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Full-Text Articles in Law

Pretrial Detention And Bail, Megan Stevenson, Sandra G. Mayson Mar 2017

Pretrial Detention And Bail, Megan Stevenson, Sandra G. Mayson

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Our current pretrial system imposes high costs on both the people who are detained pretrial and the taxpayers who foot the bill. These costs have prompted a surge of bail reform around the country. Reformers seek to reduce pretrial detention rates, as well as racial and socioeconomic disparities in the pretrial system, while simultaneously improving appearance rates and reducing pretrial crime. The current state of pretrial practice suggests that there is ample room for improvement. Bail hearings are often cursory, with no defense counsel present. Money-bail practices lead to high rates of detention even among misdemeanor defendants and those who …


How Should Justice Policy Treat Young Offenders?, B J. Casey, Richard J. Bonnie, Andre Davis, David L. Faigman, Morris B. Hoffman, Owen D. Jones, Read Montague, Stephen J. Morse, Marcus E. Raichle, Jennifer A. Richeson, Elizabeth S. Scott, Laurence Steinberg, Kim A. Taylor-Thompson, Anthony D. Wagner Feb 2017

How Should Justice Policy Treat Young Offenders?, B J. Casey, Richard J. Bonnie, Andre Davis, David L. Faigman, Morris B. Hoffman, Owen D. Jones, Read Montague, Stephen J. Morse, Marcus E. Raichle, Jennifer A. Richeson, Elizabeth S. Scott, Laurence Steinberg, Kim A. Taylor-Thompson, Anthony D. Wagner

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The justice system in the United States has long recognized that juvenile offenders are not the same as adults, and has tried to incorporate those differences into law and policy. But only in recent decades have behavioral scientists and neuroscientists, along with policymakers, looked rigorously at developmental differences, seeking answers to two overarching questions: Are young offenders, purely by virtue of their immaturity, different from older individuals who commit crimes? And, if they are, how should justice policy take this into account?

A growing body of research on adolescent development now confirms that teenagers are indeed inherently different from adults, …


Punishment, Liberalism, And Public Reason, Chad Flanders Jan 2017

Punishment, Liberalism, And Public Reason, Chad Flanders

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The article argues for a conception of the justification of punishment that is compatible with a modern, politically liberal regime. Section I deals with what some have thought are the obvious social interests society has in punishing criminals, and tries to develop those possible interests somewhat sympathetically. Section II suggests that many of those reasons are not good ones if punishment is regarded (as it should be) from the perspective of political philosophy. Social responses to bad things happening to people cannot be grounded in controversial metaphysical views about what is good for people or what people deserve, but many …


Tasers Help Police Avoid Fatal Mistakes, Paul H. Robinson Jan 2016

Tasers Help Police Avoid Fatal Mistakes, Paul H. Robinson

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This op-ed piece argues that police will inevitably be placed in impossible situations in which they reasonably believe they must shoot to defend themselves but where the shooting in fact turns out to be unnecessary. What can save the police, and the community, from these regular tragedies is a more concerted shift to police use of nonlethal weapons. Taser technology, for example, continues to become increasingly more effective and reliable. While we will always have reasonable mistakes by police in the use of force, it need not be the case that each ends in death or permanent injury. Such a …


Predicting The Knowledge–Recklessness Distinction In The Human Brain, Iris Vilares, Michael J. Wesley, Woo-Young Woo-Young Ahn, Richard J. Bonnie, Morris B. Hoffman, Owen D. Jones, Stephen J. Morse, Gideon Yaffe, Terry Lohrenz, Read Montague Jan 2016

Predicting The Knowledge–Recklessness Distinction In The Human Brain, Iris Vilares, Michael J. Wesley, Woo-Young Woo-Young Ahn, Richard J. Bonnie, Morris B. Hoffman, Owen D. Jones, Stephen J. Morse, Gideon Yaffe, Terry Lohrenz, Read Montague

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Criminal convictions require proof that a prohibited act was performed in a statutorily specified mental state. Different legal consequences, including greater punishments, are mandated for those who act in a state of knowledge, compared with a state of recklessness. Existing research, however, suggests people have trouble classifying defendants as knowing, rather than reckless, even when instructed on the relevant legal criteria.

We used a machine-learning technique on brain imaging data to predict, with high accuracy, which mental state our participants were in. This predictive ability depended on both the magnitude of the risks and the amount of information about those …


Discounting And Criminals' Implied Risk Preferences, Murat C. Mungan, Jonathan Klick Jan 2015

Discounting And Criminals' Implied Risk Preferences, Murat C. Mungan, Jonathan Klick

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It is commonly assumed that potential offenders are more responsive to increases in the certainty than increases in the severity of punishment. An important implication of this assumption within the Beckerian law enforcement model is that criminals are risk-seeking. This note adds to existing literature by showing that offenders who discount future monetary benefits can be more responsive to the certainty rather than the severity of punishment, even when they are risk averse, and even when their disutility from imprisonment rises proportionally (or more than proportionally) with the length of the sentence.


Using The Dna Testing Of Arrestees To Reevaluate Fourth Amendment Doctrine, Steven P. Grossman Jan 2015

Using The Dna Testing Of Arrestees To Reevaluate Fourth Amendment Doctrine, Steven P. Grossman

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With the advent of DNA testing, numerous issues have arisen with regard to obtaining and using evidence developed from such testing. As courts have come to regard DNA testing as a reliable method for linking some people to crimes and for exonerating others, these issues are especially significant. The federal government and most states have enacted statutes that permit or direct the testing of those convicted of at least certain crimes. Courts have almost universally approved such testing, rejecting arguments that obtaining and using such evidence violates the Fourth Amendment.

More recently governments have enacted laws permitting or directing the …


Empirical Law And Economics, Jonah B. Gelbach, Jonathan Klick Oct 2014

Empirical Law And Economics, Jonah B. Gelbach, Jonathan Klick

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Empirical work has grown in importance in law and economics. This growth coincides with improvements in research designs in empirical microeconomics more generally. In this essay, we provide a stylized discussion of some trends over the last two or three decades, linking the credibility revolution in empirical micro to the ascendancy of empirical work in law and economics. We then provide some methodological observations about a number of commonly used approaches to estimating policy effects. The literature on the economics of crime and criminal procedure illustrates the ways in which many of these techniques have been used successfully. Other fields, …


Forfeiture Of Illegal Gains, Attempts And Implied Risk Preferences, Jonathan Klick, Murat C. Mungan Jan 2014

Forfeiture Of Illegal Gains, Attempts And Implied Risk Preferences, Jonathan Klick, Murat C. Mungan

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In the law enforcement literature there is a presumption—supported by some experimental and econometric evidence—that criminals are more responsive to increases in the certainty than the severity of punishment. Under a general set of assumptions, this implies that criminals are risk seeking. We show that this implication is no longer valid when forfeiture of illegal gains and the possibility of unsuccessful attempts are considered. Therefore, when drawing inferences concerning offenders’ attitudes toward risk based on their responses to various punishment schemes, special attention must be paid to whether and to what extent offenders’ illegal gains can be forfeited and whether …


The Fixable Flaws Of America's Civil Justice System, James Maxeiner Jun 2013

The Fixable Flaws Of America's Civil Justice System, James Maxeiner

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No abstract provided.


The Imprisoner's Dilemma: A Cost-Benefit Approach To Incarceration, David S. Abrams Jan 2013

The Imprisoner's Dilemma: A Cost-Benefit Approach To Incarceration, David S. Abrams

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Depriving an individual of life or liberty is one of the most intrusive powers that governments wield. Decisions about imprisonment capture the public imagination. The stories are told daily in newspapers and on TV, dramatized in literature and on film, and debated by scholars. The United States has created an ever-increasing amount of material for discussion as the state incarceration rate quadrupled between 1980 and 2000. While the decision to incarcerate an individual is given focused attention by a judge, prosecutor, and (occasionally) a jury, the overall incarceration rate is not. In this article, I apply a cost-benefit approach to …


The Effect Of Private Police On Crime: Evidence From A Geographic Regression Discontinuity Design, John M. Macdonald, Jonathan Klick, Ben Grunwald Nov 2012

The Effect Of Private Police On Crime: Evidence From A Geographic Regression Discontinuity Design, John M. Macdonald, Jonathan Klick, Ben Grunwald

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Research demonstrates that police reduce crime. The implication of this research for investment in a particular form of extra police services, those provided by private institutions, has not been rigorously examined. We capitalize on the discontinuity in police force size at the geographic boundary of a private university police department to estimate the effect of the extra police services on crime. Extra police provided by the university generate approximately 45-60 percent fewer crimes in the surrounding neighborhood. These effects appear to be similar to other estimates in the literature.


Mobile Phones And Crime Deterrence: An Underappreciated Link, Jonathan Klick, John Macdonald, Thomas Stratmann Jan 2012

Mobile Phones And Crime Deterrence: An Underappreciated Link, Jonathan Klick, John Macdonald, Thomas Stratmann

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Between 1991 and 2001, crime rates dropped by about a third across all crime categories. We suggest that the introduction and growth of mobile phone technology may have contributed to the crime decline in the 1990s, specifically in the areas of rape and assault. Given that mobile phones increase surveillance and the risks of apprehension when committing crimes against strangers, an expansion of this technology would increase the costs of crime as perceived by forward-looking criminals. We use the available mobile phone data to show that there is a strongly negative association between mobile phones and violent crimes, although data …


Do Judges Vary In Their Treatment Of Race?, David S. Abrams, Marianne Bertrand, Sendhil Mullainathan Sep 2010

Do Judges Vary In Their Treatment Of Race?, David S. Abrams, Marianne Bertrand, Sendhil Mullainathan

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Are minorities treated differently by the legal system? Systematic racial differences in case characteristics, many unobservable, make this a difficult question to answer directly. In this paper, we estimate whether judges differ from each other in how they sentence minorities, avoiding potential bias from unobservable case characteristics by exploiting the random assignment of cases to judges. We measure the between-judge variation in the difference in incarceration rates and sentence lengths between African-American and White defendants. We perform a Monte Carlo simulation in order to explicitly construct the appropriate counterfactual, where race does not influence judicial sentencing. In our data set, …


A Truancy Court Program To Keep Students In School, Barbara A. Babb Jan 2006

A Truancy Court Program To Keep Students In School, Barbara A. Babb

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Under Maryland law, "[e]ach person who has legal custody or care and control of a child who is 5 years old or older and under 16 shall see that the child attends school..." MD. Education Code Ann. Sect. 7-301 (c) 2006. The law also provides penalties for violations, as the legal custodian or caregiver "who fails to see that the child attends school...is guilty of a misdemeanor," which could result in fines of $50 to $100 per day of unlawful absence and/or imprisonment for 10 to 30 days, depending on whether the conviction is a first or subsequent conviction. MD. …


Symposium: Bruce Springsteen And The American Lawyer: "Meanness In This World", Garrett Epps Jan 2005

Symposium: Bruce Springsteen And The American Lawyer: "Meanness In This World", Garrett Epps

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As part of a symposium on Bruce Springsteen and American law, this essay considers the themes explored by Springsteen in his song "Nebraska," which was inspired by the story of Charles Starkweather and Caril Anne Fugate, two young "lovers" who indulged in a remarkable course of violence in Nebraska during the 1950s. The essay asks to what extent the song, and the story, echo the themes of emigration and displacement that are key elements in the history and current reality of the American West. The essay compares the story of Starkweather and Fugate with the current case of Christian Longo, …


Can A Model Penal Code Second Save The States From Themselves?, Paul H. Robinson, Michael T. Cahill Jan 2003

Can A Model Penal Code Second Save The States From Themselves?, Paul H. Robinson, Michael T. Cahill

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Other contributors to this Symposium suggest a variety of changes to the Model Penal Code that they think justify producing a Model Penal Code Second. We offer such suggestions elsewhere. We want to use this space to discuss a slightly different, but related, subject: the need for, and potential effect of, a Model Penal Code Second as a spur to reforming current American criminal codes. Probably the most important point we can contribute is to make clear that current American criminal codes are in serious trouble. About one-third of the states never adopted a modern criminal code during the codification …