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

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Overview

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.

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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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195160154
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 336
  • 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.

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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
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