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Full-Text Articles in Law

Penalizing Punitive Damages: Why The Supreme Court Needs A Lesson In Law & Economics, Steve P. Calandrillo Jul 2009

Penalizing Punitive Damages: Why The Supreme Court Needs A Lesson In Law & Economics, Steve P. Calandrillo

Steve P. Calandrillo

Last fall’s landmark Supreme Court decision addressing punitive damages in the infamous Exxon Valdez oil spill case has brought the issue of punitive awards back into the legal limelight. Modern Supreme Court jurisprudence, most notably BMW, State Farm, Philip Morris, and now Exxon Valdez in 2008, have concluded that such judgments are justified to punish morally reprehensible behavior and to “send a message” to evildoers. However, the Court has increasingly emphasized that the U.S. Constitution’s Due Process Clause presumptively limits punitive awards, drawing an arbitrary line in the sand of no more than ten times actual damages.

This paper critically …


Happiness And Punishment (With J. Bronsteen & J. Masur), Christopher J. Buccafusco Jan 2009

Happiness And Punishment (With J. Bronsteen & J. Masur), Christopher J. Buccafusco

Christopher J. Buccafusco

This article continues our project to apply groundbreaking new literature on the behavioral psychology of human happiness to some of the most deeply analyzed questions in law. Here we explain that the new psychological understandings of happiness interact in startling ways with the leading theories of criminal punishment. Punishment theorists, both retributivist and utilitarian, have failed to account for human beings' ability to adapt to changed circumstances, including fines and (surprisingly) imprisonment. At the same time, these theorists have largely ignored the severe hedonic losses brought about by the post-prison social and economic deprivations (unemployment, divorce, and disease) caused by …


Beyond Retroactivity To Realizing Justice: A Theory On The Principle Of Legality In International Criminal Law Sentencing, Shahram Dana Jan 2009

Beyond Retroactivity To Realizing Justice: A Theory On The Principle Of Legality In International Criminal Law Sentencing, Shahram Dana

Shahram Dana

Only the innocent deserve the benefits of the principle of legality. This statement naturally offends our notions of justice. It would be unacceptable for courts of criminal justice to institutionalize such an approach. Yet, in the context of prosecuting mass atrocities, genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, international criminal courts appear to be resigned to such a principle, if not openly embracing it. Although ranking among the most fundamental principles of criminal law, nulla poena sine lege (no punishment without law) receives surprisingly little attention in international criminal justice. Indeed, that it may be considered the 'poor cousin' of …


On The Boundaries Of Culture As An Affirmative Defense, Reid Griffith Fontaine, Eliot M. Held Jan 2009

On The Boundaries Of Culture As An Affirmative Defense, Reid Griffith Fontaine, Eliot M. Held

Reid G. Fontaine

A “cultural defense” to criminal culpability cannot achieve true pluralism without collapsing into a totally subjective, personal standard. Applying an objective cultural standard does not rescue a defendant from the external imposition of values—the purported aim of the cultural defense—because a cultural standard is, at its core, an external standard imposed onto an individual. The pluralist argument for a cultural defense also fails on its own terms—after all, justice systems are themselves cultural institutions. Furthermore, a defendant’s background is already accounted for at sentencing. The closest thing to a cultural defense that a court could adopt without damaging the culpability …


Extraordinary And Compelling: A Re-Examination Of The Justifications For Compassionate Release, William W. Berry Iii Jan 2009

Extraordinary And Compelling: A Re-Examination Of The Justifications For Compassionate Release, William W. Berry Iii

William W Berry III

Federal law, unbeknownst to many, includes a provision that permits the immediate release of federal prisoners. This safety valve provision requires that the Director of the Bureau of Prisons make a motion on behalf of the prisoner in order to secure the prisoner's compassionate release. Far from being a veiled version of parole, this compassionate release provision is to be used only in circumstances deemed "extraordinary and compelling." While the Bureau of Prisons has read this language very narrowly for many years, considering only terminally ill inmates as candidates for compassionate release, the Sentencing Commission modified its Guideline commentary in …