Criminal Procedure

Judge Emmett Ripley Cox, Thirty-Two Years on the Federal Bench: Some Things I Have Learned

In this Essay, prepared as the basis for the 2014 Dunwody Distinguished Lecture in Law at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, Judge Cox discusses a few things he learned from his experience as a trial judge and later as an appellate judge. Specifically, he addresses how the proliferation of federal law—both criminal and civil—imposes […]

Who Watches the Watchers? Judges, Guilty Pleas, and Outsider Review

Laura I Appleman

Abstract Response to Anne Traum, Using Outcomes to Reframe Guilty Plea Adjudication The principles that justify our imposition of punishment in public jury trials rapidly disintegrate in the informal, private realm of plea agreements. But what is the best way to regulate a system that does most of its adjudication behind closed doors? In her article, Using […]

Kathleen Carlson, Ryan v. Gonzalez and the Potential Elimination of the Ineffective Assistance of Counsel Post Conviction Failsafe

Recently, the United States Supreme Court addressed in Ryan v. Gonzales “whether the incompetence of a state prisoner requires suspension of the prisoner’s federal habeas corpus proceedings.” In a unanimous decision, the Court held that “the Courts of Appeals for the Ninth and Sixth Circuits both erred in holding that district courts must stay federal habeas proceedings when […]

Steven Nauman, Brown v. Plata: Renewing the Call to End Mandatory Minimum Sentencing

After more than twenty years of litigation, the United States Supreme Court finally determined whether California’s overcrowded prison system created a constitutional violation in Brown v. Plata. With prisons and jails across the country operating at well over 100% capacity, the Court concluded what advocates had been screaming for over a decade: prison overcrowding cannot […]

Sam Kamin & Justin Marceau, Vicarious Aggravators

In Gregg v. Georgia, the Supreme Court held that the death penalty was constitutional so long as it provided a non-arbitrary statutory mechanism for determining who are the worst of the worst, and therefore, deserving of the death penalty. As a general matter, this process of narrowing the class of death eligible offenders is done […]

Meghan J. Ryan, The Missing Jury: The Neglected Role of Juries in Eighth Amendment Punishments Clause Determinations

A recent study of death penalty cases has revealed that judges, who are ordinarily thought of as the guardians of criminal defendants‘ constitutional rights, often impose harsher punishments than jurors. This may be unsettling in its own right, but it is especially concerning when one considers that judges are the individuals charged with determining whether […]