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Criminal Law’S Core Principles, Paul H. Robinson Oct 2021

Criminal Law’S Core Principles, Paul H. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Modern criminal law scholars and policymakers assume they are free to construct criminal law rules by focusing exclusively on the criminal justice theory of the day. But this “blank slate” conception of criminal lawmaking is dangerously misguided. In fact, lawmakers are writing on a slate on which core principles are already indelibly written and realistically they are free only to add detail in the implementation of those principles and to add additional provisions not inconsistent with them. Attempts to do otherwise are destined to produce tragic results from both utilitarian and retributivist views.

Many writers dispute that such core principles ...


The Criminogenic Effects Of Damaging Criminal Law’S Moral Credibility, Paul H. Robinson, Lindsay Holcomb Jul 2021

The Criminogenic Effects Of Damaging Criminal Law’S Moral Credibility, Paul H. Robinson, Lindsay Holcomb

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The criminal justice system’s reputation with the community can have a significant effect on the extent to which people are willing to comply with its demands and internalize its norms. In the context of criminal law, the empirical studies suggest that ordinary people expect the criminal justice system to do justice and avoid injustice, as they perceive it – what has been called “empirical desert” to distinguish it from the “deontological desert” of moral philosophers. The empirical studies and many real-world natural experiments suggest that a criminal justice system that regularly deviates from empirical desert loses moral credibility and thereby ...


Ai In Adjudication And Administration, Cary Coglianese, Lavi M. Ben Dor Jul 2021

Ai In Adjudication And Administration, Cary Coglianese, Lavi M. Ben Dor

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The use of artificial intelligence has expanded rapidly in recent years across many aspects of the economy. For federal, state, and local governments in the United States, interest in artificial intelligence has manifested in the use of a series of digital tools, including the occasional deployment of machine learning, to aid in the performance of a variety of governmental functions. In this paper, we canvas the current uses of such digital tools and machine-learning technologies by the judiciary and administrative agencies in the United States. Although we have yet to see fully automated decision-making find its way into either adjudication ...


How Criminal Code Drafting Form Can Restrain Prosecutorial And Legislative Excesses: Consolidated Offense Drafting, Paul H. Robinson, Matthew Kussmaul, Muhammad Sarahne Mar 2021

How Criminal Code Drafting Form Can Restrain Prosecutorial And Legislative Excesses: Consolidated Offense Drafting, Paul H. Robinson, Matthew Kussmaul, Muhammad Sarahne

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Solving criminal justice problems typically requires the enactment of new rules or the modification of existing ones. But there are some serious problems that can best be solved simply by altering the way in which the existing rules are drafted rather than by altering their content. This is the case with two of the most serious problems in criminal justice today: the problem of overlapping criminal offenses that create excessive prosecutorial charging discretion and the problem of legislative inconsistency and irrationality in grading offenses.

After examining these two problems and demonstrating their serious effects in perverting criminal justice, the essay ...


Pretrial Detention And The Value Of Liberty, Megan Stevenson, Sandra G. Mayson Feb 2021

Pretrial Detention And The Value Of Liberty, Megan Stevenson, Sandra G. Mayson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

How dangerous must a person be to justify the state in locking her up for the greater good? The bail reform movement, which aspires to limit pretrial detention to the truly dangerous—and which has looked to algorithmic risk assessments to quantify danger—has brought this question to the fore. Constitutional doctrine authorizes pretrial detention when the government’s interest in safety “outweighs” an individual’s interest in liberty, but it does not specify how to balance these goods. If detaining ten presumptively innocent people for three months is projected to prevent one robbery, is it worth it?

This Article ...


Undemocratic Crimes, Paul H. Robinson, Jonathan C. Wilt Jan 2021

Undemocratic Crimes, Paul H. Robinson, Jonathan C. Wilt

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

One might assume that in a working democracy the criminal law rules would reflect the community’s shared judgments regarding justice and punishment. This is especially true because social science research shows that lay people generally think about criminal liability and punishment in consistent ways: in terms of desert, doing justice and avoiding injustice. Moreover, there are compelling arguments for demanding consistency between community views and criminal law rules based upon the importance of democratic values, effective crime-control, and the deontological value of justice itself.

It may then come as a surprise, and a disappointment, that a wide range of ...


Administrative Law In The Automated State, Cary Coglianese Jan 2021

Administrative Law In The Automated State, Cary Coglianese

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In the future, administrative agencies will rely increasingly on digital automation powered by machine learning algorithms. Can U.S. administrative law accommodate such a future? Not only might a highly automated state readily meet longstanding administrative law principles, but the responsible use of machine learning algorithms might perform even better than the status quo in terms of fulfilling administrative law’s core values of expert decision-making and democratic accountability. Algorithmic governance clearly promises more accurate, data-driven decisions. Moreover, due to their mathematical properties, algorithms might well prove to be more faithful agents of democratic institutions. Yet even if an automated ...


Misdemeanors By The Numbers, Sandra G. Mayson, Megan T. Stevenson Jan 2020

Misdemeanors By The Numbers, Sandra G. Mayson, Megan T. Stevenson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Recent scholarship has underlined the importance of criminal misdemeanor law enforcement, including the impact of public-order policing on communities of color, the collateral consequences of misdemeanor arrest or conviction, and the use of misdemeanor prosecution to raise municipal revenue. But despite the fact that misdemeanors represent more than three-quarters of all criminal cases filed annually in the United States, our knowledge of misdemeanor case processing is based mostly on anecdote and extremely localized research. This Article represents the most substantial empirical analysis of misdemeanor case processing to date. Using multiple court-record datasets, covering several million cases across eight diverse jurisdictions ...


The Concept Of Criminal Law, Sandra G. Mayson Jan 2020

The Concept Of Criminal Law, Sandra G. Mayson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

What distinguishes “criminal law” from all other law? This question should be central to both criminal law theory and criminal justice reform. Clarity about the distinctive feature(s) of criminal law is especially important in the current moment, as the nation awakens to the damage that the carceral state has wrought and reformers debate the value and the future of criminal law institutions. Foundational though it is, however, the question has received limited attention. There is no clear consensus among contemporary scholars or reformers about what makes the criminal law unique.

This Essay argues that Antony Duff’s The Realm ...


Spillover Effects In Police Use Of Force, Justin E. Holz, Roman G. Rivera, Bocar A. Ba Dec 2019

Spillover Effects In Police Use Of Force, Justin E. Holz, Roman G. Rivera, Bocar A. Ba

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

We study the link between officer injuries-on-duty and the force-use of their peers using a network of officers who, through a random lottery, began the police academy together. We find that peer injuries-on-duty increase the probability of using force by 7%. The effect is concentrated in a narrow time window near the event and is not associated with significantly lower injury risk to the officer. Complaints of improper searches and failure to provide service also increase after peer injuries, suggesting that the increase in force might be driven by heightened risk aversion.


The Effect Of Police Oversight On Crime And Allegations Of Misconduct: Evidence From Chicago, Bocar A. Ba, Roman G. Rivera Oct 2019

The Effect Of Police Oversight On Crime And Allegations Of Misconduct: Evidence From Chicago, Bocar A. Ba, Roman G. Rivera

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Does policing the police increase crime? We avoid simultaneity effects of increased public oversight during a major scandal by identifying events in Chicago that only impacted officers’ self-imposed monitoring. We estimate crime’s response to self- and public-monitoring using regression discontinuity and generalized synthetic control methods. Self-monitoring, triggered by police union memos, significantly reduced serious complaints without impacting crime or effort. However, after a scandal, both civilian complaints and crime rates rise, suggesting that higher crime rates following heightened oversight results from de-policing and civilian behavior simultaneously changing. Our research suggests that proactive internal accountability improves police-community relations without increasing ...


In-Group Bias And The Police: Evidence From Award Nominations, Nayoung Rim, Roman G. Rivera, Bocar A. Ba Oct 2019

In-Group Bias And The Police: Evidence From Award Nominations, Nayoung Rim, Roman G. Rivera, Bocar A. Ba

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This paper examines the impact of in-group bias on the internal dynamics of a police department. Prior studies have documented racial bias in policing, but little is known about bias against officers due to lack of available data. We construct a novel panel dataset of Chicago Police Department officers, with detailed information on officer characteristics and work productivity. Exploiting quasi-random variation in supervisor assignment, we find that white supervisors are less likely to nominate black officers than white or Hispanic officers. We find weaker evidence that male supervisors are less likely to nominate female officers than male officers. We explore ...


Against The Received Wisdom: Why Should The Criminal Justice System Give Kids A Break?, Stephen J. Morse Jul 2019

Against The Received Wisdom: Why Should The Criminal Justice System Give Kids A Break?, Stephen J. Morse

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Professor Gideon Yaffe’s recent, intricately argued book, The Age of Culpability: Children and the Nature of Criminal Responsibility, argues against the nearly uniform position in both law and scholarship that the criminal justice system should give juveniles a break not because on average they have different capacities relevant to responsibility than adults, but because juveniles have little say about the criminal law, primarily because they do not have a vote. For Professor Yaffe, age has political rather than behavioral significance. The book has many excellent general analyses about responsibility, but all are in aid of the central thesis about ...


“Second Looks, Second Chances”: Collaborating With Lifers Inc. On A Video About Commutation Of Lwop Sentences, Regina Austin Jan 2019

“Second Looks, Second Chances”: Collaborating With Lifers Inc. On A Video About Commutation Of Lwop Sentences, Regina Austin

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In Pennsylvania, life means life without the possibility of parole (“LWOP”) or “death by incarceration.” Although executive commutation offers long serving rehabilitated lifers hope of release, in the past 20 years, only 8 commutations have been granted by the state’s governors. This article describes the collaboration between an organization of incarcerated persons serving LWOP and the law-school-based Penn Program on Documentaries and the Law that produced a video supporting increased commutations for Pennsylvania lifers. The article details the methodology of collaborative videomaking employed, the strategic decisions over content that were impacted by the politics of commutation, and the contributions ...


The Effects Of Holistic Defense On Criminal Justice Outcomes, James Anderson, Maya Buenaventura, Paul Heaton Jan 2019

The Effects Of Holistic Defense On Criminal Justice Outcomes, James Anderson, Maya Buenaventura, Paul Heaton

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Applying Sentinel Event Reviews To Policing, John Hollway, Ben Grunwald Jan 2019

Applying Sentinel Event Reviews To Policing, John Hollway, Ben Grunwald

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

A sentinel event review (SER) is a system-based, multistakeholder review of an organizational error. The goal of an SER is to prevent similar errors from recurring in the future rather than identifying and punishing the responsible parties. In this article, we provide a detailed description of one of the first SERs conducted in an American police department—the review of the Lex Street Massacre investigation and prosecution, which resulted in the wrongful incarceration of four innocent men for 18 months. The results of the review suggest that SERs may help identify new systemic reforms for participating police departments and other ...


Procedural Fairness In Antitrust Enforcement: The U.S. Perspective, Christopher S. Yoo, Hendrik M. Wendland Jan 2019

Procedural Fairness In Antitrust Enforcement: The U.S. Perspective, Christopher S. Yoo, Hendrik M. Wendland

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Due process and fairness in enforcement procedures represent a critical aspect of the rule of law. Allowing greater participation by the parties and making enforcement procedures more transparent serve several functions, including better decisionmaking, greater respect for government, stronger economic growth, promotion of investment, limits corruption and politically motivated actions, regulation of bureaucratic ambition, and greater control of agency staff whose vision do not align with agency leadership or who are using an enforcement matter to advance their careers. That is why such distinguished actors as the International Competition Network (ICN), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the ...


Foreword: Abolition Constitutionalism, Dorothy E. Roberts Jan 2019

Foreword: Abolition Constitutionalism, Dorothy E. Roberts

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

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 ...


Brief Of National Law Professors Of Criminal, Procedural, And Constitutional Law, In Re Humphrey, California Supreme Court, Regarding The Imposition Of Money Bail And Conditions Of Pretrial Release, Sandra G. Mayson, Kellen R. Funk Oct 2018

Brief Of National Law Professors Of Criminal, Procedural, And Constitutional Law, In Re Humphrey, California Supreme Court, Regarding The Imposition Of Money Bail And Conditions Of Pretrial Release, Sandra G. Mayson, Kellen R. Funk

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

When the government proposes to incarcerate a person before trial, it must provide thorough justification, whether the mechanism of detention is a transparent detention order or its functional equivalent, the imposition of unaffordable money bail. A court contemplating money bail must determine whether it is likely to result in detention. If so, and the court nonetheless wishes to impose it, the court must find, by clear and convincing evidence established through an adversary hearing, that the unaffordable bail amount serves a compelling interest of the state that no less restrictive condition of release can meet. This will rarely be the ...


Judicious Imprisonment, Gregory Jay Hall Sep 2018

Judicious Imprisonment, Gregory Jay Hall

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Starting August 21, 2018, Americans incarcerated across the United States have been striking back — non-violently. Inmates with jobs are protesting slave-like wages through worker strikes and sit-ins. Inmates also call for an end to racial disparities and an increase in rehabilitation programs. Even more surprisingly, many inmates have begun hunger strikes. Inmates are protesting the numerous ills of prisons: overcrowding, inadequate health care, abysmal mental health care contributing to inmate suicide, violence, disenfranchisement of inmates, and more. While recent reforms have slightly decreased mass incarceration, the current White House administration could likely reverse this trend. President Donald Trump’s and ...


Bias In, Bias Out, Sandra G. Mayson Jan 2018

Bias In, Bias Out, Sandra G. Mayson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Police, prosecutors, judges, and other criminal justice actors increasingly use algorithmic risk assessment to estimate the likelihood that a person will commit future crime. As many scholars have noted, these algorithms tend to have disparate racial impacts. In response, critics advocate three strategies of resistance: (1) the exclusion of input factors that correlate closely with race; (2) adjustments to algorithmic design to equalize predictions across racial lines; and (3) rejection of algorithmic methods altogether.

This Article’s central claim is that these strategies are at best superficial and at worst counterproductive because the source of racial inequality in risk assessment ...


The Federal Rules Of Inmate Appeals, Catherine T. Struve Jan 2018

The Federal Rules Of Inmate Appeals, Catherine T. Struve

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure turn fifty in 2018. During the Rules’ half-century of existence, the number of federal appeals by self-represented, incarcerated litigants has grown dramatically. This article surveys ways in which the procedure for inmate appeals has evolved over the past 50 years, and examines the challenges of designing procedures with confined litigants in mind. In the initial decades under the Appellate Rules, the most visible developments concerning the procedure for inmate appeals arose from the interplay between court decisions and the federal rulemaking process. But, as court dockets swelled, the circuits also developed local case management ...


Terry Stops And Frisks: The Troubling Use Of Common Sense In A World Of Empirical Data, David Rudovsky, David A. Harris Jan 2018

Terry Stops And Frisks: The Troubling Use Of Common Sense In A World Of Empirical Data, David Rudovsky, David A. Harris

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The investigative detention doctrine first announced in Terry v. Ohio and amplified over the past fifty years has been much analyzed, praised, and criticized from a number of perspectives. Significantly, however, over this time period commentators have only occasionally questioned the Supreme Court’s “common sense” judgments regarding the factors sufficient to establish reasonable suspicion for stops and frisks. For years, the Court has provided no empirical basis for its judgments, due in large part to the lack of reliable data. Now, with the emergence of comprehensive data on these police practices, much can be learned about the predictive power ...


Mental Disorder And Criminal Justice, Stephen J. Morse Jan 2018

Mental Disorder And Criminal Justice, Stephen J. Morse

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This paper is a chapter that will appear in REFORMING CRIMINAL JUSTICE: A REPORT OF THE ACADEMY FOR JUSTICE BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN SCHOLARSHIP AND REFORM (Erik Luna ed., Academy for Justice 2018). The criminal law treats some people with severe mental disorders doctrinally and practically differently at virtually every stage of the criminal justice process, beginning with potential incompetence to stand trial and ending with the question of competence to be executed, and such people have special needs when they are in the system. This chapter begins by exploring the fundamental mental health information necessary to make informed judgements ...


Patty Hearst Reconsidered: Personal Identity In The Criminal Law, Kimberly Kessler Ferzan Jan 2018

Patty Hearst Reconsidered: Personal Identity In The Criminal Law, Kimberly Kessler Ferzan

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In this contribution to a symposium celebrating Joshua Dressler, I revisit the Dressler/Delgado debate over Patty Hearst through the prism of personal identity. After reviewing why personal identity presents a problem for punishment, I discuss how a "personal identity" defense would fit within the criminal law, including when it would undermine status responsibility, when it would undermine a voluntary act, and when it would serve as an excuse.


Pretrial Detention And Bail, Megan T. Stevenson, Sandra G. Mayson Jan 2018

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

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

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, taking little time to evaluate a defendant’s risks, needs, or ability to pay. Money-bail practices lead to high rates ...


The Subversions And Perversions Of Shadow Vigilantism, Paul H. Robinson, Sarah M. Robinson Jan 2018

The Subversions And Perversions Of Shadow Vigilantism, Paul H. Robinson, Sarah M. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This excerpt from the recently published Shadow Vigilantes book argues that, while vigilantism, even moral vigilantism, can be dangerous to a society, the real danger is not of hordes of citizens, frustrated by the system’s doctrines of disillusionment, rising up to take the law into their own hands. Frustration can spark a vigilante impulse, but such classic aggressive vigilantism is not the typical response. More common is the expression of disillusionment in less brazen ways by a more surreptitious undermining and distortion of the operation of the criminal justice system.

Shadow vigilantes, as they might be called, can affect ...


A Dose Of Color, A Dose Of Reality: Contextualizing Intentional Tort Actions With Black Documentaries, Regina Austin Jan 2018

A Dose Of Color, A Dose Of Reality: Contextualizing Intentional Tort Actions With Black Documentaries, Regina Austin

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This article describes the way documentary films can provide important cultural context in the assessment of tort claims. This kind of contextual analysis exposes the social conditions that drive legal disputes. For example, in the case of Klayman v. Obama, Larry Klayman claimed that Black Lives Matter, among other defendants, was liable for various intentional torts (including intentional infliction of emotional distress) by fomenting hostility toward the police in black communities. The court dismissed the case but declined to hold Klayman liable for sanctions. One documentary film, I Am Not Your Negro, locates Klayman’s claims in a historical tradition ...


The Scale Of Misdemeanor Justice, Megan T. Stevenson, Sandra G. Mayson Jan 2018

The Scale Of Misdemeanor Justice, Megan T. Stevenson, Sandra G. Mayson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This Article seeks to provide the most comprehensive national-level empirical analysis of misdemeanor criminal justice that is currently feasible given the state of data collection in the United States. First, we estimate that there are 13.2 million misdemeanor cases filed in the United States each year. Second, contrary to conventional wisdom, this number is not rising. Both the number of misdemeanor arrests and cases filed have declined markedly in recent years. In fact, national arrest rates for almost every misdemeanor offense category have been declining for at least two decades, and the misdemeanor arrest rate was lower in 2014 ...


Tragedy, Outrage & Reform: Crimes That Changed Our World: 1983 – Thurman Beating - Domestic Violence, Paul H. Robinson, Sarah M. Robinson Aug 2017

Tragedy, Outrage & Reform: Crimes That Changed Our World: 1983 – Thurman Beating - Domestic Violence, Paul H. Robinson, Sarah M. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Can a crime make our world better? Crimes are the worst of humanity’s wrongs but, oddly, they sometimes do more than anything else to improve our lives. As it turns out, it is often the outrageousness itself that does the work. Ordinary crimes are accepted as the background noise of our everyday existence but some crimes make people stop and take notice – because they are so outrageous, or so curious, or so heart-wrenching. These “trigger crimes” are the cases that this book is about.

They offer some incredible stories about how people, good and bad, change the world around ...