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Articles 1 - 17 of 17

Full-Text Articles in Law

Criminal Justice And The Mattering Of Lives, Deborah Tuerkheimer Apr 2018

Criminal Justice And The Mattering Of Lives, Deborah Tuerkheimer

Michigan Law Review

A review of James Forman Jr., Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America.


Race And Wrongful Convictions In The United States, Samuel R. Gross, Maurice Possley, Klara Stephens Mar 2017

Race And Wrongful Convictions In The United States, Samuel R. Gross, Maurice Possley, Klara Stephens

Other Publications

African Americans are only 13% of the American population but a majority of innocent defendants wrongfully convicted of crimes and later exonerated. They constitute 47% of the 1,900 exonerations listed in the National Registry of Exonerations (as of October 2016), and the great majority of more than 1,800 additional innocent defendants who were framed and convicted of crimes in 15 large-scale police scandals and later cleared in “group exonerations.” We see this racial disparity for all major crime categories, but we examine it in this report in the context of the three types of crime that produce the ...


What We Think, What We Know And What We Think We Know About False Convictions, Samuel Gross Jan 2017

What We Think, What We Know And What We Think We Know About False Convictions, Samuel Gross

Articles

False convictions are notoriously difficult to study because they can neither be observed when they occur nor identified after the fact by any plausible research strategy. Our best shot is to collect data on those that come to light in legal proceedings that result in the exoneration of the convicted defendants. In May 2012, the National Registry of Exonerations released its first report, covering 873 exonerations from January 1989 through February 2012. By October 15, 2016, we had added 1,027 cases: 599 exonerations since March 1, 2012, and 428 that had already happened when we issued our initial report ...


Legal Aid's Once And Future Role For Impacting The Criminalization Of Poverty And The War On The Poor, Aneel L. Chablani May 2016

Legal Aid's Once And Future Role For Impacting The Criminalization Of Poverty And The War On The Poor, Aneel L. Chablani

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Recent media coverage and advocacy efforts on behalf of individuals subjected to criminal sanctions as a result of their poverty status has resulted in increased attention on this nation’s troubled history of oppression and control of the poor and people of color. At the federal, state, and local levels, a growing number of policies create criminal sanctions for poverty-related circumstances. These, in turn, result in collateral consequences that unfairly affect those who lack the means to afford their criminal justice experience (i.e., processing costs, fees, and fines), or affect their ability to access employment, housing, or other basic ...


Mens Rea, Criminal Responsibility, And The Death Of Freddie Gray, Michael Serota Oct 2015

Mens Rea, Criminal Responsibility, And The Death Of Freddie Gray, Michael Serota

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

Who (if anyone) is criminally responsible for the death of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old African-American man who died from injuries suffered while in the custody of Baltimore police? This question has been at the forefront of the extensive coverage of Gray’s death, which has inspired a national discussion about law enforcement’s relationship with black communities. But it is also a question that may never be fairly resolved for reasons wholly unrelated to the topic of community policing, with which Gray’s death has become synonymous. What may ultimately hamper the administration of justice in the prosecution of the ...


Racial Disparity In Federal Criminal Sentences, M. Marit Rehavi, Sonja B. Starr Dec 2014

Racial Disparity In Federal Criminal Sentences, M. Marit Rehavi, Sonja B. Starr

Articles

Using rich data linking federal cases from arrest through to sentencing, we find that initial case and defendant characteristics, including arrest offense and criminal history, can explain most of the large raw racial disparity in federal sentences, but significant gaps remain. Across the distribution, blacks receive sentences that are almost 10 percent longer than those of comparable whites arrested for the same crimes. Most of this disparity can be explained by prosecutors’ initial charging decisions, particularly the filing of charges carrying mandatory minimum sentences. Ceteris paribus, the odds of black arrestees facing such a charge are 1.75 times higher ...


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 ...


Every High Has A Low: A Pragmatic Approach To The War On Drugs, Mark Garibyan Jan 2012

Every High Has A Low: A Pragmatic Approach To The War On Drugs, Mark Garibyan

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform Caveat

One of the lasting vestiges of Richard Nixon’s presidency is the infamous “War on Drugs,” a forty-year-old effort aimed at curtailing “illicit drug consumption and transactions in America.” Although the goal behind the policy—a reduction in the rate of substance abuse—may be altruistic, the War on Drugs has dismally failed to achieve its goals and has exacerbated existing problems. Specifically, laws dealing with crack cocaine result in a “heavily disproportionate impact on black defendants;” in 2008 “blacks comprised 79.8 percent of those convicted for crack cocaine-related offenses,” whereas “whites comprised only 10.4 percent.” More generally ...


Separate And Unequal: Federal Tough-On-Guns Program Targets Minority Communities For Selective Enforcement, Bonita R. Gardner Jan 2007

Separate And Unequal: Federal Tough-On-Guns Program Targets Minority Communities For Selective Enforcement, Bonita R. Gardner

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This Article examines the Project Safe Neighborhoods program and considers whether its disproportionate application in urban, majority- African American cities (large and small) violates the guarantee of equal protection under the law. This Article will start with a description of the program and how it operates-the limited application to street-level criminal activity in predominately African American communities. Based on preliminary data showing that Project Safe Neighborhoods disproportionately impacts African Americans, the Article turns to an analysis of the applicable law. Most courts have analyzed Project Safe Neighborhoods' race-based challenges under selective prosecution case law, which requires a showing by the ...


Ghosts Of Alabama: The Prosecution Of Bobby Frank Cherry For The Bombing Of The Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, Donald Q. Cochran Jan 2006

Ghosts Of Alabama: The Prosecution Of Bobby Frank Cherry For The Bombing Of The Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, Donald Q. Cochran

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Perhaps no other crime in American history has shocked the conscience of America like the 1963 bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. In May of 2002- almost thirty-nine years after the bombing- Bobby Frank Cherry was brought to trial for the murders of Addie, Carole, Cynthia, and Denise. He was the last person to be tried for the bombing. As an Assistant United States Attorney in Birmingham, Alabama it was my privilege to be a part of the prosecution team that brought Cherry to justice. This Article tells the story of that prosecution and explores the ...


Appellate Review Of Racist Summations: Redeeming The Promise Of Searching Analysis, Ryan Patrick Alford Jan 2006

Appellate Review Of Racist Summations: Redeeming The Promise Of Searching Analysis, Ryan Patrick Alford

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This Article addresses the question of the appropriate response of appellate counsel for Black defendants tarred at trial by the indirect deployment of powerful racial stereotypes. The crux of the problem is that even now, the courts only take exception to blatant racist appeals, even though indirectly racist summations can have a determinative impact at trial. In laying out the contours of the problem, we must draw upon the discipline of rhetoric, or persuasion through oration, to describe various techniques of intentional indirectness that prosecutors use to obviate the possibility of appellate review under the stringent standards of the Fourteenth ...


Discrimination In Sentencing On The Basis Of Afrocentric Features, William T. Pizzi, Irene V. Blair, Charles M. Judd Jan 2005

Discrimination In Sentencing On The Basis Of Afrocentric Features, William T. Pizzi, Irene V. Blair, Charles M. Judd

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This Article does not challenge the prior research on sentencing discrimination between racial categories that found no significant difference in sentences given to similarly-situated African Americans and Whites. In fact, in the jurisdiction investigated- Florida- no discrimination between African Americans and Whites was found in the sentences imposed on defendants, looking only at racial category differences. Rather, the research suggests that in focusing exclusively on discrimination between racial groups, the research has missed a type of discrimination related to race that is taking place within racial categories: namely, discrimination on the basis of a person's Afrocentric features. By Afrocentric ...


Road Work: Racial Profiling And Drug Interdiction On The Highway, Samuel R. Gross, Katherine Y. Bames Jan 2002

Road Work: Racial Profiling And Drug Interdiction On The Highway, Samuel R. Gross, Katherine Y. Bames

Articles

Hypocrisy about race is hardly new in America, but the content changes. Recently the spotlight has been on racial profiling. The story of Colonel Carl Williams of the New Jersey State Police is a wellknown example. On Sunday, February 28, 1999, the Newark Star Ledger published a lengthy interview with Williams in which he talked about race and drugs: "Today... the drug problem is cocaine or marijuana. It is most likely a minority group that's involved with that."4 Williams condemned racial profiling - "As far as racial profiling is concerned, that is absolutely not right. It never has been ...


The Color Line Of Punishment, Jerome H. Skolnick May 1998

The Color Line Of Punishment, Jerome H. Skolnick

Michigan Law Review

If "the color line," (in W.E.B. Du Bois's 1903 phrase and prophecy) was to be the twentieth century's greatest challenge for the domestic life and public policy of the United States, the law has had much to do with drawing its shape. No surprise, this. By now, legal theorists accept that law does not advance in preordained fashion, immune from the sway of political interest, belief systems and social structure. Still, it is hard to exaggerate how powerfully the law has shaped the life chances of Americans of African heritage, for good or ill, and in ...


True Lies: The Role Of Pretext Evidence Under Batson V. Kentucky In The Wake Of St. Mary's Honor Center V. Hicks, David A. Sutphen Nov 1995

True Lies: The Role Of Pretext Evidence Under Batson V. Kentucky In The Wake Of St. Mary's Honor Center V. Hicks, David A. Sutphen

Michigan Law Review

In the process of determining whether a peremptory strike is valid, lower courts rely on the TI.tie VII burden-shifting framework originally laid out by the Supreme Court in McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green As a result, the order and presentation of proof in Batson cases deliberately parallels the order and presentation of proof in TI.tie VII intentional discrimination suits. In light of this similarity, the Supreme Court's recent TI.tie VII ruling in St. Mary's Honor Center v. Hicks - that proof of pretext under the McDonnell Douglas framework is not the legal equivalent to proof of ...


Prostitution: Where Racism & Sexism Intersect, Vednita Nelson Jan 1993

Prostitution: Where Racism & Sexism Intersect, Vednita Nelson

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

Black women find themselves in a unique and extremely difficult position in our society. They are forced to deal with the oppression that arises from being Black in a white-supremacist culture and the oppression that arises from being female in a male-supremacist culture. In order to examine the experience of being Black and female, this paper attempts to describe that very difficult, tight space where Black women attempt to survive-that space where racism and sexism intersect.


Black Innocence And The White Jury, Sherry Lynn Johnson Jun 1985

Black Innocence And The White Jury, Sherry Lynn Johnson

Michigan Law Review

Racial prejudice has come under increasingly close scrutiny during the past thirty years, yet its influence on the decisionmaking of criminal juries remains largely hidden from judicial and critical examination. In this Article, Professor Johnson takes a close look at this neglected area. She first sets forth a large body of social science research that reveals a widespread tendency among whites to convict black defendants in instances in which white defendants would be acquitted. Next, she argues that none of the existing techniques for eliminating the influence of racial bias on criminal trials adequately protects minority-race defendants. She contends that ...