CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Orbach & Huang on Con Games

Barak Orbach and Lindsey Huang (University of Arizona and Perkins Coie LLP) have posted Con Men and Their Enablers: The Anatomy of Confidence Games (Social Research: An International Quarterly (forthcoming 2018)) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
 
President Trump’s philosophy for life, business, and politics prescribes the use of “leverage,” “truthful hyperbole,” and “play[ing] to people’s fantasies” to advance zero-sum deals. Many people believe that this philosophy made Trump a successful businessman and the greatest dealmaker in history. Many others believe that, by following this philosophy, Mr. Trump has proven that, with the aid of fixers and other enablers, a con man might escape the rule of law for decades, successfully use confidence schemes in a presidential campaign, and continue using confidence schemes in the Oval Office. We examine why people often disagree about what profit-seeking actions constitute unethical confidence games and about how the legal system should address cons. Con schemes have characteristics of both trade and fraud. Like trade, cons are voluntary exchanges, and, like fraud, cons are voluntary exchanges induced by misleading representations. Fundamentally, cons further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial. They benefit con men at the expense of their victims. We study the anatomy of confidence games and legal strategies that may reduce the social costs of cons. We argue that the present understanding of cons, as reflected through our legal system, political debates, and the literature, is impaired and that the prevalence of cons warrants greater attention of lawmakers, courts, and scholars.

August 16, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Harmon on Policing, Protesting, and Hostile Audiences

Harmon_rachelRachel Harmon (University of Virginia School of Law) has posted Policing, Protesting, and the Insignificance of Hostile Audiences (Knight First Amend. Inst. (Nov 2, 2017)) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
 
Cities like Charlottesville struggle to balance free speech and public safety when demonstrators and counter-demonstrators come to town. This brief essay argues that the First Amendment “hostile audience” cases that largely regulate municipal responses to political speech fail to address the challenges posed by contemporary protests. First Amendment case law imagines identifiable speakers articulating unpopular messages who need protection from censorship by city officials and persecution by crowds. Today, however, police departments face competing, loosely-organized, and heterogenous groups, organized quickly by social media. Many seek to bring about social change by disruption as well as by speech, and they are often unwilling to negotiate with police, creating a predicament for communities that prize both free speech and public order. In addressing this predicament, police forces can easily suppress speech within the boundaries of First Amendment law. As a result, doctrine will often be less important than political will and participant preferences in determining what our system of free expression looks like on the streets. Since the complexity of contemporary protest goes far beyond the hostile audience doctrine’s images of unpopular speakers and disorderly listeners, the First Amendment is only a starting point for understanding the values at stake and the legal tools and constraints applicable to efforts to maintain order.

August 16, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Greabe on Epps on Harmless Error

Greabe_johnJohn Greabe (University of New Hampshire School of Law) has posted Criminal Procedure Rights and Harmless Error: A Response to Professor Epps (Columbia Law Review Online, Forthcoming) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
 
In Harmless Errors and Substantial Rights, just out in the Harvard Law Review, Professor Daniel Epps proposes a re-conceptualization of constitutional criminal procedure rights that would pave the way for a reform of harmless-error review. Epps contends that those constitutional criminal procedure rights that are capable of being violated by prosecutors and judges in non-harmful ways be redefined so as to include a requirement that their violation causes the right-holder harm. Thus, for example, an accused’s Sixth Amendment right “to be confronted with the witnesses against him” really should be understood as a right to be confronted by those witnesses whose testimony cannot be dismissed as immaterial to the jury’s later decision to convict. Under Epps’ proposal, harmless error would no longer be an amalgam of remedial doctrines informing whether reviewing courts should reverse or vacate judgments of conviction as a consequence of constitutional rights-violations at or in connection with a criminal trial. Rather, the harm (if any) caused by the putative invasion of a right would constitute a metric informing whether there has been a violation of the right. Harmless-error doctrine is indeed in dire need of reform. And yet, acceptance of the argument that harmless-error review be viewed as part and parcel of some criminal procedure rights would cause more problems than it would solve.

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August 16, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Daughety & Reinganum on Plea Bargaining, Trial, and Evidence Suppression and Disclosure

Andrew F. Daughety and Jennifer F. Reinganum (Department of Economics, Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt University - College of Arts and Science - Department of Economics) have posted Reducing Unjust Convictions: Plea Bargaining, Trial, and Evidence Suppression/Disclosure on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
 
We develop a dynamic model of the disposition of a criminal case, allowing for the potential discovery of exculpatory evidence by prosecutors (who choose whether to disclose this evidence) and by defendants, as the case proceeds from arrest through plea bargaining and (possibly) trial. We characterize equilibrium behavior by prosecutors and defendants, under three different disclosure regimes: (1) no disclosure is required; (2) disclosure is required before trial; and (3) disclosure is required from the point of arrest onward. A prosecutor who has (resp., has not) privately observed exculpatory evidence is called an “informed” (resp., “uninformed”) prosecutor. When no disclosure is required, an informed prosecutor makes a lower plea offer than one who is uninformed; no case is dropped voluntarily. When disclosure is required only prior to trial, then an informed prosecutor makes the same offer as an uninformed prosecutor, but an informed prosecutor will disclose and drop the case following a rejected plea offer. Finally, when the prosecutor is required to disclose prior to plea bargaining, then an informed prosecutor discloses and drops the case, whereas an uninformed prosecutor makes the same offer as in the no-disclosure regime, and never voluntarily drops the case. In all regimes, some innocent defendants accept the plea offer and others reject it (and similarly for guilty defendants). We find that both regimes requiring some disclosure, as compared with a no-disclosure regime, are (at least weakly) more likely to convict the guilty and less likely to convict the innocent (regardless of whether the prosecutor is informed or uninformed). However, the more-limited disclosure regime, as compared to the more-extensive regime, leads to a higher likelihood of conviction for innocent defendants facing an informed prosecutor, but a lower likelihood of conviction of innocent defendants facing an uninformed prosecutor and a lower likelihood of conviction of guilty defendants.

August 15, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Johnson on Cyber-Crime Liability and Insurance

James A. Johnson has posted Cyber-Crime Liability and Insurance (State Bar of Michigan Insurance and Indemnity Law Section, Volume 11 Number 3, July 2018) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Cyber Crime is an emerging risk evidenced by a plethora of news stories of hacking involving Equifax, Yahoo, Target, J.P. Morgan, American Express, Kmart and many other companies. The purpose of this article is highlight effective procedures to protect a company or law firm against the theft of its data. Law firms and companies should make a thorough review of their computer use policies including training to ensure that employees have no expectation of privacy in using company computer systems. Computer-specific polices provide specific grants of coverage. These polices often limit coverage to bad acts of persons who are not authorized to use the computer and therefore exclude acts by employees. Another limitation draws a distinction between fraudulent data and fraudulent entry of data. A question facing cyber crime insurance is the issue whether the injury comes within the definition of property damage. Law firms are prime targets for cyber crimes. It is your data that cyber criminals and hackers want. Training is needed to avoid negligent handling of documents by attorneys or employees that can compromise a case in disclosing confidential information. Advancement in computer technology creates new kinds of insurance risks, new coverage issues and therefore new policy forms and terms. The first line of defense in protecting company or law firm data is to create an effective computer policy against theft of its data by its own employees.

August 15, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Leary on A Biblical Critique of the U.S. Prison System

Scott Leary has posted A Biblical Critique of the U.S. Prison System (Journal of Christian Legal Thought, Vol. 7, No. 2, Winter 2017) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

The United States Prison System is unjust, and is built on a faulty humanistic foundation.

August 15, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Ingram on President Washington's Pardons

Scott Ingram (High Point University) has posted President, Politics and Pardons: Washington's Original (Mis?)Use of the Pardon Power (8 Wake Forest Journal of Law & Policy 259 (2018)) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
 
Recent political events raise an issue that usually remains dormant until a President is about to leave office, namely pardons. Many political watchers fear President Trump’s pardon authority, perhaps for good reason. However, their analysis of the pardon power is normative. They argue that there are proper uses for the pardon power and Trump’s usage and potential usage are not it. Reasonable people can disagree about the wisdom of pardons and the circumstances when they should be granted. Critiques of the pardon power have become commonplace when Presidents inevitably pardon people in the waning days of their Administration for apparent political reasons. This article unearths the origins of Presidential pardons. It asks and answers why President George Washington pardoned the people he pardoned.

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August 15, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Ananian-Welsh on Preventive Organised Crime Measures

Rebecca Ananian-Welsh (The University of Queensland - T.C. Beirne School of Law) has posted 'If at First You Don't Succeed...': Effectiveness and the Evolution of Preventive Organised Crime Measures (Tulich, T, Ananian-Welsh, R, Bronitt, S and Murray, S (eds), 'Regulating Preventive Justice: Principle, Policy and Paradox' (Book) (Routledge)) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
 
The impact of a preventive measure is generally experienced before a wrong has occurred. However, as chapters in this volume have identified, such measures often involve serious impositions on liberty. It is these kinds of measures that Ashworth and Zedner describe as ‘coercive preventive measures’. The primary justification for a preventive measure therefore tends to focus on its effectiveness: an intrusion on liberty may be acceptable because it avoids a much greater wrong. But what if the effectiveness of a preventive measure is never demonstrated? One might expect that measure to be repealed, thereby avoiding an unnecessary intrusion on liberty. This chapter considers the role that proven effectiveness may play in guiding the evolution of a preventive measure. I focus on the migration of control orders in Australia – from the anti-terrorism context to that of organised crime, and across domestic jurisdictions. I then trace the role of proven effectiveness in the extension of the control order paradigm to a new extreme. I do not attempt a realistic assessment of whether control orders are, in fact, effective at preventing crime. Rather, I focus on the rhetoric of effectiveness and query whether proof of the (in)effective functioning of these laws facilitated or stalled their adoption, their migration or their escalation to new levels of severity.

August 14, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Forcese on The Intelligence-to-Evidence Dilemma

Craig Forcese (University of Ottawa - Common Law Section) has posted Threading the Needle: Structural Reform & Canada's Intelligence-to-Evidence Dilemma on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
 
This article canvasses the “intelligence-to-evidence” dilemma in Canadian anti-terrorism. It reviews the concept of “evidence”, “intelligence” and “intelligence-to-evidence” (I2E). It points to the legal context in which I2E arises in Canada. Specifically, it examines Canadian rules around disclosure to the defence: the Stinchcombe and O’Connor standards and the related issues of Garofoli challenges. With a focus on CSIS/police relations, the article discusses the consequences of an unwieldy I2E system, using the device of a hypothetical terrorism investigation. It concludes disclosure risk for CSIS in an anti-terrorism investigation can be managed, in a manner that threads the needle between fair trials, legitimate confidentiality concerns and public safety.

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August 14, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Stevenson & Slobogin on Youth and Risk Assessments

Megan T. Stevenson and Christopher Slobogin (George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty and Vanderbilt University - Law School) have posted Algorithmic Risk Assessments and the Double-Edged Sword of Youth on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
 
At sentencing, youth can be considered both a mitigating circumstance because of its association with diminished culpability and an aggravating circumstance because of its association with crime-risk. In theory, judges and parole boards can recognize this double-edged sword phenomenon and balance the mitigating and aggravating effects of youth. But when sentencing authorities rely on algorithmic risk assessments, a practice that is becoming increasingly common, this balancing process may never take place. Algorithmic risk assessments often place heavy weights on age in a manner that is not fully transparent – or, in the case of proprietary “black-box” algorithms, not transparent at all. For instance, our analysis of one of the leading black-box tools, the COMPAS Violent Recidivism Risk Score, shows that roughly 60% of the risk score it produces is attributable to age. We argue that this type of fact must be disclosed to sentencing authorities in an easily-interpretable manner so that they understand the role an offender’s age plays in the risk calculation. Failing to reveal that a stigmatic label such as “high risk of violent crime” is due primarily to a defendant’s young age could lead to improper condemnation of a youthful offender, especially given the close association between risk labels and perceptions of character and moral blameworthiness.

August 14, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 13, 2018

Cicchini on Prosecutor Sophistry and the Burden of Proof

Michael D. Cicchini has posted Spin Doctors: Prosecutor Sophistry and the Burden of Proof (87 U. Cincinnati L. Rev. __ (Forthcoming)) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Prosecutors have developed several tactics to effectively lower the burden of proof in criminal trials. One such tactic is to argue to jurors that they should “search for the truth” of what they think happened. Some trial courts are complicit in this effort, and formally instruct jurors “not to search for doubt” but instead “to search for the truth.” Defense lawyers have objected to these truth-based arguments and instructions, as such language improperly lowers the burden of proof below the reasonable doubt standard. Prosecutors, however, have dismissed these objections as pure speculation. In response to this apparent call for evidence, Dr. Lawrence T. White and I empirically tested the effect of these truth-based jury instructions on verdicts. In two recently published studies, mock jurors who received truth-based instructions convicted at significantly higher rates than those who were simply instructed on reasonable doubt. Jurors who received the truth-based instructions were also far more likely to mistakenly believe it was proper to convict even if they had a reasonable doubt about guilt. Citing this empirical evidence, defense lawyers have been asking trial courts to remove truth-related language from their burden of proof jury instructions, and to prohibit prosecutors from making search-for-truth arguments to jurors. Prosecutors, however, have responded by attacking the validity of the two published studies. This Article identifies and debunks these prosecutorial attacks. Its purpose is to assist defense lawyers and judges in recognizing and responding to invalid prosecutorial arguments, many of which are based on a gross misunderstanding of scientific research, blatant misrepresentations of fact or law, and, most significantly, logical fallacies. Debunking these prosecutorial arguments is a critical step in protecting every person’s right to remain free of conviction unless the state can prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

August 13, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Top-Ten Recent SSRN Downloads in Criminal Law eJournal

Ssrn logoare here.  The usual disclaimers apply.

Rank Paper Downloads
1.

Deep Fakes: A Looming Challenge for Privacy, Democracy, and National Security

University of Texas School of Law and University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law
1,214
2.

Brief Amicus Curiae of Gail Heriot and Peter N. Kirsanow, Members of the United States Commission on Civil Rights, in Support of Petitioner in Randy Joe Metcalf V. United States (Cert Stage)

University of San Diego School of Law and Independent
164
3.

Behavioral Law and Economics - Introduction

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Faculty of Law and Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Faculty of Law
131
4.

Why Is It Wrong To Punish Thought?

University of Michigan Law School
111
5.

Sanctions for Acts or Sanctions for Actors

University of Virginia School of Law
83
6.

Immigration and Crime and the Criminalization of Immigration

University of California - Irvine - Department of Sociology, California State University, Los Angeles - Department of Sociology and California State University, Los Angeles - Department of Sociology, Students
74
7.

The Institutional Design of Punishment

University of California Hastings College of the Law
68
8.

Sexual Consent and Disability

UC Davis School of Law
63
9.

Congress Has Not Created an Inferior Office of Special Counsel Since 1999

Northwestern University - Pritzker School of Law
49
10.

Impeachment As Punishment

Harvard Law School
41

August 13, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Terziev et al. on Joint Investigation Teams

Venelin TerzievMarin Petkov and Krastev Dragomir (Vasil Levski National Military University, National Military University, Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria and National Military University, Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria) have posted Concept of Joint Investigation Teams (IN: Proceedings of SOCIOINT 2018- 5th International Conference on Education, Social Sciences and Humanities, Dubai, U.A.E, International Organization Center of Academic Research, 2018, pp. 492-496, ISBN 978-605-82433-3-0) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
 
The objective is to provide information, guidance and advice to practitioners on the formation of joint investigation teams (JITs). It was developed by the JITs Network - in cooperation with Eurojust, Europol and OLAF - and enhances the previous JITs manual in light of the acquired practical experience. The EU legal framework for setting up JITs between Member States can be found in Article 13 of the 2000 EU Mutual Legal Assistance Convention1 and the 2002 Framework Decision on JITs2. All Member States have implemented one or both of these legal bases, to date.

August 13, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Top-Ten Recent SSRN Downloads in Criminal Procedure eJournal

Ssrn logoare here.  The usual disclaimers apply.

Rank Paper Downloads
1.

Initial Reactions to Carpenter v. United States

University of Southern California Gould School of Law
339
2.

The Hidden Law of Plea Bargaining

Harvard Law School
319
3.

Faithful Execution: The Persistent Myth of Widespread Prosecutorial Misconduct

United States Attorney's Office - Eastern District of Tennessee
235
4.

Supreme Irrelevance: The Court's Abdication in Criminal Procedure Jurisprudence

Northwestern University - Pritzker School of Law and Minnesota Court of Appeals #315B
154
5.

'The Strings in the Books Ain't Pulled and Persuaded': How the Use of Improper Statistics and Unverified Data Corrupts the Judicial Process in Sex Offender Cases

New York Law School and New York Law School
145
6.

It's Not a Match: Why the Law Can't Let Go of Junk Science

Lewis & Clark Law School and Oregon Innocence Project
100
7.

Procedural Justice and Risk-Assessment Algorithms

Yale Law School
99
8.

Procedural Justice in Transnational Contexts

University of California, Berkeley, School of Law and University of California, Berkeley - Human Rights Program
82
9.

Gideon Incarcerated: Access to Counsel in Pre-Trial Detention

Loyola University New Orleans College of Law
80
10.

Democratic Policing Before the Due Process Revolution

University of Iowa College of Law
75

August 13, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Offit on The Death Penalty

Anna Offit (New York University School of Law) has posted Review Essay: Giving Life to the Death Penalty (Political and Legal Anthropology Review, Forthcoming) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
 
This essay reviews three books on capital punishment in America: Robin Conley’s Confronting the Death Penalty: How Language Influences Jurors in Capital Cases, Daniel LaChance’s Executing Freedom: The Cultural Life of Capital Punishment in the United States, and Austin Sarat’s Gruesome Spectacles: Botched Executions and America’s Death Penalty. After analyzing the books thematically, it critiques the Supreme Court’s discussion of “dignity” in a case that considered whether a state’s lethal injection protocols violate the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. It argues that the conflation of euthanasia and capital punishment rhetoric can mask the violence of lethal injection practices that in fact cause excessive suffering.

August 12, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Shamir on Anti-Trafficking in Israel and Neo-Abolitionist Feminists

Hila Shamir (Tel Aviv University - Buchmann Faculty of Law) has posted Anti-Trafficking in Israel, Neo-Abolitionist Feminists, Markets, Borders, and the State (Governance Feminism: An Introduction, Forthcoming) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
 
The chapter offers a close study of one seemingly successful governance feminist (GF) project – an anti-trafficking campaign in Israel – and offers tools to evaluate the costs and benefits of the strategies Gfeminists used in their campaign. The chapter traces the transformation of sex trafficking in Israel from an ignored topic in the early 1990’s to an important policy and legislative arena in the early 2000’s, leading to its near complete eradication by approximately 2008. This significant change in legislation, institutions, funding priorities, and state perception and approach to identified victims of trafficking was the result of intense lobbying and fruitful collaboration between Israeli Gfeminists in civil society, parliament, government and state bureaucracies, and the Israeli state, most notably the police, the administration of border crossing, the prosecution and the courts. It was also the result of US pressures on Israel, through the threat of financial sanctions embedded in the Trafficking and Violence Protection Act, including the Acts mandate of international ranking of countries by tiers according to their compliance with anti-trafficking minimum standards set in the Act. The chapter focuses on the technologies of GF in the Israeli context, enriching our vocabularies of feminist paths to governmental and bureaucratic power.

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August 11, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 10, 2018

Dyer on Complicity

Andrew Dyer (The University of Sydney Law School) has posted 'Australian Position' Concerning Criminal Complicity: Principle, Policy or Politics? (Sydney Law Review, Vol. 40 , No. 2, 2018) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
 
This article examines the differences that have recently emerged between the United Kingdom Supreme Court and the High Court of Australia concerning the law of criminal complicity. It contends that, if we are accurately to analyse the decisions of those Courts in, respectively, R v Jogee [2017] AC 387 and Miller v The Queen (2016) 259 CLR 380, we must acknowledge the extra-legal considerations that influenced these highly-respected tribunals. To criticise what Justice Keane has called ‘the Australian position’ is to reveal a partial truth. Certainly, that position is questionable. Indeed, here it is argued that the ‘change of normative position’ justification for the extended joint criminal enterprise doctrine does not withstand critical scrutiny. Nevertheless, the divergent results in Jogee and Miller probably owe more to public opinion, politics and widely held judicial views about when an ultimate court of appeal is entitled to reverse an established common law rule, than they do to any fundamental differences between London and Canberra concerning principle and/or policy.

August 10, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Yankah on Republicanism, Policing, and Race

Yankah ekowEkow N. Yankah (Yeshiva University - Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law) has posted Pretext and Justification: Republicanism, Policing, and Race (Cardozo Law Review, Forthcoming) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
 
On April 4th, 2015, Police Officer Michael Slager gunned down Walter Scott in North Charleston, South Carolina with a cool that resembled target practice. Scott’s name joined a heartbreaking list of men of color killed by unjustified police violence. The video also broadcast to the world the spectacular violence always lurking beneath the surface of daily interactions between police and men of color. 

The “Black Lives Matter” movement has fiercely insisted Scott’s death not be viewed as an isolated incident but understood as woven into the fabric of American policing. American policing harms individual people of color, guts communities and establishes an image of black or brown men as criminal. Tragically, current Fourth Amendment law insulates the very police practices that allow a different policing regime for communities of color and ensuring that the death toll of unjustly killed black and brown men will continue.

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August 10, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Huq on Fourth Amendment Gloss

Huq azizAziz Z. Huq (University of Chicago - Law School) has posted Fourth Amendment Gloss (Northwestern University Law Review, Vol. 113, No. 4, 2019) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
 
Conventional wisdom suggests that a constitutional right will constrain government actors. But a right defined in terms of what the state routinely does would impose in practice no brake on state action—and so seem pointless. Nevertheless, in defining Fourth Amendment rights, the Supreme Court frequently draws on the practice of regulated government actors to define the constitutional floor for police action. This Article is the first to isolate and analyze this seemingly paradoxical judicial practice. It labels it “Fourth Amendment gloss,” after an analogous mode of reasoning in separation-of-powers cases. The Article’s first aim is descriptive—to catalog the various ways in which “gloss,” or official practice, is deployed across the Court’s search and seizure case-law. This exercise shows that many frequently exercised search and seizure powers have been constitutionally defined in terms of official practice. The Article’s second aim is to ask whether judicial reliance on such gloss can be justified. There are three general justifications for the use of gloss as a source of law in constitutional interpretation. These can be called gloss as acquiescence, gloss as Burkean wisdom, and gloss as settlement. A careful examination of the empirical and theoretical contexts of the Fourth Amendment suggests, however, that none of these three justifications can be extended to support gloss’s use as a way to define lawful searches and seizure. If gloss persists today, therefore, it is for institutional and ideological reasons—not because it is theoretically warranted. Given this conclusion, the Article offers ways to limit the error costs associated with the use of Fourth Amendment gloss.

August 9, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Gable & Buehler on Hindsight and Public Health Accountability

Lance Gable and James Buehler (Wayne State University Law School and Drexel University, Dornsife School of Public Health) have posted Criticized, Fired, Sued, or Prosecuted: Hindsight and Public Health Accountability (132 (6) Public Health Reports 676-678 (2017)) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
 
The charges filed by Michigan prosecutors against state public health officials related to the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in Flint raise difficult questions about accountability and responsibility for public health officials. Judging by the facts as alleged in the criminal charges, the circumstances in the Michigan case appear to be extreme and not representative of the usual ways that public health officials make difficult decisions with the public’s interest at heart. Accountability is vital, but those concerned with good public health leadership must distinguish between reasonable decisions made in good faith that nevertheless turn out to be incorrect and unreasonable actions that harm public health and deserve accountability. Several viable options exist to achieve accountability when things go wrong and public health decision-making leads to harm.

August 9, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)