Criminal Law

Vague Criminality and Mass Incarceration: Will Dimaya End the Insanity?

April 17, 2018

Today, the Supreme Court decided Sessions v. Dimaya and struck down the federal definition of “crime of violence” as unconstitutionally vague. The statute, section 16(b) (along with its very analogous cousin, section 924(c)), has meaningfully contributed to mass incarceration, racial disparities in sentencing, and excessive sentencing at the federal level. Dimaya recognized that section 16(b)…

Leah Litman

The ‘Crime’ of Paying College Basketball Stars: Form over Substance?

March 20, 2018

Last September, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that federal charges had been brought against major figures in college basketball. A group of 10 assistant coaches, agents and sneaker executives were indicted with conspiracy to commit bribery, solicitation of bribes, mail fraud and wire fraud. The defendants are accused of paying—“bribing”—some of the nation’s most…

Michael A. McCann

Replacing Judges with Computers Is Risky

February 20, 2018

Adopting technology for the sake of having it is an unwise move. Last year, the California Judicial Council proposed that California’s criminal courts jump on a failing bandwagon to inhibit and effectively replace judicial discretion with computer-based algorithms. The present judicial system already assesses each defendant, their previous criminal history, and ties to the community….

Quentin L. Kopp

Criminal Justice Reform Starts and Ends with the States

January 11, 2018

Criminal justice reform has the attention of the country, but it is at the state and local level where reform will be implemented. Much of the conversation about criminal justice reform has revolved around high-profile incidents in major U.S. cities like Cleveland and New York City — and on what the federal Department of Justice…

State Senator Eric P. Lesser

Costs of Money Bail to Justice

More than 200,000 bail bonds are posted in California each year, generating $308 million in non-refundable premium fees from accused persons, their families, and friends who post bail for them. Being detained in custody pretrial, even for a short period of time, can threaten an individual’s employment, housing, financial stability, and family. With roughly 90%…

Honorable Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye