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Before And After Hinckley: Legal Insanity In The United States, Stephen J. Morse Feb 2021

Before And After Hinckley: Legal Insanity In The United States, Stephen J. Morse

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This chapter first considers the direction of the affirmative defense of legal insanity in the United States before John Hinckley was acquitted by reason of insanity in 1982 for attempting to assassinate President Reagan and others and the immediate aftermath of that acquittal. Since the middle of the 20th Century, the tale is one of the rise and fall of the American Law Institute’s Model Penal Code test for legal insanity. Then it turns to the constitutional decisions of the United States Supreme Court concerning the status of legal insanity. Finally, it addresses the substantive and procedural changes ...


Internal And External Challenges To Culpability, Stephen J. Morse Jan 2021

Internal And External Challenges To Culpability, Stephen J. Morse

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This article was presented at “Guilty Minds: A Virtual Conference on Mens Rea and Criminal Justice Reform” at Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. It is forthcoming in Arizona State Law Journal Volume 53, Issue 2.

The thesis of this article is simple: As long as we maintain the current folk psychological conception of ourselves as intentional and potentially rational creatures, as people and not simply as machines, mental states will inevitably remain central to ascriptions of culpability and responsibility more generally. It is also desirable. Nonetheless, we are in a condition of unprecedented internal ...


Indoctrination And Social Influence As A Defense To Crime: Are We Responsible For Who We Are?, Paul H. Robinson, Lindsay Holcomb Jan 2021

Indoctrination And Social Influence As A Defense To Crime: Are We Responsible For Who We Are?, Paul H. Robinson, Lindsay Holcomb

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

A patriotic POW is brainwashed by his North Korean captors into refusing repatriation and undertaking treasonous anti-American propaganda for the communist regime. Despite the general abhorrence of treason in time of war, the American public opposes criminal liability for such indoctrinated soldiers, yet existing criminal law provides no defense or mitigation because, at the time of the offense, the indoctrinated offender suffers no cognitive or control dysfunction, no mental or emotional impairment, and no external or internal compulsion. Rather, he was acting purely in the exercise of free of will, albeit based upon beliefs and values that he had not ...


Self-Actualization And The Need To Create As A Limit On Copyright, Christopher S. Yoo Jan 2021

Self-Actualization And The Need To Create As A Limit On Copyright, Christopher S. Yoo

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Personhood theory is almost invariably cited as one of the primary theoretical bases for copyright. The conventional wisdom views creative works as the embodiment of their creator’s personality. This unique connection between authors and their works justifies giving authors property interests in the results of their creative efforts.

This Chapter argues that the conventional wisdom is too limited. It offers too narrow a vision of the ways that creativity can develop personality by focusing exclusively on the results of the creative process and ignoring the self-actualizing benefits of the creative process itself. German aesthetic theory broadens the understanding of ...


Fair Questions: A Call And Proposal For Using General Verdicts With Special Interrogatories To Prevent Biased And Unjust Convictions, Charles Eric Hintz Jan 2021

Fair Questions: A Call And Proposal For Using General Verdicts With Special Interrogatories To Prevent Biased And Unjust Convictions, Charles Eric Hintz

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Bias and other forms of logical corner-cutting are an unfortunate aspect of criminal jury deliberations. However, the preferred verdict system in the federal courts, the general verdict, does nothing to counter that. Rather, by forcing jurors into a simple binary choice — guilty or not guilty — the general verdict facilitates and encourages such flawed reasoning. Yet the federal courts continue to stick to the general verdict, ironically out of a concern that deviating from it will harm defendants by leading juries to convict.

This Essay calls for a change: expand the use of a special findings verdict, the general verdict with ...


Is Executive Function The Universal Acid?, Stephen J. Morse Nov 2020

Is Executive Function The Universal Acid?, Stephen J. Morse

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This essay responds to Hirstein, Sifferd and Fagan’s book, Responsible Brains (MIT Press, 2018), which claims that executive function is the guiding mechanism that supports both responsible agency and the necessity for some excuses. In contrast, I suggest that executive function is not the universal acid and the neuroscience at present contributes almost nothing to the necessary psychological level of explanation and analysis. To the extent neuroscience can be useful, it is virtually entirely dependent on well-validated psychology to correlate with the neuroscientific variables under investigation. The essay considers what executive function is and what the neuroscience adds to ...


Fiduciary Law And The Preservation Of Trust In Business Relationships, Brian J. Broughman, Elizabeth Pollman, D. Gordon Smith Aug 2020

Fiduciary Law And The Preservation Of Trust In Business Relationships, Brian J. Broughman, Elizabeth Pollman, D. Gordon Smith

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This chapter explores the role of mandatory fiduciary obligations in preserving trust between business parties. Because contracts are inevitably incomplete, after investment there is always a risk of opportunism. While the parties could try to draft a more detailed agreement prohibiting various forms of opportunism, the very act of haggling over such protections may signal distrust, eliciting costly reactions (defensive measures/hedging/lack of intrinsic motivation) in the counterparty. In the absence of fiduciary protections, a vulnerable party may decide to forgo important protections against opportunism, not because such protections are suboptimal or hard to specify ex ante but because ...


Mitigations: The Forgotten Side Of The Proportionality Principle, Paul H. Robinson Jan 2020

Mitigations: The Forgotten Side Of The Proportionality Principle, Paul H. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In the first change to the Model Penal Code since its promulgation in 1962, the American Law Institute in 2017 set blameworthiness proportionality as the dominant distributive principle for criminal punishment. Empirical studies suggest that this is in fact the principle that ordinary people use in assessing proper punishment. Its adoption as the governing distributive principle makes good sense because it promotes not only the classic desert retributivism of moral philosophers but also crime-control utilitarianism, by enhancing the criminal law’s moral credibility with the community and thereby promoting deference, compliance, acquiescence, and internalization of its norms, rather than suffering ...


Justifying Bad Deals, Tess Wilkinson-Ryan Jan 2020

Justifying Bad Deals, Tess Wilkinson-Ryan

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In the past decade, psychological and behavioral studies have found that individual commitment to contracts persists beyond personal relationships and traditional promises. Even take-it-or-leave it consumer contracts get substantial deference from consumers — even when the terms are unenforceable, even when the assent is procedurally compromised, and even when the drafter is an impersonal commercial actor. Indeed, there is mounting evidence that people import the morality of promise into situations that might otherwise be described as predatory, exploitative, or coercive. The purpose of this Article is to propose a framework for understanding what seems to be widespread acceptance of regulation via ...


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 ...


The Aesthetics Of Disability, Jasmine E. Harris Jan 2019

The Aesthetics Of Disability, Jasmine E. Harris

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The foundational faith of disability law is the proposition that we can reduce disability discrimination if we can foster interactions between disabled and nondisabled people. This central faith, which is rooted in contact theory, has encouraged integration of people with and without disabilities, with the expectation that contact will reduce preju­dicial atti­tudes and shift societal norms. However, neither the scholarship nor disa­bility law sufficiently accounts for what this Article calls the “aesthetics of disability,” the proposition that our interaction with dis­ability is medi­ated by an affective process that inclines us to like, dislike, be attracted ...


Shooting The Messenger, Leslie K. John, Hayley Blunden, Heidi H. Liu Jan 2019

Shooting The Messenger, Leslie K. John, Hayley Blunden, Heidi H. Liu

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Eleven experiments provide evidence that people have a tendency to ‘shoot the messenger,’ deeming innocent bearers of bad news unlikeable. In a pre-registered lab experiment, participants rated messengers who delivered bad news from a random drawing as relatively unlikeable (Study 1). A second set of studies points to the specificity of the effect: Study 2A shows that it is unique to the (innocent) messenger, and not mere bystanders. Study 2B shows that it is distinct from merely receiving information that one disagrees with. We suggest that people’s tendency to deem bearers of bad news as unlikeable stems in part ...


Neurohype And The Law: A Cautionary Tale, Stephen J. Morse Jan 2019

Neurohype And The Law: A Cautionary Tale, Stephen J. Morse

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This chapter suggests that for conceptual, empirical, and practical reasons, neuroscience in general and non-invasive brain imaging in particular are not likely to revolutionize the law and our conception of ourselves, but may make modest contributions to legal policy and case adjudication if the legal relevance of the science is properly understood.


A General Mitigation For Disturbance-Driven Crimes?: Psychic State, Personal Choice, And Normative Inquiries, Paul H. Robinson Oct 2018

A General Mitigation For Disturbance-Driven Crimes?: Psychic State, Personal Choice, And Normative Inquiries, Paul H. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

It is argued here that the narrow provoked “heat of passion” mitigation available under current law ought to be significantly expanded to include not just murder but all felonies and not just “heat of passion” but potentially all mental or emotional disturbances, whenever the offender’s situation and capacities meaningfully reduce the offender’s blameworthiness for the violation. In determining eligibility for mitigation, the jury should take into account (a) the extent to which the offender was acting under the influence of mental or emotional disturbance (the psychic state inquiry), (b) given the offender’s situation and capacities, the extent ...


The Behavioral Economics Of Multilevel Marketing, Heidi H. Liu Jan 2018

The Behavioral Economics Of Multilevel Marketing, Heidi H. Liu

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Multilevel marketing companies (MLMs) - sales organizations that compensate independent consultants based on the sales and recruitment of other consultants - form a significant part of the American economy. Yet, MLMs provide little information to regulators and potential participants regarding potentially material information. Although MLMs are often compared to pyramid schemes, consultants argue that participation in a MLM allows them to make money outside of the traditional full-time labor force. This paper examines the law, economics, and psychology of MLMs, suggesting that MLMs may draw on prospective consultants' cognitive biases in persuading consultants to join and continue a MLM. Consultants may be ...


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 ...


Brief Of Amici Curiae Of 11 Addiction Experts In Support Of Appellee, Gene M. Heyman, Scott O. Lilienfeld, Stephen J. Morse, Sally L. Satel Sep 2017

Brief Of Amici Curiae Of 11 Addiction Experts In Support Of Appellee, Gene M. Heyman, Scott O. Lilienfeld, Stephen J. Morse, Sally L. Satel

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This brief is a critique of the brain disease model and many supposed implications of that model. It begins with a brief history of the model and moves to a discussion of the motivations behind the characterization of addiction as a “chronic and relapsing brain disease.” We follow with an enumeration of fallacious inferences based upon the brain disease model, including the very notion that addiction becomes a “brain disease” simply because it has neurobiological correlates. Regardless of whether addiction is labeled a brain disease, the real question, we contend, is whether the behavioral manifestations of addiction are unresponsive to ...


Law And Psychology Grows Up, Goes Online, And Replicates, Krin Irvine, David A. Hoffman, Tess Wilkinson-Ryan Aug 2017

Law And Psychology Grows Up, Goes Online, And Replicates, Krin Irvine, David A. Hoffman, Tess Wilkinson-Ryan

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Over the last thirty years, legal scholars have increasingly deployed experimental studies, particularly hypothetical scenarios, to test intuitions about legal reasoning and behavior. That movement has accelerated in the last decade, facilitated in large part by cheap and convenient Internet participant recruiting platforms like Amazon Mechanical Turk. The widespread use of MTurk subjects, a practice that dramatically lowers the barriers to entry for experimental research, has been controversial. At the same time, law and psychology’s home discipline is experiencing a public crisis of confidence widely discussed in terms of the “replication crisis.” At present, law and psychology research is ...


Involuntary Competence In United States Criminal Law, Stephen J. Morse Feb 2017

Involuntary Competence In United States Criminal Law, Stephen J. Morse

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This is a draft of a chapter that has been accepted for publication by Oxford University Press in the forthcoming book Fitness to Plead: International and Comparative Perspectives edited by Ronnie Mackay and Warren Brookbanks due for publication in May 2018. It addresses whether the state may forcibly medicate an unwilling defendant or prisoner to restore competence in the criminal process, including competence to stand trial, competence to plead guilty and to waive trial rights, competence to represent oneself, and competence to be sentenced. It begins with a description of the doctrinal and mental health background information and the right ...


Neuroscience In Forensic Contexts: Ethical Concerns, Stephen J. Morse Feb 2017

Neuroscience In Forensic Contexts: Ethical Concerns, Stephen J. Morse

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This is a chapter in a volume, Ethics Challenges in Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology Practice, edited by Ezra E. H. Griffith, M.D. and to be published by Columbia University Press. The chapter addresses whether the use of new neuroscience techniques, especially non-invasive functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and the data from studies employing them raise new ethical issues for forensic psychiatrists and psychologists. The implicit thesis throughout is that if the legal questions, the limits of the new techniques and the relevance of neuroscience to law are properly understood, no new ethical issues are raised. A major ethical lapse ...


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

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

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 ...


The Poverty Of The Neuroscience Of Poverty: Policy Payoff Or False Promise?, Amy L. Wax Jan 2017

The Poverty Of The Neuroscience Of Poverty: Policy Payoff Or False Promise?, Amy L. Wax

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

A recent body of work in neuroscience examines the brains of people suffering from social and economic disadvantage. This article assesses claims that this research can help generate more effective strategies for addressing these social conditions and their effects. It concludes that the so-called neuroscience of deprivation has no unique practical payoff, and that scientists, journalists, and policy-makers should stop claiming otherwise. Because this research does not, and generally cannot, distinguish between innate versus environmental causes of brain characteristics, it cannot predict whether neurological and behavioral deficits can be addressed by reducing social deprivation. Also, knowledge of brain mechanisms yields ...


Contract Consideration And Behavior, David A. Hoffman, Zev. J. Eigen Jan 2017

Contract Consideration And Behavior, David A. Hoffman, Zev. J. Eigen

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Contract recitals are ubiquitous. Yet, we have a thin understanding of how individuals behave with respect to these doctrinally important relics. Most jurists follow Lon Fuller in concluding that when read, contract recitals accomplish their purpose: to caution against inconsiderate contractual obligation. Notwithstanding the foundational role that this assumption has played in doctrinal and theoretical debates, it has not been tested. This Article offers what we believe to be the first experimental evidence of the effects of formal recitals of contract obligation — and, importantly too, disclaimers of contractual obligation — on individual behavior. In a series of online experiments, we found ...


The Perverse Consequences Of Disclosing Standard Terms, Tess Wilkinson-Ryan Jan 2017

The Perverse Consequences Of Disclosing Standard Terms, Tess Wilkinson-Ryan

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Although assent is the doctrinal and theoretical hallmark of contract, its relevance for form contracts has been drastically undermined by the overwhelming evidence that no one reads standard terms. Until now, most political and academic discussions of this phenomenon have acknowledged the truth of universally unread contracts, but have assumed that even unread terms are at best potentially helpful, and at worst harmless. This Article makes the empirical case that unread terms are not a neutral part of American commerce; instead, the mere fact of fine print inhibits reasonable challenges to unfair deals. The experimental study reported here tests the ...


Do Androids Dream Of Bad News?, Heidi H. Liu Jan 2017

Do Androids Dream Of Bad News?, Heidi H. Liu

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Breaking bad news is one of the toughest things to do in any field dealing with client care. As automation and technology increasingly interweave with human experience, there is growing concern about whether automated agents (‘‘AAs”) would be adequate to perform such a complex emotional act. In this paper, I draw from the literature in psychology and computer science to understand how individuals might react to automated agents (AAs) and address some of the strengths and limitations of AAs. I raise several legal and empirical issues that future designers and users of AAs must consider, including disclosure of and liability ...


Addiction, Choice And Criminal Law, Stephen J. Morse Jan 2017

Addiction, Choice And Criminal Law, Stephen J. Morse

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This chapter is a contribution to a volume, Addiction and Choice, edited by Nick Heather and Gabriel Segal that is forthcoming from Oxford University Press. Some claim that addiction is a chronic and relapsing brain disease; others claim that it is a product of choice; yet others think that addictions have both disease and choice aspects. Which of these views holds sway in a particular domain enormously influences how that domain treats addictions. With limited exceptions, Anglo-American criminal law has implicitly adopted the choice model and a corresponding approach to responsibility. Addiction is irrelevant to the criteria for the prima ...


Neuroethics: Neurolaw, Stephen J. Morse Sep 2016

Neuroethics: Neurolaw, Stephen J. Morse

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This is a pre-copyedited version of a chapter in the Oxford Handbooks Online (Philosophy) edited by Sandy Goldberg. In altered form, it was published online in February, 2017 and can be found at the Oxford Handbooks Online website. The entry discusses whether the findings of the new neuroscience based largely on functional brain imaging raise new normative questions and entail normative conclusions for ethical and legal theory and practice. After reviewing the source of optimism about neuroscientific contributions and the current scientific status of neuroscience, it addresses a radical challenge neuroscience allegedly presents: whether neuroscience proves persons do not have ...


Law And The Sciences Of The Brain/Mind, Stephen J. Morse Apr 2016

Law And The Sciences Of The Brain/Mind, Stephen J. Morse

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This chapter is a submission to the Oxford Handbook of Law and the Regulation of Technology edited by Roger Brownsword. It considers whether the new sciences of the brain/mind, especially neuroscience and behavioral genetics, are likely to transform the law’s traditional concepts of the person, agency and responsibility. The chapter begins with a brief speculation about why so many people think these sciences will transform the law. After reviewing the law’s concepts, misguided challenges to them, and the achievements of the new sciences, the chapter confronts the claim that these sciences prove that we are really not ...


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

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

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 ...


Modest Retributivism, Mitchell N. Berman Jan 2016

Modest Retributivism, Mitchell N. Berman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.