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

Law Commons

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

University of Michigan Law School

Criminal Law

Keyword
Publication Year
Publication
Publication Type
File Type

Articles 1 - 30 of 1047

Full-Text Articles in Law

Why We Should Stop Talking About Violent Offenders: Storytelling And Decarceration, Mira Edmonds May 2024

Why We Should Stop Talking About Violent Offenders: Storytelling And Decarceration, Mira Edmonds

Articles

The movement to decarcerate risks foundering because of its failure to grapple with so-called violent offenders, who make up nearly half of U.S. prisoners. The treatment of people serving sentences for offenses categorized as violent is a primary reason for the continued problem of mass incarceration, despite widespread awareness of the phenomenon and significant bipartisan interest in its reduction. People convicted of “violent offenses” are serving historically anomalous and excessively long sentences, are generally denied clemency and compassionate release, and are excluded from a wide array of legal reform and policy changes with decarceral aims. Keeping these people in prison …


The Complicit Canon Of Criminal Law: A Critical Survey Of Syllabi, Casebooks, And Supplemental Materials, Robin Peterson Apr 2024

The Complicit Canon Of Criminal Law: A Critical Survey Of Syllabi, Casebooks, And Supplemental Materials, Robin Peterson

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

This Note analyzes the learning objectives, casebook readings, and supplemental sources that thirteen criminal law professors assigned over fifteen years and argues that the current approach to teaching criminal law is complicit in perpetuating the injustices of the American criminal legal system because it fails to adequately interrogate the carceral state and does not prepare students to become ethical practitioners or policymakers of criminal law. This paper calls for a fundamental rethinking of the purpose of teaching criminal law and recommends a reform orientation, which could be implemented through a variety of course structures.


Error Aversions And Due Process, Brandon L. Garrett, Gregory Mitchell Mar 2023

Error Aversions And Due Process, Brandon L. Garrett, Gregory Mitchell

Michigan Law Review

William Blackstone famously expressed the view that convicting the innocent constitutes a much more serious error than acquitting the guilty. This view is the cornerstone of due process protections for those accused of crimes, giving rise to the presumption of innocence and the high burden of proof required for criminal convictions. While most legal elites share Blackstone’s view, the citizen jurors tasked with making due process protections a reality do not share the law’s preference for false acquittals over false convictions.

Across multiple national surveys sampling more than 12,000 people, we find that a majority of Americans consider false acquittals …


Alone In The Lone Star State: How A Lack Of Centralized Public Defender Offices Fails Rural Indigent Defendants, Aiden Park Jan 2023

Alone In The Lone Star State: How A Lack Of Centralized Public Defender Offices Fails Rural Indigent Defendants, Aiden Park

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

The criminal justice system is stacked against indigent defendants. The disadvantages indigent defendants face are exacerbated when mixed with the unique qualities of rural America.

For instance, rural court-assigned attorneys are often picked through ad hoc systems by the very judges these attorneys must appear in front of, creating a judicial conflict of interest. The financial realities of rural public defense work often force counsel to manage a private practice while also balancing court-appointed cases. To the extent integral resources like investigators or experts are present in rural spaces, they are seldom used. This Note highlights the way Texas organizes …


Constitutional Losses And (Some) Statutory Wins For Criminal Defendants: Select Criminal Law And Procedure Cases From The Supreme Court's 2022-2023 Term., Eve Brensike Primus, Mark Rucci Jan 2023

Constitutional Losses And (Some) Statutory Wins For Criminal Defendants: Select Criminal Law And Procedure Cases From The Supreme Court's 2022-2023 Term., Eve Brensike Primus, Mark Rucci

Articles

The Supreme Court’s 2022–23 Term included a number of important statutory interpretation rulings, as well as significant cases concerning the scope of the Confrontation Clause; the Venue, Vicinage, and Double Jeopardy Clauses; the federal courts’ ability to entertain claims of legal innocence; and the contours of the adequate and independent state ground doctrine. It also was the first term for Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson—the first former public defender and first Black woman to join the centuries-old institution. Although Justice Jackson joined a Court ruptured along ideological lines and confronting serious challenges to its legitimacy and ethical standards, she quickly proved …


Collusive Prosecution, Ben A. Mcjunkin, J.J. Prescott Jan 2023

Collusive Prosecution, Ben A. Mcjunkin, J.J. Prescott

Articles

In this Article, we argue that increasingly harsh collateral consequences have surfaced an underappreciated and undertheorized dynamic of criminal plea bargaining. Collateral consequences that mostly or entirely benefit third parties (such as other communities or other states) create an interest asymmetry that prosecutors and defendants can exploit in plea negotiations. In particular, if a prosecutor and a defendant can control the offense of conviction (often through what some term a “fictional plea”), they can work together to evade otherwise applicable collateral consequences, such as deportation or sex-offender registration and notification. Both parties arguably benefit: Prosecutors can leverage collateral consequences to …


The Problematic Structure Of Indigent Defense Delivery, Eve Brensike Primus Jan 2023

The Problematic Structure Of Indigent Defense Delivery, Eve Brensike Primus

Michigan Law Review

The national conversation about criminal justice reform largely ignores the critical need for structural reforms in the provision of indigent defense. In most parts of the country, decisions about how to structure the provision of indigent defense are made at the local level, resulting in a fragmented patchwork of different indigent defense delivery systems. In most counties, if an indigent criminal defendant gets representation at all, it comes from assigned counsel or flat-fee contract lawyers rather than public defenders. In those assigned-counsel and flat-fee contract systems, the lawyers representing indigent defendants have financial incentives to get rid of assigned criminal …


The Geography Of Unfreedom, Ann M. Eisenberg Jan 2023

The Geography Of Unfreedom, Ann M. Eisenberg

Michigan Law Review

A Review of Coal, Cages, Crisis: The Rise of the Prison Economy in Central Appalachia. By Judah Schept.


Sisters Gonna Work It Out: Black Women As Reformers And Radicals In The Criminal Legal System, Paul Butler Jan 2023

Sisters Gonna Work It Out: Black Women As Reformers And Radicals In The Criminal Legal System, Paul Butler

Michigan Law Review

A Review of Becoming Abolitionists: Police, Protests, and the Pursuit of Freedom. By Derecka Purnell and a review of Progressive Prosecution: Race and Reform in Criminal Justice. Edited by Kim Taylor-Thompson and Anthony C. Thompson.


Beyond More Accurate Algorithms: Takeaways From Mccleskey Revisited, Ngozi Okidegbe Jan 2023

Beyond More Accurate Algorithms: Takeaways From Mccleskey Revisited, Ngozi Okidegbe

Michigan Law Review

A Review of McCleskey v. Kemp. By Mario Barnes, in Critical Race Judgments: Rewritten U.S. Court Opinions on Race and the Law 557, 581. Edited by Bennett Capers, Devon W. Carbado, R.A. Lenhardt and Angela Onwuachi-Willig.


Territoriality In American Criminal Law, Emma Kaufman Dec 2022

Territoriality In American Criminal Law, Emma Kaufman

Michigan Law Review

It is a bedrock principle of American criminal law that the authority to try and punish someone for a crime arises from the crime’s connection to a particular place. Thus, we assume that a person who commits a crime in some location— say, Philadelphia—can be arrested by Philadelphia police for conduct deemed criminal by the Pennsylvania legislature, prosecuted in a Philadelphia court, and punished in a Pennsylvania prison. The idea that criminal law is tied to geography in this way is called the territoriality principle. This idea is so familiar that it usually goes unstated.

This Article foregrounds and questions …


Second Chances: Why Michigan Should Categorically Prohibit The Sentence Of Juvenile Life Without Parole, Richard Zhao Apr 2022

Second Chances: Why Michigan Should Categorically Prohibit The Sentence Of Juvenile Life Without Parole, Richard Zhao

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

The United States is the only country in the world that sentences children to die in prison. This practice, known as juvenile life without parole (JLWOP), is condemned by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Yet twenty-five states still permit the sentence, and Michigan houses one of the nation’s largest JLWOP populations. Despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s ban on some forms of JLWOP, more must be done to further limit the use of this sentence. The current JLWOP sentencing scheme is untenable, imposes a significant financial burden on taxpayers, and perpetuates racial inequality. This Note explores …


Criminal Law In A World Of States, Ryan Liss Mar 2022

Criminal Law In A World Of States, Ryan Liss

Michigan Journal of International Law

In recent decades, a new school of criminal law theory has emerged. Its proponents reject the traditional story that criminal law ought to be justified on either retributivist or utilitarian grounds alone. Instead, they argue that justifications for criminal law must be rooted in a broader political theory of the state’s authority. While this political theory turn is becoming increasingly dominant in the literature, it gives rise to two significant challenges that scholars have thus far failed to recognize. These challenges emerge when we turn our attention from an internal, domestic view of the state to the world beyond its …


Cedaw And Transformative Judicial Obligations: The Vulnerable Migrant Domestic Worker And Root Causes Of Abuse, Cheah W. L. Jan 2022

Cedaw And Transformative Judicial Obligations: The Vulnerable Migrant Domestic Worker And Root Causes Of Abuse, Cheah W. L.

Michigan Journal of International Law

CEDAW’s transformative provisions, which require states to address root causes of injustice and discrimination, can be made more effective not only through legislation and policy, as commonly argued, but through the judiciary. This article highlights the need to develop the content and implementation of transformative judicial obligations under CEDAW through a comparative study of judicial decisions on the abuse of female MDWs in three key MDW destinations that are party to CEDAW—Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia. By engaging with scholarship on CEDAW’s positive obligations, transformative equality, and theories of adjudication, this article argues that criminal law courts should not only …


Limiting Access To Remedies: Select Criminal Law And Procedure Cases From The Supreme Court's 2021-22 Term, Eve Brensike Primus, Justin Hill Jan 2022

Limiting Access To Remedies: Select Criminal Law And Procedure Cases From The Supreme Court's 2021-22 Term, Eve Brensike Primus, Justin Hill

Articles

Although the most memorable cases from the Supreme Court’s 2021-22 Term were on the civil side of its docket, the Court addressed significant cases on the criminal side involving the Confrontation Clause, capital punishment, double jeopardy, criminal jurisdiction in Indian Country, and important statutory interpretation principles, such as the mens rea presumption and the scope of the rule of lenity. Looking back, the Court’s decisions limiting individuals’ access to remedies for violations of their constitutional criminal procedure rights stand out. Shinn v. Ramirez and Shoop v. Twyford drastically limit the ability of persons incarcerated in state facilities to challenge the …


Evaporating Into Thin Air: The Prosecution Of Air Pollution Crimes During The Trump Administration, Joshua Ozymy, Melissa Jarrell Ozymy Jan 2022

Evaporating Into Thin Air: The Prosecution Of Air Pollution Crimes During The Trump Administration, Joshua Ozymy, Melissa Jarrell Ozymy

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

Antagonistic to environmental regulation, the Trump Administration sought to significantly roll back federal clean air law enforcement. Yet, we know very little about the impact of the Administration on air pollution criminal enforcement. Through content analysis of all EPA criminal investigations leading to prosecution, we analyze patterns in charging and sentencing and draw out the broader themes in air pollution prosecutions during this period. Our results show a sizable drop in prosecutions compared to the Obama Administration. Although prosecutors managed to pursue serious crimes involving significant harm and criminal conduct and secure over $2.9 billion in monetary penalties, roughly 160 …


Mich. Ruling Widens Sentencing Protections For Young Adults, Kimberly A. Thomas Jan 2022

Mich. Ruling Widens Sentencing Protections For Young Adults, Kimberly A. Thomas

Other Publications

On July 28, the Michigan Supreme Court held that the mandatory imposition of a life-without-parole sentence on an 18-year-old violated the state constitution.

This decision expands the protections provided for young defendants by the U.S. Supreme Court in Miller v. Alabama and builds on a nascent trend that provides additional constitutional and statutory protections for young people over 17 years old who are charged with serious offenses.


Through A Glass, Darkly: Systemic Racism, Affirmative Action, And Disproportionate Minority Contact, Robin Walker Sterling Dec 2021

Through A Glass, Darkly: Systemic Racism, Affirmative Action, And Disproportionate Minority Contact, Robin Walker Sterling

Michigan Law Review

This Article is the first to describe how systemic racism persists in a society that openly denounces racism and racist behaviors, using affirmative action and disproportionate minority contact as contrasting examples. Affirmative action and disproportionate minority contact are two sides of the same coin. Far from being distinct, these two social institutions function as two sides of the same ideology, sharing a common historical nucleus rooted in the mythologies that sustained chattel slavery in the United States. The effects of these narratives continue to operate in race-related jurisprudence and in the criminal legal system, sending normative messages about race and …


Failed Interventions: Domestic Violence, Human Trafficking, And The Criminalization Of Survival, Alaina Richert Nov 2021

Failed Interventions: Domestic Violence, Human Trafficking, And The Criminalization Of Survival, Alaina Richert

Michigan Law Review

Over the last decade, state legislators have enacted statutes acknowledging the link between criminal behavior and trauma resulting from domestic violence and human trafficking. While these interventions take a step in the right direction, they still have major shortcomings that prevent meaningful relief for survivor-defendants. Until now, there has been no systematic overview of the statutes that require courts to consider a defendant’s history of trauma in the contexts of domestic violence and human trafficking. There has also been no attempt to explore how these statutes relate to each other. This Note fills those gaps. It also identifies essential elements …


Antiracist Remedial Approaches In Judge Gregory’S Jurisprudence, Leah M. Litman Jul 2021

Antiracist Remedial Approaches In Judge Gregory’S Jurisprudence, Leah M. Litman

Articles

This piece uses the idea of antiracism to highlight parallels between school desegregation cases and cases concerning errors in the criminal justice system. There remain stark, pervasive disparities in both school composition and the criminal justice system. Yet even though judicial remedies are an integral part of rooting out systemic inequality and the vestiges of discrimination, courts have been reticent to use the tools at their disposal to adopt proactive remedial approaches to address these disparities. This piece uses two examples from Judge Roger Gregory’s jurisprudence to illustrate how an antiracist approach to judicial remedies might work.


The Problem With Assumptions: Revisiting The Dark Figure Of Sexual Recidivism, Tamara Rice Lave, Jj Prescott, Grady Bridges Jun 2021

The Problem With Assumptions: Revisiting The Dark Figure Of Sexual Recidivism, Tamara Rice Lave, Jj Prescott, Grady Bridges

Law & Economics Working Papers

What is the actual rate of sexual recidivism given the well-known fact that many crimes go unreported? This is a difficult and important problem, and in The Dark Figure of Sexual Recidivism, Nicholas Scurich and Richard S. John (2019) attempt to make progress on it by “estimate[ing] actual recidivism rates given observed rates of reoffending” (p.172). In this article, we show that the math in their probabilistic model is flawed, but more important, we demonstrate that their conclusions follow ineluctably from their empirical assumptions and the unrepresentative empirical research they cite to benchmark their calculations. Scurich and John contend that …


What The Great Recession Revealed About Taxation By Citation And What Can Be Done About It, Dick M. Carpenter Ii, Chelsea Lawson, Courtney Deuser Jun 2021

What The Great Recession Revealed About Taxation By Citation And What Can Be Done About It, Dick M. Carpenter Ii, Chelsea Lawson, Courtney Deuser

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

In recent years, the issue of “taxation by citation” has grown in national prominence. It is generally defined as municipal revenue generation through fines and fees that transcends a clear relationship to public health and safety and serves more as a revenue generating device. According to critics, taxation by citation creates conflicts of interest, violates the rights of those with low income, and distorts law enforcement priorities. Municipal leaders reject such criticisms by denying taxation by citation even exists. To date, research findings have been mixed on whether cities practice taxation by citation. This Article examines whether there is a …


How The Rational Basis Test Protects Policing For Profit, William R. Maurer Jun 2021

How The Rational Basis Test Protects Policing For Profit, William R. Maurer

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Since the police shooting of Michael Brown in 2014 and the civil unrest that followed, numerous lawsuits have challenged laws that use the government’s ability to impose fines and fees for reasons other than the protection of the public. These challenges have usually raised equal protection challenges to these laws—that is, that the laws punish the poor more harshly than others. The challenges have been unsuccessful, largely because courts examine these laws using “rational basis review,” a standard that is highly deferential to the government and one in which the courts themselves are often required to actively advocate for the …


Remarks, Lisa Foster Jun 2021

Remarks, Lisa Foster

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

In both Greek and Roman mythology, a Hydra guards the entrance to the underworld. For those who don’t remember their mythology, a Hydra is a multi-headed serpent who exhales poisonous fumes. If you get close enough to the Hydra and are able to cut off one of its heads, two grow back in its place. Slaying the Hydra was number two on Hercules’ famous list of Labors. He was successful, but not without a fierce struggle.

As you’ve heard over the last four days, fines and fees are Hydralike. Fines are imposed for almost every minor offense — misdemeanors, infractions, …


Debt To Society: The Role Of Fines & Fees Reform In Dismantling The Carceral State, Wesley Dozier, Daniel Kiel Jun 2021

Debt To Society: The Role Of Fines & Fees Reform In Dismantling The Carceral State, Wesley Dozier, Daniel Kiel

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Fines and fees that result from contact with the criminal legal system serve as a suffocating debt for those against whom they are assessed. Many states have countless laws that require taxes, fines, and fees to be assessed against individuals involved in the criminal legal system at various stages of the criminal legal process, and they have the effect of permanently trapping individuals within the system. In Tennessee, for example, these debts, which can accumulate to over $10,000 in a single criminal case, stand in the way of individuals getting their criminal records expunged, keeping valid driver’s licenses, and restoring …


Researching Marijuana Law, Seth Quidachay-Swan Jun 2021

Researching Marijuana Law, Seth Quidachay-Swan

Law Librarian Scholarship

This article provides a brief overview of the current legal framework governing the regulation of marijuana at the federal and state levels in the United States. It also provides an overview of the state of Michigan’s current regulatory framework and resources for attorneys interested in learning more about marijuana regulation.


Propaganda Warfare On The International Criminal Court, Sara L. Ochs Jun 2021

Propaganda Warfare On The International Criminal Court, Sara L. Ochs

Michigan Journal of International Law

Propaganda warfare, while novel in nomenclature, is far from new in practice. In an era dominated by constant news, battles for public opinion complement physical attacks. In fact, “winning modern wars is as much dependent on carrying domestic and international public opinion as it is on defeating the enemy on the battlefield.” The fight for public opinion has become so valuable to military initiatives that the U.S. Department of Defense Law of War Manual specifically recognizes propaganda directed towards “civilian or neutral audiences” as a “permissible means of war.”


The Problem With Assumptions: Revisiting “The Dark Figure Of Sexual Recidivism”, Tamara Rice Lave, Jj Prescott, Grady Bridges Jun 2021

The Problem With Assumptions: Revisiting “The Dark Figure Of Sexual Recidivism”, Tamara Rice Lave, Jj Prescott, Grady Bridges

Articles

What is the actual rate of sexual recidivism given the well‐ known fact that many crimes go unreported? This is a difficult and important problem, and in “The dark figure of sexual recidivism,” Nicholas Scurich and Richard S. John (2019) attempt to make progress on it by “estimat[ing] actual recidivism rates . . . given observed rates of reoffending” (p. 171). In this article, we show that the math in their probabilistic model is flawed, but more importantly, we demonstrate that their conclusions follow ineluctably from their empirical assumptions and the unrepresentative empirical research they cite to benchmark their calculations. …


Considering Sanctions Compliance In Light Of Ucc 4a, Michael Zytnick, Alaina Gimbert Apr 2021

Considering Sanctions Compliance In Light Of Ucc 4a, Michael Zytnick, Alaina Gimbert

Michigan Business & Entrepreneurial Law Review

As part of a bank’s financial crime compliance program, it is increasingly common to screen and halt the processing of a payment order for compliance investigation where reference is made to a potential, but unconfirmed, target of United States economic sanctions. This essay discusses challenges under Article 4A of the Uniform Commercial Code concerning the timing of such an investigation and the creation of potential liability where a bank wrongly accepts by execution a previously halted payment order received from a sender following five funds transfer business days after the relevant execution date or payment date of that order. In …


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. Although …