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Full-Text Articles in Law

Proportionalities, Youngjae Lee Apr 2024

Proportionalities, Youngjae Lee

Notre Dame Law Review Reflection

“Proportionality” is ubiquitous. The idea that punishment should be proportional to crime is familiar in criminal law and has a lengthy history. But that is not the only place where one encounters the concept of proportionality in law and ethics. The idea of proportionality is important also in the self-defense context, where the right to defend oneself with force is limited by the principle of proportionality. Proportionality plays a role in the context of war, especially in the idea that the military advantage one side may draw from an attack must not be excessive in relation to the loss of …


Proportionality, Constraint, And Culpability, Mitchell N. Berman Sep 2021

Proportionality, Constraint, And Culpability, Mitchell N. Berman

All Faculty Scholarship

Philosophers of criminal punishment widely agree that criminal punishment should be “proportional” to the “seriousness” of the offense. But this apparent consensus is only superficial, masking significant dissensus below the surface. Proposed proportionality principles differ on several distinct dimensions, including: (1) regarding which offense or offender properties determine offense “seriousness” and thus constitute a proportionality relatum; (2) regarding whether punishment is objectionably disproportionate only when excessively severe, or also when excessively lenient; and (3) regarding whether the principle can deliver absolute (“cardinal”) judgments, or only comparative (“ordinal”) ones. This essay proposes that these differences cannot be successfully adjudicated, and one …


May The State Punish What It May Not Prevent?, Gabriel S. Mendlow Jul 2020

May The State Punish What It May Not Prevent?, Gabriel S. Mendlow

Articles

In Why Is It Wrong To Punish Thought? I defended an overlooked principle of criminalization that I called the Enforceability Constraint. The Enforceability Constraint holds that the state may punish transgressions of a given type only if the state in principle may forcibly disrupt such transgressions on the ground that they are criminal wrongs. As I argued in the essay, the reason why the state is forbidden from punishing thought is that the state is forbidden from forcibly disrupting a person’s mental states on the ground that they are criminally wrongful (as opposed to, say, on the ground that they …


Divine Justice And The Library Of Babel: Or, Was Al Capone Really Punished For Tax Evasion?, Gabriel Mendlow Oct 2018

Divine Justice And The Library Of Babel: Or, Was Al Capone Really Punished For Tax Evasion?, Gabriel Mendlow

Articles

A criminal defendant enjoys an array of legal rights. These include the right not to be punished for an offense unless charged, tried, and proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; the right not to be punished disproportionately; and the right not to be punished for the same offense more than once. I contend that the design of our criminal legal system imperils these rights in ways few observers appreciate. Because criminal codes describe misconduct imprecisely and prohibit more misconduct than any legislature actually aspires to punish, prosecutors decide which violations of the code merit punishment, and judges decide how much …


The Just Response To Crime: To Harm Or To Heal?, Matthew M. Silberstein Apr 2018

The Just Response To Crime: To Harm Or To Heal?, Matthew M. Silberstein

Philosophy Department Student Scholarship

In the realm of criminal justice, Western society has primarily relied on retributive justice system. A retributive system uses punishment as the standard response to crime. In recent years, some have formulated a different criminal justice system, that of restorative justice. Rather than punishment, restorative justice proponents argue that justice is achieved in the aftermath of crime by healing the trauma incurred by crime. The aim of this project is to articulate the value of restorative justice and evaluate its prospects.


In Defense Of Penalizing (But Not Punishing) Civil Disobedience, David Lefkowitz Jan 2018

In Defense Of Penalizing (But Not Punishing) Civil Disobedience, David Lefkowitz

Philosophy Faculty Publications

While many contemporary political philosophers agree that citizens of a legitimate state enjoy a moral right to civil disobedience, they differ over both the grounds of that right and its content. This essay defends the view that the moral right to civil disobedience derives from (or is a facet of) a general right to political participation, and the characterization of that right as precluding the state from punishing, but not from penalizing, those who exercise it. The argument proceeds by way of rebuttals to criticisms of both claims recently advanced by Kimberley Brownlee. While in some cases those criticisms fail …


Does Hard Incompatibilism Really Abolish ‘Right’ And ‘Wrong’? Some Thoughts In Response To Larry Alexander, John A. Humbach Mr. Mar 2017

Does Hard Incompatibilism Really Abolish ‘Right’ And ‘Wrong’? Some Thoughts In Response To Larry Alexander, John A. Humbach Mr.

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

In a challenge to recent writings of Derk Pereboom and Gregg Caruso,3 Larry Alexander makes the following claim: If one accepts the Pereboom-Caruso “hard incompatibilist” view of choice, which regards blame and retributive punishment as morally unjustified because free will is an illusion, then “normativity completely disappears.” In making this claim, Professor Alexander appears to hold that the moral distinction between right and wrong conduct (“normativity”) cannot effectively exist unless those who do wrong “deserve” to receive blame and punishment in response to their misbehavior. This is not, however, necessarily so.


Legal Anarchism: Does Existence Need To Be Regulated By The State, Sirus Kashefi Sep 2016

Legal Anarchism: Does Existence Need To Be Regulated By The State, Sirus Kashefi

PhD Dissertations

This thesis asks does existence need to be regulated by the State? The answer relies on legal anarchism, an interdisciplinary, particularly criminal law and philosophy, and unconventional research project based on multiple methodologies with a specific language. It critically analyzes and consequently rejects State law because of its unjustified and unnecessary nature founded on unlimited violence and white-collar crime (Chapters 1-4), on the one hand, and suggests some alternatives to the Governmental legal system founded on agreement and peace (Chapter 5), on the other hand. It furthermore takes into account the elements of time and space, which means the ecological, …


The Territorial Principle In Penal Law: An Attempted Justification, Patrick J. Fitzgerald Apr 2016

The Territorial Principle In Penal Law: An Attempted Justification, Patrick J. Fitzgerald

Georgia Journal of International & Comparative Law

No abstract provided.


The Legal Limits Of “Yes Means Yes”, Paul H. Robinson Jan 2016

The Legal Limits Of “Yes Means Yes”, Paul H. Robinson

All Faculty Scholarship

This op-ed piece for the Chronicle of Higher Education argues that the affirmative consent rule of "yes means yes" is a useful standard that can help educate and ideally change norms regarding consent to sexual intercourse. But that goal can best be achieved by using “yes means yes” as an ex ante announcement of the society's desired rule of conduct. That standard only becomes problematic when used as the ex post principle of adjudication for allegations of rape. Indeed, those most interested in changing existing norms ought to be the persons most in support of distinguishing these two importantly different …


Should The Law Convict Those Who Act From Conviction? Reflections On A Demands-Of-Conscience Criminal Defense, David Lefkowitz Jan 2016

Should The Law Convict Those Who Act From Conviction? Reflections On A Demands-Of-Conscience Criminal Defense, David Lefkowitz

Philosophy Faculty Publications

How should the judge or jury in a just criminal court treat a civil disobedient, someone who performs a conscientiously motivated communicative breach of the criminal law? Kimberley Brownlee contends that all else equal a court of law should neither convict nor punish such offenders. Though I agree with this conclusion, I contend that Brownlee mischaracterizes the nature of the criminal defense to which civil disobedients are entitled. Whereas Brownlee maintains that such actors ought to be excused for their criminal breach, I argue that they ought to enjoy a justification defense. Acts of civil disobedience are not (morally) wrongful …


Blame And The Criminal Law, David Lefkowitz Jan 2015

Blame And The Criminal Law, David Lefkowitz

Philosophy Faculty Publications

Many retributivists appear to presume that the concept of blame that figures in their accounts of just punishment is the same one people employ in their interpersonal moral relationships. David Shoemaker contends that this presumption is mistaken. Moral blameworthiness, he maintains, tracks only the meaning of a person's action––his reasons for acting as he did––while criminal blameworthiness, which he equates with liability to punishment, tracks only the impermissibility of an agent's action. I contest the second of these two claims, and in doing so defend the retributivists’ presumption. First, I argue that the purpose of a criminal trial can be …


Reflections On Freedom And Criminal Responsibility In Late Twentieth Century American Legal Thought, Thomas A. Green, Merrill Catharine Hodnefield Jan 2015

Reflections On Freedom And Criminal Responsibility In Late Twentieth Century American Legal Thought, Thomas A. Green, Merrill Catharine Hodnefield

Articles

It is now a commonplace among historians that American criminal jurisprudence underwent a dramatic change something like two-thirds to three-quarters into the last century. Roughly, this development is understood as a shift (or drift) from a more-or-less pure consequentialism to a "mixed theory" wherein retributivism played a major-at times, dominant-role. As the new paradigm remains intact, now approaching a half-century, the development qualifies as a significant historical fact. The fact applies not only to the history of justification for punishment but also to conceptions of the underlying principle of (basis for) responsibility. The two are rightly distinguished: for many scholars …


Criminal Punishment And The Pursuit Of Justice, Michele C. Materni Jan 2013

Criminal Punishment And The Pursuit Of Justice, Michele C. Materni

Mike C Materni

Since the beginning of recorded history societies have punished offenders while at the same time trying to justify the practice on moral and rational grounds and to clarify the relationship between punishment and justice. Traditionally, deontological justifications, utilitarian justifications, or a mix of the two have been advanced to justify the imposition of punishment upon wrongdoers. In this article, I advance a new conceptual spin on the mixed theorist approach to criminal punishment – one that can hopefully resonate not just among legal philosophers, but also among ordinary citi- zens, i.e. the people who are most affected by the criminal …


Legal Punishment As Civil Ritual: Making Cultural Sense Of Harsh Punishment, Spearit Jan 2013

Legal Punishment As Civil Ritual: Making Cultural Sense Of Harsh Punishment, Spearit

Articles

This work examines mass incarceration through a ritual studies perspective, paying explicit attention to the religious underpinnings. Conventional analyses of criminal punishment focus on the purpose of punishment in relation to legal or moral norms, or attempt to provide a general theory of punishment. The goals of this work are different, and instead try to understand the cultural aspects of punishment that have helped make the United States a global leader in imprisonment and execution. It links the boom in incarceration to social ruptures of the 1950s and 1960s and posits the United States’ world leader status as having more …


Abolition Of The Insanity Defense Violates Due Process, Stephen J. Morse, Richard J. Bonnie Jan 2013

Abolition Of The Insanity Defense Violates Due Process, Stephen J. Morse, Richard J. Bonnie

All Faculty Scholarship

This article, which is based on and expands on an amicus brief the authors submitted to the United States Supreme Court, first provides the moral argument in favor of the insanity defense. It considers and rejects the most important moral counterargument and suggests that jurisdictions have considerable leeway in deciding what test best meets their legal and moral policies. The article then discusses why the two primary alternatives to the insanity defense, the negation of mens rea and considering mental disorder at sentencing, are insufficient to achieve the goal of responding justly to severely mentally disordered offenders. The last section …


Modal Retributivism: A Theory Of Sanctions For Attempts And Other Criminal Wrongs, Anthony M. Dillof Jan 2011

Modal Retributivism: A Theory Of Sanctions For Attempts And Other Criminal Wrongs, Anthony M. Dillof

University of Richmond Law Review

Rather than building the case for modal retributivism from the ground up, this article takes the existing components of retributive thought and reassembles them into a sounder structure. The cogency of the argument against harm-based retributivism andthe appeal of modal retributivism will likely be strongest forthose who allow reason, as opposed to intuition, a leading role in resolving moral issues.


Beyond Experience: Getting Retributive Justice Right, Dan Markel, Chad Flanders, David C. Gray Jan 2011

Beyond Experience: Getting Retributive Justice Right, Dan Markel, Chad Flanders, David C. Gray

All Faculty Scholarship

How central should hedonic adaptation be to the establishment of sentencing policy?

In earlier work, Professors Bronsteen, Buccafusco, and Masur (BBM) drew some normative significance from the psychological studies of adaptability for punishment policy. In particular, they argued that retributivists and utilitarians alike are obliged on pain of inconsistency to take account of the fact that most prisoners, most of the time, adapt to imprisonment in fairly short order, and therefore suffer much less than most of us would expect. They also argued that ex-prisoners don't adapt well upon re-entry to society and that social planners should consider their post-release …


Two Kinds Of Retributivism, Mitchell N. Berman Jan 2011

Two Kinds Of Retributivism, Mitchell N. Berman

All Faculty Scholarship

This essay, written as a contribution to a forthcoming volume on the philosophical foundations of the criminal law, challenges the longstanding dominant framework for classifying justifications for criminal punishment. The familiar binary distinction between consequentialism and retributivism is no longer most perspicuous, I argue, because many recognizably retributivist theories of punishment employ a consequentialist justificatory structure. However, because not all do, it might prove most illuminating to carve the retributivist field in two – distinguishing what we might term “consequentialist retributivism” (perhaps better labeled “instrumentalist retributivism”) from “non-consequentialist retributivism” (“non-instrumentalist retributivism”).

Whether or not it is ultimately persuasive, consequentialist retributivism …


Post-Modern Meditations On Punishment: On The Limits Of Reason And The Virtues Of Randomization, Bernard E. Harcourt, Alon Harel, Ken Levy, Michael M. O'Hear, Alice Ristroph Jan 2009

Post-Modern Meditations On Punishment: On The Limits Of Reason And The Virtues Of Randomization, Bernard E. Harcourt, Alon Harel, Ken Levy, Michael M. O'Hear, Alice Ristroph

Faculty Scholarship

In this Criminal Law Conversation (Robinson, Ferzan & Garvey, eds., Oxford 2009), the authors debate whether there is a role for randomization in the penal sphere - in the criminal law, in policing, and in punishment theory. In his Tanner lectures back in 1987, Jon Elster had argued that there was no role for chance in the criminal law: “I do not think there are any arguments for incorporating lotteries in present-day criminal law,” Elster declared. Bernard Harcourt takes a very different position and embraces chance in the penal sphere, arguing that randomization is often the only way to avoid …


A Virtuous State Would Not Assign Correctional Housing Based On Ability To Pay, Bradley W. Moore Jan 2007

A Virtuous State Would Not Assign Correctional Housing Based On Ability To Pay, Bradley W. Moore

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

Pay-to-stay jails expose the moral tension between the dominant theories of punishment: retributivism and deterrence. A turn to a third major moral theory—virtue ethics—resolves this tension. According to virtue ethics, the moral worth of an action follows from both the character of the action and the disposition of the actor. Virtuous acts promote human flourishing— the central goal of life—when they are the right actions performed for the right reasons. The virtue ethics theory of punishment suggests that pay-to-stay jails conflict with the promotion of human flourishing. A virtuous state’s criminal justice system would not include fee-based incarceration because it …


Before And After: Temporal Anomalies In Legal Doctrine, Leo Katz Jan 2003

Before And After: Temporal Anomalies In Legal Doctrine, Leo Katz

All Faculty Scholarship

Legal doctrine exhibits some striking temporal anomalies, previously not much adverted to. Wrongdoing looked at before it has occurred, and after is has occurred, is apt to look very different. I take up the two key components of wrongdoing seriatim, the harm-portion and the misconduct-portion: the "damage" part and the "liability" part. We tend to look at harm in a harm-agnifying way before it has occurred, and in a harm-inimizing way afterwards. We thus tend to think about negligence and the harm it wreaks in seemingly inconsistent ways. I examine and reject some possible explanations of this. Misconduct too looks …


Ignorance Of Law Is An Excuse - But Only For The Virtuous, Dan M. Kahan Oct 1997

Ignorance Of Law Is An Excuse - But Only For The Virtuous, Dan M. Kahan

Michigan Law Review

It's axiomatic that "ignorance of the law is no excuse." My aim in this essay is to examine what the "mistake of law doctrine" reveals about the relationship between criminal law and morality in general and about the law's understanding of moral responsibility in particular. The conventional understanding of the mistake of law doctrine rests on two premises, which are encapsulated in the Holmesian epigrams with which I've started this essay. The first is liberal positivism. As a descriptive claim, liberal positivism holds that the content of the law can be identified without reference to morality: one needn't be a …


Rediscovering Hegel's Theory Of Crime And Punishment, Markus Dirk Dubber May 1994

Rediscovering Hegel's Theory Of Crime And Punishment, Markus Dirk Dubber

Michigan Law Review

A Review of Hegel's Political Philosophy: Interpreting the Practice of Legal Punishment by Mark Tunick


The Paradox Of Punishment, Paul Campos Jan 1992

The Paradox Of Punishment, Paul Campos

Publications

Retribution demands reciprocity. In this Essay, Professor Campos contends that classic retributive theory encounters a logical paradox when it attempts to equalize the status of criminal and victim through the institution of punishment. This paradox arises out of a clash between the deontological requirements of equality and justice. He concludes by speculating on the historical relationship between rationalist justifications for vengeance and the elimination of punishment as public spectacle.


Introducing Criminal Law, Stephen J. Morse May 1989

Introducing Criminal Law, Stephen J. Morse

Michigan Law Review

A Review of Bad Acts and Guilty Minds: Conundrums of the Criminal Law by Leo Katz, and Crime, Guilt, and Punishment: A Philosophical Introduction by C.L. Ten


Troubling Questions: A Review Of The Decline Of The Rehabilitative Ideal, Sheldon L. Messinger Mar 1983

Troubling Questions: A Review Of The Decline Of The Rehabilitative Ideal, Sheldon L. Messinger

Michigan Law Review

A Review of The Decline of the Rehabilitative Ideal: Penal Policy and Social Purpose by Francis A. Allen


Desert And Deterrence: An Assessment Of The Moral Bases Of The Case For Capital Punishment, Richard O. Lempert May 1981

Desert And Deterrence: An Assessment Of The Moral Bases Of The Case For Capital Punishment, Richard O. Lempert

Michigan Law Review

The controversy over the death penalty has generated arguments of two types. The first argument appeals to moral intuitions; the second concerns deterrence. Although both types of argument speak to the morality of systems of capital punishment, the first debate has been dominated by moral philosophers and the second by empirical social scientists. For convenience I shall at times refer to the approach of the moral philosophers as the moral case for (or against) capital punishment or as the argument from morality.


The Future Of Imprisonment: Toward A Punitive Philosophy, Norval Morris May 1974

The Future Of Imprisonment: Toward A Punitive Philosophy, Norval Morris

Michigan Law Review

Proper use of imprisonment as a penal sanction is of primary philosophical and practical importance to the future of society. With the increasing vulnerability of our social organization and the growing complexity and interdependence of governmental structures, reassessment of appropriate limits on the power that society should exercise over its members becomes increasingly important. Perhaps if the "prison problem" is solved, many of the uneasy tensions between freedom and power in postindustrial society will diminish. The effort made here will, I hope, contribute to the solution of the "prison problem" by offering a new model of imprisonment that recognizes fundamental …


Theory And Application Of Roscoe Pound's Sociological Jurisprudence: Crime Prevention Or Control?, Louis H. Masotti, Michael A. Weinstein Apr 1969

Theory And Application Of Roscoe Pound's Sociological Jurisprudence: Crime Prevention Or Control?, Louis H. Masotti, Michael A. Weinstein

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

The current interest in reforming the administration of justice has been triggered by a number of factors including the 1967 report of the President's Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice and the treatment afforded arrestees during the civil disorders of the past few years. The nation is alarmed at the reported annual increases in crime, and this alarm was manifested in the 1968 presidential election when "law and order" became a major issue. Superficially the answer may seem clear: more effective enforcement of the law and, when necessary, more stringent laws. The critical issue, however, is a …