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Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Arts and Humanities

Justification defenses

2015

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The Moral Vigilante And Her Cousins In The Shadows, Paul H. Robinson Jan 2015

The Moral Vigilante And Her Cousins In The Shadows, Paul H. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

By definition, vigilantes cannot be legally justified – if they satisfied a justification defense, for example, they would not be law-breakers – but they may well be morally justified, if their aim is to provide the order and justice that the criminal justice system has failed to provide in a breach of the social contract. Yet, even moral vigilantism is detrimental to society and ought to be avoided, ideally not by prosecuting moral vigilantism but by avoiding the creation of situations that would call for it. Unfortunately, the U.S. criminal justice system has adopted a wide range of criminal law rules ...