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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 ...


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 ...


What's Wrong With Sentencing Equality?, Richard A. Bierschbach, Stephanos Bibas Jan 2016

What's Wrong With Sentencing Equality?, Richard A. Bierschbach, Stephanos Bibas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Equality in criminal sentencing often translates into equalizing outcomes and stamping out variations, whether race-based, geographic, or random. This approach conflates the concept of equality with one contestable conception focused on outputs and numbers, not inputs and processes. Racial equality is crucial, but a concern with eliminating racism has hypertrophied well beyond race. Equalizing outcomes seems appealing as a neutral way to dodge contentious substantive policy debates about the purposes of punishment. But it actually privileges deterrence and incapacitation over rehabilitation, subjective elements of retribution, and procedural justice, and it provides little normative guidance for punishment. It also has unintended ...


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 ...


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 ...


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.


Of Neocolonialism, Common Law And Uncodifiable Shari’A: A Reply To Professor An-Na’Im, Paul H. Robinson, Adnan Zulfiqar Apr 2007

Of Neocolonialism, Common Law And Uncodifiable Shari’A: A Reply To Professor An-Na’Im, Paul H. Robinson, Adnan Zulfiqar

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In an earlier article -- Robinson et al., Codifying Shari'a: International Norms, Legality & the Freedom to Invent New Forms, http://ssrn.com/abstract=941443 -- the authors report the challenges and opportunities that arose during their commission by the United Nations Development Programme and the Government of the Maldives to produce the first modern comprehensive criminal code based upon Shari'a. In this brief essay they respond to published criticisms of that project, which asserted, among other things, that Shari'a cannot be codified, that it should not be codified, that the project was a shameful exercise in neocolonialism, that the ...


Codifying Shari'a: International Norms, Legality & The Freedom To Invent New Forms, Paul H. Robinson, Adnan Zulfiqar, Margaret Kammerud, Michael Orchowski, Elizabeth A. Gerlach, Adam L. Pollock, Thomas M. O'Brien, John C. Lin, Tom Stenson, Negar Katirai, J. John Lee, Marc Aaron Melzer Nov 2006

Codifying Shari'a: International Norms, Legality & The Freedom To Invent New Forms, Paul H. Robinson, Adnan Zulfiqar, Margaret Kammerud, Michael Orchowski, Elizabeth A. Gerlach, Adam L. Pollock, Thomas M. O'Brien, John C. Lin, Tom Stenson, Negar Katirai, J. John Lee, Marc Aaron Melzer

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The United Nations Development Program and the Republic of the Maldives, a small Muslim country with a constitutional democracy, commissioned this project to craft the country's first system of codified penal law and sentencing guidelines. This Article describes the special challenges and opportunities encountered while drafting a penal code based on Shari'a (Islamic law). On the one hand, such comprehensive codification is more important and more likely to bring dramatic improvements in the quality of justice than in many other societies, due in large part to the problems of assuring fair notice and fair adjudication in the uncodified ...


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.


Regulating Local Variations In Federal Sentencing, Stephanos Bibas Oct 2005

Regulating Local Variations In Federal Sentencing, Stephanos Bibas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Though in theory federal criminal law applies uniformly in all places, in practice federal charging, plea bargaining, and sentencing practices vary widely from place to place. Sentencing disparities are good when they reflect local knowledge about local crime problems and concerns. They are bad when they spring from bias, local lawyers' and judges' hostility to national policy choices or perhaps when they reflect disagreement with federal strategies. This Article critiques fast-track programs, which award huge discounts in immigration and drug cases along the southwest border, as bad variation that undermines the ideal of national uniformity. It then considers the wide ...