Law without Justice: Why Criminal Law Doesn't Give People What They Deserve

Hardcover (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $32.18
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 39%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (9) from $32.18   
  • New (5) from $41.34   
  • Used (4) from $32.18   


If an innocent person is sent to prison or if a killer walks free, we are outraged. The legal system assures us, and we expect and demand, that it will seek to "do justice" in criminal cases. So why, for some cases, does the criminal law deliberately and routinely sacrifice justice? In this unflinching look at American criminal law, Paul Robinson and Michael Cahill demonstrate that cases with unjust outcomes are not always irregular or unpredictable. Rather, the criminal law sometimes chooses not to give defendants what they deserve: that is, unsatisfying results occur even when the system works as it is designed to work. The authors find that while some justice-sacrificing doctrines serve their intended purpose, many others do not, or could be replaced by other, better rules that would serve the purpose without abandoning a just result. With a panoramic view of the overlapping and often competing goals that our legal institutions must balance on a daily basis, Law without Justice challenges us to restore justice to the criminal justice system.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Law without Justice is the best-written book on criminal justice I have read in years. The erudition that went into its creation is immense. Many lament departures from deserved punishment. Robinson and Cahill do more: they reveal just how deliberate these deviations are, and exactly what can be done to right the scales of justice."
—John Monahan, Doherty Professor of Law, University of Virginia

"Paul H. Robinson and Michael T. Cahill expertly confront departures from justice and the resulting harm to the legal system's credibility...The inspired result blends erudite analysis and expedient recommendations for reform."—New York Law Journal

"This book is a must-read for thoughtful legislators and all the rest of us who seek justice for persons charged with crime—proportional punishment of the guilty, and exculpation of the morally blameless. The authors demonstrate, with remarkable lucidity, how and why the criminal law sometimes deliberately sacrifices justice for other goals, and they provide thoughtful, controversial, and often persuasive, suggestions on how we can redesign our legal system to give people their just deserts."
—Joshua Dressler, Frank R. Strong Chair in Law, The Ohio State University

"Law without Justice is a compelling account of how the American criminal justice system fails to give offenders their just deserts in a number of different contexts. From the refusal to allow partial exoneration for defenses like mistake of law and insanity to the practical limitations on detecting and prosecuting offenders, Cahill and Robinson demonstrate through vivid discussions of actual cases the many areas where criminal sentencing fails to do justice. This book is a wonderful marriage of theoretical reflection and lessons drawn from practice."
—Claire Finkelstein, Professor of Law and Philosophy, University of Pennsylvania Law School

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195160154
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 1,312,655
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Robinson, the Colin S. Diver Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania, is one of the world's leading experts on criminal law. His non-academic work includes service as a federal prosecutor, as counsel for the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Criminal Laws and Procedures, and as one of the original Commissioners of the United States Sentencing Commission.
Michael Cahill is Assistant Professor at Brooklyn Law School. Prior to his academic career, he served as Staff Director for the Illinois Criminal Code Rewrite and Reform Commission and was a consultant for the Kentucky Penal Code Revision Project.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Doing justice and the distractions from it 13
Ch. 2 Fear of manipulation and abuse 27
Ch. 3 Advancing reliability 52
Ch. 4 Making the most of limited resources 72
Ch. 5 Living by rules 89
Ch. 6 Controlling crime and criminals 117
Ch. 7 Controlling police and prosecutors 137
Ch. 8 Promoting interests unrelated to criminal justice 186
Ch. 9 Criminal justice reforms 205
Ch. 10 Employing civil rather than criminal processes 218
Conclusion : doing justice in a complex world 229
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)