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Full-Text Articles in Law

Crime, Punishment, And Legal Error: A Review Of The Experimental Literature, Kathryn Zeiler, Erica Puccetti Aug 2018

Crime, Punishment, And Legal Error: A Review Of The Experimental Literature, Kathryn Zeiler, Erica Puccetti

Faculty Scholarship

When individuals violate the law, detection and verification of the violation are rarely, if ever, perfect. Before the state can dole out punishment, it must first identify a suspect and then produce sufficient evidence to persuade a judge and/or jury beyond some threshold level of confidence that the suspect, in fact, violated the law. The court might be uncertain that the state has the right person. If the suspect is undoubtedly the one who caused the harm, the court might be unsure about whether his act constitutes a violation of the law (e.g., whether the suspect was, in fact, speeding). …


Review Of Punishment In Popular Culture By Charles Ogletree Jr. & Austin Sarat, Eds., Jessica Silbey Jan 2017

Review Of Punishment In Popular Culture By Charles Ogletree Jr. & Austin Sarat, Eds., Jessica Silbey

Faculty Scholarship

The editors of Punishment in Popular Culture remind us that "through practices of punishment ... cultural boundaries are drawn, that solidarity is created through acts of marking difference between self and other, that these processes proceed through disidentification as much as imagined connection." (p. 2) This is no doubt true about the organization, justification and reception of various forms of punishment in society. It is no less true about the creation and cultivation of popular cultural forms of entertainment such as television and film. To be sure, punishment acts directly on bodies. And cultural forms-visual or texual stories about punishment …


Punishment And Blame For Culpable Indifference, Kenneth Simons Jan 2015

Punishment And Blame For Culpable Indifference, Kenneth Simons

Faculty Scholarship

In criminal law, the mental state of the defendant is a crucial determinant of the grade of crime that the defendant has committed and of whether the conduct is criminal at all. Under the widely accepted modern hierarchy of mental states, an actor is most culpable for causing harm purposely, and progressively less culpable for doing so knowingly, recklessly, or negligently. Notably, this hierarchy emphasizes cognitive rather than conative mental states. But this emphasis, I argue, is often unjustified. When we punish and blame for wrongful acts, we should look beyond the cognitive dimensions of the actor’s culpability, and should …


The Language Of Mens Rea, Kenneth Simons, Matthew R. Ginther, Francis X. Shen, Richard J. Bonnie Jan 2014

The Language Of Mens Rea, Kenneth Simons, Matthew R. Ginther, Francis X. Shen, Richard J. Bonnie

Faculty Scholarship

This article answers two key questions. First: Do jurors understand and apply the criminal mental state categories the way that the widely influential Model Penal Code (MPC) assumes? Second: If not, what can be done about it?


Geography And Justice: Why Prison Location Matters In U.S. And International Theories Of Criminal Punishment, Steven Arrigg Koh Jan 2013

Geography And Justice: Why Prison Location Matters In U.S. And International Theories Of Criminal Punishment, Steven Arrigg Koh

Faculty Scholarship

This Article is the first to analyze prison location and its relationship to U.S. and international theories of criminal punishment. Strangely, scholarly literature overlooks criminal prison designation procedures—the procedures by which a court or other institution designates the prison facility in which a recently convicted individual is to serve his or her sentence.

This Article identifies this gap in the literature—the prison location omission—and fills it from three different vantage points:

(1) U.S. procedural provisions governing prison designation;

(2) international procedural provisions governing prison designation; and

(3) the relationship between imprisonment and broader theories of criminal punishment.

Through comparison of …


Retributivism Refined - Or Run Amok?, Kenneth Simons Jan 2010

Retributivism Refined - Or Run Amok?, Kenneth Simons

Faculty Scholarship

What would the criminal law look like if we took retributivist principles very seriously? In their book, Crime and Culpability: A Theory of Criminal Law, the authors - Larry Alexander and Kimberly Kessler Ferzan, with contributions by Stephen J. Morse - provide a controversial set of answers. Whether a criminal act does ordoes not result in harm should not affect the actor’s punishment. Only the last act of risk creation should suffice for liability. Conscious awareness of risk should always be necessary. And all of criminal law, each and every category of mens rea and actus reus, should be reduced …


Mistake Of Fact Or Mistake Of Criminal Law? Explaining And Defending The Distinction, Kenneth Simons Jan 2009

Mistake Of Fact Or Mistake Of Criminal Law? Explaining And Defending The Distinction, Kenneth Simons

Faculty Scholarship

This article makes six points. First, under any plausible normative perspective, the distinction between mistake (and ignorance) of criminal law and mistake of fact must at least sometimes be drawn. Second, the fundamental distinction is between a mistake about the state's authoritative statement of what is prohibited ("M Law"), and a mistake about whether that prohibitory norm is instantiated in a particular case ("M Fact"). Third, when an actor makes a mistake about an evaluative criterion whose content the fact-finder has discretion to elaborate, it is impossible both to allow this discretion and to faithfully realize a jurisdiction's policy of …


The Expressive Capacity Of International Punishment: The Limits Of The National Law Analogy And The Potential Of International Criminal Law, Robert D. Sloane Jan 2007

The Expressive Capacity Of International Punishment: The Limits Of The National Law Analogy And The Potential Of International Criminal Law, Robert D. Sloane

Faculty Scholarship

Modern international criminal law (ICL) developed in the aftermath of World War II as an alternative to the proposal, espoused by Winston Churchill among others, that major Axis war criminals be summarily executed on sight. Because of this pedigree and the unconscionable nature of the crimes, ICL jurisprudence and scholarship have largely neglected the paramount question fundamental to any criminal justice system: the justifications for and legitimate goals of punishment. Insofar as a coherent jurisprudence of ICL sentencing can be said to exist at all, it remains correspondingly impoverished and unprincipled - comparable in some respects to that of the …


Does Punishment For 'Culpable Indifference' Simply Punish For 'Bad Character'? Examining The Requisite Connection Between Mens Rea And Actus Reus, Kenneth Simons Jan 2003

Does Punishment For 'Culpable Indifference' Simply Punish For 'Bad Character'? Examining The Requisite Connection Between Mens Rea And Actus Reus, Kenneth Simons

Faculty Scholarship

The conventional mental state or culpability categories recognized in the criminal law are purpose, knowledge, recklessness, and negligence. Should the law also recognize as an additional category some version of "culpable indifference"? Yes, according to a number of scholars; and some courts have also recognized this category, especially in the context of depraved heart murder. Culpable indifference can describe a modestly culpable mental state, sufficient for manslaughter liability (or, with respect to a circumstance element, roughly equivalent in seriousness to cognitive recklessness). It can also identify a more aggravated form of culpability, sufficient for murder (or, with respect to a …


Rape, Murder, And Formalism: What Happens If We Define Mistake Of Law?, Gerald F. Leonard Jan 2001

Rape, Murder, And Formalism: What Happens If We Define Mistake Of Law?, Gerald F. Leonard

Faculty Scholarship

The criminal law maxim "ignorance of the law is no excuse" represents a broad doctrine of strict liability in an area of law that usually insists on a culpable state of mind as a prerequisite for liability. For that reason, many scholars have attacked the harsh mistake-of-law rules as incompatible with basic principles of culpability. Other scholars have come to the defense of the maxim, and courts have adhered to it quite strongly even as the list of exceptions to the maxim has slowly grown. Oddly enough, however, this debate has proceeded without a definition of mistake of law. Distinguishing …