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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 ...


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 ...


Draft Report Of The Somali Criminal Law Recodification Initiative, Paul H. Robinson, Criminal Law Research Group Mar 2017

Draft Report Of The Somali Criminal Law Recodification Initiative, Paul H. Robinson, Criminal Law Research Group

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The Government of Somalia and the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) jointly commissioned the drafting of a modern criminal code for Somalia that embodies fundamental Islamic principles. The proposed code developed by the Criminal Law Research Group in cooperation with the major Somali players of the criminal justice process is a modern and comprehensive penal code incorporating numerous cutting-edge innovations in drafting forms, code structure, and criminal law doctrine. It is also the first and only such code incorporating the major tenets and principles of Islamic law as currently practiced in Somalia. This two-volume report to the Somali Working Group ...


Strict Liability's Criminogenic Effect, Paul H. Robinson Jan 2017

Strict Liability's Criminogenic Effect, Paul H. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

It is easy to understand the apparent appeal of strict liability to policymakers and legal reformers seeking to reduce crime: if the criminal law can do away with its traditional culpability requirement, it can increase the likelihood of conviction and punishment of those who engage in prohibited conduct or bring about prohibited harm or evil. And such an increase in punishment rate can enhance the crime-control effectiveness of a system built upon general deterrence or incapacitation of the dangerous. Similar arguments support the use of criminal liability for regulatory offenses. Greater punishment rates suggest greater compliance.

But this analysis fails ...


Ineffective Assistance Of Counsel Before Powell V. Alabama: Lessons From History For The Future Of The Right To Counsel, Sara Mayeux Jul 2014

Ineffective Assistance Of Counsel Before Powell V. Alabama: Lessons From History For The Future Of The Right To Counsel, Sara Mayeux

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The doctrinal literature on ineffective assistance of counsel typically begins with the 1932 Supreme Court case of Powell v. Alabama. This symposium contribution goes back farther, locating the IAC doctrine’s origins in a series of state cases from the 1880s through the 1920s. At common law, the traditional agency rule held that counsel incompetence was never grounds for a new trial. Between the 1880s and the 1920s, state appellate judges chipped away at that rule, developing a more flexible doctrine that allowed appellate courts to reverse criminal convictions in cases where, because of egregious attorney ineptitude, there was reason ...


Criminal (In)Justice And Democracy In America, Stephanos Bibas Mar 2013

Criminal (In)Justice And Democracy In America, Stephanos Bibas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This essay responds to Nicola Lacey’s review of my recent book The Machinery of Criminal Justice (Oxford Univ. Press 2012). Lacey entirely overlooks the book’s fundamental distinction between making criminal justice policy wholesale and adjudicating deserved punishment at the retail level, in individual cases, which is quite consistent with keeping but tempering rules. She also undervalues America’s deep commitments to federalism, localism, and democratic self-government and overlooks the related problem of agency costs in criminal justice. Her top-down approach colors her desire to pursue equality judicially, to the exclusion of the political branches. Finally, Lacey denigrates the ...


Incompetent Plea Bargaining And Extrajudicial Reforms, Stephanos Bibas Nov 2012

Incompetent Plea Bargaining And Extrajudicial Reforms, Stephanos Bibas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Last year, in Lafler v. Cooper and Missouri v. Frye, a five-to-four majority of the Supreme Court held that incompetent lawyering that causes a defendant to reject a plea offer can constitute deficient performance, and the resulting loss of a favorable plea bargain can constitute cognizable prejudice, under the Sixth Amendment. This commentary, published as part of the Harvard Law Review’s Supreme Court issue, analyzes both decisions. The majority and dissenting opinions almost talked past each other, reaching starkly different conclusions because they started from opposing premises: contemporary and pragmatic versus historical and formalist. Belatedly, the Court noticed that ...


Prison, Foster Care, And The Systemic Punishment Of Black Mothers, Dorothy E. Roberts Aug 2012

Prison, Foster Care, And The Systemic Punishment Of Black Mothers, Dorothy E. Roberts

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This article is part of a UCLA Law Review symposium, “Overpoliced and Underprotected: Women, Race, and Criminalization.” It analyzes how the U.S. prison and foster care systems work together to punish black mothers in a way that helps to preserve race, gender, and class inequalities in a neoliberal age. The intersection of these systems is only one example of many forms of overpolicing that overlap and converge in the lives of poor women of color. I examine the statistical overlap between the prison and foster care populations, the simultaneous explosion of both systems in recent decades, the injuries that ...


Taming Negotiated Justice, Stephanos Bibas Jun 2012

Taming Negotiated Justice, Stephanos Bibas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

After four decades of neglecting laissez-faire plea bargaining, the Supreme Court got it right. In Missouri v. Frye and Lafler v. Cooper, the Court recognized that the Sixth Amendment regulates plea bargaining. Thus, the Court held that criminal defendants can challenge deficient advice that causes them to reject favorable plea bargains and receive heavier sentences after trial. Finally, the Court has brought law to the shadowy plea-bargaining bazaar.

Writing in dissent, Justice Scalia argued that the majority’s opinion “opens a whole new boutique of constitutional jurisprudence (‘plea-bargaining law’).” To which I say: it is about time the Court developed ...


Extralegal Punishment Factors: A Study Of Forgiveness, Hardship, Good-Deeds, Apology, Remorse, And Other Such Discretionary Factors In Assessing Criminal Punishment, Paul H. Robinson, Sean Jackowitz, Daniel M. Bartels Jan 2012

Extralegal Punishment Factors: A Study Of Forgiveness, Hardship, Good-Deeds, Apology, Remorse, And Other Such Discretionary Factors In Assessing Criminal Punishment, Paul H. Robinson, Sean Jackowitz, Daniel M. Bartels

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The criminal law's formal criteria for assessing punishment are typically contained in criminal codes, the rules of which fix an offender's liability and the grade of the offense. A look at how the punishment decision-making process actually works, however, suggests that courts and other decisionmakers frequently go beyond the formal legal factors and take account of what might be called "extralegal punishment factors" (XPFs).

XPFs, the subject of this Article, include matters as diverse as an offender's apology, remorse, history of good or bad deeds, public acknowledgment of guilt, special talents, old age, extralegal suffering from the ...


The Machinery Of Criminal Justice, Stephanos Bibas Jan 2012

The Machinery Of Criminal Justice, Stephanos Bibas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Two centuries ago, the American criminal justice was run primarily by laymen. Jury trials passed moral judgment on crimes, vindicated victims and innocent defendants, and denounced the guilty. But over the last two centuries, lawyers have taken over the process, silencing victims and defendants and, in many cases, substituting a plea-bargaining system for the voice of the jury. The public sees little of how this assembly-line justice works, and victims and defendants have largely lost their day in court. As a result, victims rarely hear defendants express remorse and apologize, and defendants rarely receive forgiveness. This lawyerized machinery has purchased ...


The Pitfalls Of Professionalized Prosecution: A Response To Josh Bowers's "Legal Guilt, Normative Innocence, And The Equitable Decision Not To Prosecute", Stephanos Bibas Jan 2011

The Pitfalls Of Professionalized Prosecution: A Response To Josh Bowers's "Legal Guilt, Normative Innocence, And The Equitable Decision Not To Prosecute", Stephanos Bibas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This short essay responds to Josh Bowers’ article Legal Guilt, Normative Innocence, and the Equitable Decision Not to Prosecute. While most scholars focus on the most visible injustices in the most serious cases, Bowers rightly notes that this sliver of serious felonies is dwarfed by the mountain of minor, low-visibility misdemeanors and violations. Prosecutors are reasonably good at classifying crimes based on legal guilt and administrative criteria, but are far worse at weighing all the particulars and exercising equitable discretion. Our consistent faith in prosecutors’ expertise, Bowers argues, is not only misguided but backwards; we should value outsiders’ fresh perspectives ...


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.


Advising Noncitizen Defendants On The Immigration Consequences Of Criminal Convictions: The Ethical Answer For The Criminal Defense Lawyer, The Court, And The Sixth Amendment, Yolanda Vazquez Dec 2010

Advising Noncitizen Defendants On The Immigration Consequences Of Criminal Convictions: The Ethical Answer For The Criminal Defense Lawyer, The Court, And The Sixth Amendment, Yolanda Vazquez

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This Article discusses the tension between the Sixth Amendment analysis by courts on the issue of immigration consequences of criminal convictions and the moral and ethical duties that an attorney owes his noncitizen client. Under the majority of jurisdictions, federal circuit and state courts hold that there is no duty to advise on this issue because they are deemed to be “collateral”. However, a growing number of these jurisdictions have begun to find a Sixth Amendment violation for failure to advise. These jurisdictions have created a Sixth Amendment duty only when: 1) the attorney “knew or should have known” the ...


Final Report Of The Maldivian Penal Law & Sentencing Codification Project: Text Of Draft Code (Volume 1) And Official Commentary (Volume 2), Paul H. Robinson, Criminal Law Research Group -- University Of Pennsylvania Jan 2006

Final Report Of The Maldivian Penal Law & Sentencing Codification Project: Text Of Draft Code (Volume 1) And Official Commentary (Volume 2), Paul H. Robinson, Criminal Law Research Group -- University Of Pennsylvania

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The United Nations Development Programme and the Government of the Maldives commissioned the drafting of a penal code based upon existing Maldivian law, which meant primarily a codification of Shari'a. This is the Final Report of that codification project. A description of the process that produced this Report and the drafting principles behind it, as well as a discussion of the special challenges of codifying Islamic criminal law, are contained in an article at http://ssrn.com/abstract=941443.