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:

1 comment:

The Real News said...

Why not answer the larger question: Misogyny in our courts, and law enforcement?

Consider the number of incarcerated women who wind up pregnant. Or state-sponsored misogyny with pension benefits. See

Also to be considered? the PTSD defense for misogyny, six years in the making.

The next day, follow up.

Why does media so often get it wrong in the nation's busiest court? The one court most used, most often and for the longest period of time, is all but ignored by the so called "Fourth Estate." It's frightening.

Instead, reporters only speak to attorneys and regurgitate court press releases touting whatever.

Consider "no fault" divorce. What is not written is that it doesn't work because judges are former prosecutors, looking to place blame. See
(which includes reports on Congressional bribes in the field).

Again, the larger question becomes why does our male dominated fourth estate not cover the busiest court in the nation?

Is media controlled by government after all? How else to explain why the one court most used most often, and for the longest period of time doesn't have a "beat" reporter.

Misogyny isn't limited to men. Some women judges will do most anything to keep their chair warm once they get one.

Consider what discovered about one prominent female judge who re-victimized one young crime victim in case of Nebraska criminal Court Judge Kristine Cecava.

Judge Cecava refused to order a convicted, admitted child molester to prison because - he was short. (Ironically, Judge Cecava worried the child molester might be sexually molested in prison.)
(Her sentence was upheld on appeal.) investigated and reported what traditional media overlooked. Turns out Judge Cecava was no maverick judge - she served as past president of the Nebraska Judges Association. However, and making her sentence stranger still; also discovered Judge Cecava had served on the 'Task Force' to Protect Children –

While speaking at a legal conference a few years ago, a room full of judges and attorneys were asked,

"Protect children from whom? Her?"

Then there's judicially sponsored misogyny.