ABSTRACT :: Civil rights violations that appear relatively slight may warrant judicial redress despite their small size; some of them point up important principles. Leaving these violations unremedied may contribute to an ambient lawlessness that can foster bigger harms. A small infringement in this respect resembles the criminological construct of “broken windows,” which in its prescriptive form urges governments to view de minimis violations as harbingers of more disorder to come.
Using broken windows to understand privately initiated civil rights claims honors a statutory mandate and helps to achieve progressive ends. This application is potentially better than the one that police impose on the street, which has raised concerns about both justice and efficacy. Rendered as a maxim, the precept that this Article commends is De minimis curet lex: The law ought to concern itself with some affronts that appear small.
September 2016, Vol. 68, No. 5
Leslie C. Levin, Lawyers Going Bare and Clients Going Blind
Aya Gruber, Amy J. Cohen, & Kate Mogulescu, Penal Welfare and the New Human Trafficking Intervention Courts
Caprice Roberts, Supreme Disgorgement
Anthony Jose Sirven, Undue Process: A Father's Proprietary Interest in an Embryo and Its Clash with Casey
Maris Snell, Section 875C: Not for All Intents and Purposes