Friday, April 10, 2009

Aviram on Decisions to Imprison

Hadar Aviram has published a review of Rasmus Wandall's book, Decisions to Imprison: Court Decision-Making Inside and Outside the Law (Ashgate, 2007), which focuses on the question of when to imprison those convicted of crimes. Although Hadar would have liked some discussion of the impact of race and ethnicity, she found Wandall's book overall a "fascinating and important enterprise, which takes seriously what judges and other actors say, and not just what they do." The review is at 43(1) Law & Soc'y Rev. 239 (2009).

Friday, April 3, 2009

Leib on Criminal Justice and the Family

Ethan Leib, together with Dan Markel (Florida State) and Jennifer Collins (Wake Forest), has published a book called Privilege or Punish: Criminal Justice and the Challenge of Family Ties (Oxford University Press, 2009). Here is the abstract:

This book answers two basic but under-appreciated questions: first, how does the American criminal justice system address a defendant's family status? And, second, how should a defendant's family status be recognized, if at all, in a criminal justice system situated within a liberal democracy committed to egalitarian principles of non-discrimination? After surveying the variety of "family ties benefits" and "family ties burdens" in our criminal justice system, the authors explain why policymakers and courts should view with caution and indeed skepticism any attempt to distribute these benefits or burdens based on one's family status. This is a controversial stance, but Markel, Collins, and Leib argue that in many circumstances there are simply too many costs to the criminal justice system when it gives special treatment based on one's family ties or responsibilities. Privilege or Punish breaks new ground by offering an important synthetic view of the intersection between crime, punishment, and the family. Although in recent years scholars have been successful in analyzing the indirect effects of certain criminal justice policies and practices on the family, few have recognized the panoply of laws (whether statutory or common law-based) expressly drawn to privilege or disadvantage persons based on family status alone. It is critically necessary to pause and think through how and why our laws intentionally target one's family status and how the underlying goals of such a choice might better be served in some cases. This book begins that vitally important conversation with an array of innovative policy recommendations that should be of interest to anyone interested in the improvement of our criminal justice system.

Here is the OUP link:

Mart on Internet Access to Government Information

Susan Nevelow Mart has published an article titled, "The Internet's Public Domain: Access to Government Information on the Internet," 12 No, 9 J. Internet L. 3 (2009). Here is the abstract:

This article surveys the types and amounts of information that have been removed from the Internet since September 11th. Information has been removed in the name of national security as well as for reasons of seeming political expediency. After discussing the bases of some of the rationales for removing the information, and the legal underpinnings of continued access, the article suggests several forms of advocacy that could be used to return the information to the public's domain.

Mart on Patriot Act Reauthorization

Susan Nevelow Mart has published an article called "The Chains of the Constitution and Legal Process in the Library: A Post-USA PATRIOT Reauthorization Act Assessment," 33 Okla. City U. L. Rev. 435 (2008). Here is the abstract:

Since the Patriot Act was passed in 2001, controversy has raged over nearly every provision. The controversy has been particularly intense over provisions that affect the patrons of libraries. This article follows those Patriot Act provisions that affect libraries, and reviews how they have been interpreted, how the Patriot Reauthorization Acts have changed them, and what government audits and court affidavits reveal about the use and misuse of the Patriot Act. The efforts of librarians and others opposed to the Patriot Act have had an effect, both legislatively and judicially, in changing and challenging the Patriot Act. Because libraries are such a potent symbol of democratic openness, the effect of the Patriot Act on libraries has acted in the public mind as a microcosm of the broader problems with the implementation of the Patriot Act. The public's discomfort with the civil liberties implications of the Patriot Act has turned out to be justified, as every agency that has reviewed the implementation of the Patriot Act has concluded that the government has not been able to maintain an appropriate balance between the need to protect civil liberties and the need to prevent terrorist acts. The government's list of domestic terrorist acts that have been prevented or punished is not inspiring: the entire panoply of tools authorized by the Patriot Act has not done much more than stop some home-grown right wing fringe groups and ecoterrorists. In light of the evidence of abuse of civil liberties and the questionable constitutionality of many of the Patriot Act's provisions, this paper suggests that the time for vigorous advocacy has not passed and that further legislative changes need to be made.