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Criminal Acts And Basic Moral Equality, John A. Humbach Jan 2022

Criminal Acts And Basic Moral Equality, John A. Humbach

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

Modern criminal justice presupposes that persons are not morally equal. On the contrary, those who do wrong are viewed by the law as less worthy of respect, concern and decent treatment: Offenders, it is said, “deserve” to suffer for their misdeeds. Yet, there is scant logical or empirical basis for the law's supposition that offenders are morally inferior. The usual reasoning is that persons who intentionally or knowingly do wrong are the authors and initiators of their acts and, as such, are morally responsible for them. But this reasoning rests on the assumption that a person's mental states, such as …


The Prosecutor In The Mirror: Conviction Integrity Units And Brady Claims, Lissa Griffin, Daisy Mason Jan 2022

The Prosecutor In The Mirror: Conviction Integrity Units And Brady Claims, Lissa Griffin, Daisy Mason

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

In Brady v. Maryland, the Supreme Court held that a prosecutor has a due process obligation to disclose exculpatory evidence that is material to guilt or punishment. The failure to fulfill this duty is particularly insidious because it bears directly on both whether an innocent defendant may have been convicted as well as on whether the adjudicatory process was fair. The failure to disclose exculpatory evidence has been characterized as “epidemic” and has been documented to have made a major, outsized contribution in cases that resulted in exonerations. It is not surprising, then, that conviction integrity units in prosecutor’s offices …


Advancing Fundamental Principles Through Doctrine And Practice: Comments On Darryl Robinson, Justice In Extreme Cases, Alexander K.A. Greenawalt Apr 2021

Advancing Fundamental Principles Through Doctrine And Practice: Comments On Darryl Robinson, Justice In Extreme Cases, Alexander K.A. Greenawalt

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

I am honored to comment on Darryl Robinson's terrific new book which makes an extraordinary contribution to the literature on international criminal law (ICL). Already an admirer of Robinson's work, I learned a lot from reading his book and find his approach convincing. Broadly speaking, there is not much, if anything, on which I disagree with Robinson. I share his criticisms of international criminal tribunal reasoning. I welcome the call for greater attention to deontic considerations. I agree on the importance of the fundamental principles that Robinson identifies, and I also agree that justifying these principles does not require consensus …


Do Criminal Minds Cause Crime? Neuroscience And The Physicalism Dilemma, John A. Humbach Oct 2019

Do Criminal Minds Cause Crime? Neuroscience And The Physicalism Dilemma, John A. Humbach

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

The idea that mental states cause actions is a basic premise of criminal law. Blame and responsibility presuppose that criminal acts are products of the defendant's mind. Yet, the assumption that mental causation exists is at odds with physicalism, the widely shared worldview that “everything is physical.” Outside of law, there is probably no field of secular study in which one can seriously assert that unseen nonmaterial forces can cause physical events. But if physicalism is true then a fundamental premise of modern criminal justice must be false, namely, that criminals deserve punishment because their crimes are the products of …


Judging Judges Fifty Years After – Was Judge Julius Hoffman’S Conduct So Different?, Bennett L. Gershman Jul 2019

Judging Judges Fifty Years After – Was Judge Julius Hoffman’S Conduct So Different?, Bennett L. Gershman

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

In Chicago, Illinois--and in courtrooms across the United States--judicial misconduct has affected trial outcomes as long as there have been trials. While Judge Julius Hoffman's conduct in the “Chicago Eight” trial is an egregious example of judicial behavior toward criminal defendants, this piece's examination of at least ten different categories of misconduct in dozens of cases makes the argument that misbehavior by judges is less of an exception to the rule of impartiality than the thinking public might know. In considering these brazen examples, practitioners and academics alike can evaluate how to best confront the extent to which conduct like …


Social Media, Venue And The Right To A Fair Trial, Leslie Y. Garfield Tenzer Jun 2019

Social Media, Venue And The Right To A Fair Trial, Leslie Y. Garfield Tenzer

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

Judicial failure to recognize social media's influence on juror decision making has identifiable constitutional implications. The Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial demands that courts grant a defendant's change of venue motion when media-generated pretrial publicity invades the unbiased sensibility of those who are asked to sit in judgment. Courts limit publicity suitable for granting a defendant's motion to information culled from newspapers, radio, and television reports. Since about 2014, however, a handful of defendants have introduced social media posts to support their claims of unconstitutional bias in the community. Despite defendants' introduction of negative social media in support …


#Metoo, Statutory Rape Laws, And The Persistence Of Gender Stereotypes, Leslie Y. Garfield Tenzer Jan 2019

#Metoo, Statutory Rape Laws, And The Persistence Of Gender Stereotypes, Leslie Y. Garfield Tenzer

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

This Article proceeds in five parts. Part I reviews the history of the legal and social movement from gender-specific to gender-neutral statutory rape laws. This Part includes an exploration of critical scholarship responding to the Supreme Court's Michael M. decision. Part II explains the limitations of gender-specific legislation. This Part illustrates that there are two categories of gender-neutral statutory rape jurisdictions: age-differential statutes and arbitrary prosecution statutes. This Part also explores challenges to these statutes, particularly arbitrary prosecution statutes, on equal protection grounds. Part III provides empirical data that men are prosecuted at a rate four times greater than females …


Between Brady Discretion And Brady Misconduct, Bennett L. Gershman Jan 2019

Between Brady Discretion And Brady Misconduct, Bennett L. Gershman

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

The Supreme Court’s decision in Brady v. Maryland presented prosecutors with new professional challenges. In Brady, the Supreme Court held that the prosecution must provide the defense with any evidence in its possession that could be exculpatory. If the prosecution fails to timely turn over evidence that materially undermines the defendant’s guilt, a reviewing court must grant the defendant a new trial. While determining whether evidence materially undermines a defendant’s guilt may seem like a simple assessment, the real-life application of such a determination can be complicated. The prosecution’s disclosure determination can be complicated under the Brady paradigm because the …


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 …


The Effect Media Has On Juror Bias, Tia Fasano Jan 2019

The Effect Media Has On Juror Bias, Tia Fasano

Honors College Theses

The purpose of the study was to illustrate the problems associated with juror bias and how the media contributes to it. The way the media portrays individuals, the language they use, and the pictures seen as affecting potential jurors when they determine verdicts of the people they hear about on the news. The study further investigates whether or not these jurors are influenced enough by the media to cause a bias detrimental to the defendant. The design of the study used multiple peer-reviewed sources, documentaries, and semi-structured interviews. Through these, information was gathered and analyzed. I found through the interviews …


The State Of American Juvenile Justice, Merril Sobie Apr 2018

The State Of American Juvenile Justice, Merril Sobie

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

This article will summarize the major twenty-first century state legislative and case law developments. It will also briefly note the expansion of state and local initiatives limiting the prosecution of youthful offenders, such as diversion and restorative justice programs.

The state of American juvenile justice has improved significantly in the past several years. However, the reforms are best viewed as a work in progress. Much has been accomplished, but much remains to be accomplished. Crucially, after a generation of “tough on kids” measures, we are on the road toward a true “justice” system for children.


A Penal Colony For Bad Lawyers, Bennett L. Gershman Jan 2018

A Penal Colony For Bad Lawyers, Bennett L. Gershman

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

In this article I set out what I believe is an extreme and unconventional way to discipline egregiously bad lawyers. For starters, I think it might be useful to survey briefly the kinds of lawyering conduct currently subject to disciplinary sanctions. Regulation of the conduct of defense lawyers in the U.S. is hedged by various legal and professional rules that are enforced by courts and disciplinary bodies essentially to ensure a minimum level of competent and ethical representation. The Sixth Amendment right to counsel--the so-called “sacred” right--seeks to ensure at least a reasonable degree of lawyering skill. Also, professional codes …


Targeted Capture, Alexander K.A. Greenawalt Jan 2018

Targeted Capture, Alexander K.A. Greenawalt

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

This Article confronts one of the most difficult and contested questions in the debate about targeted killing that has raged in academic and policy circles over the last decade. Suppose that, in wartime, the target of a military strike may readily be neutralized through nonlethal means such as capture. Do the attacking forces have an obligation to pursue that nonlethal alternative? The Article defends the duty to employ less restrictive means (“LRM”) in wartime, and it advances several novel arguments in defense of that obligation. In contrast to those who look to external restraints--such as those imposed by international human …


Does Hard Incompatibilism Really Abolish ‘Right’ And ‘Wrong’? Some Thoughts In Response To Larry Alexander, John A. Humbach Mr. Mar 2017

Does Hard Incompatibilism Really Abolish ‘Right’ And ‘Wrong’? Some Thoughts In Response To Larry Alexander, John A. Humbach Mr.

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

In a challenge to recent writings of Derk Pereboom and Gregg Caruso,3 Larry Alexander makes the following claim: If one accepts the Pereboom-Caruso “hard incompatibilist” view of choice, which regards blame and retributive punishment as morally unjustified because free will is an illusion, then “normativity completely disappears.” In making this claim, Professor Alexander appears to hold that the moral distinction between right and wrong conduct (“normativity”) cannot effectively exist unless those who do wrong “deserve” to receive blame and punishment in response to their misbehavior. This is not, however, necessarily so.


Ministers Of Justice And Mass Incarceration, Lissa Griffin Jan 2017

Ministers Of Justice And Mass Incarceration, Lissa Griffin

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

Over the past few years, scholars, legislators, and politicians have come to recognize that our current state of “mass incarceration” is the result of serious dysfunction in our criminal justice system. As a consequence, there has been significant attention to the causes of mass incarceration. These include the war on drugs and political decisions based on a “law and order” perspective. Congressional and state legislative enactments increased the financing of the expansion of police powers and provided for severely punitive sentencing statutes, thereby giving prosecutors uniquely powerful weapons in securing guilty pleas. All of this occurred as crime rates dropped. …


Environmental Crimes And Imprisonment: Does Prison Work To Prevent And Punish Environmental Criminals?, Rafael Wolff Feb 2016

Environmental Crimes And Imprisonment: Does Prison Work To Prevent And Punish Environmental Criminals?, Rafael Wolff

Dissertations & Theses

Environmental degradation is a global problem. Humans need natural resources to survive and, as those resources are limited, humans’ use of these resources should respect a sustainable pace established by law. There are many approaches to addressing environmental degradation that do not honor the legal limitations and one of them is through criminal law. The question that is posed in this thesis is whether imprisonment, one of the most severe methods of punishment, is a suitable option to repress and prevent environmental crimes.

This thesis is divided in three chapters. The first chapter discusses why environmental crimes are relevant. It …


What's Going On In Our Prisons?, Michael B. Mushlin Jan 2016

What's Going On In Our Prisons?, Michael B. Mushlin

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

Additional governmental oversight is urgently needed to truly change the culture of a system that holds 53,000 inmates across 54 prisons in New York State. What goes on inside these prisons is largely hidden from view, and there is little accountability for wrongdoing. The State Legislature should follow the A.B.A.’s guidance and establish a monitoring body with unfettered access to prison facilities, staff, inmates and records in announced or unannounced visits.


The Prosecutor’S Duty Of Silence, Bennett L. Gershman Jan 2016

The Prosecutor’S Duty Of Silence, Bennett L. Gershman

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

Prosecutors enjoy broad opportunities to communicate with the public outside the courtroom. Justice Holmes’s famous dictum -- “The theory of our system is that conclusions to be reached in a case will be induced only by evidence and argument in open court, and not by any outside influence, whether of private talk or public print” – is just that – a “theory.” The reality is otherwise. Prosecutors, and defense lawyers too, engage in extrajudicial speech frequently, and often irresponsibly. But in contrast to other lawyers, prosecutors have a higher “special” duty to serve justice rather than a private client. And …


Foreign Assistance Complicity, Alexander K.A. Greenawalt Jan 2016

Foreign Assistance Complicity, Alexander K.A. Greenawalt

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

When does a government’s provision of assistance to foreign armed groups cross the line from legitimate foreign policy to criminal aiding and abetting of those who use the aid to commit atrocities? The question presents one of the most difficult dilemmas in criminal justice, one that has deep normative implications and has provoked sharp splits among the U.S. federal courts and international tribunals that have faced it.

In 2013, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) sent shockwaves through international legal circles when it acquitted former Yugoslav Army chief Momčilo Perišić of aiding and …


In Memory Of Monroe Freedman: The Hardest Question For A Prosecutor, Bennett L. Gershman Jan 2016

In Memory Of Monroe Freedman: The Hardest Question For A Prosecutor, Bennett L. Gershman

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

I’ve chosen to honor Monroe Freedman’s iconic essay on the hardest questions for a criminal defense attorney by posing the same question for prosecutors. What is the hardest question for a prosecutor? This in itself is a hard question. The thousands of federal, state, and local prosecutors in the country would likely give widely varying responses – discretionary charging, immunity grants, bargained pleas, unreliable witnesses, police testimony, and disclosure duties, for starters. Too, prosecutors are not a generic group. Just as some defense lawyers might recoil or be indifferent to Freedman’s provocative thesis, so might many prosecutors reject or be …


Written Testimony On Correctional Oversight Of The Nys Doccs, Michael B. Mushlin Dec 2015

Written Testimony On Correctional Oversight Of The Nys Doccs, Michael B. Mushlin

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

I am testifying today on behalf of both myself and my co-chair Michele Deitch, who has submitted written testimony for your consideration. My comments here reflect both the key points in her testimony as well as some of my own thoughts about the importance of external oversight and comments about the critical role played by the Correctional Association of New York, the failure of the State Commission on Correction to provide meaningful regulation of New York’s prisons, and the need to improve access by the media to the public and to the state’s prisons.


Is America Becoming A Nation Of Ex-Cons?, John A. Humbach Jan 2015

Is America Becoming A Nation Of Ex-Cons?, John A. Humbach

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

Recent rates of mass incarceration have become a concern, but those rates are only part of the challenge facing (and posed by) the American criminal justice system. An estimated 25% of the U.S. adult population already has a criminal record and, with new felony convictions churning out at a rate of a million per year, America is well on its way to becoming a nation of ex-cons. Already, the ex-offender class is the nation’s biggest law-defined, legally discriminated-against minority group, and it is growing. The adverse social implications of this trend remain unclear and the critical demographic tipping point is …


"I Am Opposed To This Procedure": How Kafka's In The Penal Colony Illuminates The Current Debate About Solitary Confinement And Oversight Of American Prisons, Michael B. Mushlin Jan 2015

"I Am Opposed To This Procedure": How Kafka's In The Penal Colony Illuminates The Current Debate About Solitary Confinement And Oversight Of American Prisons, Michael B. Mushlin

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

This is the 100th anniversary of Franz Kafka's In the Penal Colony. The story brilliantly imagines a gruesome killing machine at the epicenter of a mythical prison's operations. The torture caused by this apparatus comes to an end only after the “Traveler,” an outsider invited to the penal colony by the new leader of the prison, condemns it. In the unfolding of the tale, Kafka vividly portrays how, even with the best of intentions, the mental and physical well-being of inmates will be jeopardized when total control is given to people who run the prisons with no independent oversight.

At …


Forensic Evidence And The Court Of Appeal For England And Wales, Lissa Griffin Jan 2015

Forensic Evidence And The Court Of Appeal For England And Wales, Lissa Griffin

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

The Criminal Division of the Court of Appeal has extensively analyzed the role of forensic evidence. In doing so, the court has grappled with the admissibility and reliability of a broad range of forensic evidence, from DNA and computer forensics to medical and psychological proof, to more outlying subjects like facial mapping, fiber analysis, or voice identification. The court has analyzed these subjects from two perspectives: the admissibility of such evidence in the lower courts and the admissibility of such evidence as fresh evidence on appeal. In both contexts, the court has taken a practical approach to admitting forensic proof …


Why Full Implementation Is Long Overdue, Merril Sobie Oct 2014

Why Full Implementation Is Long Overdue, Merril Sobie

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

In 1980, the American Bar Association (ABA) promulgated a far-reaching comprehensive body of Juvenile Justice Standards, thereby providing a blueprint for the reform of a system that had serious deficiencies. Developed in partnership with the Institute of Judicial Administration (IJA) at New York University, the standards address the entire juvenile justice continuum, from police handling and intake to adjudication, disposition, juvenile corrections, and ancillary functions. Approximately 300 professionals collaborated for a decade to produce the 23 volumes approved by the ABA House of Delegates.

To this day, the standards remain relevant and reformist. Several have been implemented in whole or …


Towards International Criminalization Of Transboundry Environmental Crimes, Hamdan Qudah May 2014

Towards International Criminalization Of Transboundry Environmental Crimes, Hamdan Qudah

Dissertations & Theses

This dissertation puts forward the argument that violations of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights should be penalized under a criminal body of international law. The theories brought forth under this proposal stems from the field of green criminology, which explores the criminal application of law in the context of environmental protection. The concept of crimes against future generations can be the crux of new law that can be used to criminalize conduct against the interest of future populations. In an effort to maintain sustainable development which centers on environmental protection, economic protection and social development, the …


The Prosecutor’S Contribution To Wrongful Convictions, Bennett L. Gershman Jan 2014

The Prosecutor’S Contribution To Wrongful Convictions, Bennett L. Gershman

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

A prosecutor is viewed by the public as a powerful law enforcement official whose responsibility is to convict guilty people of crimes. But not everybody understands that a prosecutor’s function is not only to win convictions of law-breakers. A prosecutor is a quasi-judicial official who has a duty to promote justice to the entire community, including those people charged with crimes. Indeed, an overriding function of a prosecutor is to ensure that innocent people not get convicted and punished.

A prosecutor is constitutionally and ethically mandated to promote justice. The prosecutor is even considered a "Minister of Justice" who has …


Threats And Bullying By Prosecutors, Bennett L. Gershman Jan 2014

Threats And Bullying By Prosecutors, Bennett L. Gershman

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

Part I of this Essay describes ten contexts in which prosecutors make threats and behave like bullies. Some of these contexts are familiar, such as grand jury proceedings or plea discussions, where threats are generally upheld. Threats in other contexts are not as easy to justify, such as threats to obtain testimony from prosecution witnesses, retaliating for the exercise of constitutional rights, forcing a waiver of civil rights claims, and publicly humiliating people. Other threats clearly are illegitimate and unethical, such as threats that drive defense witnesses off the stand, bringing criminal charges against outspoken critics and defense experts, and …


International Criminal Law For Retributivists, Alexander K.A. Greenawalt Jan 2014

International Criminal Law For Retributivists, Alexander K.A. Greenawalt

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

Responding to the proliferation of international criminal tribunals during the last two decades, scholars have engaged in a rich debate about the normative foundations of international criminal law (“ICL”). The retributive theory of punishment--which justifies punishment based on the culpability of the accused, rather than by reference to its social benefits--has met with significant skepticism in these discussions. Some have argued that unique features of international criminal justice--for example, the extreme selectivity of punishment or the lack of certain social or political preconditions--are a poor match for retributive theory. Others have ignored retributivism altogether, or afforded the theory only passing …


Due Process Disaggregation, Jason Parkin Jan 2014

Due Process Disaggregation, Jason Parkin

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

One-size-fits-all procedural safeguards are becoming increasingly suspect under the Due Process Clause. Although the precise requirements of due process vary from context to context, the Supreme Court has held that, within any particular context, the Due Process Clause merely requires one-size-fits-all procedures that are designed according to the needs of the average or typical person using the procedures. As the Court explained when announcing the modern approach to procedural due process in Mathews v. Eldridge, the due process calculus must be focused on “the generality of cases, not the rare exceptions.” A more granular approach to due process rules, the …