Criminal Law

Reconstructing the Right Against Excessive Force

Written by: Avidan Y. Cover

Abstract Police brutality has captured public and political attention, garnering protests, investigations, and proposed reforms. But judicial relief for excessive force victims is invariably doubtful. The judicial doctrine of qualified immunity, which favors government interests over those of private citizens, impedes civil rights litigation against abusive police officers under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In particular, […]

Cause-in-Fact After Burrage v. United States

Written by: Eric A. Johnson

Abstract What significance, if any, should state courts assign to the U.S. Supreme Court’s unanimous 2014 decision in Burrage v United States? In Burrage, the Supreme Court relied on “ordinary meaning” and “traditional understanding” in concluding that causation elements in federal criminal statutes nearly always require so-called “but-for” causation. State courts, by contrast, traditionally have […]

Voices on Innocence

Written by: Lucian E. Dervan, Richard A. Leo, Meghan J. Ryan, Valena E. Beety, Gregory M. Gilchrist, & William W. Berry, III

Introduction by Lucian E. Dervan In the summer of 2015, experts gathered from around the country to sit together and discuss one of the most pressing and important issues facing the American criminal justice system—innocence. Innocence is an issue that pervades various areas of research and influences numerous topics of discussion. What does innocence mean, […]

Rebekah R. Runyon, Am I Under Arrest? Why the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Need A Strict Definition of What Constitutes an Intervening Arrest

Congress provided for the creation of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines to promote fairness and produce proportional and uniform sentences. The Guidelines provide judges with a guideline range for sentencing based on a defendant’s criminal history score and the offense level of the defendant’s criminal conduct. A defendant’s prior “intervening arrests” are considered in computing her […]

Samuel R. Wiseman,What Is Federal Habeas Worth?

Federal habeas review of state non-capital cases under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA) is widely regarded as deeply flawed for producing a huge volume of costly litigation and very little relief. Many scholars have called for AEDPA’s repeal and a return to more robust federal review, but recently, several prominent […]

Jennifer Lada, Bouncing the Proverbial Blank Check: An Argument for Including Candidates for Public Office Within the Scope of the Hobbs Act

The Hobbs Act, codified at 18 U.S.C. § 1951, criminalizes bribery of and extortion by public officials. Under the statute, “‘extortion’ means the obtaining of property from another, with his consent, induced by wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence, or fear, or under color of official right.” But the meaning of “under color […]