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Full-Text Articles in Law

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

All Faculty Scholarship

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.


The Pitfalls Of Professionalized Prosecution: A Response To Josh Bowers's "Legal Guilt, Normative Innocence, And The Equitable Decision Not To Prosecute", Stephanos Bibas Jan 2011

The Pitfalls Of Professionalized Prosecution: A Response To Josh Bowers's "Legal Guilt, Normative Innocence, And The Equitable Decision Not To Prosecute", Stephanos Bibas

All Faculty Scholarship

This short essay responds to Josh Bowers’ article Legal Guilt, Normative Innocence, and the Equitable Decision Not to Prosecute. While most scholars focus on the most visible injustices in the most serious cases, Bowers rightly notes that this sliver of serious felonies is dwarfed by the mountain of minor, low-visibility misdemeanors and violations. Prosecutors are reasonably good at classifying crimes based on legal guilt and administrative criteria, but are far worse at weighing all the particulars and exercising equitable discretion. Our consistent faith in prosecutors’ expertise, Bowers argues, is not only misguided but backwards; we should value outsiders’ fresh …


Punishing Without Free Will, Luis E. Chiesa Jan 2011

Punishing Without Free Will, Luis E. Chiesa

Journal Articles

Most observers agree that free will is central to our practices of blaming and punishment. Yet the conventional conception of free will is under sustained attack by the so-called determinists. Determinists claim that all of the events that take place in the universe – including human acts – are the product of causally determined forces over which we have no control. If human conduct is really determined by factors that we cannot control, how can our acts be the product of our own unfettered free will and what would that mean for the criminal law? The overwhelming majority of legal …


Dangerous Psychopaths: Criminally Responsible But Not Morally Responsible, Subject To Criminal Punishment And To Preventive Detention, Ken M. Levy Jan 2011

Dangerous Psychopaths: Criminally Responsible But Not Morally Responsible, Subject To Criminal Punishment And To Preventive Detention, Ken M. Levy

Journal Articles

How should we judge psychopaths, both morally and in the criminal justice system? This Article will argue that psychopaths are generally not morally responsible for their bad acts simply because they cannot understand, and therefore be guided by, moral reasons.

Scholars and lawyers who endorse the same conclusion automatically tend to infer from this premise that psychopaths should not be held criminally punishable for their criminal acts. These scholars and lawyers are making this assumption (that just criminal punishment requires moral responsibility) on the basis of one of two deeper assumptions: that either criminal punishment directly requires moral responsibility or …


Beyond Experience: Getting Retributive Justice Right, Dan Markel, Chad Flanders, David C. Gray Jan 2011

Beyond Experience: Getting Retributive Justice Right, Dan Markel, Chad Flanders, David C. Gray

Faculty Scholarship

How central should hedonic adaptation be to the establishment of sentencing policy? In earlier work, Professors Bronsteen, Buccafusco, and Masur (BBM) drew some normative significance from the psychological studies of adaptability for punishment policy. In particular, they argued that retributivists and utilitarians alike are obliged on pain of inconsistency to take account of the fact that most prisoners, most of the time, adapt to imprisonment in fairly short order, and therefore suffer much less than most of us would expect. They also argued that ex-prisoners don't adapt well upon re-entry to society and that social planners should consider their post-release …


Punishing Without Free Will, Luis E. Chiesa Jan 2011

Punishing Without Free Will, Luis E. Chiesa

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

This Article will argue that there are good moral reasons to conclude that the scientific plausibility of determinism ought to lead us to abandon the notion of free will. Contra P. F. Strawson and Moore, this Article suggests that rejecting free will does not undermine the human experience, and doing so is plausible and attractive because it would likely lead to more humane and efficient institutions of blaming and punishing.


Two Kinds Of Retributivism, Mitchell N. Berman Jan 2011

Two Kinds Of Retributivism, Mitchell N. Berman

All Faculty Scholarship

This essay, written as a contribution to a forthcoming volume on the philosophical foundations of the criminal law, challenges the longstanding dominant framework for classifying justifications for criminal punishment. The familiar binary distinction between consequentialism and retributivism is no longer most perspicuous, I argue, because many recognizably retributivist theories of punishment employ a consequentialist justificatory structure. However, because not all do, it might prove most illuminating to carve the retributivist field in two – distinguishing what we might term “consequentialist retributivism” (perhaps better labeled “instrumentalist retributivism”) from “non-consequentialist retributivism” (“non-instrumentalist retributivism”).

Whether or not it is ultimately persuasive, consequentialist retributivism …


Beyond Experience: Getting Retributive Justice Right, Dan Markel, Chad Flanders, David C. Gray Jan 2011

Beyond Experience: Getting Retributive Justice Right, Dan Markel, Chad Flanders, David C. Gray

All Faculty Scholarship

How central should hedonic adaptation be to the establishment of sentencing policy?

In earlier work, Professors Bronsteen, Buccafusco, and Masur (BBM) drew some normative significance from the psychological studies of adaptability for punishment policy. In particular, they argued that retributivists and utilitarians alike are obliged on pain of inconsistency to take account of the fact that most prisoners, most of the time, adapt to imprisonment in fairly short order, and therefore suffer much less than most of us would expect. They also argued that ex-prisoners don't adapt well upon re-entry to society and that social planners should consider their post-release …


Sorting Guilty Minds, Owen D. Jones, Francis X. Shen, Morris B. Hoffman, Joshua D. Greene, Rene Marois Jan 2011

Sorting Guilty Minds, Owen D. Jones, Francis X. Shen, Morris B. Hoffman, Joshua D. Greene, Rene Marois

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Because punishable guilt requires that bad thoughts accompany bad acts, the Model Penal Code (MPC) typically requires that jurors infer the past mental state of a criminal defendant. More specifically, jurors must sort that mental state into one of four specific categories - purposeful, knowing, reckless, or negligent - which in turn defines the nature of the crime and the extent of the punishment. The MPC therefore assumes that ordinary people naturally sort mental states into these four categories with a high degree of accuracy, or at least can reliably do so when properly instructed. It also assumes that ordinary …