Cornell Law School Logo - white on transparent background

Category: Issue 6

Article

Against Prosecutors

I. Bennett Capers, Professor of Law and Director of the Center on Race, Law, and Justice, Fordham Law School. B.A. Princeton University; J.D. Columbia Law School.

Each year our jails cycle through approximately ten million people, the vast majority charged with nonviolent crimes. We are at a point where one in every three adults in America has a criminal record, and where for every fifteen persons born in 2001, one will likely spend time in jail or prison. Compared to other countries, the crime rate in the United States is not exceptional, and yet we have by far the highest incarceration rate in the world. None of this can be solved by simply tinkering with the machinery of prosecution. It is time to rethink why and how we prosecute in the first place. What would it mean to turn away from public prosecutors and not rely on the criminal justice system as the first responder to address social ills, such as mental illness and poverty (two of the main drivers of our prison industrial complex)? More radically, what would it mean to turn away from state controlled prosecution as the primary way to address crime? What would it mean to replace a system where prosecutors hold a monopoly in deciding which cases are worthy of pursuit with a system in which “we the people,” including those of us who have traditionally had little power, would be empowered to seek and achieve justice ourselves? This Article attempts to answer these questions.

Sep 2020

Article

Politics and Authority in the U.S. Supreme Court

Joshua B. Fischman, Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law

Public discourse on the Supreme Court often focuses on the divide between the liberal and conservative Justices. There has been a second persistent divide in the Court, however, which has been largely overlooked by scholars, the media, and the public. This second divide has arisen most often in cases involving the jury trial right, the…

Sep 2019

Note

Locked Up, Then Locked Out: The Case for Legislative—Rather Than Executive—Felon Disenfranchisement Reform

Amanda J. Wong

A cohesive anti-felon disenfranchisement perspective has gained traction over the last two decades in America. Scholars have harshly criticized disenfranchisement provisions for their insulation and perpetuation of nonwhite marginalization a la Jim Crow. ` Other critics have also decried felon disenfranchisement for barring prior felons from full social integration. Still more critics point to how…

Sep 2019

Note

Incorporating the Fresh Start Into Sovereign Debt Restructuring Through Odious Debt

Matthew B. Masaro

One of the glaring differences between personal bankruptcies and sovereign “bankruptcies” is the absence of a fresh start for sovereigns. This is largely because sovereigns cannot declare bankruptcy in the same way that individuals can declare bankruptcy.1Martin Guzman et al., Introduction to TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE: THE QUEST TO RESOLVE SOVEREIGN DEBT CRISES XIII, XIII (Martin…

Sep 2019

Article

Aiding and Abetting in International Criminal Law

Oona A. Hathaway, Alexandra Francis, Aaron Haviland, Srinath Reddy Kethireddy & Alyssa T. Yamamoto

To achieve justice for violations of international law such as genocide, torture, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, it is essential to address complicity for international crimes. Beginning in the 1990s, there was a proliferation of international and hybrid criminal tribunals, which sought to hold perpetrators of these crimes accountable and, in turn, generated an…

Sep 2019

Article

Staying Faithful to the Standards of Proof

Kevin M. Clermont, Ziff Professor of Law, Cornell University

Academics have never quite understood the standards of proof or, indeed, much about the theory of proof. Their formulations beget probabilistic musings, which beget all sorts of paradoxes, which in turn beget radical reconceptions and proposals for reform. The theoretical radicals argue that the law needs some basic reconception such as recognizing the aim of…

Sep 2019

––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––