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I am greatly enjoying day two of the great “Rewriting the Sentence” conference at Columbia Law School (previously noted here and here and here and being live streamed here).  This afternoon, I have the honor of moderating a panel titled “Sentencing Second Chances: Addressing Excessive Sentencing With Escape Valves,” and then will get to attend another later panel on “The Role of Mercy and Dignity in Criminal Justice: From Restoration to
The title of this post is the title of this new short piece by Joseph Kennedy (which condenses some of his really important work set forth in this recent full article, “Sharks and Minnows in the War on Drugs: A Study of Quantity, Race and Drug Type in Drug Arrests”). Here are excerpts: U.S. drug laws are designed as if every offender was a dedicated criminal like Walter White, treating the possession or sale…
I have been spending the day at Columbia Law School attending the great “Rewriting the Sentence” conference previously noted here and here and here.  All the panels have been terrific, and I am now blogging during the panel titled “A Federal Legislative Look: The First Step Act, and the Next Steps” because its moderator, the indefatigable Holly Harris, has urged everyone to get the word out that Representatives Doug Collins and Hakeem Jeffries have…
I have not recently posted too many speeches on crime and punishment from Justice Department leaders in part because there have not been too many of these speeches as DOJ leadership has been in transition. But today, Jeffrey Rosen delivered these extended remarks to the National Sheriffs’ Association, which he describes as his “first public speech as Deputy Attorney General of the United States.” The whole speech is worth reading, and here are some excepts:…
Unsurprisingly, the Supreme Court has decided not to overturn its longstanding “dual sovereignty” doctrine in the case of Gamble v. US, No. 17-646 (S. Ct. June 17, 2019) (available here). Here is how the Court’s majority opinion, authored by Justice Alito, gets started: We consider in this case whether to overrule a longstanding interpretation of the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment. That Clause provides that no person may be “twice put…
In this post two weeks ago, I flagged the interesting Supreme Court decision in Wheeler v. US to grant, vacate and remand the case to allow courts below “to consider the First Step Act of 2018.”  In that case, petitioner asserted that a provision of the FIRST STEP Act changed the applicable mandatory minimum while his case was on appeal.  The Government responded that the FIRST STEP Act was not applicable once a case was…
Last Friday, the Alaska Supreme Court in Doe v. Alaska Department of Public Safety, No. 7375  (Alaska June 14, 2019) (available here) decided that part of its state’s Sexual Offender Registration Act violates due process.  Here is how the majority opinion starts and concludes: &This appeal presentstwo questions concerning theAlaska SexualOffender Registration Act (ASORA). The first is whether ASORA’s registration requirements may be imposed on sex offenders who have moved to the state…
This lengthy new San Francisco Chronicle article, headlined “Nearly all Democratic candidates oppose death penalty as public opinion shifts,” reports on the new political reality surrounding death penalty view of leading candidates.  Here are excerpts: Not so long ago, opposing the death penalty was pretty much a death knell for a presidential candidate.  Michael Dukakis, for one, sank his remaining hopes in 1988 when he told a debate questioner he would oppose execution even…
The title of this post is the title of this new paper authored by Kia Rahnama now available via SSRN.  Here is its abstract: This Article analyzes the societal and cultural impacts of greater reliance on the use of algorithms in the courtroom.  Big-data analytics and algorithms are beginning to play a large role in influencing judges’ sentencing and criminal enforcement decisions.  This Article addresses this shift toward greater acceptance of algorithms as models for…