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Full-Text Articles in Law

Wage Theft Criminalization, Benjamin Levin Jan 2021

Wage Theft Criminalization, Benjamin Levin

Articles

Over the past decade, workers’ rights activists and legal scholars have embraced the language of “wage theft” in describing the abuses of the contemporary workplace. The phrase invokes a certain moral clarity: theft is wrong. The phrase is not merely a rhetorical flourish. Increasingly, it has a specific content for activists, politicians, advocates, and academics: wage theft speaks the language of criminal law, and wage theft is a crime that should be punished. Harshly. Self-proclaimed “progressive prosecutors” have made wage theft cases a priority, and left-leaning politicians in the United States and abroad have begun to propose more criminal statutes ...


Criminal Law In Crisis, Benjamin Levin Jan 2020

Criminal Law In Crisis, Benjamin Levin

Articles

In this Essay, I offer a brief account of how the COVID-19 pandemic lays bare the realities and structural flaws of the carceral state. I provide two primary examples or illustrations, but they are not meant to serve as an exhaustive list. Rather, by highlighting these issues, problems, or (perhaps) features, I mean to suggest that this moment of crisis should serve not just as an opportunity to marshal resources to address the pandemic, but also as a chance to address the harsh realities of the U.S. criminal system. Further, my claim isn’t that criminal law is in ...


Mens Rea Reform And Its Discontents, Benjamin Levin Jan 2019

Mens Rea Reform And Its Discontents, Benjamin Levin

Articles

This Article examines the debates over recent proposals for “mens rea reform.” The substantive criminal law has expanded dramatically, and legislators have criminalized a great deal of common conduct. Often, new criminal laws do not require that defendants know they are acting unlawfully. Mens rea reform proposals seek to address the problems of overcriminalization and unintentional offending by increasing the burden on prosecutors to prove a defendant’s culpable mental state. These proposals have been a staple of conservative-backed bills on criminal justice reform. Many on the left remain skeptical of mens rea reform and view it as a deregulatory ...


Rethinking The Boundaries Of "Criminal Justice", Benjamin Levin Jan 2018

Rethinking The Boundaries Of "Criminal Justice", Benjamin Levin

Articles

This review of The New Criminal Justice Thinking (Sharon Dolovich & Alexandra Natapoff, eds.) tracks the shifting and uncertain contours of “criminal justice” as an object of study and critique.

Specifically, I trace two themes in the book:

(1) the uncertain boundaries of the “criminal justice system” as a web of laws, actors, and institutions; and

(2) the uncertain boundaries of “criminal justice thinking” as a universe of interdisciplinary scholarship, policy discourse, and public engagement.

I argue that these two themes speak to critically important questions about the nature of criminal justice scholarship and reform efforts. Without a firm understanding of what constitutes the “criminal justice system,” it is difficult to agree on the proper targets of critique or to determine what legal, social, and political problems are properly the province of “criminal justice thinking.” And, deciding which voices to accept and privilege in these ...


The Consensus Myth In Criminal Justice Reform, Benjamin Levin Jan 2018

The Consensus Myth In Criminal Justice Reform, Benjamin Levin

Articles

It has become popular to identify a “consensus” on criminal justice reform, but how deep is that consensus, actually? This Article argues that the purported consensus is much more limited than it initially appears. Despite shared reformist vocabulary, the consensus rests on distinct critiques that identify different flaws and justify distinct policy solutions. The underlying disagreements transcend traditional left/right political divides and speak to deeper disputes about the state and the role of criminal law in society.

The Article maps two prevailing, but fundamentally distinct, critiques of criminal law: (1) the quantitative approach (what I call the “over” frame ...


The Effect Of Criminal Records On Access To Employment, Amanda Agan, Sonja B. Starr May 2017

The Effect Of Criminal Records On Access To Employment, Amanda Agan, Sonja B. Starr

Articles

This paper adds to the empirical evidence that criminal records are a barrier to employment. Using data from 2,655 online applications sent on behalf of fictitious male applicants, we show that employers are 60 percent more likely to call applicants that do not have a felony conviction. We further investigate whether this effect varies based on applicant race (black versus white), crime type (drug versus property crime), industry (restaurants versus retail), jurisdiction (New Jersey versus New York City), local crime rate, and local racial composition. Although magnitudes vary somewhat, in every subsample the conviction effect is large, significant, and ...


The Lgbt Piece Of The Underenforcement-Overenforcement Puzzle, Aya Gruber Jan 2016

The Lgbt Piece Of The Underenforcement-Overenforcement Puzzle, Aya Gruber

Articles

No abstract provided.


Process Costs And Police Discretion, Charlie Gerstein, J. J. Prescott Apr 2015

Process Costs And Police Discretion, Charlie Gerstein, J. J. Prescott

Articles

Cities across the country are debating police discretion. Much of this debate centers on “public order” offenses. These minor offenses are unusual in that the actual sentence violators receive when convicted — usually time already served in detention — is beside the point. Rather, public order offenses are enforced prior to any conviction by subjecting accused individuals to arrest, detention, and other legal process. These “process costs” are significant; they distort plea bargaining to the point that the substantive law behind the bargained-for conviction is largely irrelevant. But the ongoing debate about police discretion has ignored the centrality of these process costs ...


Rate Of False Conviction Of Criminal Defendants Who Are Sentenced To Death, Samuel R. Gross, Barbara O'Brien, Chen Hu, Edward H. Kennedy Jan 2014

Rate Of False Conviction Of Criminal Defendants Who Are Sentenced To Death, Samuel R. Gross, Barbara O'Brien, Chen Hu, Edward H. Kennedy

Articles

The rate of erroneous conviction of innocent criminal defendants is often described as not merely unknown but unknowable. There is no systematic method to determine the accuracy of a criminal conviction; if there were, these errors would not occur in the first place. As a result, very few false convictions are ever discovered, and those that are discovered are not representative of the group as a whole. In the United States, however, a high proportion of false convictions that do come to light and produce exonerations are concentrated among the tiny minority of cases in which defendants are sentenced to ...


On The Role Of Cost-Benefit Analysis In Criminal Justice Policy: A Response To The Imprisoner's Dilemma, Sonja B. Starr Jan 2013

On The Role Of Cost-Benefit Analysis In Criminal Justice Policy: A Response To The Imprisoner's Dilemma, Sonja B. Starr

Articles

With one in 100 adult Americans behind bars, and prison budgets consuming an increasing share of state budgets, few social policy issues compare in significance to the debate over which criminal offenders should be incarcerated and for how long. David Abrams' article, The Impriasoner's Dilemma: A Cost-Benefit Approach to Incarceration,' makes an important contribution to that debate, offering an economic approach to assessing the net benefits of holding or freeing prisoners on the incarceration margin. In this short Response, I first highlight several strengths of Abrams' piece and discuss the possible case that could be made for incorporating formal ...


Plata V. Brown And Realignment: Jails, Prisons, Courts, And Politics, Margo Schlanger Jan 2013

Plata V. Brown And Realignment: Jails, Prisons, Courts, And Politics, Margo Schlanger

Articles

The year 2011 marked an important milestone in American institutional reform litigation. That year, a bare majority of the U.S. Supreme Court, in an opinion in Brown v. Plata by Justice Anthony Kennedy, affirmed a district court order requiring California to remedy its longstanding constitutional deficits in prison medical and mental health care by reducing prison crowding. Not since 1978 had the Court ratified a lower court's crowding-related order in a jail or prison case, and the order before the Court in 2011 was fairly aggressive; theoretically, it could have (although this was never a real prospect) induced ...


Reply To Richard A. Leo And Jon B. Gould, Samuel R. Gross, Barbara O'Brien Jan 2010

Reply To Richard A. Leo And Jon B. Gould, Samuel R. Gross, Barbara O'Brien

Articles

The following is a letter to the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law received from Professors Samuel Gross and Barbara O'Brien, responding to an article published in the Journal in Fall 2009 by Professors Richard Leo and Jon Gould. This letter is followed by a reply from Professors Leo and Gould. Professors Gross and O'Brien did not see the reply prior to the Journal going to press. As we have indicated before, we welcome letters to the Journal from readers on any topic covered in a prior issue. - Editors


Frequency And Predictors Of False Conviction: Why We Know So Little, And New Data On Capital Cases, Samuel R. Gross, Barbara O'Brien Jan 2008

Frequency And Predictors Of False Conviction: Why We Know So Little, And New Data On Capital Cases, Samuel R. Gross, Barbara O'Brien

Articles

In the first part of this article, we address the problems inherent in studying wrongful convictions: our pervasive ignorance and the extreme difficulty of obtaining the data that we need to answer even basic questions. The main reason that we know so little about false convictions is that, by definition, they are hidden from view. As a result, it is nearly impossible to gather reliable data on the characteristics or even the frequency of false convictions. In addition, we have very limited data on criminal investigations and prosecutions in general, so even if we could somehow obtain data on cases ...


Criminal Justice And The 1967 Detroit 'Riot', Yale Kamisar Jan 2007

Criminal Justice And The 1967 Detroit 'Riot', Yale Kamisar

Articles

Forty years ago the kindling of segregation, racism, and poverty burst into the flame of urban rioting in Detroit, Los Angeles, Newark, and other U.S. cities. The following essay is excerpted from a report by Professor Emeritus Yale Kamisar filed with the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (the Kerner Commission) regarding the disorders that took place in Detroit July 23-28, 1967. The report provided significant material and was the subject of one article in the series of pieces on the anniversary of the disturbances that appeared last summer in The Michigan Citizen of Detroit. Immediately after the disturbances ...


Jurisdictional Competition In Criminal Justice: How Much Does It Really Happen?, Samuel R. Gross Jan 2006

Jurisdictional Competition In Criminal Justice: How Much Does It Really Happen?, Samuel R. Gross

Articles

It's a familiar image from American fiction: the bad guy ridden out of town on a rail' or beaten up by the sheriff and dumped on the next train out. Where do they go? Banishment is an age-old form of punishment. In America, where an atomized criminal justice system has survived into the twentyfirst century, we can continue to try to dump our criminals on our near neighbors, and-as Doron Teichman points out in his interesting articlethat is not the only way that American states, counties, and cities can try to reduce their own crime rates by exporting crime ...


Reforming The Criminal Rap Sheet: Federal Timidity And The Traditional State Functions Doctrine, Mary De Ming Fan Jan 2005

Reforming The Criminal Rap Sheet: Federal Timidity And The Traditional State Functions Doctrine, Mary De Ming Fan

Articles

For decades, criminal justice officials have based key decisions about a defendant's fate and crime deterrence on a tool deplored by practitioners for its indecipherability and potential for inaccuracy or incompleteness—the rap sheet. Though the Supreme Court's criminal rights evolution progressed late last year to requiring rigor in documenting penalty maximum-enhancing prior convictions, the problem of the rap sheet has received little notice from jurists and scholars because the rap sheet plays its central role in discretionary decision-making areas shielded from scrutiny.[para] The rap sheet is not just a practitioner's problem. The flawing of the ...


Exonerations In The United States 1989 Through 2003, Samuel R. Gross, Kriten Jacoby, Daniel J. Matheson, Nicholas Montgomery, Sujata Patil Jan 2005

Exonerations In The United States 1989 Through 2003, Samuel R. Gross, Kriten Jacoby, Daniel J. Matheson, Nicholas Montgomery, Sujata Patil

Articles

On August 14, 1989, the Cook County Circuit Court in Chicago, Illinois, vacated Gary Dotson's 1979 rape conviction and dismissed the charges.1 Mr. Dotson-who had spent ten years in and out of prison and on parole for this conviction-was not the first innocent prisoner to be exonerated and released in America. But his case was a breakthrough nonetheless: he was the first who was cleared by DNA identification technology. It was the beginning of a revolution in the American criminal justice system. Until then, exonerations of falsely convicted defendants were seen as aberrational. Since 1989, these once-rare events ...


Do Jury Trials Encourage Harsh Punishment In The United States?, William T. Pizzi Jan 2002

Do Jury Trials Encourage Harsh Punishment In The United States?, William T. Pizzi

Articles

No abstract provided.


Rule Of Law And The Limits Of Sovereignty: The Private Prison In Jurisprudential Perspective, Ahmed A. White Jan 2001

Rule Of Law And The Limits Of Sovereignty: The Private Prison In Jurisprudential Perspective, Ahmed A. White

Articles

No abstract provided.