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University of Michigan Law School

Civil Rights and Discrimination

Law reform

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Articles 1 - 9 of 9

Full-Text Articles in Law

Defense Counsel And Public Defence, Eve Brensike Primus Nov 2017

Defense Counsel And Public Defence, Eve Brensike Primus

Book Chapters

Public-defense delivery systems nationwide are grossly inadequate. Public defenders are forced to handle caseloads that no one could effectively manage. They often have no funding for investigation or expert assistance. They aren’t adequately trained, and there is little to no oversight of their work. In many jurisdictions, the public-defense function is not sufficiently independent of the judiciary or the elected branches to allow for zealous representation. The result is an assembly line into prison, mostly for poor people of color, with little check on the reliability or fairness of the process. Innocent people are convicted, precious resources are wasted ...


Universalism And Civil Rights (With Notes On Voting Rights After Shelby), Samuel R. Bagenstos Jan 2014

Universalism And Civil Rights (With Notes On Voting Rights After Shelby), Samuel R. Bagenstos

Articles

After the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder, voting rights activists proposed a variety of legislative responses. Some proposals sought to move beyond measures that targeted voting discrimination based on race or ethnicity. They instead sought to eliminate certain problematic practices that place too great a burden on voting generally. Responses like these are universalist, because rather than seeking to protect any particular group against discrimination, they formally provide uniform protections to everyone. As Bruce Ackerman shows, voting rights activists confronted a similar set of questions—and at least some of them opted for a universalist approach ...


Plata V. Brown And Realignment: Jails, Prisons, Courts, And Politics, Margo Schlanger Jan 2013

Plata V. Brown And Realignment: Jails, Prisons, Courts, And Politics, Margo Schlanger

Articles

The year 2011 marked an important milestone in American institutional reform litigation. That year, a bare majority of the U.S. Supreme Court, in an opinion in Brown v. Plata by Justice Anthony Kennedy, affirmed a district court order requiring California to remedy its longstanding constitutional deficits in prison medical and mental health care by reducing prison crowding. Not since 1978 had the Court ratified a lower court's crowding-related order in a jail or prison case, and the order before the Court in 2011 was fairly aggressive; theoretically, it could have (although this was never a real prospect) induced ...


On Estimating Disparity And Inferring Causation: Sur-Reply To The U.S. Sentencing Commission Staff, Sonja B. Starr, M. Marit Rehavi Jan 2013

On Estimating Disparity And Inferring Causation: Sur-Reply To The U.S. Sentencing Commission Staff, Sonja B. Starr, M. Marit Rehavi

Articles

In this Essay, Professors Starr and Rehavi respond to the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s empirical staff’s criticisms of their recent article, which found, contrary to the Commission’s prior work, no evidence that racial disparity in sentences increased in response to United States v. Booker. As Starr and Rehavi suggest, their differences with the Commission perhaps relate to differing objectives. The Commission staff’s reply expresses a lack of interest in identifying Booker’s causal effects; in contrast, that is Starr and Rehavi’s central objective. In addition, Starr and Rehavi’s approach also accounts for disparities arising ...


Mandatory Sentencing And Racial Disparity, Assessing The Role Of Prosecutors And The Effects Of Booker, Sonja B. Starr, M. Marit Rehavi Jan 2013

Mandatory Sentencing And Racial Disparity, Assessing The Role Of Prosecutors And The Effects Of Booker, Sonja B. Starr, M. Marit Rehavi

Articles

This Article presents new empirical evidence concerning the effects of United States v. Booker, which loosened the formerly mandatory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, on racial disparities in federal criminal cases. Two serious limitations pervade existing empirical literature on sentencing disparities. First, studies focus on sentencing in isolation, controlling for the “presumptive sentence” or similar measures that themselves result from discretionary charging, plea-bargaining, and fact-finding processes. Any disparities in these earlier processes are excluded from the resulting sentence-disparity estimates. Our research has shown that this exclusion matters: pre-sentencing decision-making can have substantial sentence-disparity consequences. Second, existing studies have used loose causal ...


Prison Segregation: Symposium Introduction And Preliminary Data On Racial Disparities, Margo Schlanger Jan 2013

Prison Segregation: Symposium Introduction And Preliminary Data On Racial Disparities, Margo Schlanger

Articles

For this Introduction, I undertake to look a bit more broadly at recent data. The best sources of demographic information about prisoners are the various surveys and censuses conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). While no BJS publication directly addresses the issue, and no BJS dataset allows its full analysis, it is possible to glean something from the most recent BJS prison census, the 2005 Census of State and Federal Adult Correctional Facilities.


Preserving The Rule Of Law In America's Jails And Prisons: The Case For Amending The Prison Litigation Reform Act, Margo Schlanger, Giovanna Shay Jan 2008

Preserving The Rule Of Law In America's Jails And Prisons: The Case For Amending The Prison Litigation Reform Act, Margo Schlanger, Giovanna Shay

Articles

Prisons and jails pose a significant challenge to the rule of law within American boundaries. As a nation, we are committed to constitutional regulation of governmental treatment of even those who have broken society’s rules. And accordingly, most of our prisons and jails are run by committed professionals who care about prisoner welfare and constitutional compliance. At the same time, for prisons—closed institutions holding an ever-growing disempowered population—most of the methods by which we, as a polity, foster government accountability and equality among citizens are unavailable or at least not currently practiced. In the absence of other ...


State Responses To Task Force Reports On Race And Ethnic Bias In The Courts, Suellyn Scarnecchia Jan 1993

State Responses To Task Force Reports On Race And Ethnic Bias In The Courts, Suellyn Scarnecchia

Articles

While several states have embarked on studies of race and ethnic bias in their courts, Minnesota is only the sixth to publish its report to date. As Minnesota joins the ranks of states with published reports, it is worthwhile to assess the impact of the five earlier published reports from other states. Final reports have been published in Michigan (1989), Washington (1990), New York (1991), Florida (1991) and New Jersey (1992). The published reports make findings and provide several specific recommendations for change. This article will review the published findings and recommendations of the task forces and will discuss the ...


The 'Legalization' Of The Family: Toward A Policy Of Supportive Neutrality, David L. Chambers Jun 1985

The 'Legalization' Of The Family: Toward A Policy Of Supportive Neutrality, David L. Chambers

Articles

The word "legalization" has conflicting meanings. One, intended to sound the theme of this conference, conveys the notion of government regulation permeating some area of human activity. The other-as found, for example, in the phrase "the legalization of marijuana"-is a near opposite: the process of making legal or permissible that which. was previously forbidden, taking government out of that which it had previously controlled. The recent history of government's relationship to the family amply displays both sorts of legalization, both government's intrusion and its withdrawal, and reveals a paradoxical relation between the two-that as government frees people ...