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Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology

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Felony Murder Liability For Homicides By Police: Too Unfair And Too Much To Bear, Maria T. Kolar Jan 2023

Felony Murder Liability For Homicides By Police: Too Unfair And Too Much To Bear, Maria T. Kolar

Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology

On November 23, 2020, a fifteen-year-old boy was gunned down by five Oklahoma City police officers, after he exited a convenience store and dropped the gun that he and a sixteen-year-old partner had earlier used to rob the store’s owner. Initially, the boy’s non-present partner was charged with first-degree (felony) murder for this killing. But after months of efforts by the boy’s mother and local activists, the district attorney also charged five officers with first-degree manslaughter for this same killing.

This case raises the question of whether Oklahoma—or any American state—can convict a defendant of felony murder based upon a …


The Problem Of Habitual Offender Laws In States With Felony Disenfranchisement, Daniel Loehr Jan 2023

The Problem Of Habitual Offender Laws In States With Felony Disenfranchisement, Daniel Loehr

Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology

Habitual offender laws operate to increase the sentence of an individual if that person already has a felony conviction. At the same time, many people with felony convictions cannot vote or run for office due to felony disenfranchisement laws. Thus, habitual offender laws target a formally disenfranchised group—people with felony convictions. That creates an archetypal political process problem. As John Hart Ely argued, laws that target a formally disenfranchised group are tainted and deserve heightened constitutional scrutiny. When reviewing habitual offender laws under the Eighth Amendment, however, courts have applied the opposite of heightened scrutiny—they have applied an extreme form …


Restorative Justice Diversion As A Structural Health Intervention In The Criminal Legal System, Thalia González Jan 2023

Restorative Justice Diversion As A Structural Health Intervention In The Criminal Legal System, Thalia González

Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology

A new discourse at the intersection of criminal justice and public health is bringing to light how exposure to the ordinariness of racism in the criminal legal system—whether in policing practices or carceral settings—leads to extraordinary outcomes in health. Drawing on empirical evidence of the deleterious health effects of system involvement coupled with new threats posed by COVID-19, advocates and academics have increasingly called for race-conscious public health-driven reforms to carcerality in the United States. Recognizing the significance of health to carceral reform, the initiation of a health justice grounded lexicon in criminal justice has opened the doorway to new …


Policing The Danger Narrative, Avlana K. Eisenberg Jan 2023

Policing The Danger Narrative, Avlana K. Eisenberg

Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology

The clamor for police reform in the United States has reached a fever pitch. The current debate has mainly centered around questions of police function: What functions should police perform, and how should they perform them to avoid injustice and unnecessary harm? This Article, in contrast, focuses on a central aspect of police culture—namely, how police envision their relationship to those policed. It exposes the vast reach of a deeply engrained “danger narrative” and demonstrates the disastrous consequences that this narrative has helped to bring about. Reinforced by police training, codified by courts, and broadly deployed, the danger narrative is …


Are Police Officers Bayesians? Police Updating In Investigative Stops, Jeffrey Fagan, Lila Nojima Jan 2023

Are Police Officers Bayesians? Police Updating In Investigative Stops, Jeffrey Fagan, Lila Nojima

Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology

Theories of rational behavior assume that actors make decisions where the benefits of their acts exceed their costs or losses. If those expected costs and benefits change over time, the behavior will change accordingly as actors learn and internalize the parameters of success and failure. In the context of proactive policing, police stops that achieve any of several goals—constitutional compliance, stops that lead to “good” arrests or summonses, stops that lead to seizures of weapons, drugs, or other contraband, or stops that produce good will and citizen cooperation—should signal to officers the features of a stop that increase its rewards …


Beyond Due Process: An Examination Of The Restorative Justice Community Courts Of Chicago, Jackie O'Brien Jan 2023

Beyond Due Process: An Examination Of The Restorative Justice Community Courts Of Chicago, Jackie O'Brien

Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology

As American society has reckoned with the harmful effects of mass incarceration, there has been a push to consider alternative forms of achieving justice. Restorative justice is one such method. A transformative approach to conflict resolution inspired by the traditions and practices of indigenous peoples, restorative justice offers a comprehensive means of addressing harm, emphasizing the community, rather than the single act that caused harm. Many jurisdictions and communities have turned to restorative justice to divert cases from the punitive criminal legal system. While there are variations in programs and approaches, many communities integrate restorative justice practices as a means …


Casting A Ballot For Change: How To Overcome Jail Policy Deficiencies And The O’Brien Precedent To Expand Voting Rights For Jailed Individuals, Lorellee Kampschnieder Jan 2023

Casting A Ballot For Change: How To Overcome Jail Policy Deficiencies And The O’Brien Precedent To Expand Voting Rights For Jailed Individuals, Lorellee Kampschnieder

Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology

Prior to the 2020 election, lawmakers in several states sought to expand voting rights for individuals with felony convictions, and while this work is important, a large swath of voters who legally never lost the right to vote are still unable to do so because they are detained in jail. These individuals, often detained prior to trial, have the right to vote pursuant to a 1974 Supreme Court ruling in O’Brien v. Skinner. However, despite the clear legal precedent protecting voting rights for those in jail, the right remains unrealized for most incarcerated individuals due to numerous barriers. Some localities, …


Qualified Immunity And Unqualified Assumptions, Teressa E. Ravenell, Riley H. Ross Iii Jan 2022

Qualified Immunity And Unqualified Assumptions, Teressa E. Ravenell, Riley H. Ross Iii

Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology

Section 1983 gives people the right to sue a government official for violating their constitutional rights. Qualified immunity provides these same officials with an affirmative defense -- even if they violated the constitution, they are not liable for monetary damages if the right at issue was not clearly established at the time of the alleged conduct. The qualified immunity is based upon the basic assumption that “a reasonably competent public official should know the law governing his conduct.” If the law was clearly established the official will be liable. If not, the Court has reasoned that it would be unfair …


Prison Medical Deaths And Qualified Immunity, Andrea Craig Armstrong Jan 2022

Prison Medical Deaths And Qualified Immunity, Andrea Craig Armstrong

Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology

The defense of qualified immunity for claims seeking monetary damages for constitutionally inadequate medical care for people who are incarcerated is misguided. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, medical illness is the leading cause of death of people incarcerated in prisons and jails across the United States. Qualified immunity in these cases limits accountability for carceral actors, thereby limiting incentives for improvements in the delivery of constitutionally adequate medical care. The qualified immunity defense also compounds other existing barriers, such as higher subjective intent standards and the Prison Litigation Reform Act, to asserting legal accountability of prison and jail …


Recalibrating Qualified Immunity: How Tanzin V. Tanvir, Taylor V. Riojas, And Mccoy V. Alamu Signal The Supreme Court's Discomfort With The Doctrine Of Qualified Immunity, Patrick Jaicomo, Anya Bidwell Jan 2022

Recalibrating Qualified Immunity: How Tanzin V. Tanvir, Taylor V. Riojas, And Mccoy V. Alamu Signal The Supreme Court's Discomfort With The Doctrine Of Qualified Immunity, Patrick Jaicomo, Anya Bidwell

Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology

In December 2020, the United States Supreme Court issued its most important decision on qualified immunity since Harlow v. Fitzgerald, and the issue in the case did not even involve the doctrine. In the Court’s unanimous opinion in Tanzin v. Tanvir, which dealt with the interpretation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Justice Thomas explicitly distanced the Court from the very type of policy reasoning used to create qualified immunity. He also embraced the availability of damages claims against government officials as historically justified and often necessary to vindicate individual rights and to check the government’s power. The …


Policing Suspicion: Qualified Immunity And "Clearly Established" Standards Of Proof, Seth W. Stoughton, Kyle Mclean, Justin Nix, Geoffrey Alpert Jan 2022

Policing Suspicion: Qualified Immunity And "Clearly Established" Standards Of Proof, Seth W. Stoughton, Kyle Mclean, Justin Nix, Geoffrey Alpert

Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology

This Article explores the intersection of Fourth Amendment standards of proof and the “clearly established” prong of qualified immunity. It illustrates how the juxtaposition of the Court’s insistence on a low level of specificity for the development of suspicion and a high degree of specificity for the imposition of liability makes it exceedingly difficult to hold officers accountable for violating constitutional rights. And it offers both a path for future research into the development of suspicion and suggestions for methods that police agencies can use to improve the development and articulation of suspicion. Ultimately, it contends that policing in the …


Civil Rights Litigation In The Lower Courts: The Justice Barrett Edition, Aaron L. Nielson, Paul Stancil Jan 2022

Civil Rights Litigation In The Lower Courts: The Justice Barrett Edition, Aaron L. Nielson, Paul Stancil

Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology

Now that Justice Amy Coney Barrett has joined the United States Supreme Court, most observers predict the law will shift on many issues. This common view presumably contains at least some truth. The conventional wisdom, however, overlooks something important: the Supreme Court’s ability to shift the law is constrained by the cases presented to it and how they are presented. Lower courts are thus an important part of the equation. Elsewhere, the authors have offered a model of certiorari to demonstrate how lower courts in theory can design their decisions to evade Supreme Court review; they also explain why such …


How Culture Impacts Courtrooms: An Empirical Study Of Alienation And Detachment In The Cook County Court System, Maria Hawilo, Kat Albrecht, Meredith Martin Rountree, Thomas Geraghty Jan 2022

How Culture Impacts Courtrooms: An Empirical Study Of Alienation And Detachment In The Cook County Court System, Maria Hawilo, Kat Albrecht, Meredith Martin Rountree, Thomas Geraghty

Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology

Courtrooms operate as unique microcosms—inhabited by courtroom personnel, legal actors, defendants, witnesses, family members, and community residents who necessarily interact with each other to conduct the day-to-day functions of justice. This Article argues that these interactions create a nuanced and salient courtroom culture that separates courtroom insiders from courtroom outsiders. The authors use the Cook County courts, specifically the George N. Leighton Courthouse at 2650 S California Avenue in Chicago, Illinois, to investigate courtroom culture and construct a thematic portrait of one of the largest criminal court systems in the United States. Using this newly constructed data source of rich …


Risk-Based Sentencing And The Principles Of Punishment, Christopher Lewis Jan 2022

Risk-Based Sentencing And The Principles Of Punishment, Christopher Lewis

Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology

Risk-based sentencing regimes use an offender’s statistical likelihood of returning to crime in the future to determine the amount of time he or she spends in prison. Many criminal justice reformers see this as a fair and efficient way to shrink the size of the incarcerated population, while minimizing sacrifices to public safety. But risk-based sentencing is indefensible even (and perhaps especially) by the lights of the theory that supposedly justifies it. Instead of trying to cut time in prison for those who are least likely to reoffend, officials should focus sentencing reform on the least advantaged who tend to …


Fetal Protection Laws And The "Personhood" Problem: Toward A Relational Theory Of Fetal Life And Reproductive Responsibility, Amanda Gvozden Jan 2022

Fetal Protection Laws And The "Personhood" Problem: Toward A Relational Theory Of Fetal Life And Reproductive Responsibility, Amanda Gvozden

Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology

Fetal Protection Laws (FPLs) are laws that define and provide punishments for any number of crimes, including homicide, committed “against a fetus.” Previous literature has suggested that FPLs need to be explicit about who the intended target of this legislation is. Specifically, comments concerned about the use of FPLs against pregnant women in relation to their own pregnancies suggested that states include language in their FPLs that make it clear that the law ought not be applied to women for harm to their own fetuses. Indeed, some states like California have taken measures to curtail the application of FPLs to …


Protecting The Substantive Due Process Rights Of Immigrant Detainees: Using Covid-19 To Create A New Analogy, Liamarie Quinde Jan 2022

Protecting The Substantive Due Process Rights Of Immigrant Detainees: Using Covid-19 To Create A New Analogy, Liamarie Quinde

Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology

While the Supreme Court has defined certain constitutional protections for incarcerated individuals, the Court has never clearly defined the due process rights of immigrant detainees in the United States. Instead, the Supreme Court defers to the due process protections set by Congress when enacting U.S. immigration law. Increasingly, the federal courts defer to Congress and the Executive’s plenary power over immigration law and enforcement. This has resulted in little intervention in immigration matters by the federal courts, causing the difference between immigration detention and criminal incarceration to diminish in both organization and appearance. Immigration detention, however, is a form of …


Reconceiving Coercion-Based Criminal Defenses, Stephen R. Galoob, Erin Sheley Jan 2022

Reconceiving Coercion-Based Criminal Defenses, Stephen R. Galoob, Erin Sheley

Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology

Coercing someone is sometimes wrong and sometimes a crime. People subject to coercion are sometimes eligible for criminaldefenses, such as duress. How, exactly, does coercion operate in such contexts? Among legal scholars, the predominant understanding of coercion is the “wrongful pressure” model, which states that coercion exists when the coercer wrongfully threatens the target and, as a result of this threat, the target is pressured to act in accordance with the coercer’s threat. Some tokens of coercion do not fit neatly within existing legal categories or the wrongful pressure model of coercion. For example, coercive control is a psychological phenomenon …


Getting Out Of Traffic: Applying White Collar Investigative Tactics To Increase Detection Of Sex Trafficking Cases, Evan Binder Jan 2022

Getting Out Of Traffic: Applying White Collar Investigative Tactics To Increase Detection Of Sex Trafficking Cases, Evan Binder

Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology

When federal authorities investigate sex trafficking, three realities are consistently present. First, most sex trafficking investigations begin in response to an individual affirmatively bringing evidence to investigators. Second, the elements required to prove a someone guilty of sex trafficking under federal sex trafficking laws incentivize prosecutors to rely on victim testimony and their cooperation throughout the life of the investigation. This can be, and often is, psychologically traumatizing for the victim. Third, most cases are viewed through a traditional tripartite structure, involving the trafficker, the victim(s), and the purchasers of the sex act (johns). However, recent high-profile sex trafficking indictments …


Is Juvenile Probation Obsolete? Reexamining And Reimagining Youth Probation Law, Policy, And Practice, Patricia Soung Jan 2022

Is Juvenile Probation Obsolete? Reexamining And Reimagining Youth Probation Law, Policy, And Practice, Patricia Soung

Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology

The dramatic growth of prison populations in the United States during the latter half of the twentieth century, as well as the problems of over-policing and police misconduct, have been well documented and decried.1 But the related expansion and problems of community supervision receive far less attention. Across the nation, reform efforts have increasingly included a focus on probation, especially juvenile probation, as an actor that both jails and polices youth in the community while also trying to rehabilitate them and promote their well-being. This Article studies the juvenile probation system, with a focus on California as one important …


Paying For A Clean Record, Amy F. Kimpel Jan 2022

Paying For A Clean Record, Amy F. Kimpel

Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology

Prosecutors and courts often charge a premium for the ability to avoid or erase a criminal conviction. Defendants with means, who tend to be predominantly White, can often pay for a clean record. But the indigent who are unable to pay, and are disproportionately Black and Brown, are saddled with the stigma of a criminal record. Diversion and expungement are two popular reforms that were promulgated as ways to reduce the scale of the criminal legal system and mitigate the impact of mass criminalization. Diversion allows a defendant to earn dismissal of a charge by satisfying conditions set by the …


A Trauma-Centered Approach To Addressing Hate Crimes, Avlana Eisenberg Jan 2022

A Trauma-Centered Approach To Addressing Hate Crimes, Avlana Eisenberg

Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology

A dominant justification for hate crime laws is that they serve a crucial expressive function—sending messages of valuation to victims, and of denunciation to defendants. Yet, as this Essay will demonstrate, the focus on criminalizing hate—through the enactment of either sentencing enhancements or stand-alone hate crime statutes—has resulted in a thin conception of messaging that fails to recognize the limitations of the criminal law in addressing psychic harm.

This Essay argues that a more robust approach to addressing hate crimes must consider alternatives—beyond incarceration—that would center the trauma associated with hate crimes. This includes restorative justice models that might benefit …


Rethinking Prison For Non-Violent Gun Possession, Robert Weiss Jan 2022

Rethinking Prison For Non-Violent Gun Possession, Robert Weiss

Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology

Whatever the wisdom or folly of the belief, Americans who live in violence-affected neighborhoods often believe they need a gun for self-defense. Yet many are, due to age or criminal record, unable to legally possess a firearm. The result is a Catch-22 they describe as either being “caught with a gun . . . [or] dead without one.” Indeed, Chicago, Philadelphia, and other cities imprison thousands of mostly young, Black men each year for non-violent gun offenses. These offenses do not involve firing or wielding a gun, but simply being found in possession of one—commonly, during a routine traffic stop …


Reframing Hate, Lu-In Wang Jan 2022

Reframing Hate, Lu-In Wang

Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology

The concept and naming of “hate crime,” and the adoption of special laws to address it, provoked controversy and raised fundamental questions when they were introduced in the 1980s. In the decades since, neither hate crime itself nor those hotly debated questions have abated. To the contrary, hate crime has increased in recent years—although the prominent target groups have shifted over time—and the debate over hate crime laws has reignited as well. The still-open questions range from the philosophical to the doctrinal to the pragmatic: What justifies the enhanced punishment that hate crime laws impose based on the perpetrator’s motivation? …


Pick The Lowest Hanging Fruit: Hate Crime Law And The Acknowledgment Of Racial Violence, Jeannine Bell Jan 2022

Pick The Lowest Hanging Fruit: Hate Crime Law And The Acknowledgment Of Racial Violence, Jeannine Bell

Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology

The U.S. has had remedies aimed at racial violence since the Ku Klux Klan Act was passed in the 1870s. Hate crime law, which is more than thirty years old, is the most recent incarnation. The passage of hate crime law, first at the federal level and later by the states, has done very little to slow the rising tide of bigotry. After a brief discussion of state and federal hate crime law, this Article will critically examine the country’s approach to hate crime. The article will then discuss one of the most prevalent forms of hate crime—bias-motivated violence that …


The Conundrums Of Hate Crime Prevention, Shirin Sinnar Jan 2022

The Conundrums Of Hate Crime Prevention, Shirin Sinnar

Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology

The recent surge in hate crimes alongside persistent concerns over policing and prisons has catalyzed new interest in hate crime prevention outside the criminal legal system. While policymakers, civil rights groups, and people in targeted communities internally disagree on the value of hate crime laws and law enforcement responses to hate crimes, they often converge in advocating measures that could prevent hate crimes from occurring in the first place. Those measures potentially include educational initiatives, conflict resolution programs, political reforms, social services, or other proactive efforts aimed at the root causes of hate crimes.

Focusing on the public conversation around …


U.S. Hate Crime Trends: What Disaggregation Of Three Decades Of Data Reveals About A Changing Threat And An Invisible Record, Brian Levin, James Nolan, Kiana Perst Jan 2022

U.S. Hate Crime Trends: What Disaggregation Of Three Decades Of Data Reveals About A Changing Threat And An Invisible Record, Brian Levin, James Nolan, Kiana Perst

Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology

When prejudice-related data are combined and analyzed over time, critical information is uncovered about overall trends, related intermittent spikes, and less common sharp inflectional shifts in aggression. These shifts impact social cohesion and grievously harm specific sub-groups when aggression escalates and is redirected or mainstreamed. These data, so critical to public policy formation, show that we are in such a historic inflection period now. Moreover, analysis of the latest, though partial Federal Bureau of Investigation hate crime data release, when overlaid with available data from excluded large jurisdictions, reveals hate crimes hit a record high in 2021 in the United …


Unshackling Plea Bargaining From Racial Bias, Elayne E. Greenberg Jan 2021

Unshackling Plea Bargaining From Racial Bias, Elayne E. Greenberg

Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology

“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, [but] if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”

Dr. Maya Angelou

When an African American male defendant tries to plea bargain an equitable justice outcome, he finds that the deep-rooted racial bias that casts African American men as dangerous, criminal and animalistic, compromises his justice rights. Plea bargaining has become the preferred process used to secure convictions for upwards of 97 percent of cases because of its efficiency. This efficiency, however, comes at a cost. The structure and process of plea bargaining makes it more likely that the historical racial …


The Specific Deterrent Effects Of Criminal Sanctions For Intimate Partner Violence: A Meta-Analysis, Joel H. Garner, Christopher D. Maxwell, Jina Lee Jan 2021

The Specific Deterrent Effects Of Criminal Sanctions For Intimate Partner Violence: A Meta-Analysis, Joel H. Garner, Christopher D. Maxwell, Jina Lee

Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology

A dozen systematic reviews published since 1978 have sought to clarify the complexities of deterrence theory. These reviews emphasize the general deterrent effects of police presence, arrest, and incarceration on rates of homicide and other serious crimes, such as assault, rape, and burglary. These reviews provide less attention to specific deterrence processes and to the deterrent impacts of intermediate sanctions, such as prosecution or conviction; none of these reviews incorporate any of the research on criminal sanctions for intimate partner violence. To address these limitations, this research uses meta-analytic methods to assess the specific deterrent effects of three post-arrest criminal …


Criminalizing China, Margaret K. Lewis Jan 2021

Criminalizing China, Margaret K. Lewis

Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology

The Department of Justice launched the China Initiative in November 2018 to counter national security threats emanating from the People’s Republic of China (PRC). By June 2020, the Federal Bureau of Investigation had approximately two thousand active investigations under the Initiative.

People and entities with connections to the PRC’s governing party-state structure have engaged in trade secret theft and other crimes under U.S. law. The Department of Justice is not making up a threat. It is, however, framing that threat in a problematic way.

This Article argues that using “China” as the glue connecting cases prosecuted under the Initiative’s umbrella …


Peremptory Challenges: Preserving An Unequal Allocation And The Potential Promise Of Progressive Prosecution, Savanna R. Leak Jan 2021

Peremptory Challenges: Preserving An Unequal Allocation And The Potential Promise Of Progressive Prosecution, Savanna R. Leak

Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology

In the United States, the relative allocation of peremptory challenges afforded to the defense and prosecution is at once in a state of paralysis and flux. The federal system maintains an unequal allocation of peremptory challenges between the defense and prosecution in noncapital offenses, while many states have moved toward equalization of the number of peremptory challenges afforded to each side over the last few decades. Currently, only five states and the federal system have retained an allocation of peremptory challenges that affords the defense a greater number of peremptory challenges in noncapital offenses. Further, only nine states and the …