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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Moral Ambiguity Of Public Prosecution, Gabriel S. Mendlow Mar 2021

The Moral Ambiguity Of Public Prosecution, Gabriel S. Mendlow

Articles

Classic crimes like theft and assault are in the first instance wrongs against individuals, not against the state or the polity that it represents. Yet our legal system denies crime victims the right to initiate or intervene in the criminal process, relegating them to the roles of witness or bystander—even as the system treats prosecution as an institutional analog of the interpersonal processes of moral blame and accountability, which give pride of place to those most directly wronged. Public prosecution reigns supreme, with the state claiming primary and exclusive moral standing to call offenders to account for their wrongs ...


The Stability Paradox: The Two-Parent Paradigm And The Perpetuation Of Violence Against Women In Termination Of Parental Rights And Custody Cases, Judith Lewis Feb 2021

The Stability Paradox: The Two-Parent Paradigm And The Perpetuation Of Violence Against Women In Termination Of Parental Rights And Custody Cases, Judith Lewis

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

Despite changing family compositions, entrenched in family law is the antiquated idea that a two-parent household, or its approximation vis-à-vis a shared custody arrangement, promotes stability and integrity and, thus, is in the best interest of the child. Yet, the concept that the two-parent household (or shared involvement of both parents in the child’s life if the parents separate) promotes stability for the family and is best for the child is a dangerous fallacy. When rape or intimate partner violence (IPV) is present, or the re-occurrence of violence remains a threat, the family unit is far from stable.

This ...


Rethinking The Reasonable Response: Safeguarding The Promise Of Kingsley For Conditions Of Confinement, Hanna Rutkowski Feb 2021

Rethinking The Reasonable Response: Safeguarding The Promise Of Kingsley For Conditions Of Confinement, Hanna Rutkowski

Michigan Law Review

Nearly five million individuals are admitted to America’s jails each year, and at any given time, two-thirds of those held in jail have not been convicted of a crime. Under current Supreme Court doctrine, these pretrial detainees are functionally protected by the same standard as convicted prisoners, despite the fact that they are formally protected by different constitutional amendments. A 2015 decision, Kingsley v. Hendrickson, declared that a different standard would apply to pretrial detainees and convicted prisoners in the context of use of force: consistent with the Constitution’s mandate that they not be punished at all, pretrial ...


The Intersection Of Wrongful Convictions And Gender In Cases Where Women Were Sentenced To Death Or Life In Prison Without Parole, Connor F. Lang Feb 2021

The Intersection Of Wrongful Convictions And Gender In Cases Where Women Were Sentenced To Death Or Life In Prison Without Parole, Connor F. Lang

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

This Note examines National Registry of Exonerations data and discusses the prevalence of false confessions and presence of a child victim in cases of women who were convicted of murder, received a serious sentence, and were later exonerated. After looking at the cases of women exonerated after receiving death sentences or life without parole sentences in light of the prevalence of these factors, this Note argues that examination of the cases reveals that the presence of a false confession or a child victim may have contributed to some of the wrongful convictions where these factors may have led to the ...


Criminal Record Relief For Human Trafficking Survivors: Analysis Of Current State Statutes And The Need For A Federal Model Statute, Ashleigh Pelto Feb 2021

Criminal Record Relief For Human Trafficking Survivors: Analysis Of Current State Statutes And The Need For A Federal Model Statute, Ashleigh Pelto

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

This Note defines criminal record relief and analyzes the effectiveness of three state criminal record relief statutes at protecting trafficking survivors. This analysis is based on State Report Cards: Grading Criminal Record Relief Laws for Survivors of Human Trafficking by Polaris, a leading human trafficking nonprofit. It next discusses the absence of federal criminal record relief and how a statute at the federal level could provide relief for survivors with federal convictions while simultaneously providing a model for states to ensure their statutes incorporate best practices for record relief moving forward. This Note then discusses how Polaris’s report stops ...


A Fresh Start: The Evolving Use Of Juvenile Records In College Admissions, Eve Rips Jan 2021

A Fresh Start: The Evolving Use Of Juvenile Records In College Admissions, Eve Rips

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Questions about criminal and juvenile records in the college application process are common and frequently fail to account for the unique characteristics of juvenile justice systems. The ways in which colleges and universities ask about juvenile records often encourage applicants to disclose information in spite of statutory protections. These questions fly in the face of the public policy underlying a range of legal safeguards that are intended to help individuals with records from juvenile systems in moving forward and receiving a second chance.

In recent years, a series of legislative and institutional changes have begun to restrict how colleges and ...


Possible Reliance: Protecting Legally Innocent Johnson Claimants, Keagan Potts Nov 2020

Possible Reliance: Protecting Legally Innocent Johnson Claimants, Keagan Potts

Michigan Law Review

The writ of habeas corpus presents the last chance for innocent defendants to obtain relief from invalid convictions and sentences. The writ constitutes a limited exception to the finality of judgments. Given the role finality plays in conserving judicial resources and deterring criminal conduct, exceptions created by habeas must be principally circumscribed. Since the Supreme Court’s invalidation of the Armed Career Criminal Act’s residual clause in Johnson v. United States, the federal courts of appeals have attempted to develop a test that protects the writ from abuse by Johnson claimants.

This Note first contributes a new understanding of ...


Equal Protection Under Algorithms: A New Statistical And Legal Framework, Crystal S. Yang, Will Dobbie Nov 2020

Equal Protection Under Algorithms: A New Statistical And Legal Framework, Crystal S. Yang, Will Dobbie

Michigan Law Review

In this Article, we provide a new statistical and legal framework to understand the legality and fairness of predictive algorithms under the Equal Protection Clause. We begin by reviewing the main legal concerns regarding the use of protected characteristics such as race and the correlates of protected characteristics such as criminal history. The use of race and nonrace correlates in predictive algorithms generates direct and proxy effects of race, respectively, that can lead to racial disparities that many view as unwarranted and discriminatory. These effects have led to the mainstream legal consensus that the use of race and nonrace correlates ...


Increasing Case Traffic: Expanding The International Criminal Court's Focus On Human Trafficking Cases, Nadia Alhadi Aug 2020

Increasing Case Traffic: Expanding The International Criminal Court's Focus On Human Trafficking Cases, Nadia Alhadi

Michigan Journal of International Law

Human trafficking falls within the jurisdictional competence of the International Criminal Court (“ICC”) as one of the article 7 crimes against humanity, whether committed in an atmosphere of conflict or in times of relative peace. Despite the ICC’s jurisdiction, as well as the globally pervasive nature of peacetime trafficking in particular, the ICC has not yet heard a human trafficking case.

Accountability at the international level, however, is crucial, and the ICC’s oversight has the potential to fill gaps in the current anti-trafficking regime. This note explores this potential, and then examines whether the text of the Rome ...


May The State Punish What It May Not Prevent?, Gabriel S. Mendlow Jul 2020

May The State Punish What It May Not Prevent?, Gabriel S. Mendlow

Articles

In Why Is It Wrong To Punish Thought? I defended an overlooked principle of criminalization that I called the Enforceability Constraint. The Enforceability Constraint holds that the state may punish transgressions of a given type only if the state in principle may forcibly disrupt such transgressions on the ground that they are criminal wrongs. As I argued in the essay, the reason why the state is forbidden from punishing thought is that the state is forbidden from forcibly disrupting a person’s mental states on the ground that they are criminally wrongful (as opposed to, say, on the ground that ...


Fixing The Problem Of Incompetent Defense Counsel Before The International Criminal Court, Matthew Catallo Jun 2020

Fixing The Problem Of Incompetent Defense Counsel Before The International Criminal Court, Matthew Catallo

Michigan Journal of International Law

Throughout the latter half of the twentieth-century, defense counsel arguing before international criminal tribunals provided notoriously ineffective assistance. This note examines whether defense counsel similarly fail to provide competent assistance at the International Criminal Court––and if they do so for similar reasons. In examining the ICC’s procedural and regulatory framework, this note highlights the systemic inequities at the Court that favor the prosecution and devalue the defense, thereby hindering the acquisition of competent defense counsel and promoting the retention of incompetent defense counsel.

To address these iniquities, this note promotes various administrative reforms, all of which could be ...


Exploring Lawful Hacking As A Possible Answer To The "Going Dark" Debate, Carlos Liguori May 2020

Exploring Lawful Hacking As A Possible Answer To The "Going Dark" Debate, Carlos Liguori

Michigan Technology Law Review

The debate on government access to encrypted data, popularly known as the “going dark” debate, has intensified over the years. On the one hand, law enforcement authorities have been pushing for mandatory exceptional access mechanisms on encryption systems in order to enable criminal investigations of both data in transit and at rest. On the other hand, both technical and industry experts argue that this solution compromises the security of encrypted systems and, thus, the privacy of their users. Some claim that other means of investigation could provide the information authorities seek without weakening encryption, with lawful hacking being one of ...


What Is Remembered, Alice Ristroph May 2020

What Is Remembered, Alice Ristroph

Michigan Law Review

Review of Sarah A. Seo's Policing the Open Road: How Cars Transformed American Freedom.


Expungement Of Criminal Convictions: An Empirical Study, J.J. Prescott, Sonja B. Starr May 2020

Expungement Of Criminal Convictions: An Empirical Study, J.J. Prescott, Sonja B. Starr

Articles

Laws permitting the expungement of criminal convictions are a key component of modern criminal justice reform efforts and have been the subject of a recent upsurge in legislative activity. This debate has been almost entirely devoid of evidence about the laws’ effects, in part because the necessary data (such as sealed records themselves) have been unavailable. We were able to obtain access to de-identified data that overcome that problem, and we use it to carry out a comprehensive statewide study of expungement recipients and comparable nonrecipients in Michigan. We offer three key sets of empirical findings. First, among those legally ...


Understanding Violent-Crime Recidivism, J.J. Prescott, Benjamin Pyle, Sonja B. Starr May 2020

Understanding Violent-Crime Recidivism, J.J. Prescott, Benjamin Pyle, Sonja B. Starr

Articles

People convicted of violent crimes constitute a majority of the imprisoned population but are generally ignored by existing policies aimed at reducing mass incarceration. Serious efforts to shrink the large footprint of the prison system will need to recognize this fact. This point is especially pressing at the time of this writing, as states and the federal system consider large-scale prison releases motivated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Those convicted of violent crimes constitute a large majority of older prisoners, who are extremely vulnerable to the spread of the virus behind bars. Excluding them from protective measures will deeply undermine those ...


Me Too? The Invisible Older Victims Of Sexual Violence, Ruthy Lowenstein Lazar Mar 2020

Me Too? The Invisible Older Victims Of Sexual Violence, Ruthy Lowenstein Lazar

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

A review of legal research on violence against women and elder abuse reveals a disturbing picture. There is hardly any American legal research examining sexual abuse of older women and its conceptualization in legal literature and treatment in the legal system.

This Article attempts to fill the abovementioned gap and to bring the hidden issue of sexual violence against older women to light. Scholars writing on rape, violence against women, and elder abuse tend to analyze age and gendered sexual violence separately from each other, without accounting for their interplay. This Article proposes a conceptual framework of sexual abuse of ...


The Municipal Pardon Power, Hayato Watanabe Feb 2020

The Municipal Pardon Power, Hayato Watanabe

Michigan Law Review

At the state and federal levels, the pardon power can be used to restore the dignity and legal rights lost by a criminal conviction. Unfortunately, those facing similar consequences from municipal convictions may not have access to a pardon. Although clemency is exceedingly rare at any level of government, municipal defendants face a unique structural problem that deprives them of the possibility of a pardon. Specifically, many cities have simply failed to create a local clemency power. This Note argues that the authority to grant pardons for municipal offenses is part of the toolbox of powers provided to cities through ...


New Environmental Crimes Project Data Shows That Pollution Prosecutions Plummeted During The First Two Years Of The Trump Administration, David M. Uhlmann Jan 2020

New Environmental Crimes Project Data Shows That Pollution Prosecutions Plummeted During The First Two Years Of The Trump Administration, David M. Uhlmann

Other Publications

The latest data from the Environmental Crimes Project at the University of Michigan Law School shows a dramatic drop in pollution prosecutions during the first two years under President Donald J. Trump. The data, which now includes 14 years of cases from 2005–2018, shows a 70 percent decrease in Clean Water Act prosecutions under President Trump, as well as a more than 50 percent decrease in Clean Air Act prosecutions. The data again shows that most defendants charged with pollution crime commit misconduct involving one or more of the aggravating factors identified in my previous scholarship, so prosecutors continue ...


Government Misconduct And Convicting The Innocent: The Role Of Prosecutors, Police And Other Law Enforcement, Samuel R. Gross, Maurice J. Possley, Kaitlin Jackson Roll, Klara Huber Stephens Jan 2020

Government Misconduct And Convicting The Innocent: The Role Of Prosecutors, Police And Other Law Enforcement, Samuel R. Gross, Maurice J. Possley, Kaitlin Jackson Roll, Klara Huber Stephens

Other Publications

This is a report about the role of official misconduct in the conviction of innocent people. We discuss cases that are listed in the National Registry of Exonerations, an ongoing online archive that includes all known exonerations in the United States since 1989, 2,663 as of this writing. This Report describes official misconduct in the first 2,400 exonerations in the Registry, those posted by February 27, 2019.

In general, we classify a case as an “exoneration” if a person who was convicted of a crime is officially and completely cleared based on new evidence of innocence.

The Report ...


Sovereign Immunity, The Au, And The Icc: Legitimacy Undermined, Christa-Gaye Kerr Jan 2020

Sovereign Immunity, The Au, And The Icc: Legitimacy Undermined, Christa-Gaye Kerr

Michigan Journal of International Law

This note examines how the International Criminal Court’s indictment of African leaders has led to a breakdown in the relationship between the Court and the African Union and offers solutions to repair this relationship. In particular, the ICC’s blanket rejection of sovereign immunity and its close relationship with the UNSC delegitimize the Court. As an organization that relies on the cooperation of states across the world, this is something the Court cannot afford. The ICC’s decade-long fight with the African Union over the disproportionate number of charges leveled against African nationals has weakened its stature with African ...


The Possibility Of Prosecuting Corporations For Climate Crimes Before The International Criminal Court: All Roads Lead To The Rome Statute?, Donna Minha Jan 2020

The Possibility Of Prosecuting Corporations For Climate Crimes Before The International Criminal Court: All Roads Lead To The Rome Statute?, Donna Minha

Michigan Journal of International Law

Due to rapid developments in climate science, scientists are now able to quantifiably link significant greenhouse gas emissions caused by major oil and gas corporations to specific climate impacts. These scientific advances have been accompanied by the publication of documents and studies suggesting that the oil and gas industry allegedly had knowledge of climate change as early as sixty years ago, and yet it actively worked to promote climate change denial and to delay governmental regulation on this matter. Though climate-related litigation is proceeding against the industry in different jurisdictions, proceedings brought against oil and gas corporations mainly focus on ...


America's Paper Prisons: The Second Chance Gap, Colleen Chien Jan 2020

America's Paper Prisons: The Second Chance Gap, Colleen Chien

Michigan Law Review

Over the last decade, dozens of states and the federal government have enacted “second chance” reforms that increase the eligibility of individuals arrested, charged, or convicted of crimes to shorten their sentences, clear their criminal records, and/or regain the right to vote. While much fanfare has accompanied the increasing availability of “second chances,” little attention has been paid to their delivery. This study introduces the concept of the “second chance gap,” which it defines as the difference between eligibility and delivery of second chance relief; explores its causes; and approximates its size in connection with several second chance laws ...


Eighteen Is Not A Magic Number: Why The Eighth Amendment Requires Protection For Youth Aged Eighteen To Twenty-Five, Tirza A. Mullin Jan 2020

Eighteen Is Not A Magic Number: Why The Eighth Amendment Requires Protection For Youth Aged Eighteen To Twenty-Five, Tirza A. Mullin

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

The Eighth Amendment protects a criminal defendant’s right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. This Note argues that any punishment of eighteen- to twenty-five-year-olds is cruel and unusual without considering their youthfulness at every stage of the criminal process, and that it is unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment for these youths to be automatically treated as fully-developed adults. This Note will explore in depth how juveniles differ from adults, both socially and scientifically, and how the criminal justice system fails every youth aged eighteen- to twenty-five by subjecting them to criminal, rather than juvenile, court without considering ...


Thoughts, Crimes, And Thought Crimes, Gabriel S. Mendlow Jan 2020

Thoughts, Crimes, And Thought Crimes, Gabriel S. Mendlow

Michigan Law Review

Thought crimes are the stuff of dystopian fiction, not contemporary law. Or so we’re told. Yet our criminal legal system may in a sense punish thought regularly, even as our existing criminal theory lacks the resources to recognize this state of affairs for what it is—or to explain what might be wrong with it. The beginning of wisdom lies in the seeming rhetorical excesses of those who complain that certain terrorism and hate crime laws punish offenders for their malevolent intentions while purporting to punish them for their conduct. Behind this too-easily-written-off complaint is a half-buried precept of ...


Domestic Violence Convictions And Firearms Possession: The Law As It Stands And As It Moves, Kate E. Britt Jul 2019

Domestic Violence Convictions And Firearms Possession: The Law As It Stands And As It Moves, Kate E. Britt

Law Librarian Scholarship

Legislatures have attempted to curb instances of gun use in fatal and nonfatal domestic violence by passing statutes restricting possession of firearms for perpetrators of domestic violence. This article explains federal and Michigan law as it stands and discusses current efforts to further limit perpetrators’ access to firearms.


The Elusive Object Of Punishment, Gabriel S. Mendlow Jun 2019

The Elusive Object Of Punishment, Gabriel S. Mendlow

Articles

All observers of our legal system recognize that criminal statutes can be complex and obscure. But statutory obscurity often takes a particular form that most observers have overlooked: uncertainty about the identity of the wrong a statute aims to punish. It is not uncommon for parties to disagree about the identity of the underlying wrong even as they agree on the statute’s elements. Hidden in plain sight, these unexamined disagreements underlie or exacerbate an assortment of familiar disputes—about venue, vagueness, and mens rea; about DUI and statutory rape; about hate crimes, child pornography, and counterterrorism laws; about proportionality ...


Guilt By Alt-Association: A Review Of Enhanced Punishment For Suspected Gang Members, Rebecca J. Marston Jun 2019

Guilt By Alt-Association: A Review Of Enhanced Punishment For Suspected Gang Members, Rebecca J. Marston

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

This essay, written in reaction to the University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform’s 2018 Symposium entitled “Alt-Association: The Role of Law in Combating Extremism” (the Symposium), does not dispute the seriousness of gang-related violence. Rather, it examines ways in which current strategies for combating gang-related crimes are ineffective or problematic and suggests possible reforms. Part One of this essay will describe current methods used in labeling, tracking, and prosecuting gang members, which result in a cycle of enhanced punishment. Part Two will evaluate these practices and reflect on whether enhanced punishment is the best way to reduce gang-related ...


The Ever-Changing Scope Of Insider Trading Liability For Tippees In The Second Circuit, Sari Rosenfeld May 2019

The Ever-Changing Scope Of Insider Trading Liability For Tippees In The Second Circuit, Sari Rosenfeld

Michigan Business & Entrepreneurial Law Review

Liability under insider trading law continues to change as federal courts attempt to find new ways to hold insiders liable under the law. As recently as two years ago, the Second Circuit—in analyzing past decisions regarding tipper-tippee insider trading violations—blurred the distinction between legal and illegal insider trading when it fundamentally altered the idea of “personal benefit.” These various decisions provide the basis for antifraud provisions of securities law applying to insider trading, the consequences of which can be detrimental. This Note will discuss the standard that the Second Circuit uses to hold tippees liable for insider trading ...


Promoting Predictability In Business: Solutions For Overlapping Liability In International Anti-Corruption Enforcement, Andrew T. Bulovsky May 2019

Promoting Predictability In Business: Solutions For Overlapping Liability In International Anti-Corruption Enforcement, Andrew T. Bulovsky

Michigan Journal of International Law

This Note evaluates solutions to the problems of overlapping liability in general and multi-jurisdictional disgorgement in particular. Part I traces the origins of international anti-corruption efforts and provides an overview of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (the “FCPA”). It then discusses the two most significant international anti-corruption conventions: the OECD’s Convention on Combatting Bribery of Foreign Officials in International Business Transactions (the “OECD Convention”) and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (“UNCAC”). Part II lays out the problems created by the lack of a formal mechanism to prevent overlapping liability— a phenomenon that violates the common law concept known ...


Prosecutorial Discretion And Environmental Crime Redux: Charging Trends, Aggravating Factors, And Individual Outcome Data For 2005-2014, David M. Uhlmann May 2019

Prosecutorial Discretion And Environmental Crime Redux: Charging Trends, Aggravating Factors, And Individual Outcome Data For 2005-2014, David M. Uhlmann

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

In a 2014 article entitled “Prosecutorial Discretion and Environmental Crime,” I presented empirical data developed by student researchers participating in the Environmental Crimes Project at the University of Michigan Law School. My 2014 article reported that 96 percent of defendants investigated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and charged with federal environmental crimes from 2005 through 2010 engaged in conduct that involved at least one of the aggravating factors identified in my previous scholarship, namely significant harm, deceptive or misleading conduct, operating outside the regulatory system, and repetitive violations. On that basis, I concluded that prosecutors charged violations that ...