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Full-Text Articles in Law

Balancing Lenity, Rationality, And Finality: A Case For Special Verdict Forms In Cases Involving Overlapping Federal Criminal Offenses, Meghan A. Ferguson Mar 2010

Balancing Lenity, Rationality, And Finality: A Case For Special Verdict Forms In Cases Involving Overlapping Federal Criminal Offenses, Meghan A. Ferguson

Duke Law Journal

The Framers placed a high premium on jury independence and viewed the jury's ability to dispense lenity as an important check on the legislative and executive branches. Many features of the criminal justice system are designed to interpose the jury between the accused and overzealous legislators and prosecutors. The general verdict and the absolute finality of acquittals, for example, empower the jury to acquit a defendant against the weight of the evidence. Although these features of the criminal justice system were conceived to protect defendants, they may be more harmful than helpful to defendants, given changes in the criminal justice …


Discriminatory Acquittal, Tania Tetlow Oct 2009

Discriminatory Acquittal, Tania Tetlow

William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal

This article is the first to analyze a pervasive and unexplored constitutional problem: the rights of crime victims against unconstitutional discrimination by juries. From the Emmett Till trial to that of Rodney King, there is a long history of juries acquitting white defendants charged with violence against black victims. Modem empirical evidence continues to show a devaluation of black victims; dramatic disparities exist in death sentence and rape conviction rates according to the race of the victim. Moreover, just as juries have permitted violence against those who allegedly violated the racial order, juries use acquittals to punish female victims of …


Sentencing Acquitted Conduct To The Post-Booker Dustbin, James J. Bilsborrow Oct 2007

Sentencing Acquitted Conduct To The Post-Booker Dustbin, James J. Bilsborrow

William & Mary Law Review

No abstract provided.


The Cognitive Psychology Of Circumstantial Evidence, Kevin Jon Heller Nov 2006

The Cognitive Psychology Of Circumstantial Evidence, Kevin Jon Heller

Michigan Law Review

Empirical research indicates that jurors routinely undervalue circumstantial evidence (DNA, fingerprints, and the like) and overvalue direct evidence (eyewitness identifications and confessions) when making verdict choices, even though false-conviction statistics indicate that the former is normally more probative and more reliable than the latter The traditional explanation of this paradox, based on the probability-threshold model of jury decision-making, is that jurors simply do not understand circumstantial evidence and thus routinely underestimate its effect on the objective probability of the defendant's guilt. That may be true in some situations, but it fails to account for what is known in cognitive psychology …


Report On Prosecution, Rollin M. Perkins Nov 1931

Report On Prosecution, Rollin M. Perkins

Michigan Law Review

The logical starting point was the discovery and restatement of existing knowledge and information on these subjects, and because of the tremendous mass of material which has appeared in the form of surveys and reports within the last decade and a half, it was deemed wise to enlist the services of an expert in such matters. The analysis which he has produced, let it be added, amply justifies the Commission in his selection.


Crimes--Burden Of Proving Alibi And Self-Defense May 1931

Crimes--Burden Of Proving Alibi And Self-Defense

Michigan Law Review

The defendant, indicted for murder, requested a charge that, if the evidence as to self-defense raised in the minds of the jurors a reasonable doubt of the guilt of the defendant, they should acquit him. Held, the trial court properly refused to· give the instruction. The burden was on the defendant to establish the defense by a preponderance of the evidence. Commonwealth v. Troup (Pa. 1931) 153 Atl. 337.


Constitutional Law-Crimes-Waiver Of Jury Dec 1930

Constitutional Law-Crimes-Waiver Of Jury

Michigan Law Review

The accused, on trial for a felony, was permitted by the trial judge to waive a jury. The trial before the judge alone resulted in an acquittal. The state's attorney petitioned for a writ of mandamus to expunge from the record the orders to dispose of the cause without a jury and for discharge of the accused, on the ground that the court had no jurisdiction to hear and determine the cause. Held, writ of mandamus denied. People ex rel. Swanson v. Fisher (Ill., 1930) 172 N.E. 722.


Crimes-Alibi-Instructions As To Particular Evidence Mar 1929

Crimes-Alibi-Instructions As To Particular Evidence

Michigan Law Review

In a prosecution for robbery the defendants introduced evidence as to an alibi and requested a charge which contained the proposition that the evidence on this point had merely to raise a reasonable doubt as to their presence at the scene of the crime to entitle them to an acquittal. The court refused this request, but had previously instructed the jury that the burden rested with the state to prove the guilt of the. defendants beyond a reasonable doubt. Held, that it was reversible error to refuse the charge requested. People v. Vasquez (Cal. App. r928) 26g Pac. 549.