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Full-Text Articles in Law

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 ...


After The Crime: Rewarding Offenders’ Positive Post-Offense Conduct, Paul H. Robinson, Muhammad Sarahne Jul 2021

After The Crime: Rewarding Offenders’ Positive Post-Offense Conduct, Paul H. Robinson, Muhammad Sarahne

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

While an offender’s conduct before and during the crime is the traditional focus of criminal law and sentencing rules, an examination of post-offense conduct can also be important in promoting criminal justice goals. After the crime, different offenders make different choices and have different experiences, and those differences can suggest appropriately different treatment by judges, correctional officials, probation and parole supervisors, and other decision-makers in the criminal justice system.

Positive post-offense conduct ought to be acknowledged and rewarded, not only to encourage it but also as a matter of fair and just treatment. This essay describes four kinds 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 ...


The Opposite Of Punishment: Imagining A Path To Public Redemption, Paul H. Robinson, Muhammad Sarahne Jan 2020

The Opposite Of Punishment: Imagining A Path To Public Redemption, Paul H. Robinson, Muhammad Sarahne

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The criminal justice system traditionally performs its public functions – condemning prohibited conduct, shaming and stigmatizing violators, promoting societal norms – through the use of negative examples: convicting and punishing violators. One could imagine, however, that the same public functions could also be performed through the use of positive examples: publicly acknowledging and celebrating offenders who have chosen a path of atonement through confession, apology, making amends, acquiescing in just punishment, and promising future law abidingness. An offender who takes this path arguably deserves official public recognition, an update of all records and databases to record the public redemption, and an exemption ...


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 ...


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 ...


Dangerous Defendants, Sandra G. Mayson Jan 2018

Dangerous Defendants, Sandra G. Mayson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Bail reform is gaining momentum nationwide. Reformers aspire to untether pretrial detention from wealth (the ability to post money bail) and condition it instead on statistical risk, particularly the risk that a defendant will commit crime if he remains at liberty pending trial. The bail reform movement holds tremendous promise, but also forces the criminal justice system to confront a difficult question: What statistical risk that a person will commit future crime justifies short-term detention? What about lesser restraints, like GPS monitoring? Although the turn to actuarial risk assessment in the pretrial context has engendered both excitement and concern, the ...


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 ...


Bail Reform: New Directions For Pretrial Detention And Release, Megan Stevenson, Sandra G. Mayson Mar 2017

Bail Reform: New Directions For Pretrial Detention And Release, Megan 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, with no defense counsel present. Money-bail practices lead to high rates of detention even among misdemeanor defendants and those who ...


Rationing Criminal Justice, Richard A. Bierschbach, Stephanos Bibas Jan 2017

Rationing Criminal Justice, Richard A. Bierschbach, Stephanos Bibas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Of the many diagnoses of American criminal justice’s ills, few focus on externalities. Yet American criminal justice systematically overpunishes in large part because few mechanisms exist to force consideration of the full social costs of criminal justice interventions. Actors often lack good information or incentives to minimize the harms they impose. Part of the problem is structural: criminal justice is fragmented vertically among governments, horizontally among agencies, and individually among self-interested actors. Part is a matter of focus: doctrinally and pragmatically, actors overwhelmingly view each case as an isolated, short-term transaction to the exclusion of broader, long-term, and aggregate ...


Criminal Justice And (A) Catholic Conscience, Leo E. Strine Jr. Jan 2016

Criminal Justice And (A) Catholic Conscience, Leo E. Strine Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This article is one person's reflections on how an important influence on his own sense of moral values -- Jesus Christ -- affects his thinking about his own approach to his role as a public official in a secular society, using the vital topic of criminal justice as a focal point. This article draws several important lessons from Christ's teachings about the concept of the other that are relevant to issues of criminal justice. Using Catholicism as a framework, this article addresses, among other things, capital punishment and denying the opportunity for redemption; the problem of racial disparities in the ...


A Systems Approach To Error Reduction In Criminal Justice, John Hollway Feb 2014

A Systems Approach To Error Reduction In Criminal Justice, John Hollway

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The “systems approach” has been used, improved, and refined over time to improve safety and reduce errors in a variety of complex, high-risk industries, including health care, aviation, and manufacturing, among others. Such an approach targets the system for improvement rather than specific individuals within the system, and seeks to provide an environment that maximizes each participant’s ability to act safely and in a way that achieves the goals of the system. It prizes a non-punitive culture of disclosure to identify errors, gathers and applies data to understand the causes of the error, and tests systems changes to prevent ...


Perpetuating The Marginalization Of Latinos: A Collateral Consequence Of The Incorporation Of Immigration Law Into The Criminal Justice System, Yolanda Vazquez Jun 2011

Perpetuating The Marginalization Of Latinos: A Collateral Consequence Of The Incorporation Of Immigration Law Into The Criminal Justice System, Yolanda Vazquez

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Latinos currently represent the largest minority in the United States. In 2009, we witnessed the first Latina appointment to the United States Supreme Court. Despite these events, Latinos continue to endure racial discrimination and social marginalization in the United States. The inability of Latinos to gain political acceptance and legitimacy in the United States can be attributed to the social construct of Latinos as threats to national security and the cause of criminal activity.

Exploiting this pretense, American government, society and nationalists are able to legitimize the subordination and social marginalization of Latinos, specifically Mexicans and Central Americans, much to ...


Collateral Consequences, Genetic Surveillance, And The New Biopolitics Of Race, Dorothy E. Roberts Apr 2011

Collateral Consequences, Genetic Surveillance, And The New Biopolitics Of Race, Dorothy E. Roberts

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This Article is part of a Howard Law Journal Symposium on “Collateral Consequences: Who Really Pays the Price for Criminal Justice?,” as well as my larger book project, Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-First Century (The New Press, 2011). It considers state and federal government expansion of genetic surveillance as a collateral consequence of a criminal record in the context of a new biopolitics of race in America. Part I reviews the expansion of DNA data banking by states and the federal government, extending the collateral impact of a criminal record—in the ...


Comments On [Israeli] Proposal For Structuring Judicial Discretion In Sentencing, Paul H. Robinson Mar 2011

Comments On [Israeli] Proposal For Structuring Judicial Discretion In Sentencing, Paul H. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In this essay, Professor Robinson supports the current Israeli proposal for structuring judicial discretion in sentencing, in particular its reliance upon desert as the guiding principle for the distribution of punishment, its reliance upon benchmarks, or “starting-points,” to be adjusted in individual cases by reference to articulated mitigating and aggravating circumstances, and the proposal’s suggestion to use of an expert committee to draft the original guidelines.


A Core Of Agreement, Donald Braman, Dan M. Kahan, David A. Hoffman Jan 2010

A Core Of Agreement, Donald Braman, Dan M. Kahan, David A. Hoffman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In this short comment, we respond to papers by Robinson, Kurzban, and Jones (RKJ) and by Darley, who replied to our paper, Punishment Naturalism. We align ourselves wholeheartedly with Darley’s argument that intuitions of criminal wrongdoing, while mediated by cognitive mechanisms that are largely universal, consist in evaluations that vary significantly across cultural groups. RKJ defend their finding of “universal” intuitions of “core” of criminal wrongdoing. They acknowledge, however, that their method for identifying the core excludes by design factors that predictably generate cultural variance in what behavior counts as murder, rape, theft and other “core” offenses. On this ...


Some Realism About Punishment Naturalism, Donald Braman, Dan M. Kahan, David A. Hoffman Jan 2010

Some Realism About Punishment Naturalism, Donald Braman, Dan M. Kahan, David A. Hoffman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In this paper we critique the increasingly prominent claims of punishment naturalism – the notion that highly nuanced intuitions about most forms of crime and punishment are broadly shared, and that this agreement is best explained by a particular form of evolutionary psychology. While the core claims of punishment naturalism are deeply attractive and intuitive, they are contradicted by a broad array of studies and depend on a number of logical missteps. The most obvious shortcoming of punishment naturalism is that it ignores empirical research demonstrating deep disagreements over what constitutes a wrongful act and just how wrongful it should be ...


Political Versus Administrative Justice, Stephanos Bibas Aug 2008

Political Versus Administrative Justice, Stephanos Bibas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This comment responds to an essay by Rachel Barkow, which insightfully links the decline of mercy in American criminal justice to the rise of a rule-of-law ideal inspired by administrative law. This comment notes the dangers of the administrative, rule-focused, judiciocentric approach to criminal justice. Instead, it suggests a more political approach, with more judicial deference to political actors and less judicial policing of equal treatment. The essay by Rachel Barkow to which this comment responds, as well as other authors' comments on this essay and the author's reply to those comments, can be found at http://www.law ...


Invasions Of Conscience And Faked Apologies, Stephanos Bibas Jun 2008

Invasions Of Conscience And Faked Apologies, Stephanos Bibas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This comment responds to an essay by Jeffrie Murphy, which powerfully notes the limitations and dangers of using remorse and apology as metrics for punishment. But the state is more justified in teaching lessons than Murphy suggests, and retributivism ought to make more room for victim vindication and satisfaction. Gauging sincerity, while difficult, is not impossible. In the end, Murphy offers strong reasons to be cautious. But a humane society ought to be more willing to take chances and, having punished, to forgive. The essay by Jeffrie Murphy to which this comment responds, as well as other authors' comments on ...