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Full-Text Articles in Law

Thug Life: Hip Hop’S Curious Relationship With Criminal Justice, André Douglas Pond Cummings Jul 2009

Thug Life: Hip Hop’S Curious Relationship With Criminal Justice, André Douglas Pond Cummings

Faculty Scholarship

I argue that hip hop music and culture profoundly influences attitudes toward and perceptions about criminal justice in the United States. At base, hip hop lyrics and their cultural accoutrements turns U.S. punishment philosophy upon its head, effectively defeating the foundational purposes of American crime and punishment. Prison and punishment philosophy in the U.S. is based on clear principles of retribution and incapacitation, where prison time for crime should serve to deter individuals from engaging in criminal behavior. In addition, the stigma that attaches to imprisonment should dissuade criminals from recidivism. Hip hop culture denounces crime and punishment in the …


Cruel And Unequal Punishment, Nita A. Farahany Jan 2009

Cruel And Unequal Punishment, Nita A. Farahany

Faculty Scholarship

This article argues Atkins and its progeny of categorical exemptions to the death penalty create and new and as of yet undiscovered interaction between the Eighth and the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The United States Supreme Court, the legal academy and commentators have failed to consider the relationship between the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause and the Equal Protection Clause that the Court's new Eighth Amendment jurisprudence demands. This article puts forth a new synthesis of these two clauses, and demonstrates how the Court's new Eighth Amendment jurisprudence has remarkable Fourteenth Amendment implications. To see the point in …


Neoliberal Penality: The Birth Of Natural Order, The Illusion Of Free Markets, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2009

Neoliberal Penality: The Birth Of Natural Order, The Illusion Of Free Markets, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

What work do the categories “the free market” and “regulation” do for us? Why do we incarcerate one out of every one hundred adults? These seemingly unrelated questions, it turns out, are deeply interconnected. The categories of free and regulated markets emerged as an effort to make sense of irreducibly individual phenomena – unique forms of market organization. In the process, these categories helped shape our belief that the economic realm is characterized by natural order and equilibrium, and that the only legitimate sphere of government intervention is policing and punishment. The consequences have been devastating: first, in distorting and …


Mistake Of Fact Or Mistake Of Criminal Law? Explaining And Defending The Distinction, Kenneth Simons Jan 2009

Mistake Of Fact Or Mistake Of Criminal Law? Explaining And Defending The Distinction, Kenneth Simons

Faculty Scholarship

This article makes six points. First, under any plausible normative perspective, the distinction between mistake (and ignorance) of criminal law and mistake of fact must at least sometimes be drawn. Second, the fundamental distinction is between a mistake about the state's authoritative statement of what is prohibited ("M Law"), and a mistake about whether that prohibitory norm is instantiated in a particular case ("M Fact"). Third, when an actor makes a mistake about an evaluative criterion whose content the fact-finder has discretion to elaborate, it is impossible both to allow this discretion and to faithfully realize a jurisdiction's policy of …


Neoliberal Penality: A Brief Genealogy, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2009

Neoliberal Penality: A Brief Genealogy, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

The turn of the twenty first century witnessed important shifts in punishment practices. The most shocking is mass incarceration – the exponential rise in prisoners in state and federal penitentiaries and in county jails beginning in 1973. It is tempting to view these developments as evidence of something new that emerged in the 1970s – of a new culture of control, a new penology, or a new turn to biopower. But it would be a mistake to place too much emphasis on the 1970s since most of the recent trends have antecedents and parallels in the early twentieth century. It …


Post-Modern Meditations On Punishment: On The Limits Of Reason And The Virtues Of Randomization, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2009

Post-Modern Meditations On Punishment: On The Limits Of Reason And The Virtues Of Randomization, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

This chapter presents an authoritative overview of punishment, with particular emphasis on the limits of reason and the virtue of randomization. It includes comments by some of the nation's top legal scholars from the field of criminal law, tackling topics such as the Enlightenment ideal of social engineering through punishment and the role of chance in the administration of criminal justice.


Post-Modern Meditations On Punishment: On The Limits Of Reason And The Virtues Of Randomization, Bernard E. Harcourt, Alon Harel, Ken Levy, Michael M. O'Hear, Alice Ristroph Jan 2009

Post-Modern Meditations On Punishment: On The Limits Of Reason And The Virtues Of Randomization, Bernard E. Harcourt, Alon Harel, Ken Levy, Michael M. O'Hear, Alice Ristroph

Faculty Scholarship

In this Criminal Law Conversation (Robinson, Ferzan & Garvey, eds., Oxford 2009), the authors debate whether there is a role for randomization in the penal sphere - in the criminal law, in policing, and in punishment theory. In his Tanner lectures back in 1987, Jon Elster had argued that there was no role for chance in the criminal law: “I do not think there are any arguments for incorporating lotteries in present-day criminal law,” Elster declared. Bernard Harcourt takes a very different position and embraces chance in the penal sphere, arguing that randomization is often the only way to avoid …