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Against The Received Wisdom: Why The Criminal Justice System Should Give Kids A Break, Stephen J. Morse Jul 2019

Against The Received Wisdom: Why The Criminal Justice System Should Give Kids A Break, Stephen J. Morse

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Professor Gideon Yaffe’s recent, intricately argued book, The Age of Culpability: Children and the Nature of Criminal Responsibility, argues against the nearly uniform position in both law and scholarship that the criminal justice system should give juveniles a break not because on average they have different capacities relevant to responsibility than adults, but because juveniles have little say about the criminal law, primarily because they do not have a vote. For Professor Yaffe, age has political rather than behavioral significance. The book has many excellent general analyses about responsibility, but all are in aid of the central thesis about …


Codifying A Sharia-Based Criminal Law In Developing Muslim Countries, Paul H. Robinson Apr 2019

Codifying A Sharia-Based Criminal Law In Developing Muslim Countries, Paul H. Robinson

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This paper reproduces presentations made at the University of Tehran in March 2019 as part of the opening and closing remarks for a Conference on Criminal Law Development in Muslim-Majority Countries. The opening remarks discuss the challenges of codifying a Shari’a-based criminal code, drawing primarily from the experiences of Professor Robinson in directing codification projects in Somalia and the Maldives. The closing remarks apply many of those lessons to the situation currently existing in Iran. Included is a discussion of the implications for Muslim countries of Robinson’s social psychology work on the power of social influence and internalized norms that …


Freedom And Prison: Putting Structuralism Back Into Structural Inequality, Anders Walker Jan 2019

Freedom And Prison: Putting Structuralism Back Into Structural Inequality, Anders Walker

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Critics of structural racism frequently miss structuralism as a field of historical inquiry. This essay reviews the rise of structuralism as a mode of historical analysis and applies it to the mass incarceration debate in the United States, arguing that it enriches the work of prevailing scholars in the field.


Taking Psychological Torture Seriously: The Torturous Nature Of Credible Death Threats And The Collateral Consequences For Capital Punishment, John Bessler Jan 2019

Taking Psychological Torture Seriously: The Torturous Nature Of Credible Death Threats And The Collateral Consequences For Capital Punishment, John Bessler

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This article explores how the death penalty and the indefinite nature of death row in the United States creates a constant threat of death, which can violate the United Nations Convention Against Torture’s prohibitions on death threats.


The Marquis Beccaria: An Italian Penal Reformer’S Meteoric Rise In The British Isles In The Transatlantic Republic Of Letters, John Bessler Jan 2019

The Marquis Beccaria: An Italian Penal Reformer’S Meteoric Rise In The British Isles In The Transatlantic Republic Of Letters, John Bessler

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This article traces the reception of Cesare Beccaria’s book, Dei delitti e delle pene (1764), in Britain and in colonial and early America. That book, first translated into English as An Essay on Crimes and Punishments (1767), catalyzed penal reform and the anti-gallows movement on both sides of the Atlantic. As the first Enlightenment text to make a comprehensive case against capital punishment, On Crimes and Punishments became a bestseller, appearing in multiple English-language editions and attracting much public attention. Widely read by an array of British and American lawmakers and other civic-minded penal reformers, On Crimes and Punishments was …


What Makes The Death Penalty Arbitrary? (And Does It Matter If It Is)?, Chad Flanders Jan 2019

What Makes The Death Penalty Arbitrary? (And Does It Matter If It Is)?, Chad Flanders

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A common objection to the death penalty is that it is “arbitrarily” imposed. Indeed, the Supreme Court in the 1970s held the death penalty as it was then administered to be unconstitutional precisely because the states seemed to have no clear standards for who got death and who did not. In the most famous passage in that opinion (Furman v. Georgia), Justice Stewart wrote that the death penalty was “cruel and unusual” in the same way that being “struck by lightning” was “cruel and unusual.”

It is thus surprising that the Court and those scholars who push this objection have …


What Makes The Death Penalty Arbitrary? (And Does It Matter If It Is?), Chad Flanders Jan 2019

What Makes The Death Penalty Arbitrary? (And Does It Matter If It Is?), Chad Flanders

All Faculty Scholarship

A common objection to the death penalty is that it is arbitrarily imposed. Indeed, the Supreme Court in the 1970s held the death penalty as it was then administered to be unconstitutional precisely because the states seemed to have no clear standards for who got death and who did not. In the most famous passage in that opinion (Furman v. Georgia), Justice Stewart wrote that the death penalty was cruel and unusual in the same way that being struck by lightning was cruel and unusual.

It is thus surprising that the Court and those scholars who push this objection have …


Eradicating The Label “Offender” From The Lexicon Of Restorative Practices And Criminal Justice, Lynn S. Branham Jan 2019

Eradicating The Label “Offender” From The Lexicon Of Restorative Practices And Criminal Justice, Lynn S. Branham

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This Essay enumerates three reasons for abandoning the prevailing practice of utilizing the label “offender” when referring to a person who has committed a crime. The Essay next identifies and debunks reasons that have been cited for persisting in referring to a person as an “offender.” The Essay then explores the question of what term or terms could supplant this label and profiles signs of emerging support for desisting from the convention of calling people “offenders.” One of the themes that permeates this Essay is that the language we use when referring to people can thwart systemic and cultural change …


Neurohype And The Law: A Cautionary Tale, Stephen J. Morse Jan 2019

Neurohype And The Law: A Cautionary Tale, Stephen J. Morse

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This chapter suggests that for conceptual, empirical, and practical reasons, neuroscience in general and non-invasive brain imaging in particular are not likely to revolutionize the law and our conception of ourselves, but may make modest contributions to legal policy and case adjudication if the legal relevance of the science is properly understood.


Measuring Norms And Normative Contestation: The Case Of International Criminal Law, Beth A. Simmons, Hyeran Jo Jan 2019

Measuring Norms And Normative Contestation: The Case Of International Criminal Law, Beth A. Simmons, Hyeran Jo

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One way to tell if an international norm is robust is to assess the breadth of its support from a wide variety of important actors. We argue that to assess norm robustness, we should look at the general beliefs, rhetorical support, and actions of both primary and secondary norm addressees (states and non-state actors) at various levels: international, regional, domestic and local. By way of example, we evaluate the robustness of international criminal law (ICL) norms by looking at the rhetoric and actions of a diverse set of international actors, including not only states and intergovernmental organizations but also ordinary …


Applying Sentinel Event Reviews To Policing, John Hollway, Ben Grunwald Jan 2019

Applying Sentinel Event Reviews To Policing, John Hollway, Ben Grunwald

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A sentinel event review (SER) is a system-based, multistakeholder review of an organizational error. The goal of an SER is to prevent similar errors from recurring in the future rather than identifying and punishing the responsible parties. In this article, we provide a detailed description of one of the first SERs conducted in an American police department—the review of the Lex Street Massacre investigation and prosecution, which resulted in the wrongful incarceration of four innocent men for 18 months. The results of the review suggest that SERs may help identify new systemic reforms for participating police departments and other criminal …


Foreword: Abolition Constitutionalism, Dorothy E. Roberts Jan 2019

Foreword: Abolition Constitutionalism, Dorothy E. Roberts

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In this Foreword, I make the case for an abolition constitutionalism that attends to the theorizing of prison abolitionists. In Part I, I provide a summary of prison abolition theory and highlight its foundational tenets that engage with the institution of slavery and its eradication. I discuss how abolition theorists view the current prison industrial complex as originating in, though distinct from, racialized chattel slavery and the racial capitalist regime that relied on and sustained it, and their movement as completing the “unfinished liberation” sought by slavery abolitionists in the past. Part II considers whether the U.S. Constitution is an …


“Second Looks, Second Chances”: Collaborating With Lifers Inc. On A Video About Commutation Of Lwop Sentences, Regina Austin Jan 2019

“Second Looks, Second Chances”: Collaborating With Lifers Inc. On A Video About Commutation Of Lwop Sentences, Regina Austin

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In Pennsylvania, life means life without the possibility of parole (“LWOP”) or “death by incarceration.” Although executive commutation offers long serving rehabilitated lifers hope of release, in the past 20 years, only 8 commutations have been granted by the state’s governors. This article describes the collaboration between an organization of incarcerated persons serving LWOP and the law-school-based Penn Program on Documentaries and the Law that produced a video supporting increased commutations for Pennsylvania lifers. The article details the methodology of collaborative videomaking employed, the strategic decisions over content that were impacted by the politics of commutation, and the contributions of …