CrimProf Blog

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

Friday, June 14, 2013

Bibas on Lacey on The Machinery of Criminal Justice

Stephanos Bibas (University of Pennsylvania Law School) has posted Criminal (In)Justice and Democracy in America (Harvard Law Review Forum, Vol. 122, p. 134, 2013) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

This essay responds to Nicola Lacey’s review of my recent book The Machinery of Criminal Justice(Oxford Univ. Press 2012). Lacey entirely overlooks the book’s fundamental distinction between making criminal justice policy wholesale and adjudicating deserved punishment at the retail level, in individual cases, which is quite consistent with keeping but tempering rules. She also undervalues America’s deep commitments to federalism, localism, and democratic self-government and overlooks the related problem of agency costs in criminal justice. Her top-down approach colors her desire to pursue equality judicially, to the exclusion of the political branches. Finally, Lacey denigrates the legitimate roles of emotion and retribution in criminal justice. A consideration of the recent outcry over a gang-rape-murder in India highlights the shortcomings of her clinical, therapeutic, overly professionalized approach to criminal justice.

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