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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Irreducibly Normative Nature Of Provocation/Passion, Stephen J. Morse Oct 2009

The Irreducibly Normative Nature Of Provocation/Passion, Stephen J. Morse

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

I agree with Professor Fontaine that provocation/passion is best interpreted as a partial excuse, but the ground for my conclusion is normative and not analytic. Indeed, I fear that he has not made the analytic case in large part because he begs a question about failed justifications that has only a normative and not an analytic answer. This Essay first briefly provides my own understanding of provocation/ passion. In the course of doing so, I address Professor Fontaine's argument that provocation/passion should also be applied to people with provocation interpretational bias. I then turn to why Fontaine ...


The Values Of Interdisciplinarity In Homicide Law Reform, Robert Weisberg Oct 2009

The Values Of Interdisciplinarity In Homicide Law Reform, Robert Weisberg

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Professor Reid Fontaine's article, Adequate (Non)Provocation and Heat of Passion as Excuse Not Justification, makes a convincing case for treating heat of passion wholly as an excuse not a justification, as the only sensible way to comprehend its various forms. In doing so, Professor Fontaine stimulates further thinking about heat of passion doctrine, along two dimensions.


How Not To Argue That Reasonable Provocation Is Not An Excuse, Peter K. Westen Oct 2009

How Not To Argue That Reasonable Provocation Is Not An Excuse, Peter K. Westen

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Reid Fontaine draws two conclusions regarding the partial defense to murder of reasonable provocation-one regarding its substantive content, the other regarding its formal classification…. I agree with both of Fontaine's two conclusions, and, indeed, I have previously written to that effect. Unfortunately, while I agree with Fontaine's conclusions, I do not think he adequately supports them.


Adequate (Non)Provocation And Heat Of Passion As Excuse Not Justification, Reid Griffith Fontaine Oct 2009

Adequate (Non)Provocation And Heat Of Passion As Excuse Not Justification, Reid Griffith Fontaine

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

For a number of reasons, including the complicated psychological makeup of reactive homicide, the heat of passion defense has remained subject to various points of confusion. One persistent issue of disagreement has been the justificatory versus excusatory nature of the defense. In this Article, I highlight and categorize a series of varied American homicide cases in which the applicability of heat of passion was supported although adequate provocation (or significant provocation by the victim) was absent. The cases are organized to illustrate how common law heat of passion may apply in instances in which there is no actual provocation or ...


Unjustified: The Practical Irrelevance Of The Justification/Excuse Distinction, Gabriel J. Chin Oct 2009

Unjustified: The Practical Irrelevance Of The Justification/Excuse Distinction, Gabriel J. Chin

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

In recent decades, the distinction between justification and excuse defenses has been a favorite topic of theorists of philosophy and criminal law. Notwithstanding the impressive intellectual efforts devoted to the task, no single scholar or viewpoint appears to be on the verge of generating practical consensus about the concepts of justification and excuse, categorization of the defenses, or categorization of difficult individual cases. This Essay suggests that none of these goals can be usefully advanced through the justification/excuse distinction.


Misunderstanding Provocation, Samuel H. Pillsbury Oct 2009

Misunderstanding Provocation, Samuel H. Pillsbury

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Provocation is and always has been a compromise rule whose success depends on its ability to appeal to all ideological constituencies, and therefore will always-as long as it lasts-resist the final categorization that this question seeks. As long as provocation involves an inquiry into reasonableness, it will include considerations of justification. As long as it provides for mitigation of punishment based on the difficulty of resisting temptations to violence inspired by strong emotion, it will speak to considerations of excuse.


On Passion's Potential To Undermine Rationality: A Reply, Reid Griffith Fontaine Oct 2009

On Passion's Potential To Undermine Rationality: A Reply, Reid Griffith Fontaine

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

This Reply is organized into several sections. Following the Introduction, I respond to my six distinguished commentators. In Section II, I consider Professor Chin's concern that the distinction between justification and excuse bears no practical relevance for the criminal law. In Section III, I respond to Professor Baron's argument that reasonable mistake of fact is consistent with justification-a view, she observes, that is generally reflected in the criminal law. Building on the discussion of whether mistake and justification are compatible, Section IV addresses Professor Pillsbury's treatment of heat of passion as a hybrid defense that uniquely incorporates ...


The Provocation Defense And The Nature Of Justification, Marcia Baron Oct 2009

The Provocation Defense And The Nature Of Justification, Marcia Baron

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

In this Essay, I evaluate the evidence of "adequate nonprovocation” that Fontaine puts forward to show that the heat of passion defense is decidedly an excuse (more precisely, a partial excuse). I will be focusing my remarks on the traditional heat of passion defense.


Victims, “Closure,” And The Sociology Of Emotion, Susan A. Bandes Apr 2009

Victims, “Closure,” And The Sociology Of Emotion, Susan A. Bandes

Law and Contemporary Problems

Bandes discusses the polarizing function of victim impact statements used in the context of the death penalty. The use of victim impact statements is justified in order to promote closure for the victim, but it's unclear what psychological closure can be accomplished from the formal litigation process. Even if victim impact statements do help their authors, in the context of the death penalty the authors are family members of the victim, not the direct victim, and Bandes questions whether it's important to further their interests at the expense of the interests of the defendant. The only recourse for ...


Polarization: The Role Of Emotions In Reconciliation Efforts, Meghan Clarke Apr 2009

Polarization: The Role Of Emotions In Reconciliation Efforts, Meghan Clarke

Law and Contemporary Problems

Clarke points out some strategies that have been used in the Collaborative Change Approach to group-conflict resolution that are designed to help depolarize the competing sides' stances toward one another. In order to try to break down the hostility between the groups, Clarke brings together each identity or stakeholder group in order to share with one another why each group cares passionately about the issue. Clarke provides the example of a groundfishery conflict that involved recreational fishermen, commercial fishermen, environmentalists, researchers, and government officials. The interests of each of these groups conflicted, but no group had morally problematic motivations or ...


Emotional Common Sense As Constitutional Law, Terry A. Maroney Jan 2009

Emotional Common Sense As Constitutional Law, Terry A. Maroney

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

In Gonzales v. Carhart the Supreme Court invoked post-abortion regret to justify a ban on a particular abortion procedure. The Court was proudly folk-psychological, representing its observations about women's emotional experiences as "self-evident." That such observations could drive critical legal determinations was, apparently, even more self-evident, as it received no mention at all. Far from being sui generis, Carhart reflects a previously unidentified norm permeating constitutional jurisprudence: reliance on what this Article coins "emotional common sense." Emotional common sense is what one unreflectively thinks she knows about the emotions. A species of common sense, it seems obvious and universal ...


Marking The Path Of The Law, Stephen Ellmann Jan 2009

Marking The Path Of The Law, Stephen Ellmann

Articles & Chapters

This article, published in South Africa's Constitutional Court Review, focuses on the Constitutional Court of South Africa in order to discuss the nature of constitutional judging more generally. Looking to Brown v. Board of Education as an example, it argues that technical skill – though obviously important – is not the highest virtue of the constitutional judge, and that a central attribute of constitutional judging is commitment to the values of the constitution. But commitment to values is more than a matter of rational assent. As everyday experience and neurological evidence teach us, commitment naturally and unavoidably involves the judge’s ...


Emotional State And Localized Norms: A Reply, Clare Huntington Jan 2009

Emotional State And Localized Norms: A Reply, Clare Huntington

Faculty Scholarship

This piece is a response to Emory Law professor Martha Albertson Fineman's comments on Professor Huntington's Article "Familial Norms and Morality, 59 Emory L.J 1103 (2010).