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Columbia Law School

Criminal Law

Yale Law Journal

Articles 1 - 7 of 7

Full-Text Articles in Law

Federal Sentencing In 2007: The Supreme Court Holds – The Center Doesn't, Daniel C. Richman Jan 2008

Federal Sentencing In 2007: The Supreme Court Holds – The Center Doesn't, Daniel C. Richman

Faculty Scholarship

This essay takes stock of federal sentencing after 2007, the year of the periphery. On Capitol Hill, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales resigned in the face of widespread criticism over his role in the replacement of several U.S. Attorneys. In the Supreme Court, the trio of Rita v. United States, Gall v. United States, and Kimbrough v. United States clarified and perhaps extended the breadth of license given to district judges in an advisory guideline regime. In contrast to the Supreme Court's sentencing cases, which focus on the allocation of authority between judges and juries, and the bulk of ...


A Reply: Imperfect Bargains, Imperfect Trials, And Innocent Defendants, Robert E. Scott Jan 1992

A Reply: Imperfect Bargains, Imperfect Trials, And Innocent Defendants, Robert E. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

To understand what is and is not wrong with plea bargaining, one must understand the relationship of bargains to trials. Unsurprisingly, we disagree with much of what Judge Frank Easterbrook and Professor Stephen Schulhofer say about that relationship. Most of those disagreements need not be rehearsed here; readers attentive enough to wade through their essays and ours will pick up the key points readily enough. But there is one point where the dispute is at once sharp and hidden. It has to do with the fact that both trials and bargains are flawed.

That fact might seem obvious, but the ...


Paradigms Lost: The Blurring Of The Criminal And Civil Law Models – And What Can Be Done About It, John C. Coffee Jr. Jan 1992

Paradigms Lost: The Blurring Of The Criminal And Civil Law Models – And What Can Be Done About It, John C. Coffee Jr.

Faculty Scholarship

Ken Mann's professed goal is to "shrink" the criminal law. To realize this worthy end, he advocates punitive civil sanctions that would largely parallel criminal sanctions, thereby reducing the need to use criminal law in order to achieve punitive purposes. I agree (heartily) with the end he seeks and even more with his general precept that "the criminal law should be reserved for the most damaging wrongs and the most culpable defendants." But I believe that the means he proposes would be counterproductive – and would probably expand, rather than contract, the operative scope of the criminal law as an ...


Plea-Bargaining As A Social Contract, Robert E. Scott, William J. Stuntz Jan 1992

Plea-Bargaining As A Social Contract, Robert E. Scott, William J. Stuntz

Faculty Scholarship

Most criminal prosecutions are settled without a trial. The parties to these settlements trade various risks and entitlements: the defendant relinquishes the right to go to trial (along with any chance of acquittal), while the prosecutor gives up the entitlement to seek the highest sentence or pursue the most serious charges possible. The resulting bargains differ predictably from what would have happened had the same cases been taken to trial. Defendants who bargain for a plea serve lower sentences than those who do not. On the other hand, everyone who pleads guilty is, by definition, convicted, while a substantial minority ...


Two Modes Of Legal Thought Symposium On Legal Scholarship: Its Nature And Purposes, George P. Fletcher Jan 1981

Two Modes Of Legal Thought Symposium On Legal Scholarship: Its Nature And Purposes, George P. Fletcher

Faculty Scholarship

We should begin with a confession of ignorance. We have no jurisprudence of legal scholarship. Scholars expatiate at length on the work of other actors in the legal culture – legislators, judges, prosecutors, and even practicing lawyers. Yet we reflect little about what we are doing when we write about the law. We have a journal about the craft of teaching, but none about the craft of scholarship.

In view of our ignorance, we should pay particular heed to our point of departure. I start with the observation that legal scholarship expresses itself in a variety of verbal forms. Descriptive propositions ...


Manifest Criminality, Criminal Intent, And The Metamorphosis Of Lloyd Weinreb, George P. Fletcher Jan 1980

Manifest Criminality, Criminal Intent, And The Metamorphosis Of Lloyd Weinreb, George P. Fletcher

Faculty Scholarship

My colleague has had a revelation. Professor Lloyd Weinreb's views about larceny have undergone a striking transformation in the last six months. As recently as May 1980, when he completed the preface to the third edition of his criminal law casebook, he held one set of views about The Carrier's Case and The King v. Pear. In the article published in this issue, he advances a different set of views about the two cases he regards as so important. He gives us no hint about how or why he underwent his change of heart. His transformation warrants our ...


Two Kinds Of Legal Rules: A Comparative Study Of Burden-Of-Persuasion Practices In Criminal Cases, George P. Fletcher Jan 1968

Two Kinds Of Legal Rules: A Comparative Study Of Burden-Of-Persuasion Practices In Criminal Cases, George P. Fletcher

Faculty Scholarship

Good men everywhere praise the presumption of innocence. And be they Frenchmen, Germans, or Americans, they agree on the demand of the presumption in practice. Both here and abroad, the state's invocation of criminal sanctions demands a high degree of proof that the accused has committed the offense charged. To express the requisite standard of proof, common lawyers speak of the prosecutor's duty to prove his case beyond a reasonable doubt. And Continental lawyers invoke the maxim in dubio pro reo – a precept requiring triers of fact to acquit in cases of doubt.

The French speak of the ...