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Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Public Law and Legal Theory

Criminal law and procedure

2011

Articles 1 - 2 of 2

Full-Text Articles in Law

Regulating The Plea-Bargaining Market: From Caveat Emptor To Consumer Protection, Stephanos Bibas Jan 2011

Regulating The Plea-Bargaining Market: From Caveat Emptor To Consumer Protection, Stephanos Bibas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Padilla v. Kentucky was a watershed in the Court’s turn to regulating plea bargaining. For decades, the Supreme Court has focused on jury trials as the central subject of criminal procedure, with only modest and ineffective procedural regulation of guilty pleas. This older view treated trials as the norm, was indifferent to sentencing, trusted judges and juries to protect innocence, and drew clean lines excluding civil proceedings and collateral consequences from its purview. In United States v. Ruiz in 2002, the Court began to focus on the realities of the plea process itself, but did so only half-way. Not ...


Severe Environmental Deprivation (Aka Rsb): A Tragedy, Not A Defense, Stephen J. Morse Jan 2011

Severe Environmental Deprivation (Aka Rsb): A Tragedy, Not A Defense, Stephen J. Morse

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This article is a contribution to a symposium issue of the Alabama Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Law Review devoted to whether severe environmental deprivation, sometimes termed rotten social background, should be a defense to crime and why it has not been adopted. I begin by presenting the framework I apply for thinking about such problems. I then identify the main theses Professors Richard Delgado and Andrew Taslitz present and consider their merits. Next, I turn to the arguments of the other papers by Professors Paul Robinson, Erik Luna and Angela Harris. I make two general arguments: first, that SED or any other potentially powerful predisposing cause of crime should not per se be a defense to crime that excuses or mitigates criminal responsibility; and second, that criminal law defenses to responsibility are crucial to the just adjudication of guilt and innocence, but they are not an appropriate means to remedy undoubted social, biological, and psychological problems. I conclude that no jurisdiction has adopted the defense because it is conceptually unjustifiable and empirically unworkable. SED is a tragedy, but it should not be a defense to crime. Finally, I conclude with a number of criminal justice reform suggestions, including many that I believe the other writers would endorse.