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Counseling Oppression, Angelo Petrigh Jan 2024

Counseling Oppression, Angelo Petrigh

Faculty Scholarship

Critical scholars and public defenders alike have grappled with the contradictions at the heart of counseling clients in a carceral system. Systems of oppression operate within the public defender - client relationship because the defender’s role in translating the law also enforces its inequities. Counseling can obscure the workings of the system, providing an illusion of choice despite privileging certain forms of knowledge and tactics.

But the counseling site is also where defenders become exposed to client’s lived experiences, encounter collectivist tactics, and critically examine the tension of their role in the system. Likewise, through counseling defenders can pull back …


Estimating The Impact Of The Age Of Criminal Majority: Decomposing Multiple Treatments In A Regression Discontinuity Framework, Michael Mueller-Smith, Benjamin David Pyle, Caroline Walker Jul 2023

Estimating The Impact Of The Age Of Criminal Majority: Decomposing Multiple Treatments In A Regression Discontinuity Framework, Michael Mueller-Smith, Benjamin David Pyle, Caroline Walker

Faculty Scholarship

This paper studies the impact of adult prosecution on recidivism and employment trajectories for adolescent, first-time felony defendants. We use extensive linked Criminal Justice Administrative Record System and socio-economic data from Wayne County, Michigan (Detroit). Using the discrete age of majority rule and a regression discontinuity design, we find that adult prosecution reduces future criminal charges over 5 years by 0.48 felony cases (↓ 20%) while also worsening labor market outcomes: 0.76 fewer employers (↓ 19%) and $674 fewer earnings (↓ 21%) per year. We develop a novel econometric framework that combines standard regression discontinuity methods with predictive machine learning …


Negligent Hiring: Recidivism And Employment With A Criminal Record, Benjamin David Pyle Jul 2023

Negligent Hiring: Recidivism And Employment With A Criminal Record, Benjamin David Pyle

Faculty Scholarship

This paper tackles a difficult legal and policy challenge—reducing the impact of criminal justice records on job applicants’ chances in a manner that does not spur more discrimination—by looking at how another area of law, tort liability, impacts employers’ decision-making. It uses theoretical and empirical methods to study the most common reason employers report being reluctant to hire workers with a criminal record: legal liability generated by the tort of negligent hiring. While the purpose of the tort is ostensibly to protect and make whole those harmed when an employee misbehaves in a foreseeable manner, I show that, in practice, …


Policing & The Problem Of Physical Restraint, Steven Arrigg Koh Feb 2023

Policing & The Problem Of Physical Restraint, Steven Arrigg Koh

Faculty Scholarship

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits unreasonable “seizures” and thus renders unlawful police use of excessive force. On one hand, this definition is expansive. In the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2021 Term, in Torres v. Madrid, the Court clarified that a “seizure” includes any police application of physical force to the body with intent to restrain. Crucially, Chief Justice Roberts’ majority opinion emphasized that police may seize even when merely laying “the end of a finger” on a layperson’s body. And yet, the Supreme Court’s Fourth Amendment totality-of-the-circumstances reasonableness balancing test is notoriously imprecise—a “factbound morass,” in the famous …


The New Pornography Wars, Julie A. Dahlstrom Jan 2023

The New Pornography Wars, Julie A. Dahlstrom

Faculty Scholarship

The world’s largest online pornography conglomerate, MindGeek, has come under fire for the publishing of “rape videos,” child pornography, and nonconsensual pornography on its website, Pornhub. As in the “pornography wars” of the 1970s and 1980s, lawyers and activists have now turned to civil remedies and filed creative anti-trafficking lawsuits against MindGeek and third parties, like payment processing company, Visa. These lawsuits seek not only to achieve legal accountability for online sex trafficking but also to reframe a broader array of online harms as sex trafficking.

This Article explores what these new trafficking lawsuits mean for the future regulation of …


Prosecution And Polarization, Steven Arrigg Koh Jan 2023

Prosecution And Polarization, Steven Arrigg Koh

Faculty Scholarship

Domestically and internationally, two prominent contemporary discourses arise in law and society. First, we live in a time of tremendous uncertainty about the nature and function of criminal justice. In the United States, we chronicle mass incarceration, while the international community weighs war crimes prosecutions in Ukraine. Second, we live in a time of polarization, both at home and abroad. Cultural and political division is elevated domestically, while the international community debates fragmentation in a multipolar world.

This symposium contribution to the Fordham Urban Law Journal’s “Future of Prosecution” symposium asks: what does it mean to prosecute in a time …


Judicial Resistance To New York's 2020 Criminal Legal Reforms, Angelo Petrigh Jan 2023

Judicial Resistance To New York's 2020 Criminal Legal Reforms, Angelo Petrigh

Faculty Scholarship

Scholars have examined judiciaries as organizations with their own culture and considered how this organizational culture can form a significant impediment to the implementation of reforms.22 There is a strong connection between judicial culture and a reform’s ability to accomplish its stated goals. Some go so far as to state that most reforms will fail because of the difficulty in altering judicial culture.23 These studies sometimes focus on legislators misunderstanding the actual effects of legislation when it was drafted, or on the failure to account for particularities in a law’s implementation by undervaluing the fragmentation, adversarial nature, and …


How Do Prosecutors "Send A Message"?, Steven Arrigg Koh Jan 2023

How Do Prosecutors "Send A Message"?, Steven Arrigg Koh

Faculty Scholarship

The recent indictments of former President Trump are stirring national debate about their effects on American society. Commentators speculate on the cases’ impact outside of the courtroom — on the 2024 election, on political polarization, and on the future of American democracy. Such cases originated in the prosecutor’s office, begging the question of if, when, and how prosecutors should consider the societal effects of the cases they bring.

Indeed, prosecutors often publicly claim that they “send a message” when they indict a defendant. What, exactly, does this mean? Often, their assumption is that such messaging goes in one direction: indictment …


January 6, Ambiguously Inciting Speech, And The Overt-Acts Rule, Alan Z. Rozenshtein, Jed Handelsman Shugerman Oct 2022

January 6, Ambiguously Inciting Speech, And The Overt-Acts Rule, Alan Z. Rozenshtein, Jed Handelsman Shugerman

Faculty Scholarship

A prosecution of Donald Trump for his role in the January 6 attack on the Capitol would have to address whether the First Amendment protects the inflammatory remarks he made at the “Stop the Steal” rally. A prosecution based solely on the content of Trump’s speech—whether for incitement, insurrection, or obstruction—would face serious constitutional difficulties under Brandenburg v. Ohio’s dual requirements of intent and likely imminence. But a prosecution need not rely solely on the content of Trump’s speech. It can also look to Trump’s actions: his order to the remove the magnetometers from the entrances to the rally and …


An Argument Against Unbounded Arrest Power: The Expressive Fourth Amendment And Protesting While Black, Karen Pita Loor Jun 2022

An Argument Against Unbounded Arrest Power: The Expressive Fourth Amendment And Protesting While Black, Karen Pita Loor

Faculty Scholarship

Protesting is supposed to be revered in our democracy, considered “as American as apple pie” in our nation’s mythology. But the actual experiences of the 2020 racial justice protesters showed that this supposed reverence for political dissent and protest is more akin to American folklore than reality on the streets. The images from those streets depicted police officers clad in riot gear and armed with shields, batons, and “less than” lethal weapons aggressively arresting protesters, often en masse. In the first week of the George Floyd protests, police arrested roughly 10,000 people, and approximately 78 percent of those arrests were …


Rewriting Whren V. United States, Jonathan Feingold, Devon Carbado Apr 2022

Rewriting Whren V. United States, Jonathan Feingold, Devon Carbado

Faculty Scholarship

In 1996, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Whren v. United States—a unanimous opinion in which the Court effectively constitutionalized racial profiling. Despite its enduring consequences, Whren remains good law today. This Article rewrites the opinion. We do so, in part, to demonstrate how one might incorporate racial justice concerns into Fourth Amendment jurisprudence, a body of law that has long elided and marginalized the racialized dimensions of policing. A separate aim is to reveal the “false necessity” of the Whren outcome. The fact that Whren was unanimous, and that even progressive Justices signed on, might lead one to conclude that …


Introductory Note To Prosecutor V. Ratko Mladić (U.N. Int’L Residual Mechanism Crim. Tribunals App. Chamber), Steven Arrigg Koh Apr 2022

Introductory Note To Prosecutor V. Ratko Mladić (U.N. Int’L Residual Mechanism Crim. Tribunals App. Chamber), Steven Arrigg Koh

Faculty Scholarship

On June 8, 2021, the UN International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (Mechanism) Appeals Chamber delivered its appeals judgment in Prosecutor v. Ratko Mladić. The judgment affirmed the 2017 trial judgment of Trial Chamber I of the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which convicted Mladić, the Bosnian Serb commander, of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes during the war in Bosnia between 1992 and 1995, as well as affirming his sentence of life imprisonment. This constituted Mladić’s final appeal, opening the door for his assignment to a prison somewhere in Europe.


Bargaining For Abolition, Zohra Ahmed Apr 2022

Bargaining For Abolition, Zohra Ahmed

Faculty Scholarship

What if instead of seeing criminal court as an institution driven by the operation of rules, we saw it as a workplace where people labor to criminalize those with the misfortune to be prosecuted? Early observers of twentieth century urban criminal courts likened them to factories.1 Since then, commentators often deploy the pejorative epithet “assembly line justice” to describe criminal court’s processes.2 The term conveys the criticism of a mechanical system delivering a form of justice that is impersonal and fallible. Perhaps unintentionally, the epithet reveals another truth: criminal court is also a workplace, and it takes labor …


The Democratizing Potential Of Algorithms?, Ngozi Okidegbe Mar 2022

The Democratizing Potential Of Algorithms?, Ngozi Okidegbe

Faculty Scholarship

Jurisdictions are increasingly embracing the use of pretrial risk assessment algorithms as a solution to the problem of mass pretrial incarceration. Conversations about the use of pretrial algorithms in legal scholarship have tended to focus on their opacity, determinativeness, reliability, validity, or their (in)ability to reduce high rates of incarceration as well as racial and socioeconomic disparities within the pretrial system. This Article breaks from this tendency, examining these algorithms from a democratization of criminal law perspective. Using this framework, it points out that currently employed algorithms are exclusionary of the viewpoints and values of the racially marginalized communities most …


Of Afrofuturism, Of Algorithms, Ngozi Okidegbe Jan 2022

Of Afrofuturism, Of Algorithms, Ngozi Okidegbe

Faculty Scholarship

Algorithms are proliferating in criminal legal structures. The predictions produced by these algorithms inform life-altering decisions around surveillance and incarceration. Their continued use poses a challenge to ongoing racial justice efforts. Contesting how algorithms of today maintain the racial status quo requires a fundamental rethinking of the algorithm project. This essay explores how Afrofuturism can facilitate such a rethinking. It imagines how applying an Afrofuturist paradigm to the adoption, construction, implementation, and oversight of algorithms could radically change the kind of algorithms developed and the purposes for which they are developed. Tapping into this potential offers the chance for members …


“Cancel Culture” And Criminal Justice, Steven Arrigg Koh Jan 2022

“Cancel Culture” And Criminal Justice, Steven Arrigg Koh

Faculty Scholarship

This Article explores the relationship between two normative systems in modern society: “cancel culture” and criminal justice. It argues that cancel culture—a ubiquitous phenomenon in contemporary life—may rectify deficiencies of over- and under-enforcement in the U.S. criminal justice system. However, the downsides of cancel culture’s structure—imprecise factfinding, potentially disproportionate sanctions leading to collateral consequences, a “thin” conception of the wrongdoer as beyond rehabilitation, and a broader cultural anxiety that “chills” certain human conduct—reflect problematic U.S. punitive impulses that characterize our era of mass incarceration. This Article thus argues that social media reform proposals obscure a deeper necessity: transcendence of blame …


"Hey, Hey! Ho, Ho! These Mass Arrests Have Got To Go!": The Expressive Fourth Amendment Argument, Karen Pita Loor Oct 2021

"Hey, Hey! Ho, Ho! These Mass Arrests Have Got To Go!": The Expressive Fourth Amendment Argument, Karen Pita Loor

Faculty Scholarship

The racial justice protests ignited by the murder of George Floyd in May 2020 constitute the largest protest movement in the United States. Estimates suggest that between fifteen and twenty-six million people protested across the country during the summer of 2020 alone. Not only were the number of protestors staggering, but so were the number of arrests. Within one week of when the video of George Floyd’s murder went viral, police arrested ten thousand people demanding justice on American streets, with police often arresting activists en masse. This Essay explores mass arrests and how they square with Fourth Amendment …


Othering Across Borders, Steven Arrigg Koh Jan 2021

Othering Across Borders, Steven Arrigg Koh

Faculty Scholarship

Our contemporary moment of reckoning presents an opportunity to evaluate racial subordination and structural inequality throughout our three-tiered domestic, transnational, and international criminal law system. In particular, this Essay exposes a pernicious racial dynamic in contemporary U.S. global criminal justice policy, which I call othering across borders. First, this othering may occur when race emboldens political and prosecutorial actors to prosecute foreign defendants. Second, racial animus may undermine U.S. engagement with international criminal legal institutions, specifically the International Criminal Court. This Essay concludes with measures to mitigate such othering.


The Criminalization Of Foreign Relations, Steven Arrigg Koh Jan 2021

The Criminalization Of Foreign Relations, Steven Arrigg Koh

Faculty Scholarship

Overcriminalization has rightly generated national condemnation among policymakers, scholars, and practitioners alike. And yet, such scholarship often assumes that the encroachment of criminal justice stops at our borders. This Article argues that our foreign relations are also at risk of overcriminalization due to overzealous prosecution, overreaching legislation, and presidential politicization—and that this may be particularly problematic when U.S. criminal justice supplants certain nonpenal U.S. foreign policies abroad. This Article proposes three key reforms— presidential distancing, prosecutorial integration, and legislative de-escalation—to assure a principled place for criminal justice in foreign relations.


When They Hear Us: Race, Algorithms And The Practice Of Criminal Law, Ngozi Okidegbe Jul 2020

When They Hear Us: Race, Algorithms And The Practice Of Criminal Law, Ngozi Okidegbe

Faculty Scholarship

We are in the midst of a fraught debate in criminal justice reform circles about the merits of using algorithms. Proponents claim that these algorithms offer an objective path towards substantially lowering high rates of incarceration and racial and socioeconomic disparities without endangering community safety. On the other hand, racial justice scholars argue that these algorithms threaten to entrench racial inequity within the system because they utilize risk factors that correlate with historic racial inequities, and in so doing, reproduce the same racial status quo, but under the guise of scientific objectivity.

This symposium keynote address discusses the challenge that …


Floating Lungs: Forensic Science In Self-Induced Abortion Prosecutions, Aziza Ahmed May 2020

Floating Lungs: Forensic Science In Self-Induced Abortion Prosecutions, Aziza Ahmed

Faculty Scholarship

Pregnancy that ends in stillbirth or late miscarriage—particularly where a person gives birth outside of a hospital—raises the specter of criminal behavior. To successfully prosecute a person for the death of a child, however, requires proving that the child was born alive. Prosecutors mobilize forensic science as an objective way to determine life. This Essay focuses on one such forensic method: the hydrostatic lung test (“HLT”), also known as the floating lung test (“FLT”). Although there are debates about the “correct” way to perform the exam, in essence, the test requires that a forensic scientist take pieces of the lung …


Understanding Violent-Crime Recidivism, J. J. Prescott, Benjamin David Pyle, Sonja B. Starr Jan 2020

Understanding Violent-Crime Recidivism, J. J. Prescott, Benjamin David Pyle, Sonja B. Starr

Faculty Scholarship

People convicted of violent crimes constitute a majority of the imprisoned population but are generally ignored by existing policies aimed at reducing mass incarceration. Serious efforts to shrink the large footprint of the prison system will need to recognize this fact. This point is especially pressing at the time of this writing, as states and the federal system consider large-scale prison releases motivated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Those convicted of violent crimes constitute a large majority of older prisoners, who are extremely vulnerable to the spread of the virus behind bars. Excluding them from protective measures will deeply undermine those …


Guns In The Private Square, Cody Jacobs Jan 2020

Guns In The Private Square, Cody Jacobs

Faculty Scholarship

The regulation of guns has been one of the most hotly debated public policy issues in the United States throughout the country’s history. But, up until recently, it has always been just that — a debate about public policy. Two recent developments have changed the landscape and moved the debate about publicly carrying firearms from the realm of public policy, to the realm of private decision-making and private law. First, laws related to publicly carrying firearms have been dramatically loosened throughout the United States to the point that, in the vast majority of states, anyone who is legally allowed to …


Why Robert Mueller’S Appointment As Special Counsel Was Unlawful, Gary S. Lawson, Steven Calabresi Nov 2019

Why Robert Mueller’S Appointment As Special Counsel Was Unlawful, Gary S. Lawson, Steven Calabresi

Faculty Scholarship

Since 1999, when the independent counsel provisions of the Ethics in Government Act expired, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) has had in place regulations providing for the appointment of Special Counsels who possess “the full power and independent authority to exercise all investigative and prosecutorial functions of any United States Attorney.” Appointments under these regulations, such as the May 17,2017 appointment of Robert S. Mueller to investigate the Trump campaign, are patently unlawful, for three distinct reasons.

First, all federal offices must be “established by Law,” and there is no statute authorizing such an office in the DOJ. We conduct …


Economic Theory Of Criminal Law, Keith N. Hylton Aug 2019

Economic Theory Of Criminal Law, Keith N. Hylton

Faculty Scholarship

Economic theory of criminal law consists of normative and positive parts. Normative economic theory, which began with writings by Beccaria and Bentham, aims to recommend an ideal criminal punishment scheme. Positive economic theory, which appeared later in writings by Holmes and Posner, aims to justify and to better understand the criminal law rules that exist. Since the purpose of criminal law is to deter socially undesirable conduct, economic theory, which emphasizes incentives, would appear to be an important perspective from which to examine criminal law.

Positive economic theory, applied to substantive criminal law, seeks to explain and to justify criminal …


Women's Rights, Human Rights And The Criminal Law Or, Feminist Debates And Responses To [De]Criminalization And Sexual And Reproductive Health, Aziza Ahmed Mar 2019

Women's Rights, Human Rights And The Criminal Law Or, Feminist Debates And Responses To [De]Criminalization And Sexual And Reproductive Health, Aziza Ahmed

Faculty Scholarship

My comments today seek to highlight how social and economic rights advocates, particularly those concerned with the right to health, engage with ongoing debates about the role of criminal law in human rights. In particular, I emphasize how many “right to health” campaigns fight for the decriminalization of laws that result in the arrest of marginalized communities or health workers. This trend within right to health advocacy complicates what has been called the anti-impunity turn in human rights. In other words, although many scholars have correctly highlighted the rise of a carceral agenda in human rights, there is also ongoing, …


The Inability To Self-Diagnose Bias, Christopher Robertson Jan 2019

The Inability To Self-Diagnose Bias, Christopher Robertson

Faculty Scholarship

The Constitution guarantees litigants an 'impartial' jury, one that bases its judgment on the evidence presented in the courtroom, untainted by affiliations with the parties, racial animus, or media coverage that may include inadmissible facts, a one-sided portrayal, and naked opinion. Problems of juror bias arise in almost every trial – state and federal, civil and criminal - and the problem is most severe in the highest profile cases, where the need for accuracy and legitimacy in outcomes is most salient.

The Supreme Court has instructed courts to use a simple method to determine whether jurors are biased: ask them. …


Foreign Affairs Prosecutions, Steven Arrigg Koh Jan 2019

Foreign Affairs Prosecutions, Steven Arrigg Koh

Faculty Scholarship

Contemporary global crime and cross-border law enforcement cooperation have multiplied “foreign affairs prosecutions,” cases that encompass foreign apprehension, evidence gathering, and criminal conduct, as well as cases that implicate foreign nations’ criminal justice interests. Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, the fugitive Edward Snowden, and the cross-border crimes of FIFA and El Chapo all exemplify such foreign affairs prosecutions. This Article argues that foreign affairs prosecutions represent a consequential shift in U.S. criminal law, offering the promise of closing global impunity gaps. At the same time, however, such cases risk defendant interests at home and U.S. foreign policy abroad. This Article calls …


The Sanctuary Of Prosecutorial Nullification, Zohra Ahmed Jan 2019

The Sanctuary Of Prosecutorial Nullification, Zohra Ahmed

Faculty Scholarship

In the aftermath of the 2016 election, the shortcomings of existing sanctuary protections came sharply into focus.1 Historically, cities enacted sanctuary protections to extricate their law enforcement agencies from activities related to federal immigration enforcement. In sanctuary cities, local government agencies are typically restricted from sharing information with federal immigration authorities or from cooperating in apprehending individuals targeted for removal. 2 After the White House issued an Executive Order (EO) in late January 2017, many immigrant rights advocates recognized that external facing policies that proscribed direct cooperation would not suffice. 3 The EO announced that Immigration and Customs Enforcement …


Taxing & Zapping Marijuana: Blockchain Compliance In The Trump Administration Part 2, Richard Thompson Ainsworth, Brendan Magauran Aug 2018

Taxing & Zapping Marijuana: Blockchain Compliance In The Trump Administration Part 2, Richard Thompson Ainsworth, Brendan Magauran

Faculty Scholarship

Legalization of marijuana burdens the States with the responsibility of (a) monitoring the physical flows of marijuana through the supply chain (making sure the marijuana does not enter inter-state commerce; making sure it stays out of the hands of minors, etc.), and (b) monitoring the fiscal flows (making sure the proceeds of marijuana production do not end up in criminal hands).

The type of controls favored by the states are track and trace (TAT), or seed-to-sale (STS) systems. These systems are reasonably complex, as well as technology-intensive. Nevertheless, there are questions about whether they are adequate to the enforcement needs. …