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

Law Commons

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

Articles 1 - 24 of 24

Full-Text Articles in Law

The Trouble With Time Served, Kimberly Ferzan Jul 2023

The Trouble With Time Served, Kimberly Ferzan

All Faculty Scholarship

Every jurisdiction in the United States gives criminal defendants “credit” against their sentence for the time they spend detained pretrial. In a world of mass incarceration and overcriminalization that disproportionately impacts people of color, this practice appears to be a welcome mechanism for mercy and justice. In fact, however, crediting detainees for time served is perverse. It harms the innocent. A defendant who is found not guilty, or whose case is dismissed, gets nothing. Crediting time served also allows the state to avoid internalizing the full costs of pretrial detention, thereby making overinclusive detention standards less expensive. Finally, crediting time …


Proportionality, Constraint, And Culpability, Mitchell N. Berman Sep 2021

Proportionality, Constraint, And Culpability, Mitchell N. Berman

All Faculty Scholarship

Philosophers of criminal punishment widely agree that criminal punishment should be “proportional” to the “seriousness” of the offense. But this apparent consensus is only superficial, masking significant dissensus below the surface. Proposed proportionality principles differ on several distinct dimensions, including: (1) regarding which offense or offender properties determine offense “seriousness” and thus constitute a proportionality relatum; (2) regarding whether punishment is objectionably disproportionate only when excessively severe, or also when excessively lenient; and (3) regarding whether the principle can deliver absolute (“cardinal”) judgments, or only comparative (“ordinal”) ones. This essay proposes that these differences cannot be successfully adjudicated, and one …


Foreword: Abolition Constitutionalism, Dorothy E. Roberts Jan 2019

Foreword: Abolition Constitutionalism, Dorothy E. Roberts

All Faculty Scholarship

In this Foreword, I make the case for an abolition constitutionalism that attends to the theorizing of prison abolitionists. In Part I, I provide a summary of prison abolition theory and highlight its foundational tenets that engage with the institution of slavery and its eradication. I discuss how abolition theorists view the current prison industrial complex as originating in, though distinct from, racialized chattel slavery and the racial capitalist regime that relied on and sustained it, and their movement as completing the “unfinished liberation” sought by slavery abolitionists in the past. Part II considers whether the U.S. Constitution is an …


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

All Faculty Scholarship

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, …


Strict Liability's Criminogenic Effect, Paul H. Robinson Jan 2017

Strict Liability's Criminogenic Effect, Paul H. Robinson

All Faculty Scholarship

It is easy to understand the apparent appeal of strict liability to policymakers and legal reformers seeking to reduce crime: if the criminal law can do away with its traditional culpability requirement, it can increase the likelihood of conviction and punishment of those who engage in prohibited conduct or bring about prohibited harm or evil. And such an increase in punishment rate can enhance the crime-control effectiveness of a system built upon general deterrence or incapacitation of the dangerous. Similar arguments support the use of criminal liability for regulatory offenses. Greater punishment rates suggest greater compliance.

But this analysis fails …


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

Punishment, Liberalism, And Public Reason, Chad Flanders

All Faculty Scholarship

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 …


Rationing Criminal Justice, Richard A. Bierschbach, Stephanos Bibas Jan 2017

Rationing Criminal Justice, Richard A. Bierschbach, Stephanos Bibas

All Faculty Scholarship

Of the many diagnoses of American criminal justice’s ills, few focus on externalities. Yet American criminal justice systematically overpunishes in large part because few mechanisms exist to force consideration of the full social costs of criminal justice interventions. Actors often lack good information or incentives to minimize the harms they impose. Part of the problem is structural: criminal justice is fragmented vertically among governments, horizontally among agencies, and individually among self-interested actors. Part is a matter of focus: doctrinally and pragmatically, actors overwhelmingly view each case as an isolated, short-term transaction to the exclusion of broader, long-term, and aggregate effects. …


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

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

All Faculty Scholarship

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.


Collateral Consequences And The Preventive State, Sandra G. Mayson Jan 2015

Collateral Consequences And The Preventive State, Sandra G. Mayson

All Faculty Scholarship

Approximately eight percent of adults in the United States have a felony conviction. The “collateral consequences” of criminal conviction (CCs) — legal disabilities imposed by legislatures on the basis of conviction, but not as part of the sentence — have relegated that group to permanent second class legal status. Despite the breadth and significance of this demotion, the Constitution has provided no check; courts have almost uniformly rejected constitutional challenges to CCs. Among scholars, practitioners and mainstream media, a consensus has emerged that the courts have erred by failing to recognize CCs as a form of additional punishment. Courts should …


Punishment: Drop City And The Utopian Communes, Paul H. Robinson, Sarah M. Robinson Jan 2015

Punishment: Drop City And The Utopian Communes, Paul H. Robinson, Sarah M. Robinson

All Faculty Scholarship

Using stories from the utopian non-punishment hippie communes of the late 1960's, the essay challenges today’s anti-punishment movement by demonstrating that the benefits of cooperative action are available only with the adoption of a system for punishing violations of core rules. Rather than being an evil system anathema to right-thinking people, punishment is the lynchpin of the cooperative action that has created human success.

This is Chapter 3 from the general audience book Pirates, Prisoners, and Lepers: Lessons from Life Outside the Law. Chapter 4 of the book is also available on SSRN at http://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=2416484).


"Not Just A Common Criminal": The Case For Sentencing Mitigation Videos, Regina Austin Apr 2014

"Not Just A Common Criminal": The Case For Sentencing Mitigation Videos, Regina Austin

All Faculty Scholarship

Sentencing mitigation or sentencing videos are a form of visual legal advocacy that is produced on behalf of defendants for use in the sentencing phases of criminal cases (from charging to clemency). The videos are typically short (5 to 10 minutes or so) nonfiction films that explore a defendant’s background, character, and family situation with the aim of raising factual and moral issues that support the argument for a shorter or more lenient sentence. Very few examples of mitigation videos are in the public domain and available for viewing. This article provides a complete analysis of the constituent elements of …


Empirical Desert, Individual Prevention, And Limiting Retributivism: A Reply, Paul H. Robinson, Joshua Samuel Barton, Matthew J. Lister Jan 2014

Empirical Desert, Individual Prevention, And Limiting Retributivism: A Reply, Paul H. Robinson, Joshua Samuel Barton, Matthew J. Lister

All Faculty Scholarship

A number of articles and empirical studies over the past decade, most by Paul Robinson and co-authors, have suggested a relationship between the extent of the criminal law's reputation for being just in its distribution of criminal liability and punishment in the eyes of the community – its "moral credibility" – and its ability to gain that community's deference and compliance through a variety of mechanisms that enhance its crime-control effectiveness. This has led to proposals to have criminal liability and punishment rules reflect lay intuitions of justice – "empirical desert" – as a means of enhancing the system's moral …


Law And Neuroscience: Recommendations Submitted To The President's Bioethics Commission, Owen D. Jones, Richard J. Bonnie, B. J. Casey, Andre Davis, David L. Faigman, Morris Hoffman, Read Montague, Stephen J. Morse, Marcus E. Raichle, Jennifer A. Richeson, Elizabeth Scott, Laurence Steinberg, Kim Taylor-Thompson, Anthony Wagner, Gideon Yaffe Jan 2014

Law And Neuroscience: Recommendations Submitted To The President's Bioethics Commission, Owen D. Jones, Richard J. Bonnie, B. J. Casey, Andre Davis, David L. Faigman, Morris Hoffman, Read Montague, Stephen J. Morse, Marcus E. Raichle, Jennifer A. Richeson, Elizabeth Scott, Laurence Steinberg, Kim Taylor-Thompson, Anthony Wagner, Gideon Yaffe

All Faculty Scholarship

President Obama charged the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues to identify a set of core ethical standards in the neuroscience domain, including the appropriate use of neuroscience in the criminal-justice system. The Commission, in turn, called for comments and recommendations. The MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Law and Neuroscience submitted a consensus statement, published here, containing 16 specific recommendations. These are organized within three main themes: 1) what steps should be taken to enhance the capacity of the criminal justice system to make sound decisions regarding the admissibility and weight of neuroscientific evidence?; 2) to what extent …


A Good Enough Reason: Addiction, Agency And Criminal Responsibility, Stephen J. Morse Jan 2013

A Good Enough Reason: Addiction, Agency And Criminal Responsibility, Stephen J. Morse

All Faculty Scholarship

The article begins by contrasting medical and moral views of addiction and how such views influence responsibility and policy analysis. It suggests that since addiction always involves action and action can always be morally evaluated, we must independently decide whether addicts do not meet responsibility criteria rather than begging the question and deciding by the label of ‘disease’ or ‘moral weakness’. It then turns to the criteria for criminal responsibility and shows that the criteria for criminal responsibility, like the criteria for addiction, are all folk psychological. Therefore, any scientific information about addiction must be ‘translated’ into the law’s folk …


The Pitfalls Of Professionalized Prosecution: A Response To Josh Bowers's "Legal Guilt, Normative Innocence, And The Equitable Decision Not To Prosecute", Stephanos Bibas Jan 2011

The Pitfalls Of Professionalized Prosecution: A Response To Josh Bowers's "Legal Guilt, Normative Innocence, And The Equitable Decision Not To Prosecute", Stephanos Bibas

All Faculty Scholarship

This short essay responds to Josh Bowers’ article Legal Guilt, Normative Innocence, and the Equitable Decision Not to Prosecute. While most scholars focus on the most visible injustices in the most serious cases, Bowers rightly notes that this sliver of serious felonies is dwarfed by the mountain of minor, low-visibility misdemeanors and violations. Prosecutors are reasonably good at classifying crimes based on legal guilt and administrative criteria, but are far worse at weighing all the particulars and exercising equitable discretion. Our consistent faith in prosecutors’ expertise, Bowers argues, is not only misguided but backwards; we should value outsiders’ fresh …


Two Kinds Of Retributivism, Mitchell N. Berman Jan 2011

Two Kinds Of Retributivism, Mitchell N. Berman

All Faculty Scholarship

This essay, written as a contribution to a forthcoming volume on the philosophical foundations of the criminal law, challenges the longstanding dominant framework for classifying justifications for criminal punishment. The familiar binary distinction between consequentialism and retributivism is no longer most perspicuous, I argue, because many recognizably retributivist theories of punishment employ a consequentialist justificatory structure. However, because not all do, it might prove most illuminating to carve the retributivist field in two – distinguishing what we might term “consequentialist retributivism” (perhaps better labeled “instrumentalist retributivism”) from “non-consequentialist retributivism” (“non-instrumentalist retributivism”).

Whether or not it is ultimately persuasive, consequentialist retributivism …


Beyond Experience: Getting Retributive Justice Right, Dan Markel, Chad Flanders, David C. Gray Jan 2011

Beyond Experience: Getting Retributive Justice Right, Dan Markel, Chad Flanders, David C. Gray

All Faculty Scholarship

How central should hedonic adaptation be to the establishment of sentencing policy?

In earlier work, Professors Bronsteen, Buccafusco, and Masur (BBM) drew some normative significance from the psychological studies of adaptability for punishment policy. In particular, they argued that retributivists and utilitarians alike are obliged on pain of inconsistency to take account of the fact that most prisoners, most of the time, adapt to imprisonment in fairly short order, and therefore suffer much less than most of us would expect. They also argued that ex-prisoners don't adapt well upon re-entry to society and that social planners should consider their post-release …


Restoration But Also More Justice, Stephanos Bibas Jan 2009

Restoration But Also More Justice, Stephanos Bibas

All Faculty Scholarship

This short essay replies to Erik Luna's endorsement of restorative justice. He is right that the goal of healing victims, defendants, and their families is important but all too often neglected by substantive criminal law and procedure, which is far too state-centered and impersonal. The problem with restorative justice is that too often it seeks to sweep away punishment as barbaric and downplays the need for deterrence and incapacitation as well. In short, restorative justice deserves more of a role in American criminal justice. Shorn of its political baggage and reflexive hostility to punishment, restorative justice has much to teach …


Transparency And Participation In Criminal Procedure, Stephanos Bibas Jun 2006

Transparency And Participation In Criminal Procedure, Stephanos Bibas

All Faculty Scholarship

The insiders who run the criminal justice system–judges, police, and especially prosecutors–have information, power, and self-interests that greatly influence the criminal justice process and outcomes. Outsiders–crime victims, bystanders, and most of the general public–find the system frustratingly opaque, insular, and unconcerned with proper retribution. As a result, a spiral ensues: insiders twist rules as they see fit, outsiders try to constrain them, and insiders find new ways to evade or manipulate the new rules. The gulf between insiders and outsiders undercuts the instrumental, moral, and expressive efficacy of criminal procedure in serving the criminal law’s substantive goals. The gulf clouds …


Shame And The Meanings Of Punishment, Chad Flanders Jan 2006

Shame And The Meanings Of Punishment, Chad Flanders

All Faculty Scholarship

Debates over shaming punishments have raged over the past few years, with people like Dan Kahan and Eric Posner for them, while James Whitman and Martha Nussbaum have entered the fray strongly against them. This Essay argues that both sides in the shaming punishment debate have it only party right. Those who favor shaming sanctions are correct that we should (all else being equal) favor those punishments which are expressive rather than those that involve some form of hard treatment. And those who reject shaming sanctions are correct that such sanctions involve forms of humiliation and denials of dignity that …


An Honest Approach To Plea Bargaining, Steven P. Grossman Jul 2005

An Honest Approach To Plea Bargaining, Steven P. Grossman

All Faculty Scholarship

In this Article, the author argues that differential sentencing of criminal defendants who plead guilty and those who go to trial is, primarily, a punishment for the defendant exercising the right to trial. The proposed solution requires an analysis of the differential sentencing motivation in light of the benefit to society and the drawbacks inherent in the plea bargaining system.


Does Criminal Law Deter? A Behavioral Science Investigation, Paul H. Robinson Jun 2004

Does Criminal Law Deter? A Behavioral Science Investigation, Paul H. Robinson

All Faculty Scholarship

Having a criminal justice system that imposes sanctions no doubt does deter criminal conduct. But available social science research suggests that manipulating criminal law rules within that system to achieve heightened deterrence effects generally will be ineffective. Potential offenders often do not know of the legal rules. Even if they do, they frequently are unable to bring this knowledge to bear in guiding their conduct, due to a variety of situational, social, or chemical factors. Even if they can, a rational analysis commonly puts the perceived benefits of crime greater than its perceived costs, due to a variety of criminal …


Testing Lay Intuitions Of Justice: How And Why?, Paul H. Robinson May 2000

Testing Lay Intuitions Of Justice: How And Why?, Paul H. Robinson

All Faculty Scholarship

When John Darley and I wrote Justice, Liability, and Blame: Community Views and the Criminal Law, our goal was not to provide the definitive account of lay intuitions of justice but rather to stimulate interest in what we saw as an important but long-term project that would require the work of many people. Having this American Association of Law Schools program is itself something toward that end and for that we thank Christopher Slobogin and Cheryl Hanna. In this brief introduction to the Symposium, let me set the stage by doing four things. Part I of this Article summarizes the …


The Utility Of Desert, Paul H. Robinson, John M. Darley Jan 1997

The Utility Of Desert, Paul H. Robinson, John M. Darley

All Faculty Scholarship

The article takes up the debate between utility and desert as distributive principles for criminal liability and punishment and concludes that a utilitarian analysis that takes account of all costs and benefits will support the distribution of liability and punishment according to desert, or at least according to the principles of desert as perceived by the community. It reaches this conclusion after an examination of a variety of recent social science data. On the one hand, it finds the traditional utilitarian theories of deterrence, incapacitation, and rehabilitation to have little effect in many instances. It finds instead that the real …