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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Criminogenic Effects Of Damaging Criminal Law’S Moral Credibility, Paul H. Robinson, Lindsay Holcomb Jan 2022

The Criminogenic Effects Of Damaging Criminal Law’S Moral Credibility, Paul H. Robinson, Lindsay Holcomb

All Faculty Scholarship

The criminal justice system’s reputation with the community can have a significant effect on the extent to which people are willing to comply with its demands and internalize its norms. In the context of criminal law, the empirical studies suggest that ordinary people expect the criminal justice system to do justice and avoid injustice, as they perceive it – what has been called “empirical desert” to distinguish it from the “deontological desert” of moral philosophers. The empirical studies and many real-world natural experiments suggest that a criminal justice system that regularly deviates from empirical desert loses moral credibility and thereby …


The Psychology Of Separation: Border Walls, Soft Power, And International Neighborliness, Diana C. Mutz, Beth A. Simmons Jan 2022

The Psychology Of Separation: Border Walls, Soft Power, And International Neighborliness, Diana C. Mutz, Beth A. Simmons

All Faculty Scholarship

This study assesses the impact of international border walls on evaluations of countries and on beliefs about bilateral relationships between states. Using a short video, we experimentally manipulate whether a border wall image appears in a broader description of the history and culture of a little-known country. In a third condition, we also indicate which bordering country built the wall. Demographically representative samples from the United States, Ireland, and Turkey responded similarly to these experimental treatments. Compared to a control group, border walls lowered evaluations of the bordering countries. They also signified hostile international relationships to third-party observers. Furthermore, the …


Affirmative Inaction: A Quantitative Analysis Of Progress Toward “Critical Mass” In U.S. Legal Education, Loren M. Lee Mar 2021

Affirmative Inaction: A Quantitative Analysis Of Progress Toward “Critical Mass” In U.S. Legal Education, Loren M. Lee

Michigan Law Review

Since 1978, the Supreme Court has recognized diversity as a compelling government interest to uphold the use of affirmative action in higher education. Yet the constitutionality of the practice has been challenged many times. In Grutter v. Bollinger, for example, the Court denied its use in perpetuity and suggested a twenty-five-year time limit for its application in law school admissions. Almost two decades have passed, so where do we stand? This Note’s quantitative analysis of the matriculation of and degrees awarded to Black and Latinx students at twenty-nine accredited law schools across the United States illuminates a stark lack of …


The Racial Reckoning Of Public Interest Law, Shaun Ossei-Owusu, Atinuke Adediran Jan 2021

The Racial Reckoning Of Public Interest Law, Shaun Ossei-Owusu, Atinuke Adediran

All Faculty Scholarship

This Essay contends that segments of public interest law often get a pass on questions of race because it is a field of law that is genuinely concerned with marginalized communities. But the historical record, the dearth of empirical data on race, the homogeneity of the legal profession, and the recognition that no one is necessarily immune from racial biases all demand that the public interest bar reckon with its racial character. The racial oversights of public interest law can manifest themselves in hiring, staffing, organizational mission, leadership, and the actual delivery of legal services. We argue that a racial …


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 …


A Truce In Criminal Law's Distributive Principle Wars?, Paul H. Robinson Oct 2020

A Truce In Criminal Law's Distributive Principle Wars?, Paul H. Robinson

All Faculty Scholarship

Crime-control utilitarians and retributivist philosophers have long been at war over the appropriate distributive principle for criminal liability and punishment, with little apparent possibility of reconciliation between the two. In the utilitarians’ view, the imposition of punishment can be justified only by the practical benefit that it provides: avoiding future crime. In the retributivists’ view, doing justice for past wrongs is a value in itself that requires no further justification. The competing approaches simply use different currencies: fighting future crime versus doing justice for past wrongs.

It is argued here that the two are in fact reconcilable, in a fashion. …


Expungement Of Criminal Convictions: An Empirical Study, J.J. Prescott, Sonja B. Starr May 2020

Expungement Of Criminal Convictions: An Empirical Study, J.J. Prescott, Sonja B. Starr

Articles

Laws permitting the expungement of criminal convictions are a key component of modern criminal justice reform efforts and have been the subject of a recent upsurge in legislative activity. This debate has been almost entirely devoid of evidence about the laws’ effects, in part because the necessary data (such as sealed records themselves) have been unavailable. We were able to obtain access to de-identified data that overcome that problem, and we use it to carry out a comprehensive statewide study of expungement recipients and comparable nonrecipients in Michigan. We offer three key sets of empirical findings. First, among those legally …


Understanding Violent-Crime Recidivism, J.J. Prescott, Benjamin Pyle, Sonja B. Starr May 2020

Understanding Violent-Crime Recidivism, J.J. Prescott, Benjamin Pyle, Sonja B. Starr

Articles

People convicted of violent crimes constitute a majority of the imprisoned population but are generally ignored by existing policies aimed at reducing mass incarceration. Serious efforts to shrink the large footprint of the prison system will need to recognize this fact. This point is especially pressing at the time of this writing, as states and the federal system consider large-scale prison releases motivated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Those convicted of violent crimes constitute a large majority of older prisoners, who are extremely vulnerable to the spread of the virus behind bars. Excluding them from protective measures will deeply undermine those …


"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 …


America's Paper Prisons: The Second Chance Gap, Colleen Chien Jan 2020

America's Paper Prisons: The Second Chance Gap, Colleen Chien

Michigan Law Review

Over the last decade, dozens of states and the federal government have enacted “second chance” reforms that increase the eligibility of individuals arrested, charged, or convicted of crimes to shorten their sentences, clear their criminal records, and/or regain the right to vote. While much fanfare has accompanied the increasing availability of “second chances,” little attention has been paid to their delivery. This study introduces the concept of the “second chance gap,” which it defines as the difference between eligibility and delivery of second chance relief; explores its causes; and approximates its size in connection with several second chance laws and …


Small Crimes, Big Injustices, Stephanos Bibas Jan 2019

Small Crimes, Big Injustices, Stephanos Bibas

Michigan Law Review

Review of Alexandra Natapoff's Punishment Without Crime: How Our Massive Misdemeanor System Traps the Innocent and Makes America More Unequal.


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. …


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 …


Reforming (But Not Eliminating) The Parental Discipline Defense, Hazel Blum Jan 2016

Reforming (But Not Eliminating) The Parental Discipline Defense, Hazel Blum

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

This Note argues that although states should retain the parental discipline defense, their legislators should rewrite their statutes to limit the defense to a specific range of disciplinary methods that social science research has shown to have either net-beneficial or net-neutral effects on children. Part II explores religious and cultural attitudes about corporal punishment, including an overview of traditional American attitudes toward corporal punishment. Specifically, it explores how religious teachings, including Evangelical Christianity, Methodism, and Judaism, affect attitudes towards parental discipline. Additionally, Part II will examine the build-up to and aftermath of Sweden’s ban on corporal punishment—the first nation worldwide …


Portmanteau Ascendant: Post-Release Regulations And Sex Offender Recidivism, J. J. Prescott Jan 2016

Portmanteau Ascendant: Post-Release Regulations And Sex Offender Recidivism, J. J. Prescott

Articles

The purported purpose of sex offender post-release regulations (e.g., community notification and residency restrictions) is the reduction of sex offender recidivism. On their face, these laws seem well-designed and likely to be effective. A simple economic framework of offender behavior can be used to formalize these basic intuitions: in essence, post-release regulations either increase the probability of detection or increase the immediate cost of engaging in the prohibited activity (or both), and so should reduce the likelihood of criminal behavior. These laws aim to incapacitate people outside of prison. Yet, empirical researchers to date have found essentially no reliable evidence …


Separation Of Powers Legitimacy: An Empirical Inquiry Into Norms About Executive Power, Cary Coglianese, Kristin Firth Jan 2016

Separation Of Powers Legitimacy: An Empirical Inquiry Into Norms About Executive Power, Cary Coglianese, Kristin Firth

All Faculty Scholarship

The continuing debate over the President’s directive authority is but one of the many separation-of-powers issues that have confronted courts, scholars, government officials, and the public in recent years. The Supreme Court, for instance, has considered whether the President possesses the power to make appointments of agency heads without Senate confirmation during certain congressional recesses. The Court has passed judgment recently, but has yet to resolve fully, questions about Congress’s authority to constrain the President’s power to remove the heads of administrative agencies. And the Court has considered the limits on Congress’s ability to delegate legislative authority to other rulemaking …


Trajectory Of A Law Professor, Meera E. Deo Sep 2015

Trajectory Of A Law Professor, Meera E. Deo

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Women of color are already severely underrepresented in legal academia; as enrollment drops and legal institutions constrict further, race and gender disparities will likely continue to grow. Yet, as many deans and associate deans, most of whom are white, step down from leadership positions during these tumultuous times in legal education, opportunities have arisen for women of color to fill those roles in record numbers. However, there are individual and structural barriers preventing access to the leadership level. Significant hurdles have long prevented women of color from entering law teaching. Thus, this Article provides evidence to support the thesis that …


Stealth Advocacy Can (Sometimes) Change The World, Margo Schlanger Apr 2015

Stealth Advocacy Can (Sometimes) Change The World, Margo Schlanger

Michigan Law Review

Scholarship and popular writing about lawsuits seeking broad social change have been nearly as contentious as the litigation itself. In a normative mode, commentators on the right have long attacked change litigation as imperialist and ill informed, besides producing bad outcomes. Attacks from the left have likewise had both prescriptive and positive strands, arguing that civil rights litigation is “subordinating, legitimating, and alienating.” As one author recently summarized in this Law Review, these observers claim “that rights litigation is a waste of time, both because it is not actually successful in achieving social change and because it detracts attention and …


Racial Disparity In Federal Criminal Sentences, M. Marit Rehavi, Sonja B. Starr Dec 2014

Racial Disparity In Federal Criminal Sentences, M. Marit Rehavi, Sonja B. Starr

Articles

Using rich data linking federal cases from arrest through to sentencing, we find that initial case and defendant characteristics, including arrest offense and criminal history, can explain most of the large raw racial disparity in federal sentences, but significant gaps remain. Across the distribution, blacks receive sentences that are almost 10 percent longer than those of comparable whites arrested for the same crimes. Most of this disparity can be explained by prosecutors’ initial charging decisions, particularly the filing of charges carrying mandatory minimum sentences. Ceteris paribus, the odds of black arrestees facing such a charge are 1.75 times higher than …


Sex Offender Law And The Geography Of Victimization, Amanda Y. Agan, J. J. Prescott Dec 2014

Sex Offender Law And The Geography Of Victimization, Amanda Y. Agan, J. J. Prescott

Articles

Sex offender laws that target recidivism (e.g., community notification and residency restriction regimes) are premised—at least in part—on the idea that sex offender proximity and victimization risk are positively correlated. We examine this relationship by combining past and current address information of registered sex offenders (RSOs) with crime data from Baltimore County, Maryland, to study how crime rates vary across neighborhoods with different concentrations of resident RSOs. Contrary to the assumptions of policymakers and the public, we find that, all else equal, reported sex offense victimization risk is generally (although not uniformly) lower in neighborhoods where more RSOs live. To …


It's Critical: Legal Participatory Action Research, Emily M.S. Houh, Kristin Kalsen Jan 2014

It's Critical: Legal Participatory Action Research, Emily M.S. Houh, Kristin Kalsen

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This Article introduces a method of research that we term “legal participatory action research” or “legal PAR” as a way for legal scholars and activists to put various strands of critical legal theory into practice. Specifically, through the lens of legal PAR, this Article contributes to a rapidly developing legal literature on the “fringe economy” that comprises “alternative lending services” and products, including but not limited to pawnshops, check cashers, payday lenders, direct deposit loans, (tax) refund anticipation loans, and car title loans. As importantly, this article also contributes to the related fields of critical race theory, feminist legal theory, …


Evidence-Based Sentencing And The Scientific Rationalization Of Discrimination, Sonja B. Starr Jan 2014

Evidence-Based Sentencing And The Scientific Rationalization Of Discrimination, Sonja B. Starr

Articles

This Article critiques, on legal and empirical grounds, the growing trend of basing criminal sentences on actuarial recidivism risk prediction instruments that include demographic and socioeconomic variables. I argue that this practice violates the Equal Protection Clause and is bad policy: an explicit embrace of otherwise- condemned discrimination, sanitized by scientific language. To demonstrate that this practice raises serious constitutional concerns, I comprehensively review the relevant case law, much of which has been ignored by existing literature. To demonstrate that the policy is not justified by countervailing state interests, I review the empirical evidence underlying the instruments. I show that …


"They Saw A Protest": Cognitive Illiberalism And The Speech-Conduct Distinction, Dan M. Kahan, David A. Hoffman, Donald Braman, Danieli Evans, Jeffrey J. Rachlinski Jan 2012

"They Saw A Protest": Cognitive Illiberalism And The Speech-Conduct Distinction, Dan M. Kahan, David A. Hoffman, Donald Braman, Danieli Evans, Jeffrey J. Rachlinski

All Faculty Scholarship

“Cultural cognition” refers to the unconscious influence of individuals’ group commitments on their perceptions of legally consequential facts. We conducted an experiment to assess the impact of cultural cognition on perceptions of facts relevant to distinguishing constitutionally protected “speech” from unprotected “conduct.” Study subjects viewed a video of a political demonstration. Half the subjects believed that the demonstrators were protesting abortion outside of an abortion clinic, and the other half that the demonstrators were protesting the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy outside a campus recruitment facility. Subjects of opposing cultural outlooks who were assigned to the same experimental condition …


Are Institutions And Empiricism Enough? A Review Of Allen Buchanan, Human Rights, Legitimacy, And The Use Of Force, Matthew J. Lister Apr 2011

Are Institutions And Empiricism Enough? A Review Of Allen Buchanan, Human Rights, Legitimacy, And The Use Of Force, Matthew J. Lister

All Faculty Scholarship

Legal philosophers have given relatively little attention to international law in comparison to other topics, and philosophers working on international or global justice have not taken international law as a primary focus, either. Allen Buchanan’s recent work is arguably the most important exception to these trends. For over a decade he has devoted significant time and philosophical skill to questions central to international law, and has tied these concerns to related issues of global justice more generally. In what follows I review Buchanan’s new collection of essays, Human Rights, Legitimacy, and the Use of Force, paying special attention to …


The Rise In Elder Bankruptcy Filings And The Failure Of U.S. Bankruptcy Law, John A. E. Pottow Jan 2011

The Rise In Elder Bankruptcy Filings And The Failure Of U.S. Bankruptcy Law, John A. E. Pottow

Articles

Recent empirical legal scholarship on the consumer bankruptcy system has uncovered a marked rise in the proportion of elder Americans filing for relief under the Bankruptcy Code. But these studies have not probed the reasons behind that rise, an omission this Article seeks to address. Professor John Pottow and colleagues recently assembled the new dataset of the Consumer Bankruptcy Project (CBP), the largest national sample of consumer debtors in this country, which he uses to explore the sources of elder bankruptcy. The findings are both striking and ominous. While multiple factors, such as health problems and medical debts, contribute to …


Men And Women Of The Bar: The Impact Of Gender On Legal Careers, Kenneth G. Dau-Schmidt, Marc S. Galanter, Kaushik Mukhopadhaya, Kathleen E. Hull Jan 2009

Men And Women Of The Bar: The Impact Of Gender On Legal Careers, Kenneth G. Dau-Schmidt, Marc S. Galanter, Kaushik Mukhopadhaya, Kathleen E. Hull

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

In the last three and a half decades, the legal profession has undergone a dramatic transformation in the gender composition of its members. During that time, the number of women applying to law school and entering the profession has gone from a few gallant pioneers to roughly equal representation with that of men. Between 1970 and 2000, the proportion of first-year law students who were female climbed from 8% to 49%. Because the existing bar consisted primarily of male lawyers, the percent of women in the legal profession changed more slowly, but still rose dramatically. Women, as a percent of …


Home Mortgage Problems Through The Lens Of Bankruptcy, Melissa B. Jacoby Dec 2008

Home Mortgage Problems Through The Lens Of Bankruptcy, Melissa B. Jacoby

Melissa B. Jacoby

Based on a lecture at a predatory lending conference at Loyola University New Orleans School of Law, this brief paper discusses the 2007 Consumer Bankruptcy Project and how the empirical study of bankruptcy law informs our understanding of the intersection of mortgages and homeownership with financial distress, and whether bankruptcy can provide meaningful redress.


Third-Party Tax Administration: The Case Of Low- And Moderate-Income Households, Michael S. Barr, Jane K. Dokko Jan 2008

Third-Party Tax Administration: The Case Of Low- And Moderate-Income Households, Michael S. Barr, Jane K. Dokko

Articles

Using a unique household-level data set, this article investigates the taxfiling experiences and refund behavior of low- and moderate-income (LMI) households. We document households' tax-filing behavior, attitudes about the withholding system, use of tax refunds to consume and save, and the mechanisms by which households would prefer to receive their income. We also document the prevalence of the use of tax-preparation services and the receipt of tax refunds and refund-anticipation loans. Finally, we argue that there may be a role for tax administration to enable LMI households to make welfare-improving financial decisions.


Is There A Correlation Between Scholarly Productivity, Scholarly Influence And Teaching Effectiveness In American Law Schools? An Empirical Study, Benjamin H. Barton Oct 2006

Is There A Correlation Between Scholarly Productivity, Scholarly Influence And Teaching Effectiveness In American Law Schools? An Empirical Study, Benjamin H. Barton

ExpressO

This empirical study attempts to answer an age-old debate in legal academia: whether scholarly productivity helps or hurts teaching. The study is of an unprecedented size and scope. It covers every tenured or tenure-track faculty member at 19 American law schools, a total of 623 professors. The study gathers four years of teaching evaluation data (calendar years 2000-03) and creates an index for teaching effectiveness. This index was then correlated against five different measures of research productivity. The first three measure each professor's productivity for the years 2000-03. These productivity measures include a raw count of publications and two weighted …