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Full-Text Articles in Law

Incorporating Social Science Into Criminal Defense Practice, Eve Brensike Primus Nov 2020

Incorporating Social Science Into Criminal Defense Practice, Eve Brensike Primus

Articles

In recent decades, social scientists have created a treasure trove of empirical and sociological data that defenders can and should use to help their clients. Evidence rules, criminal law, and criminal procedure are filled with concepts informed by social science. When is evidence likely to unfairly prejudice a defendant in the eyes of a jury? Do police interact differently with members of minority populations and how should that inform concepts of reasonableness? How easy or difficult is it for people to identify individuals they see during high-stress criminal episodes? How effective are police interrogation tactics at getting at the truth …


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 the …


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 Statute or …


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 they …


The Power Of A Clean Slate, J.J. Prescott, Sonja B. Starr Jul 2020

The Power Of A Clean Slate, J.J. Prescott, Sonja B. Starr

Articles

Tens of millions of Americans have criminal records, including about 20 million with felony convictions. Conviction records automatically trigger countless collateral legal consequences, such as occupational restrictions that bar employers from hiring qualified candidates. Moreover, research overwhelmingly shows that bearing a criminal record raises significant barriers to employment, housing, and various other opportunities. These persistent obstacles can overwhelm an individual’s efforts at reintegration and can aggravate poverty, inequality, and racial disparities in our society. And because factors like unemployment and housing instability contribute to crime risk, these effects in turn make society less safe.


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 implemented without …


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


Medical Marijuana, Taxation, And Internal Revenue Code Section 280e, Douglas A. Kahn, Howard J. Bromberg Jun 2020

Medical Marijuana, Taxation, And Internal Revenue Code Section 280e, Douglas A. Kahn, Howard J. Bromberg

Articles

Congress enacted § 280E of the Internal Revenue Code in 1982 to punish businesses engaged in illegal drug trafficking, including marijuana. Section 280E denies all credits and deductions, including ordinary business expenses, from gross income of businesses illegally trafficking in a Schedule I or II controlled substance. This provision violates the principle that the tax code should foster a consistent treatment of income, regardless of source; and that the income tax is ill-used for punitive measures. Now that marijuana has been legalized in some form in at least 46 states for therapeutic purposes, this federal tax penalty transgresses principles of …


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 …


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 …


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 their …


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 states. This has …


Before The Cell Door Shuts: Justice Reform Efforts Should Focus On Steps Besides Sentencing, Barbara L. Mcquade Jan 2020

Before The Cell Door Shuts: Justice Reform Efforts Should Focus On Steps Besides Sentencing, Barbara L. Mcquade

Articles

Mark Osler writes that criminal justice reform efforts have been hampered by what he calls “the slows.” He explains that despite bipartisan support, which resulted in the First Step Act of 2018,2 criminal justice reform remains elusive. He then offers some insightful suggestions for how to increase the pace.


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 and …


The Law And Policy Of Child Maltreatment, Frank Vandervort Jan 2020

The Law And Policy Of Child Maltreatment, Frank Vandervort

Book Chapters

Each year in the United States some four million children are reported to child protective services and hundreds of thousands of children are confirmed victims of maltreatment. This chapter provides a brief overview of the civil and criminal law’s response to child abuse and neglect. It summarizes the major federal statutes that provide funding to the states to support both civil and criminal law responses to maltreatment. It discusses the division of responsible for responding to child maltreatment between the federal and state governments (federalism). It also provides a summary of the constitutional framework for handling both civil and criminal …


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 is …


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 to …


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 criminal jurisprudence, …