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Full-Text Articles in Law

Politics, Identity, And Pleading Decisions On The U.S. Courts Of Appeals, Stephen B. Burbank, Sean Farhang Jan 2021

Politics, Identity, And Pleading Decisions On The U.S. Courts Of Appeals, Stephen B. Burbank, Sean Farhang

All Faculty Scholarship

We report the results of an empirical study of appeals from rulings on motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) after the Supreme Court’s decisions in Twombly and Iqbal. We first describe the role that pleading was intended to play in the original (1938) Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, review the Court’s decisions in Twombly and Iqbal, and offer a brief discussion of common themes in normative scholarship that is critical of Twombly and Iqbal, including the claim that they threaten to amplify ideological and subjective decision-making, particularly …


Politics, Identity, And Class Certification On The U.S. Courts Of Appeals, Stephen B. Burbank, Sean Farhang Nov 2020

Politics, Identity, And Class Certification On The U.S. Courts Of Appeals, Stephen B. Burbank, Sean Farhang

Michigan Law Review

This Article draws on novel data and presents the results of the first empirical analysis of how potentially salient characteristics of Court of Appeals judges influence class certification under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. We find that the ideological composition of the panel (measured by the party of the appointing president) has a very strong association with certification outcomes, with all-Democratic panels having dramatically higher rates of procertification outcomes than all-Republican panels—nearly triple in about the past twenty years. We also find that the presence of one African American on a panel, and the presence of …


Mapping The Iceberg: The Impact Of Data Sources On The Study Of District Courts, Christina L. Boyd, Pauline T. Kim, Margo Schlanger Aug 2020

Mapping The Iceberg: The Impact Of Data Sources On The Study Of District Courts, Christina L. Boyd, Pauline T. Kim, Margo Schlanger

Articles

Three decades ago, Siegelman and Donohue aptly characterized research about courts and litigation that relied only on published opinions as “studying the iceberg from its tip.” They implored researchers to view published district court opinions “with greater sensitivity to the ways in which such cases are unrepresentative of all cases”. The dynamic, multistage nature of trial court litigation makes a focus solely on published opinions particularly ill-suited to the study of federal district courts. Expanded electronic access to court documents now allows more pre-cise analysis of the ways in which published cases are unrepresentative and what differences that makes for …


"Downright Indifference": Examining Unpublished Decisions In The Federal Courts Of Appeals, Merritt E. Mcalister Feb 2020

"Downright Indifference": Examining Unpublished Decisions In The Federal Courts Of Appeals, Merritt E. Mcalister

Michigan Law Review

Nearly 90 percent of the work of the federal courts of appeals looks nothing like the opinions law students read in casebooks. Over the last fifty years, the so-called “unpublished decision” has overtaken the federal appellate courts in response to a caseload volume “crisis.” These are often short, perfunctory decisions that make no law; they are, one federal judge said, “not safe for human consumption.”

The creation of the inferior unpublished decision also has created an inferior track of appellate justice for a class of appellants: indigent litigants. The federal appellate courts routinely shunt indigent appeals to a second-tier appellate …


“A World Of Steel-Eyed Death”: An Empirical Evaluation Of The Failure Of The Strickland Standard To Ensure Adequate Counsel To Defendants With Mental Disabilities Facing The Death Penalty, Michael L. Perlin, Talia Roitberg Harmon, Sarah Chatt Jan 2020

“A World Of Steel-Eyed Death”: An Empirical Evaluation Of The Failure Of The Strickland Standard To Ensure Adequate Counsel To Defendants With Mental Disabilities Facing The Death Penalty, Michael L. Perlin, Talia Roitberg Harmon, Sarah Chatt

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

First, we discuss the background of the development of counsel adequacy in death penalty cases. Next, we look carefully at Strickland, and the subsequent Supreme Court cases that appear—on the surface—to bolster it in this context. We then consider multiple jurisprudential filters that we believe must be taken seriously if this area of the law is to be given any authentic meaning. Next, we will examine and interpret the data that we have developed. Finally, we will look at this entire area of law through the filter of therapeutic jurisprudence, and then explain why and how the charade of “adequacy …


The Effectiveness Of Measures To Increase Appellate Court Efficiency And Decision Output, Thomas B. Marvell, Carlisle E. Moody Sep 2019

The Effectiveness Of Measures To Increase Appellate Court Efficiency And Decision Output, Thomas B. Marvell, Carlisle E. Moody

Carlisle Moody

This Article will examine the effectiveness of measures commonly employed to increase appellate court productivity. Part I of the Article sets forth some common design problems and explains how the research technique employed in the present study avoids these problems by using a multiple time-series research design. Part II applies this design to state court data. Part II also describes the dependent variable, the number of appeals decided per judge, used in the regression analysis. Part III discusses the results of that analysis-the impact of each change listed above on judicial productivity. The Article, although not advocating the adoption of …


Targeting Poverty In The Courts: Improving The Measurement Of Ability To Pay Fines, Meghan M. O'Neil, J.J. Prescott Jan 2019

Targeting Poverty In The Courts: Improving The Measurement Of Ability To Pay Fines, Meghan M. O'Neil, J.J. Prescott

Articles

Ability-to-pay determinations are essential when governments use money-based alternative sanctions, like fines, to enforce laws. One longstanding difficulty in the U.S. has been the extreme lack of guidance on how courts are to determine a litigant’s ability to pay. The result has been a seat-of-the-pants approach that is inefficient and inaccurate, and, as a consequence, very socially costly. Fortunately, online platform technology presents a promising avenue for reform. In particular, platform technology offers the potential to increase litigant access, reduce costs, and ensure consistent and fair treatment—all of which should lead to more accurate sanctions. We use interviews, surveys, and …


Jury Selection In The Weeds: Whither The Democratic Shore?, Jeffrey Abramson Oct 2018

Jury Selection In The Weeds: Whither The Democratic Shore?, Jeffrey Abramson

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

This Article reports on four federal jury challenges in which the trial judge or defendants retained the author to provide research on jury selection plans. The research shows a persistent and substantial loss of representation for African Americans and Hispanics on federal juries, even though no intentional discrimination took place. Problems with undeliverable jury summonses, as well as failure to respond to summonses, were the main causes of departures from the ideal of cross-sectional jury selection. However, a cramped understanding of what it takes for a defendant to prove that minority jurors were systematically excluded, as required by Duren v. …


The Elephant In The Room: Helping Delaware Courts Develop Law To End Systemic Short-Term Bias In Corporate Decision-Making, Kenneth Mcneil, Keith Johnson Oct 2018

The Elephant In The Room: Helping Delaware Courts Develop Law To End Systemic Short-Term Bias In Corporate Decision-Making, Kenneth Mcneil, Keith Johnson

Michigan Business & Entrepreneurial Law Review

Short-termism in corporate decision-making is as problematic for long-term investors as relying on a three-mile radar on a supertanker. It is totally inadequate for handling the long-term risks and opportunities faced by the modern corporation. Yet recent empirical research shows that up to 85% of the S&P 1500 have no long-term planning. This is costing pension funds and other long-term investors dearly. For instance, the small minority of companies that do long-term planning and risk management had a long-term profitability that was 81% higher than their peers during the 2001–2014 period—with less stock volatility that costs investors dearly as well. …


Assessing Access-To-Justice Outreach Strategies, J. J. Prescott Jan 2018

Assessing Access-To-Justice Outreach Strategies, J. J. Prescott

Articles

The need for prospective beneficiaries to “take up” new programs is a common stumbling block for otherwise well-designed legal and policy innovations. I examine the take-up problem in the context of publicly provided court services and test the effectiveness of various outreach strategies that announce a newly available online court access platform. I study individuals with minor arrest warrants whose distrust of courts may dampen any take-up response. I partnered with a court to quasi-randomly assign outreach approaches to a cohort of individuals and find that outreach improves take-up, that the type of outreach matters, and that online platform access …


Improving Access To Justice In State Courts With Platform Technology, J. J. Prescott Nov 2017

Improving Access To Justice In State Courts With Platform Technology, J. J. Prescott

Articles

Access to justice often equates to access to state courts, and for millions of Americans, using state courts to resolve their disputes—often with the government—is a real challenge. Reforms are regularly proposed in the hopes of improving the situation (e.g., better legal aid), but until recently a significant part of the problem has been structural. Using state courts today for all but the simplest of legal transactions entails at the very least traveling to a courthouse and meeting with a decision maker in person and in a one-on-one setting. Even minimally effective access, therefore, requires time, transportation, and very often …


Chevron In The Circuit Courts, Kent Barnett, Christopher J. Walker Oct 2017

Chevron In The Circuit Courts, Kent Barnett, Christopher J. Walker

Michigan Law Review

This Article presents findings from the most comprehensive empirical study to date on how the federal courts of appeals have applied Chevrondeference— the doctrine under which courts defer to a federal agency’s reasonable interpretation of an ambiguous statute that it administers. Based on 1,558 agency interpretations the circuit courts reviewed from 2003 through 2013 (where they cited Chevron), we found that the circuit courts overall upheld 71% of interpretations and applied Chevrondeference 77% of the time. But there was nearly a twenty-five-percentage-point difference in agency-win rates when the circuit courts applied Chevrondeference than when they did …


Timely Permanency Or Unnecessary Removal?: Tips For Advocates For Children Who Spend Less Than 30 Days In Foster Care, Christopher Church, Monique Mitchell, Vivek Sankaran Jun 2017

Timely Permanency Or Unnecessary Removal?: Tips For Advocates For Children Who Spend Less Than 30 Days In Foster Care, Christopher Church, Monique Mitchell, Vivek Sankaran

Articles

Removal and placement in foster care is child welfare’s most severe intervention, contemplated as “a last resort rather than the first.” Federal law, with an overarching goal of preventing unnecessary removals, bolsters this principle by requiring juvenile and family courts to carefully oversee the removal of children to foster care. Expansive research reminds the field that removal, while often necessary, is not a benign intervention. Physically, legally, and emotionally separating children from their parent(s) can traumatize children in lasting ways. Yet review of federal data concerning children in foster care reveal a troubling narrative: each year, tens of thousands of …


Factors In Fairness And Emotion In Online Case Resolution Systems, Youyang Hou, Cliff Lampe, Maximilian Bulinski, J. J. Prescott May 2017

Factors In Fairness And Emotion In Online Case Resolution Systems, Youyang Hou, Cliff Lampe, Maximilian Bulinski, J. J. Prescott

Articles

Courts are increasingly adopting online information and communication technology, creating a need to consider the potential consequences of these tools for the justice system. Using survey responses from 209 litigants who had recently used an online case resolution system, we investigate factors that influenced litigants’ experiences of fairness and emotional feelings toward court officials. Our results show that ease of using the online case resolution system, the outcome of the case, and a litigant’s perceptions of procedural justice are positively associated both with whether the litigant views the process as fair and whether the litigant ultimately feels positive emotions toward …


Race And Wrongful Convictions In The United States, Samuel R. Gross, Maurice Possley, Klara Stephens Mar 2017

Race And Wrongful Convictions In The United States, Samuel R. Gross, Maurice Possley, Klara Stephens

Other Publications

African Americans are only 13% of the American population but a majority of innocent defendants wrongfully convicted of crimes and later exonerated. They constitute 47% of the 1,900 exonerations listed in the National Registry of Exonerations (as of October 2016), and the great majority of more than 1,800 additional innocent defendants who were framed and convicted of crimes in 15 large-scale police scandals and later cleared in “group exonerations.” We see this racial disparity for all major crime categories, but we examine it in this report in the context of the three types of crime that produce the largest numbers …


Chevron In The Circuit Courts: The Codebook Appendix, Kent Barnett, Christopher J. Walker Jan 2017

Chevron In The Circuit Courts: The Codebook Appendix, Kent Barnett, Christopher J. Walker

Michigan Law Review Online

For our empirical study on the use of Chevron deference in the federal courts of appeals, we utilized the following Codebook. This Codebook draws substantially from the codebook appended to William Eskridge and Lauren Baer’s pathbreaking study of administrative law’s deference doctrines at the Supreme Court. Our research assistants and we followed the instructions below when coding judicial decisions. To address questions as they arose and to ensure consistent coding, we maintained close contact with each other and our research assistants throughout the project and clarified the Codebook to address additional issues. Further details concerning our methodology (and its limitations) …


An Empirical Study Of Implicit Takings., James E. Krier, Stewart E. Sterk Oct 2016

An Empirical Study Of Implicit Takings., James E. Krier, Stewart E. Sterk

Articles

Takings scholarship has long focused on the niceties of Supreme Court doctrine, while ignoring the operation of takings law "on the ground" in the state and lower federal courts, which together decide the vast bulk of all takings cases. This study, based primarily on an empirical analysis of more than 2000 reported decisions ovcr the period 1979 through 2012, attempts to fill that void. This study establishes that the Supreme Court's categorical rules govern almost no state takings cases, and that takings claims based on government regulation almost invariably fail. By contrast, when takings claims arise out of government action …


Post-Sentencing Appellate Waivers, Kevin Bennardo Feb 2015

Post-Sentencing Appellate Waivers, Kevin Bennardo

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

A sentencing appellate waiver is a criminal defendant’s promise not to appeal her sentence. These provisions routinely appear in federal defendants’ plea agreements. With a few narrow exceptions, a knowing and voluntary sentencing appellate waiver bars a defendant from appealing all issues within the waiver’s scope. Using models of judicial behavior and empirical studies, this Article argues that the inclusion of sentencing appellate waivers in plea agreements creates bargaining inefficiencies and removes important incentives from the sentencing process. As a solution, the Article proposes that sentencing appellate waivers should take the form of separate post-sentencing agreements.


Stubborn Things: An Empirical Approach To Facts, Opinions, And The First Amendment, Daniel E. Herz-Roiphe Jan 2015

Stubborn Things: An Empirical Approach To Facts, Opinions, And The First Amendment, Daniel E. Herz-Roiphe

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

This essay offers an empirical approach to the problem, rooted in an argument that the underlying rationale for the fact/opinion distinction in compelled speech doctrine tells us something about how this distinction should be policed. Commercial speech enjoys protection by virtue of its value to listeners, it is from the listener's vantage point, then, that courts should assess whether a compelled disclosure is fact or opinion. And if we are interested in learning how disclosures will affect listeners, we might try asking them, just as courts adjudicating trademark suits frequently use consumer surveys to determine how customers understand the meaning …


Standards Of Legitimacy In Criminal Negotiations, Wesley Macneil Oliver, Rishi Batra Jan 2015

Standards Of Legitimacy In Criminal Negotiations, Wesley Macneil Oliver, Rishi Batra

Faculty Articles

Scholarship on negotiation theory and practice is rich and well developed. Almost no work has been done, however, to translate to the criminal context the lessons learned about negotiation from extensive empirical study using the disciplines of economics, game theory, and psychology. This Article suggests that defense lawyers in criminal negotiations can employ tools frequently useful to negotiators in other arenas: neutral criteria as a standard of legitimacy. Judges sometimes exercise a type of discretion analogous to prosecutorial discretion. When they do so, they offer an independent, reasoned, and publicly available assessment of the factors that a prosecutor ought to …


Trial And Settlement: A Study Of High-Low Agreements, J. J. Prescott, Kathryn E. Spier, Albert Yoon Aug 2014

Trial And Settlement: A Study Of High-Low Agreements, J. J. Prescott, Kathryn E. Spier, Albert Yoon

Articles

This article presents the first systematic theoretical and empirical study of highlow agreements in civil litigation. A high-low agreement is a private contract that, if signed by litigants before trial, constrains any plaintiff’s recovery to a specified range. In our theoretical model, trial is both costly and risky. When litigants have divergent subjective beliefs and are mutually optimistic about their trial prospects, cases may fail to settle. In these cases, high-low agreements can be in litigants’ mutual interest because they limit the risk of outlier awards while still allowing mutually beneficial speculation. Using claims data from a national insurance company, …


Rate Of False Conviction Of Criminal Defendants Who Are Sentenced To Death, Samuel R. Gross, Barbara O'Brien, Chen Hu, Edward H. Kennedy Jan 2014

Rate Of False Conviction Of Criminal Defendants Who Are Sentenced To Death, Samuel R. Gross, Barbara O'Brien, Chen Hu, Edward H. Kennedy

Articles

The rate of erroneous conviction of innocent criminal defendants is often described as not merely unknown but unknowable. There is no systematic method to determine the accuracy of a criminal conviction; if there were, these errors would not occur in the first place. As a result, very few false convictions are ever discovered, and those that are discovered are not representative of the group as a whole. In the United States, however, a high proportion of false convictions that do come to light and produce exonerations are concentrated among the tiny minority of cases in which defendants are sentenced to …


Rate Of False Conviction Of Criminal Defendants Who Are Sentenced To Death, Samuel Gross, Barbara O'Brien, Chen Hu, Edward Kennedy Dec 2013

Rate Of False Conviction Of Criminal Defendants Who Are Sentenced To Death, Samuel Gross, Barbara O'Brien, Chen Hu, Edward Kennedy

Edward H. Kennedy

The rate of erroneous conviction of innocent criminal defendants is often described as not merely unknown but unknowable. There is no systematic method to determine the accuracy of a criminal conviction; if there were, these errors would not occur in the first place. As a result, very few false convictions are ever discovered, and those that are discovered are not representative of the group as a whole. In the United States, however, a high proportion of false convictions that do come to light and produce exonerations are concentrated among the tiny minority of cases in which defendants are sentenced to …


Why Whistleblowers Lose: An Empirical And Qualitative Analysis Of State Court Cases, Nancy M. Modesitt Oct 2013

Why Whistleblowers Lose: An Empirical And Qualitative Analysis Of State Court Cases, Nancy M. Modesitt

All Faculty Scholarship

This Article was originally intended to be an analysis of the propriety, or impropriety, of the doctrines most commonly used by courts to decide employees’ whistleblowing retaliation claims against employers. However, upon conducting initial research, it quickly became apparent that there was very little data available on whistleblowing cases. Unlike employment discrimination cases, where several empirical studies have been conducted, there is only one empirical analysis of whistleblower claims, which focused solely on outcomes in the federal administrative process for claims brought under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX). That study revealed that whistleblowers fare poorly for a number of reasons, but …


The Future Of Classwide Punitive Damages, Catherine M. Sharkey Jun 2013

The Future Of Classwide Punitive Damages, Catherine M. Sharkey

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Conventional wisdom holds that the punitive damages class action is susceptiblenot only to doctrinal restraints imposed on class actions but also to constitutionaldue process limitations placed on punitive damages. Thus, it would seem that theprospects for punitive damages classes are even grimmer than for class actionsgenerally.This conventional picture misunderstands the role of punitive damages and, inparticular, the relationship between class actions and punitive damages. It eitherignores or underestimates the distinctly societal element of punitive damages, whichmakes them especially conducive to aggregate treatment. Furthermore, punitivedamages classes offer a solution to the constitutional due process problem of juriesawarding "classwide" damages in a …


Book Review. Epstein, L., Et. Al., The Behavior Of Federal Judges: A Theoretical And Empirical Study Of Rational Choice, Ashley A. Ahlbrand Jan 2013

Book Review. Epstein, L., Et. Al., The Behavior Of Federal Judges: A Theoretical And Empirical Study Of Rational Choice, Ashley A. Ahlbrand

Articles by Maurer Faculty

No abstract provided.


On Estimating Disparity And Inferring Causation: Sur-Reply To The U.S. Sentencing Commission Staff, Sonja B. Starr, M. Marit Rehavi Jan 2013

On Estimating Disparity And Inferring Causation: Sur-Reply To The U.S. Sentencing Commission Staff, Sonja B. Starr, M. Marit Rehavi

Articles

In this Essay, Professors Starr and Rehavi respond to the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s empirical staff’s criticisms of their recent article, which found, contrary to the Commission’s prior work, no evidence that racial disparity in sentences increased in response to United States v. Booker. As Starr and Rehavi suggest, their differences with the Commission perhaps relate to differing objectives. The Commission staff’s reply expresses a lack of interest in identifying Booker’s causal effects; in contrast, that is Starr and Rehavi’s central objective. In addition, Starr and Rehavi’s approach also accounts for disparities arising throughout the post-arrest justice process, extending beyond the …


Mandatory Sentencing And Racial Disparity, Assessing The Role Of Prosecutors And The Effects Of Booker, Sonja B. Starr, M. Marit Rehavi Jan 2013

Mandatory Sentencing And Racial Disparity, Assessing The Role Of Prosecutors And The Effects Of Booker, Sonja B. Starr, M. Marit Rehavi

Articles

This Article presents new empirical evidence concerning the effects of United States v. Booker, which loosened the formerly mandatory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, on racial disparities in federal criminal cases. Two serious limitations pervade existing empirical literature on sentencing disparities. First, studies focus on sentencing in isolation, controlling for the “presumptive sentence” or similar measures that themselves result from discretionary charging, plea-bargaining, and fact-finding processes. Any disparities in these earlier processes are excluded from the resulting sentence-disparity estimates. Our research has shown that this exclusion matters: pre-sentencing decision-making can have substantial sentence-disparity consequences. Second, existing studies have used loose causal inference …


Leaving The Bench, 1970-2009: The Choices Federal Judges Make, What Influences Those Choices, And Their Consequences, Stephen B. Burbank, S. Jay Plager, Gregory Ablavsky Dec 2012

Leaving The Bench, 1970-2009: The Choices Federal Judges Make, What Influences Those Choices, And Their Consequences, Stephen B. Burbank, S. Jay Plager, Gregory Ablavsky

All Faculty Scholarship

This article explores the decisions that, over four decades, lower federal court judges have made when considering leaving the bench, the influences on those decisions, and their potential consequences for the federal judiciary and society. A multi-method research strategy enabled the authors to describe more precisely than previous scholarship such matters of interest as the role that judges in senior status play in the contemporary federal judiciary, the rate at which federal judges are retiring from the bench (rather than assuming, or after assuming, senior status), and the reasons why some federal judges remain in regular active service instead of …


Ask And What Shall Ye Receive? A Guide For Using And Interpreting What Jurors Tell Us, Barbara O'Brien, Samuel R. Sommers, Phoebe C. Ellsworth Jan 2011

Ask And What Shall Ye Receive? A Guide For Using And Interpreting What Jurors Tell Us, Barbara O'Brien, Samuel R. Sommers, Phoebe C. Ellsworth

Articles

We review the extensive body of studies relying on jurors' self-reports in interviews or questionnaires, with a focus on potential threats to validity for researchers seeking to answer particularly provocative questions such as the influence of race in jury decision-making. We then offer a more focused case study comparison of interview and questionnaire data with behavioral data in the domain of race and juror decision-making. Our review suggests that the utility of data obtained from juror interviews and questionnaire responses varies considerably depending on the question under investigation. We close with an evaluation of the types of empirical questions most …