategy – a strategy that has been a recurring ...


Informants & Cooperators, Daniel C. Richman Jan 2017

Informants & Cooperators, Daniel C. Richman

Faculty Scholarship

The police have long relied on informants to make critical cases, and prosecutors have long relied on cooperator testimony at trials. Still, concerns about these tools for obtaining closely held information have substantially increased in recent years. Reliability concerns have loomed largest, but broader social costs have also been identified. After highlighting both the value of informants and cooperators and the pathologies associated with them, this chapter explores the external and internal measures that can or should be deployed to regulate their use.