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Full-Text Articles in Law

Drug Supervision, Jacob Schuman Jan 2022

Drug Supervision, Jacob Schuman

Journal Articles

Critics of harsh drug sentencing laws in the United States typically focus on long prison sentences. But the American criminal justice system also inflicts a significant volume of drug-related punishment through community supervision (probation, parole, and supervised release). Over one million people are under supervision due to a drug conviction, and drug activity is among the most common reasons for violations. In an age of “mass supervision,” community supervision is a major form of drug sentencing and drug policy.

In this Article, I analyze the federal system of supervised release as a form of drug policy. Congress created supervised release …


Revocation And Retribution, Jacob Schuman Jan 2021

Revocation And Retribution, Jacob Schuman

Journal Articles

Revocation of community supervision is a defining feature of American criminal law. Nearly 4.5 million people in the United States are on parole, probation, or supervised release, and 1/3 eventually have their supervision revoked, sending 350,000 to prison each year. Academics, activists, and attorneys warn that “mass supervision” has become a powerful engine of mass incarceration.

This is the first Article to study theories of punishment in revocation of community supervision, focusing on the federal system of supervised release. Federal courts apply a primarily retributive theory of revocation, aiming to sanction defendants for their “breach of trust.” However, the structure, …


Probability And Punishment: How To Improve Sentencing By Taking Account Of Probability, Jacob Schuman Jan 2015

Probability And Punishment: How To Improve Sentencing By Taking Account Of Probability, Jacob Schuman

Journal Articles

The United States Sentencing Guidelines place little emphasis on probability. Instead, the Guidelines recommend a sentence in each case based only on whether certain facts about the offender’s crime exceed a “threshold” level of likelihood. Guidelines sentences therefore fail to reflect the precise odds of each defendant’s wrongdoing, which makes them both inefficient and unfair. This model of decision-making is particularly problematic in drug sentencing, where judges often impose lengthy sentences based on drug quantity calculations that carry a high risk of error. To address these problems, district courts should exercise their discretion and policymakers should implement reforms that incorporate …


Ultracrepidarianism In Forensic Science: The Hair Evidence Debacle, David H. Kaye Jan 2015

Ultracrepidarianism In Forensic Science: The Hair Evidence Debacle, David H. Kaye

Journal Articles

For over 130 years, scientific sleuths have been inspecting hairs under microscopes. Late in 2012, the FBI, the Innocence Project, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers joined forces to review thousands of microscopic hair comparisons performed by FBI examiners over several of those decades. The results have been astounding. Based on the first few hundred cases in which hairs were said to match, it appears that examiners “exceeded the limits of science” in over 90% of their reports or testimony. The disclosure of this statistic has led to charges that the FBI “faked an entire field of forensic …


Sentencing Rules And Standards: How We Decide Criminal Punishment, Jacob Schuman Jan 2015

Sentencing Rules And Standards: How We Decide Criminal Punishment, Jacob Schuman

Journal Articles

Over the course of the past 300 years, American sentencing policy has alternated between “determinate” and “indeterminate” systems of deciding punishment. Debates over sentence determinacy have so far focused on three main questions: Who should decide punishment? What makes punishment fair? And why should we punish wrongdoers at all?

In this Article, I ask a new, fourth, question: How should we decide punishment? I show that determinate sentencing uses rules to determine sentences, while indeterminate sentencing relies on standards. Applying this insight to federal sentencing practice, I demonstrate that district court judges “depart” or “vary” from the United States Sentencing …


Teaching The Art Of Defending A White Collar Criminal Case, Katrice Bridges Copeland Jan 2014

Teaching The Art Of Defending A White Collar Criminal Case, Katrice Bridges Copeland

Journal Articles

This Article discusses the author's experience with effectively teaching a white collar crime course.


Getting Beyond Intuition In The Probable Cause Inquiry, Erica R. Goldberg Jan 2013

Getting Beyond Intuition In The Probable Cause Inquiry, Erica R. Goldberg

Journal Articles

Courts are proudly resigned to the fact that the probable cause inquiry is “nontechnical.” In order to conduct a search or make an arrest, police need to satisfy the probable cause standard, which the Supreme Court has deemed “incapable of precise definition or quantification into percentages.” The flexibility of this standard enables courts to defer to police officers’ reasonable judgments and expert intuitions in unique situations. However, police officers are increasingly using investigative techniques that replace their own observational skills with test results from some other source, such as drug sniffing dogs, facial recognition technology, and DNA matching. The reliability …


Justice Blackmun's Mark On Criminal Law And Procedure, Kit Kinports Jan 1999

Justice Blackmun's Mark On Criminal Law And Procedure, Kit Kinports

Journal Articles

When Justice Blackmun was nominated to the Court in 1970, Americans were consumed with the idea of crime control. In the 1968 presidential campaign, Richard Nixon had called the Supreme Court "soft on crime" and had promised to "put 'law and order' judges on the Court." While sitting on the Eighth Circuit, the Justice had "seldom struck down searches, seizures, arrests or confessions," and most of his opinions in criminal cases had "affirmed guilty verdicts and sentences." Thus, according to one commentator, Justice Blackmun seemed to be "exactly what Nixon was looking for: a judge who believed in judicial restraint, …


Habeas Corpus, Qualified Immunity, And Crystal Balls: Predicting The Course Of Constitutional Law, Kit Kinports Jan 1991

Habeas Corpus, Qualified Immunity, And Crystal Balls: Predicting The Course Of Constitutional Law, Kit Kinports

Journal Articles

After describing the basic legal and policy issues surrounding the qualified immunity defense and the use of novelty to explain procedural defaults in habeas cases, Part I of this article advocates a standard for both types of cases that asks whether a person exercising reasonable diligence in the same circumstances would have been aware of the relevant constitutional principles. With this standard in mind, Part II examines the qualified immunity defense in detail, concluding that in many cases public officials are given immunity even though they unreasonably failed to recognize the constitutional implications of their conduct. Part III compares the …