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Legal history

2020

Legal History

Northwestern Pritzker School of Law

Articles 1 - 3 of 3

Full-Text Articles in Law

Is Solitary Confinement A Punishment?, John F. Stinneford Aug 2020

Is Solitary Confinement A Punishment?, John F. Stinneford

Northwestern University Law Review

The United States Constitution imposes a variety of constraints on the imposition of punishment, including the requirements that the punishment be authorized by a preexisting penal statute and ordered by a lawful judicial sentence. Today, prison administrators impose solitary confinement on thousands of prisoners despite the fact that neither of these requirements has been met. Is this imposition a “punishment without law,” or is it a mere exercise of administrative discretion? In an 1890 case called In re Medley, the Supreme Court held that solitary confinement is a separate punishment subject to constitutional restraints, but it has ignored this …


Mezei's Day In Court: Debtors' Prisons, Substance Abuse, And The Permissiveness Of Civil Detention In American Immigration Law, Conor Mcdonough Apr 2020

Mezei's Day In Court: Debtors' Prisons, Substance Abuse, And The Permissiveness Of Civil Detention In American Immigration Law, Conor Mcdonough

Northwestern University Law Review

American immigration law mandates the civil detention of certain classes of migrants while their legal cases proceed through the courts. Due to the peculiar nature of immigration law, many migrants find themselves detained for years on end without receiving the level of due process that normally attends imprisonment. This Note draws on historical and comparative analysis to argue that the mandatory detention provisions of American immigration law are not civil, but functionally criminal, and that detained migrants are therefore owed a modicum of due process that they do not currently receive.

This Note traces the history of immigration law in …


A Comprehensive Procedural Mechanism For The Poor: Reconceptualizing The Right To In Forma Pauperis In Early Modern England, Annie Prossnitz Apr 2020

A Comprehensive Procedural Mechanism For The Poor: Reconceptualizing The Right To In Forma Pauperis In Early Modern England, Annie Prossnitz

Northwestern University Law Review

In early modern England, litigants could petition for in forma pauperis status in order to seek free legal services, including representation. Scholars have often invoked this history to bolster the claim for a reinforced in forma pauperis right today. This Note explores the origins of the right to in forma pauperis status from a different angle. At the core of this Note is an examination of ninety-two primary-source in forma pauperis petitions and court documents, filed in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English courts of equity, namely Chancery, the Court of Requests, Star Chamber, and Exchequer. Rather than the mythical, rarely used, …