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Full-Text Articles in Law

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 ...


"Constructing Countervailing Power: Law And Organizing In An Era Of Political Inequality", Kate Andrias, Benjamin I. Sachs Jan 2021

"Constructing Countervailing Power: Law And Organizing In An Era Of Political Inequality", Kate Andrias, Benjamin I. Sachs

Articles

This Article proposes an innovative approach to remedying the crisis of political inequality: using law to facilitate organizing by the poor and working class, not only as workers, but also as tenants, debtors, welfare beneficiaries, and others. The piece draws on the social-movements literature, and the successes and failures of labor law, to show how law can supplement the deficient regimes of campaign finance and lobbying reform and enable lower-income groups to build organizations capable of countervailing the political power of the wealthy. As such, the Article offers a new direction forward for the public-law literature on political power and ...


Lawyers Democratic Dysfunction, Leah Litman Sep 2020

Lawyers Democratic Dysfunction, Leah Litman

Articles

As part of the symposium on Jack Balkin and Sandy Levinson’s Democracy and Dysfunction, this Article documents another source of the dysfunction that the authors observe—elite lawyers’ unwillingness to break ranks with other elite lawyers who participate in the destruction of various norms that are integral to a well-functioning democracy. These network effects eliminate the possibility of “soft” sanctions on norm violators such as withholding future professional advancement. Thus, rather than enforcing norms and deterring norm violations, the networks serve to insulate norm violators from any meaningful accountability.


Consent, Coercion, And Employment Law, Samuel R. Bagenstos Jul 2020

Consent, Coercion, And Employment Law, Samuel R. Bagenstos

Articles

The Roberts Court has recently handed several high-profile wins in labor and employment law cases to anti-labor and pro-employer forces. This paper argues that those decisions replicate crucial moves made by some infamous Lochner-era cases — and that those same moves continue to underlie key elements of labor and employment doctrine more generally. In particular, these decisions rest on a contestable understanding of free worker choice. This paper begins by examining the key recent Roberts Court decisions and demonstrates that they appear to invoke at least two distinct and conflicting understandings of employee and employer choice. It then turns to the ...


Winks, Whispers, And Prosecutorial Discretion In Rural Iowa, 1925-1928, Emily Prifogle Jul 2020

Winks, Whispers, And Prosecutorial Discretion In Rural Iowa, 1925-1928, Emily Prifogle

Articles

Through the eyes of Charles Pendleton’s memoirs, this article walks through a rural community with a county attorney to consider how race, religion, gender, and sexuality influenced rural prosecutorial discretion in the early twentieth century. Rural communities like those in Buena Vista County, Iowa, where the article is centered, experienced “the law” through distinctly isolated geographies and social networks that lacked anonymity and thus shaped available methods of conflict resolution. But anonymity did not mean homogeneity. Ethnic, racial, and religious diversity created divisions within a community where social distance between individuals was small. Both onymity and diversity shaped who ...


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 ...


Are Litigation Outcome Disparities Inevitable? Courts, Technology, And The Future Of Impartiality., Avital Mentovich, J.J. Prescott, Orna Rabinovich-Einy Jan 2020

Are Litigation Outcome Disparities Inevitable? Courts, Technology, And The Future Of Impartiality., Avital Mentovich, J.J. Prescott, Orna Rabinovich-Einy

Articles

This article explores the ability of technology—specifically, online judicial procedures—to eliminate systematic group-level litigation outcome disparities (i.e., disparities correlated with the visible identity markers of litigants). Our judicial system has long operated under the assumption that it can only be “impartial enough.” After all, judges, like all human beings, harbor implicit biases that are often sizable, unconscious, and triggered automatically, and research indicates that strategies to curb implicit biases in human decision making may be ineffective, especially in the face of the resource and caseload constraints of modern-day adjudication. The recent emergence of online court proceedings, however ...


The Personal Responsibility Pandemic: Centering Solidarity In Public Health And Employment Law, Lindsay F. Wiley, Samuel R. Bagenstos Jan 2020

The Personal Responsibility Pandemic: Centering Solidarity In Public Health And Employment Law, Lindsay F. Wiley, Samuel R. Bagenstos

Articles

Our nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has revealed fundamental flaws in our legal regimes governing both public health and employment. Public health orders have called on individuals to make sacrifices to protect society as a whole. Simple fairness dictates that the burdens should be shared as widely as the benefits. And the case for burden-sharing does not rest on fairness alone. Public health measures are more likely to succeed when those who are subject to them understand them as fair1 and when their cooperation is supported. 2 Predictably, our pandemic response has placed disproportionate burdens on those who ...


Reckless Juveniles, Kimberly Thomas Feb 2019

Reckless Juveniles, Kimberly Thomas

Articles

Modern doctrine and scholarship largely take it for granted that offenders should be criminally punished for reckless acts.1 Yet, developments in our understanding of human behavior can shed light on how we define and attribute criminal liability, or at least force us to grapple with the categories that have existed for so long. This Article examines recklessness and related doctrines in light of the shifts in understanding of adolescent behavior and its biological roots, to see what insights we might attain, or what challenges these understandings pose to this foundational mens rea doctrine. Over the past decade, the U ...


Second Redemption, Third Reconstruction, Richard A. Primus Jan 2019

Second Redemption, Third Reconstruction, Richard A. Primus

Articles

In The Accumulation of Advantages, the picture that Professor Owen Fiss paints about equality during and since the Second Reconstruction is largely a picture in black and white. That makes some sense. The black/white experience is probably the most important throughline in the story of equal protection. It was the central theme of both the First and Second Reconstructions. In keeping with that orientation, the picture of disadvantage described by Fiss’s theory of cumulative responsibility is largely drawn from the black/white experience. Important as it is, however, the black/white experience does not exhaust the subject of ...


Targeting Poverty In The Courts: Improving The Measurement Of Ability To Pay Fines, Meghan M. O'Neil, J.J. Prescott Jan 2019

Targeting Poverty In The Courts: Improving The Measurement Of Ability To Pay Fines, Meghan M. O'Neil, J.J. Prescott

Articles

Ability-to-pay determinations are essential when governments use money-based alternative sanctions, like fines, to enforce laws. One longstanding difficulty in the U.S. has been the extreme lack of guidance on how courts are to determine a litigant’s ability to pay. The result has been a seat-of-the-pants approach that is inefficient and inaccurate, and, as a consequence, very socially costly. Fortunately, online platform technology presents a promising avenue for reform. In particular, platform technology offers the potential to increase litigant access, reduce costs, and ensure consistent and fair treatment—all of which should lead to more accurate sanctions. We use ...


What We Don't See When We See Copyright As Property, Jessica Litman Nov 2018

What We Don't See When We See Copyright As Property, Jessica Litman

Articles

For all of the rhetoric about the central place of authors in the copyright scheme, our copyright laws in fact give them little power and less money. Intermediaries own the copyrights, and are able to structure licenses so as to maximise their own revenue while shrinking their pay-outs to authors. Copyright scholars have tended to treat this point superficially, because – as lawyers – we take for granted that copyrights are property; property rights are freely alienable; and the grantee of a property right stands in the shoes of the original holder. I compare the 1710 Statute of Anne, which created statutory ...


Divine Justice And The Library Of Babel: Or, Was Al Capone Really Punished For Tax Evasion?, Gabriel Mendlow Oct 2018

Divine Justice And The Library Of Babel: Or, Was Al Capone Really Punished For Tax Evasion?, Gabriel Mendlow

Articles

A criminal defendant enjoys an array of legal rights. These include the right not to be punished for an offense unless charged, tried, and proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; the right not to be punished disproportionately; and the right not to be punished for the same offense more than once. I contend that the design of our criminal legal system imperils these rights in ways few observers appreciate. Because criminal codes describe misconduct imprecisely and prohibit more misconduct than any legislature actually aspires to punish, prosecutors decide which violations of the code merit punishment, and judges decide how much ...


The Future Of Law And Mobility, Daniel A. Crane Jun 2018

The Future Of Law And Mobility, Daniel A. Crane

Articles

With the launch of the new Journal of Law and Mobility, the University of Michigan is recognizing the transformative impact of new transportation and mobility technologies, from cars, to trucks, to pedestrians, to drones. The coming transition towards intelligent, automated, and connected mobility systems will transform not only the way people and goods move about, but also the way human safety, privacy, and security are protected, cities are organized, machines and people are connected, and the public and private spheres are defined.


Implicit Bias's Failure, Samuel Bagenstos Jun 2018

Implicit Bias's Failure, Samuel Bagenstos

Articles

The 2016 presidential election was a coming-out party of sorts for the concept of implicit bias-and not necessarily in a good way. In answering a question about race relations and the police during the vice-presidential debate, Mike Pence introduced the topic. Offering his explanation for why the Fraternal Order of Police had endorsed the Trump-Pence ticket, Pence said:


Errors In Misdemeanor Adjudication, Samuel R. Gross May 2018

Errors In Misdemeanor Adjudication, Samuel R. Gross

Articles

Millions of defendants are convicted of misdemeanors in the United States each year but almost none obtain exonerations, primarily because ordinarily exoneration is far too costly and time consuming to pursue for anything less than years of imprisonment. The National Registry of Exonerations lists all known exonerations in the United States since 1989 — 2,145 cases, as of the end of 2017; only 85 are misdemeanors, 4%. In all but one of these misdemeanor exonerations the defendants were convicted of crimes that never happened; by comparison, more than three-quarters of felony exonerees were convicted of actual crimes that other people ...


Disability, Universalism, Social Rights, And Citizenship, Samuel R. Bagenstos Dec 2017

Disability, Universalism, Social Rights, And Citizenship, Samuel R. Bagenstos

Articles

The 2016 election has had significant consequences for American social welfare policy. Some of these consequences are direct. By giving unified control of the federal government to the Republican Party for the first time in a decade, the election has potentially empowered conservatives to ram through a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act—the landmark “Obamacare” law that marked the most significant expansion of the social welfare state since the 1960s. Other consequences are more indirect. Both the election result itself, and Republicans’ actions since, have spurred a renewed debate within the left-liberal coalition regarding the politics of social ...


Improving Access To Justice In State Courts With Platform Technology, J. J. Prescott Nov 2017

Improving Access To Justice In State Courts With Platform Technology, J. J. Prescott

Articles

Access to justice often equates to access to state courts, and for millions of Americans, using state courts to resolve their disputes—often with the government—is a real challenge. Reforms are regularly proposed in the hopes of improving the situation (e.g., better legal aid), but until recently a significant part of the problem has been structural. Using state courts today for all but the simplest of legal transactions entails at the very least traveling to a courthouse and meeting with a decision maker in person and in a one-on-one setting. Even minimally effective access, therefore, requires time, transportation ...


Further Reflections On Antitrust And Wealth Inequality, Daniel A. Crane Oct 2017

Further Reflections On Antitrust And Wealth Inequality, Daniel A. Crane

Articles

Since I have already published a lengthy academic article on antitrust and wealth inequality, I have the freedom of using this piece to present the key arguments unvarnished by dense citations or technical details (readers interested in those things should consult my earlier article) and to respond to some of the criticisms of my article that have since been levied. My thesis, before and now, is this: claims that antitrust enforcement advances income or wealth progressivity are overstated and rest on simplistic and unrealistic understandings of how antitrust actually operates. While some enforcement actions may generate progressive results, others will ...


The Effect Of Criminal Records On Access To Employment, Amanda Agan, Sonja B. Starr May 2017

The Effect Of Criminal Records On Access To Employment, Amanda Agan, Sonja B. Starr

Articles

This paper adds to the empirical evidence that criminal records are a barrier to employment. Using data from 2,655 online applications sent on behalf of fictitious male applicants, we show that employers are 60 percent more likely to call applicants that do not have a felony conviction. We further investigate whether this effect varies based on applicant race (black versus white), crime type (drug versus property crime), industry (restaurants versus retail), jurisdiction (New Jersey versus New York City), local crime rate, and local racial composition. Although magnitudes vary somewhat, in every subsample the conviction effect is large, significant, and ...


Addressing Cultural Bias In The Legal Profession, Debra Chopp Jan 2017

Addressing Cultural Bias In The Legal Profession, Debra Chopp

Articles

Over the past two decades, there has been an outpouring of scholarship that explores the problem of implicit bias. Through this work, commentators have taken pains to define the phenomenon and to describe the ways in which it contributes to misunderstanding, discrimination, inequality, and more. This article addresses the role of implicit cultural bias in the delivery of legal services. Lawyers routinely represent clients with backgrounds and experiences that are vastly different from their own, and the fact of these differences can impede understanding, communication, and, ultimately, effective representation. While other professions, such as medicine and social work, have adopted ...


The New Labor Law, Kate Andrias Oct 2016

The New Labor Law, Kate Andrias

Articles

Labor law is failing. Disfigured by courts, attacked by employers, and rendered inapt by a global and fissured economy, many of labor law’s most ardent proponents have abandoned it altogether. And for good reason: the law that governs collective organization and bargaining among workers has little to offer those it purports to protect. Several scholars have suggested ways to breathe new life into the old regime, yet their proposals do not solve the basic problem. Labor law developed for the New Deal does not provide solutions to today’s inequities. But all hope is not lost. From the remnants ...


Marriage Is On The Decline And Cohabitation Is On The Rise: At What Point, If Ever, Should Unmarried Partners Acquire Marital Rights?, Lawrence W. Waggoner Jun 2016

Marriage Is On The Decline And Cohabitation Is On The Rise: At What Point, If Ever, Should Unmarried Partners Acquire Marital Rights?, Lawrence W. Waggoner

Articles

This article draws attention to the cultural shift in the formation of families that has been and is taking place in this country: Marriage is on the decline and cohabitation is on the rise. Part II documents this cultural shift by using recent government data to trace the decline of marriage and the rise of cohabitation. Between 2000 and 2010, the population grew by 9.71%, but the husband-and-wife households only grew by 3.7%, while the unmarried-couple households grew by 41.4%. Because of the Supreme Court's decidion in Obergefell v. Hodges, marriage is now universally available to ...


Confronting Power In Public Law, Kate Andrias Jan 2016

Confronting Power In Public Law, Kate Andrias

Articles

In his important and provocative Foreword, Professor Daryl Levinson criticizes American constitutional law for failing to attend sufficiently to questions of power, which he defines as “the ability to effect substantive policy outcomes by influencing what the government will or will not do.” As Levinson details, structural constitutional law has focused on how power is distributed among governmental institutions. It has not consistently or adequately considered how power is — or should be — distributed among social groups. Ultimately, Levinson suggests that the narrow focus of separation of powers law and theory on “equalizing the power of government institutions” lacks normative force ...


Culture As A Structural Problem In Indigent Defense, Eve Brensike Primus Jan 2016

Culture As A Structural Problem In Indigent Defense, Eve Brensike Primus

Articles

In Part I, I will describe the ways in which today's right-to-counsel challenges are similar to and different from those that faced the writers of the 1961 symposium. I will also explain in more detail why the structural conditions of criminal defense work to create (and, to some extent, always have created) a cultural problem in indigent defense delivery systems across the country. In Part II, I will discuss why I believe that we are, once again, facing a moment for potential reform, albeit reform that is different in scope and kind from that which was possible in the ...


Portmanteau Ascendant: Post-Release Regulations And Sex Offender Recidivism, J. J. Prescott Jan 2016

Portmanteau Ascendant: Post-Release Regulations And Sex Offender Recidivism, J. J. Prescott

Articles

The purported purpose of sex offender post-release regulations (e.g., community notification and residency restrictions) is the reduction of sex offender recidivism. On their face, these laws seem well-designed and likely to be effective. A simple economic framework of offender behavior can be used to formalize these basic intuitions: in essence, post-release regulations either increase the probability of detection or increase the immediate cost of engaging in the prohibited activity (or both), and so should reduce the likelihood of criminal behavior. These laws aim to incapacitate people outside of prison. Yet, empirical researchers to date have found essentially no reliable ...


With Marriage On The Decline And Cohabitation On The Rise, What About Marital Rights For Unmarried Partners?, Lawrence W. Waggoner Oct 2015

With Marriage On The Decline And Cohabitation On The Rise, What About Marital Rights For Unmarried Partners?, Lawrence W. Waggoner

Articles

This article draws attention to a cultural shift in the formation of families that has been and is taking place in this country and in the developed world. Part I uses recent government data to trace the decline of marriage and the rise of cohabitation in the United States. Between 2000 and 2010, the population grew by 9.71 %, but the husband and wife households only grew by 3.7%, while the unmarried couple households grew by 41.4%. A counter-intuitive finding is that the early 21st century data show little correlation between the marriage rate and economic conditions. Because ...


Process Costs And Police Discretion, Charlie Gerstein, J. J. Prescott Apr 2015

Process Costs And Police Discretion, Charlie Gerstein, J. J. Prescott

Articles

Cities across the country are debating police discretion. Much of this debate centers on “public order” offenses. These minor offenses are unusual in that the actual sentence violators receive when convicted — usually time already served in detention — is beside the point. Rather, public order offenses are enforced prior to any conviction by subjecting accused individuals to arrest, detention, and other legal process. These “process costs” are significant; they distort plea bargaining to the point that the substantive law behind the bargained-for conviction is largely irrelevant. But the ongoing debate about police discretion has ignored the centrality of these process costs ...


企業の社会的責任と戦略的租税行動 [Corporate Social Responsibility And Strategic Tax Behavior], Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Keisaku Koga Translator Jan 2015

企業の社会的責任と戦略的租税行動 [Corporate Social Responsibility And Strategic Tax Behavior], Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Keisaku Koga Translator

Articles

This paper addresses two questions. First, from the perspective of the corporation, should the corporation cooperate and pay the corporate tax, or should it engage in "strategic" tax behavior designed to minimize or eliminate its corporate tax burden? Second, from the perspective of the state, should the state use the corporate tax just to raise revenue, or should it also try to use it as a regulatory tool to steer corporate behavior in directions that it deems beneficial to society? The paper argues that whatever our view of the nature of the corporation and of the legitimacy of corporate social ...