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Articles 1 - 8 of 8

Full-Text Articles in Law

Exacerbating Injustice, Stephanos Bibas Nov 2008

Exacerbating Injustice, Stephanos Bibas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This brief essay responds to Josh Bowers' argument that criminal procedure should openly allow innocent defendants to plead guilty as a legal fiction. Though most scholars emphasize the few but salient serious felony cases, Bowers is right to refocus attention on misdemeanors and violations, which are far more numerous. And though the phrase wrongful convictions conjures up images of punishing upstanding citizens, Bowers is also right to emphasize that recidivists are far more likely to suffer wrongful suspicion and conviction. Bowers' mistake is to treat the criminal justice system as simply a means of satisfying defendants' preferences and choices. This ...


Truth And Innocence Procedures To Free Innocent Persons: Beyond The Adversarial System, Tim Bakken May 2008

Truth And Innocence Procedures To Free Innocent Persons: Beyond The Adversarial System, Tim Bakken

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Through innocent pleas and innocence procedures, this Article urges a fundamental change to the adversarial system to minimize the risk that factually innocent persons will be convicted of crimes. The current system, based on determining whether the prosecution can prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, results in acquittals of guilty persons when evidence is sparse and convictions of innocent persons when evidence is abundant. It might be easier philosophically to accept that guilty persons will go free than to know that some innocent persons will be convicted and imprisoned, especially in the American justice system where erroneous jury verdicts based ...


Wrongly Accused Redux: How Race Contributes To Convicting The Innocent: The Informants Example, Andrew E. Taslitz Jan 2008

Wrongly Accused Redux: How Race Contributes To Convicting The Innocent: The Informants Example, Andrew E. Taslitz

Andrew E. Taslitz

This article analyzes five forces that may raise the risk of convicting the innocent based upon the suspect's race: the selection, ratchet, procedural justice, bystanders, and aggressive-suspicion effects. In other words, subconscious forces press police to focus more attention on racial minorites, the ratchet makes this focus every-increasing, the resulting sense by the community of unfair treatment raises its involvment in crime while lowering its willingness to aid the police in resisting crime, innocent persons suffer when their skin color becomes associated with criminality, and the police use more aggressive techniques on racial minorities in a way that raises ...


Wrongly Accused Redux: How Race Contributes To Convicting The Innocent: The Informants Example, Andrew E. Taslitz Jan 2008

Wrongly Accused Redux: How Race Contributes To Convicting The Innocent: The Informants Example, Andrew E. Taslitz

School of Law Faculty Publications

This article analyzes five forces that may raise the risk of convicting the innocent based upon the suspect's race: the selection, ratchet, procedural justice, bystanders, and aggressive-suspicion effects. In other words, subconscious forces press police to focus more attention on racial minorites, the ratchet makes this focus every-increasing, the resulting sense by the community of unfair treatment raises its involvment in crime while lowering its willingness to aid the police in resisting crime, innocent persons suffer when their skin color becomes associated with criminality, and the police use more aggressive techniques on racial minorities in a way that raises ...


Ordeal By Innocence: Why There Should Be A Wrongful Incarceration/Execution Exception To Attorney-Client Confidentiality, Colin Miller Jan 2008

Ordeal By Innocence: Why There Should Be A Wrongful Incarceration/Execution Exception To Attorney-Client Confidentiality, Colin Miller

Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


The Supreme Court And The Politics Of Death, Stephen F. Smith Jan 2008

The Supreme Court And The Politics Of Death, Stephen F. Smith

Journal Articles

This article explores the evolving role of the U.S. Supreme Court in the politics of death. By constitutionalizing the death penalty in the 1970s, the Supreme Court unintentionally set into motion political forces that have seriously undermined the Court's vision of a death penalty that is fairly administered and imposed only on the worst offenders. With the death penalty established as a highly salient political issue, politicians - legislators, prosecutors, and governors - have strong institutional incentives to make death sentences easier to achieve and carry out. The result of this vicious cycle is not only more executions, but less ...


Engaging Capital Emotions, Douglas A. Berman, Stephanos Bibas Jan 2008

Engaging Capital Emotions, Douglas A. Berman, Stephanos Bibas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The Supreme Court, in Kennedy v. Louisiana, is about to decide whether the Eighth Amendment forbids capital punishment for child rape. Commentators are aghast, viewing this as a vengeful recrudescence of emotion clouding sober, rational criminal justice policy. To their minds, emotion is distracting. To ours, however, emotion is central to understand the death penalty. Descriptively, emotions help to explain many features of our death-penalty jurisprudence. Normatively, emotions are central to why we punish, and denying or squelching them risks prompting vigilantism and other unhealthy outlets for this normal human reaction. The emotional case for the death penalty for child ...


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 ...