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Full-Text Articles in Law and Race

Wage Theft Criminalization, Benjamin Levin Jan 2021

Wage Theft Criminalization, Benjamin Levin

Articles

Over the past decade, workers’ rights activists and legal scholars have embraced the language of “wage theft” in describing the abuses of the contemporary workplace. The phrase invokes a certain moral clarity: theft is wrong. The phrase is not merely a rhetorical flourish. Increasingly, it has a specific content for activists, politicians, advocates, and academics: wage theft speaks the language of criminal law, and wage theft is a crime that should be punished. Harshly. Self-proclaimed “progressive prosecutors” have made wage theft cases a priority, and left-leaning politicians in the United States and abroad have begun to propose more criminal statutes ...


Intersectionality In The Opioid Crisis: Anti-Black Racism And White, Pregnant, Opioid Users, Craig Konnoth Jan 2020

Intersectionality In The Opioid Crisis: Anti-Black Racism And White, Pregnant, Opioid Users, Craig Konnoth

Articles

No abstract provided.


Criminal Law In Crisis, Benjamin Levin Jan 2020

Criminal Law In Crisis, Benjamin Levin

Articles

In this Essay, I offer a brief account of how the COVID-19 pandemic lays bare the realities and structural flaws of the carceral state. I provide two primary examples or illustrations, but they are not meant to serve as an exhaustive list. Rather, by highlighting these issues, problems, or (perhaps) features, I mean to suggest that this moment of crisis should serve not just as an opportunity to marshal resources to address the pandemic, but also as a chance to address the harsh realities of the U.S. criminal system. Further, my claim isn’t that criminal law is in ...


Opioids And Converging Interests, Mary Crossley Jan 2019

Opioids And Converging Interests, Mary Crossley

Articles

Written as part of Seton Hall Law Review’s Symposium on “Race and the Opioid Crisis: History and Lessons,” this Essay considers whether applying the lens of Professor Derrick Bell’s interest convergence theory to the opioid crisis offers some hope of advancing racial justice. After describing Bell’s interest convergence thesis and identifying racial justice interests that African Americans have related to the opioid crisis, I consider whether these interests might converge with white interests to produce real racial progress. Taken at face value, white politicians’ statements of compassion toward opioid users might signal a public health-oriented approach to ...


Mens Rea Reform And Its Discontents, Benjamin Levin Jan 2019

Mens Rea Reform And Its Discontents, Benjamin Levin

Articles

This Article examines the debates over recent proposals for “mens rea reform.” The substantive criminal law has expanded dramatically, and legislators have criminalized a great deal of common conduct. Often, new criminal laws do not require that defendants know they are acting unlawfully. Mens rea reform proposals seek to address the problems of overcriminalization and unintentional offending by increasing the burden on prosecutors to prove a defendant’s culpable mental state. These proposals have been a staple of conservative-backed bills on criminal justice reform. Many on the left remain skeptical of mens rea reform and view it as a deregulatory ...


Rethinking The Boundaries Of "Criminal Justice", Benjamin Levin Jan 2018

Rethinking The Boundaries Of "Criminal Justice", Benjamin Levin

Articles

This review of The New Criminal Justice Thinking (Sharon Dolovich & Alexandra Natapoff, eds.) tracks the shifting and uncertain contours of “criminal justice” as an object of study and critique.

Specifically, I trace two themes in the book:

(1) the uncertain boundaries of the “criminal justice system” as a web of laws, actors, and institutions; and

(2) the uncertain boundaries of “criminal justice thinking” as a universe of interdisciplinary scholarship, policy discourse, and public engagement.

I argue that these two themes speak to critically important questions about the nature of criminal justice scholarship and reform efforts. Without a firm understanding of what constitutes the “criminal justice system,” it is difficult to agree on the proper targets of critique or to determine what legal, social, and political problems are properly the province of “criminal justice thinking.” And, deciding which voices to accept and privilege in these ...


The Consensus Myth In Criminal Justice Reform, Benjamin Levin Jan 2018

The Consensus Myth In Criminal Justice Reform, Benjamin Levin

Articles

It has become popular to identify a “consensus” on criminal justice reform, but how deep is that consensus, actually? This Article argues that the purported consensus is much more limited than it initially appears. Despite shared reformist vocabulary, the consensus rests on distinct critiques that identify different flaws and justify distinct policy solutions. The underlying disagreements transcend traditional left/right political divides and speak to deeper disputes about the state and the role of criminal law in society.

The Article maps two prevailing, but fundamentally distinct, critiques of criminal law: (1) the quantitative approach (what I call the “over” frame ...


The Effect Of Criminal Records On Access To Employment, Amanda Agan, Sonja B. Starr May 2017

The Effect Of Criminal Records On Access To Employment, Amanda Agan, Sonja B. Starr

Articles

This paper adds to the empirical evidence that criminal records are a barrier to employment. Using data from 2,655 online applications sent on behalf of fictitious male applicants, we show that employers are 60 percent more likely to call applicants that do not have a felony conviction. We further investigate whether this effect varies based on applicant race (black versus white), crime type (drug versus property crime), industry (restaurants versus retail), jurisdiction (New Jersey versus New York City), local crime rate, and local racial composition. Although magnitudes vary somewhat, in every subsample the conviction effect is large, significant, and ...


Jim Crow Ethics And The Defense Of The Jena Six, Anthony V. Alfieri Jan 2009

Jim Crow Ethics And The Defense Of The Jena Six, Anthony V. Alfieri

Articles

This Article is the second in a three-part series on the 2006 prosecution and defense of the Jena Six in LaSalle Parish, Louisiana. The series, in turn, is part of a larger, ongoing project investigating the role of race, lawyers, and ethics in the American criminal-justice system. The purpose of the project is to understand the race-based, identity-making norms and practices of prosecutors and defenders in order to craft alternative civil rights and criminal-justice strategies in cases of racially-motivated violence. To that end, this Article revisits the prosecution and defense of the Jena Six in the hope of uncovering the ...


Prosecuting The Jena Six, Anthony V. Alfieri Jan 2008

Prosecuting The Jena Six, Anthony V. Alfieri

Articles

No abstract provided.


Criminal Justice And The 1967 Detroit 'Riot', Yale Kamisar Jan 2007

Criminal Justice And The 1967 Detroit 'Riot', Yale Kamisar

Articles

Forty years ago the kindling of segregation, racism, and poverty burst into the flame of urban rioting in Detroit, Los Angeles, Newark, and other U.S. cities. The following essay is excerpted from a report by Professor Emeritus Yale Kamisar filed with the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (the Kerner Commission) regarding the disorders that took place in Detroit July 23-28, 1967. The report provided significant material and was the subject of one article in the series of pieces on the anniversary of the disturbances that appeared last summer in The Michigan Citizen of Detroit. Immediately after the disturbances ...


"We're All Stuck Here For A While": Law And The Social Construction Of The Black Male, D. Marvin Jones Jan 1998

"We're All Stuck Here For A While": Law And The Social Construction Of The Black Male, D. Marvin Jones

Articles

No abstract provided.


Race And Criminal Justice, Richard B. Collins Jan 1997

Race And Criminal Justice, Richard B. Collins

Articles

No abstract provided.