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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Language Of Mens Rea, Matthew R. Ginther, Francis X. Shen, Richard J. Bonnie, Morris B. Hoffman, Owen D. Jones, Rene Marois, Kenneth W. Simons Oct 2014

The Language Of Mens Rea, Matthew R. Ginther, Francis X. Shen, Richard J. Bonnie, Morris B. Hoffman, Owen D. Jones, Rene Marois, Kenneth W. Simons

Vanderbilt Law Review

To be guilty of a crime, generally one must commit a bad act while in a culpable state of mind. But the language used to define, partition, and communicate the variety of culpable mental states (in Latin, mens rea) is crucially important. For depending on the mental state that juries attribute to him, a defendant can be convicted-for the very same act and the very same consequence-of different crimes, each with different sentences.

The influential Model Penal Code ("MPC") of 1962 divided culpable mental states into four now-familiar kinds: purposeful, knowing, reckless, and negligent.' Both before the MPC and since, …


Happiness And Punishment (With J. Bronsteen & J. Masur), Christopher J. Buccafusco Jan 2009

Happiness And Punishment (With J. Bronsteen & J. Masur), Christopher J. Buccafusco

All Faculty Scholarship

This article continues our project to apply groundbreaking new literature on the behavioral psychology of human happiness to some of the most deeply analyzed questions in law. Here we explain that the new psychological understandings of happiness interact in startling ways with the leading theories of criminal punishment. Punishment theorists, both retributivist and utilitarian, have failed to account for human beings' ability to adapt to changed circumstances, including fines and (surprisingly) imprisonment. At the same time, these theorists have largely ignored the severe hedonic losses brought about by the post-prison social and economic deprivations (unemployment, divorce, and disease) caused by …


Happiness And Punishment (With J. Bronsteen & J. Masur), Christopher J. Buccafusco Jan 2009

Happiness And Punishment (With J. Bronsteen & J. Masur), Christopher J. Buccafusco

Christopher J. Buccafusco

This article continues our project to apply groundbreaking new literature on the behavioral psychology of human happiness to some of the most deeply analyzed questions in law. Here we explain that the new psychological understandings of happiness interact in startling ways with the leading theories of criminal punishment. Punishment theorists, both retributivist and utilitarian, have failed to account for human beings' ability to adapt to changed circumstances, including fines and (surprisingly) imprisonment. At the same time, these theorists have largely ignored the severe hedonic losses brought about by the post-prison social and economic deprivations (unemployment, divorce, and disease) caused by …