Criminal Law

America’s mass incarceration crisis does not end at the prison gates. While an estimated two million people are presently incarcerated, nearly twice that number of people are subject to probation, parole, and other forms of community supervision. This Article documents one particularly troubling aspect of this system of “nonincarceration mass incarceration”: the widespread use of supervision conditions that separate people on parole, probation,...

The federal criminal code provides enhanced penalties for offenses that qualify as crimes of violence. This Note concerns a basic question: What qualifies as a crime of violence? The code offers two seemingly clear definitions, classifying as violent any crime that either (1) includes the use of physical force against the person or property of another as an element of the crime or (2) by its nature involves a substantial risk of the use of physical...

In Oregon v. Kennedy, the Supreme Court held that the Double Jeopardy Clause does not bar the reprosecution of a defendant in cases in which prosecutorial misconduct causes the defendant to move for a mistrial. The Court established only one exception to this rule: If the prosecutor’s misconduct was intended to provoke the defendant into moving for a mistrial, the Double Jeopardy Clause bars the retrial of the defendant. The Kennedy...

In Kelly v. United States, the Supreme Court vacated the federal corruption convictions of the three government officials behind “Bridgegate.” In the process of doing so, the Court flagged an interesting tool that states have in their anticorruption toolkits that might’ve applied to the conduct before the Court: official misconduct statutes. These dynamic statutes are on the books in twenty-three states and territories, and another...

A defendant’s right to confront the witnesses against him is a cornerstone of our adversarial system of criminal justice. Or is it? Under current law, defendants can invoke their confrontation right only by going to trial. But trials account for about five percent of criminal convictions. That means that the overwhelming majority of defendants convicted in the United States never get to exercise their constitutional right to confront the government’s...

CATEGORICAL NONUNIFORMITY

Sheldon A. Evans*

The categorical approach, which is a method federal courts use to ‘categorize’ which state law criminal convictions can trigger federal sanctions, is one of the most impactful yet misunderstood legal doctrines in criminal and immigration law. For thousands of criminal offenders, the categorical approach determines whether a previous state law conviction—as defined by the legal elements of the crime—sufficiently matches...

This Essay scrutinizes the canons of substantive criminal law, with a particular focus on the curricular canon. By curricular canon, I mean the conceptual model used to teach the subject of criminal law, including the cases, narratives, and ideas that are presented to students. Since the middle of the twentieth century, American law schools have offered (and often required) a course in criminal law in which homicide is the para­digm crime and...

A WORLD OF DISTRUST

Timothy M. Mulvaney*

In District of Columbia v. Wesby, the Supreme Court determined that a prudent officer had probable cause to arrest attendees at a festive house party for criminal trespass without a warrant. While reactions from scholars of criminal law have begun to emerge, this Piece is the first to conceive of the decision through the lens of property theory. In this regard, the Piece offers two principal claims. First, on interpretive grounds, it contends that,...

FORESEEABLE POLICE SHOOTINGS

Katherine Macfarlane*

Introduction No matter how it begins, a police encounter may end in death, especially when the encounter involves people of color. There is no safe haven. Police-involved shootings happen everywhere—on the street, in a parked car, in a public park, or inside one’s own home. Police violence is a constant, its occurrence so predictable that […]

On any given day, local jails detain nearly half-a-million people who cannot afford bail. Opposition to this status quo, and to monetary conditions of pretrial release more broadly, has reached a fever pitch in recent years. Critics from across the political spectrum decry bail as a wellspring of mass incarceration and acknowledge its profoundly discriminatory effects, particularly within low-income communities of color. Academic studies link bail...