In this contribution we will explore some of the implications of the vision of Ambient Intelligence (AmI) for law and legal philosophy. AmI creates an environment that monitors and anticipates human behaviour with the aim of customised adaptation of the environment to a personâs inferred preferences. Such an environment depends on distributed human and non-human intelligence that raises a host of unsettling questions around causality, subjectivity, agency and (criminal) liability. After discussing the vision of AmI we will present (...) relevant research in the field of philosophy of technology, inspired by the post-phenomenological position taken by Don Ihde and the constructivist realism of Bruno Latour. We will posit the need to conceptualise technological normativity in comparison with legal normativity, claiming that this is necessary to develop democratic accountability for the implications of emerging technologies like AmI. Lastly we will investigate to what extent technological devices and infrastructures can and should be used to achieve compliance with the criminal law, and we will discuss some of the implications of non-human distributed intelligence for criminalliability. (shrink)
Antony Duff has argued that an important precondition of criminalliability is that the state has the moral standing to call the offender to account. Conditions of severe social injustice, if allowed or perpetuated by the state, can undermine this standing. Duffs argument appeals to the ordinary idea that a persons own behaviour can sometimes negate his standing to call others to account. It is argued that this is an important issue, but that the analogy with individual standing (...) is problematic. Moreover, Duffs account of standing needs to address two interconnected issues: first, when and in what way the state can lose its standing to call offenders to account, and second, over what range of offences. Key Words: criminalliability Duff punishment social injustice. (shrink)
In Complicity and the Rwandan Genocide ( 2010b ), Larry May argues that complicity can be the basis for criminalliability if two conditions are met: First, the person’s actions or inactions must contribute to the harm in question, and secondly, the person must know that his actions or inactions risk contributing to this harm. May also states that the threshold for guilt for criminalliability is higher than for moral responsibility. I agree with this latter (...) claim, but I think that it casts doubt on May’s account of criminalliability, particular in so-called performance cases in which low-level participants merely fail to help. This is because it is far from clear that passive non-helpers are morally responsible for their participation in widespread harms. Situationism purports to show that passive bystanders typically are not morally responsible for their role in such harms, because they were behaving reasonably subject to the constraints they faced. In this paper, I assess this claim, and defend it on the basis of O. W. Holmes’ standard of the reasonable person as a guide to judging criminal complicity. Finally, I provide a situationist account of the Rwandan genocide, which focuses on the systemic causes and primary perpetrators of the genocide, rather than low-level participants. (shrink)
This work provides, for the first time, a unified account of the theory of action presupposed by both British and American criminal law and its underlying morality. It defends the view that human actions are volitionally caused body movements. This theory illuminates three major problems in drafting and implementing criminal law--what the voluntary act requirement does and should require, what complex descriptions of actions prohibited by criminal codes both do and should require, and when the two actions (...) are the "same" for purposes of assessing whether multiple prosecutions and multiple punishments are warranted. The book contributes to the development of a coherent theory of action in philosophy. It provides a grounding in three of the most basic elements of criminalliability for legislators, judges, and the lawyers who argue to them. (shrink)
This article discusses the role of the mental in the analysis of criminal liablity. The relation between the general conditions for mens rea and those of criminalliability are considered. Claims made by John Gardner and Heike Jung are considered. Their suggestion that there is a hard and fast distinction between the principles of moral and criminal culapability are considered and shown to have some absurd conclusions.
Commentators seemingly agree about what negligence is—and how it is contrasted from recklessness. They also appear to concur about whether particular examples (both real and hypothetical) portray negligence. I am less confident about each of these matters. I explore the distinction between recklessness and negligence by examining a type of case that has generated a good deal of critical discussion: those in which a defendant forgets that he has created a substantial and unjustifiable risk of harm. Even in this limited (...) kind of example, no single perspective on blame and liability proves to be defensible. Nonetheless, a discussion of this type of case is helpful because it enables us to appreciate the difficulties in understanding the nature of negligence and the ensuing uncertainty about whether penal liability for negligence is ever warranted. (shrink)
The 3rd Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations appears to have generated significant consensus around its approach to business and human rights. This state of harmony relies mainly upon a narrow mandate limiting the endeavour largely to a mapping exercise. It also relies upon a process of 'operationalisation' that is yet to be undertaken despite the recent release of a 4th Report. After a brief presentation of the main parameters of the framework proposed by (...) the 3rd Report and of its precarious advantage over other similar initiatives, this article takes a close look at the main link that needs to be operationalised: i.e. the link between corporate responsibility for human rights and the concept of legal and criminal responsibility. The article then addresses the constitutive elements of the concept of responsibility to shed light upon the responsibility of business organisations in a human rights law context. It looks at the innovative ways in which the concept of corporate criminal responsibility has been dealt with in various domestic jurisdictions and at the new paradigms of corporate agency resulting in the process. Building on this inquiry, the analysis focusses on the way in which the legal discourse acquires new dimensions of corporate responsibility by moving away from an individualistic perspective. On the basis of this, the article suggests conceptual tools that can become instrumental in the process of the operationalisation of the 3rd Report, albeit at the likely cost of rendering the consensus around it more fragile. (shrink)
The wrongness of rape -- Rationality and the rule of law in offences against the person -- Complicity and causality -- In defence of defences -- Justifications and reasons -- The gist of excuses -- Fletcher on offences and defences -- Provocation and pluralism -- The mark of responsibility -- The functions and justifications of criminal law and punishment -- Crime : in proportion and in perspective -- Reply to critics.
This book addresses the retributive and "orthodox subjectivist" theories that dominate criminal justice theory alongside recent "revisionist" and "postmodern" approaches. Norrie argues that all these approaches, together with their faults and contradictions, stem from their orientation to themes in Kantian moral philosophy. He explores an alternative relational or dialectical approach; examines the work of Ashworth, Duff, Fletcher, Moore, Smith, and Williams; and considers key doctrinal issues.
The present volume draws together original and significant essays from a number of leading authorities which identify areas of the modern criminal law where there are significant conceptual difficulties. The project developed from a series of seminars in Cambridge University, in which leading Anglo-American philosophers, criminal lawyers and legal theorists explored subjects such as attempts, intention, justification, excuses, coercion, complicity, drug-dealing and criminal harm.
This book is the product of a major British Academy Symposium held in 2007 to mark the centenary of the birth of H.L.A. Hart, the most important legal philosopher and one of the most important political philosophers of the twentieth century. -/- The book brings together contributions from seventeen of the world's foremost legal and political philosophers who explore the many subjects in which Hart produced influential work. Each essay engages in an original analysis of philosophical problems that were tackled (...) by Hart, some essays including extended critical discussions of his major works: The Concept of Law, Punishment and Responsibility, Causation in the Law and Law, Liberty and Morality. All the main topics of Hart's philosophical writings are featured: general jurisprudence and legal positivism; criminal responsibility and punishment; theories of rights; toleration and liberty; theories of justice; and causation in the law. (shrink)
Does criminalliability require an act? -- Motive and criminalliability -- The costs to criminal theory of supposing that intentions are irrelevant to permissibility -- Transferred intent -- The nature and justifiability of nonconsummate offenses -- Strict liability, justice, and proportionality -- The sequential principle of relative culpability -- Willful ignorance, knowledge, and the equal culpability thesis : a study of the significance of the principle of legality -- Rapes without rapists : consent (...) and reasonable mistake -- Mistake of law and culpability -- On the supposed priority of justification to excuse -- Partial defenses -- The "but everybody does that!" defense -- The de minimis "defense" to criminalliability -- Why punish the deserving -- Malum prohibitum and retributivism -- Already punished enough. (shrink)
This collection of contemporary essays by a group of well-known philosophers and legal theorists covers various topics in the philosophy of law, focusing on issues concerning liability in contract, tort, and criminal law. The book is divided into four sections. The first provides a conceptual overview of the issues at stake in a philosophical discussion of liability and responsibility. The second, third, and fourth sections present, in turn, more detailed explorations of the roles of notions of (...) class='Hi'>liability and responsibility in contracts, torts, and punishment. The collection not only presents some of the most challenging work being done in legal philosophy today, it also demonstrates the interdisciplinary character of the field of philosophy of law, with contributors taking into account recent developments in economics, political science, and rational choice theory. This thought-provoking volume will help to shed light on the underexplored ground that lies between law and morals. (shrink)
In this contribution I address the type of emergency that threatens a stateâs monopoly of violence, meaning that the stateâs competence to provide citizens with elementary security is challenged. The question is, whether actions taken by the state to ward off these threats (should) fall within the ambit of the criminal law. A central problem is the indeterminacy that is inherent in the state of emergency, implicating that adequate measures as well as constitutional constraints to be imposed on such (...) measures cannot easily be determined in advance. This indeterminacy raises two interrelated issues. Firstly, the issue of whether it makes sense to speak of criminal jurisdiction when the existing jurisdiction is challenged as such. To what extent does the indeterminacy call for inherently unlimited powers of the state, implying there can be no such thing as criminal jurisdiction during a state of emergency? Secondâif criminal jurisdiction is not in contradiction with the state of emergencyâthe issue of what criminalliability could mean in such a state needs to be confronted. To what extent does the indeterminacy inherent in the state of emergency jeopardise criminalliability because such indeterminacy engenders severe legal uncertainty regarding the standards against which the relevant actions are to be judged? Both issues will be discussed from the perspective of constitutional democracy, assuming that what is at stake in times of emergency is both the competence to sustain the monopoly of violence and the possibility to constrain the powers of the state. (shrink)
This is the first comprehensive handbook in the philosophy of criminal law. It contains seventeen original essays by leading thinkers in the field and covers the field's major topics including limits to criminalization, obscenity and hate speech, blackmail, the law of rape, attempts, accomplice liability, causation, responsibility, justification and excuse, duress, provocation and self-defense, insanity, punishment, the death penalty, mercy, and preventive detention and other alternatives to punishment. It will be an invaluable resource for scholars and students whose (...) research and studies concern philosophical issues in criminal law and criminal law theory. (shrink)
Recent years have seen mounting challenge to the model of the criminal trial on the grounds it is not cost-effective, not preventive, not necessary, not appropriate, or not effective. These challenges have led to changes in the scope of the criminal law, in criminal procedure, and in the nature and use of criminal trials. These changes include greater use of diversion, of fixed penalties, of summary trials, of hybrid civilâcriminal processes, of strict liability, of (...) incentives to plead guilty, and of preventive orders. The paper will assess the implications of these changes for the function of the criminal law, assessing the reasons behind them, and examining whether or not they are to be welcomed. Identifying the larger import of these changes draws attention to the changing relationship between state and citizen as well as changes in the nature of the state itself. These can in turn be attributed to a jostling among the different manifestations of the authoritarian state, the preventive state, and the regulatory state. These changes have profound normative implications for a liberal theory of the criminal law that require its re-articulation and its defence. A modest start may be to insist that where the conduct is criminal and the consequences are punitive the protections of criminal procedure and trial must be upheld. (shrink)
This paper explores analyzing criminal responsibility from the Humean position that blame is for character traits. If untoward acts indicate undesirable character traits, then the agent is blameworthy; if they do not, then the actor is not blameworthy — he has an excuse. A distinctive feature of this approach is that that voluntariness of acts is irrelevant to determining blameworthiness.This analysis is then applied to a variety of issues in criminal law. Mens supports inferences to character traits, and (...) the Humean approach provides a reason for rejeting strict criminalliability. The Humean approach also helps resolve a number of issues about attempts, such as punishment for impossible attempts and the defense of abandonment. It also supports the broad outlines of the defense of mistake and provides a third alternative in the Wooton-Hart debate over punishment and treatment. (shrink)
Should there be civil liability when a person who could easily and without risk rescue another fails to do so? It is argued that the failure to act does not cause the harm that follows, and that the misfeasance/nonfeasance distinction provides no basis for liability. In spite of this, it is maintained that there can sometimes be a duty to rescue, and even a right to be rescued, even in the absence of a voluntary undertaking or an explicit (...) assumption of responsibility.There are convincing arguments for some sort of legal recognition of a duty to rescue, but these arguments do not support tort liability. Nor is a case for tort liability made with the argument that a growth of tort law in this direction would be compatible with the values most centrally involved in the division between torts and contracts. Furthermore, there is a case against tort liability — namely, that the purpose of tort liability is to compensate, that there are certain sorts of situations in which compensation is apposite, and that failure to rescue does not fit into these categories. Criminalliability is the appropriate way for the law to recognize a duty to rescue. (shrink)
: This paper considers whether a physician is criminally liable for administering a dose of painkillers that hastens a patient's death. The common wisdom is that a version of the doctrine of double effect legally protects the physician. That is, a physician is supposedly acting lawfully so long as the physician's primary purpose is to relieve suffering. This paper suggests that the criminalliability issue is more complex than that. Physician culpability can be based on recklessness, and recklessness (...) hinges on whether a physician has taken an unjustifiable risk of hastening death. The authors identify three conditions of justifiability. Their analysis helps to explain the distinction between euthanasia, which is legally banned, and the use of risky analgesics, which is permitted in limited circumstances. (shrink)
The article is a review of A.P. Simester, ed., Appraising Strict Liability. We strongly recommend the book for the sophistication of the contributorsâ analyses, and the contribution the book makes to clarifying the normative issues at stake in strict liability legal regimes. The review focuses on the more philosophical essays in the book. The specific issues from the book identified in the review are: the rights-based character of the prohibition on conviction without moral fault; the importance of the (...) principle of proportionality; due diligence defences; the instrumental worth of strict liability in relation to quasi-criminal regulation; the faultiness of genuinely creating risks. (shrink)
In broad outline, the chapter proceeds as follows. As indicated above, the Voluntary Act Principle has two components. The first part, the act component, claims that criminalliability can be imposed on an accused only for the performance of an act. The second part, the voluntariness component, claims that criminalliability can be imposed on an accused only for the voluntary performance of an act. I will argue that both components of the Voluntary Act Principle are (...) in need of amendment. I will first indicate why I think the act component of the Voluntary Act Principle is in tension with the criminal law’s own conception of the necessary conditions for criminalliability, and suggest a relatively simple fix. I will then argue that what is really at work in the voluntariness component of the Voluntary Act Principle is not so much voluntariness but rather what some authors have called the practical agency condition. In making my argument I will appeal to Harry Frankfurt’s hierarchical account of the will in the hopes of illuminating what it means for an action to belong to an agent, and thus, what it means for an agent to be responsible for something she has done. (shrink)
Professor Brenda Baker's recent critique of the Canadian Law Reform Commission's treatment of general standards for criminalliability adds to a growing body of critical theory concerning such standards and their relation to criminal justice. From within the perspective of this same critical movement, I assess the strengths and weaknesses of Professor Baker's efforts and of similar lines of argument in the work of Professor George Fletcher. I find two significant flaws in their shared approach. The first (...) is confusion as to the proper level for analysis of liability standards and, hence, for criticism of the "orthodox" view. This leads Professors Baker and Fletcher to concentrate on issues of culpability rather than responsibility (and to conflate these issues). The second flaw is an error in comprehension of the faults of the orthodox view and, hence, in recognition of the fundamental character of views opposed to that orthodoxy. This leads both theorists to overemphasize a suspect and unilluminating distinction between normative and descriptive approaches to liability problems. The rest of the article is devoted to an overview of my own approach to problems of liability and a general critique of the orthodox view in light of that approach. I argue that the fundamental issue is the relation of liability standards to a conception of agent responsibility. The primary fault of orthodoxy lies, then, in the cognitivist model of responsibility on which it relies. Against this, I propose use of a capacities model of responsibility as the basis for standards of liability. These two models are outlined and compared in final sections. (shrink)
Various authors debate the question of whether neuroscience is relevant to criminal responsibility. However, a plethora of different techniques and technologies, each with their own abilities and drawbacks, lurks beneath the label “neuroscience”; and in criminal law responsibility is not a single, unitary and generic concept, but it is rather a syndrome of at least six different concepts. Consequently, there are at least six different responsibility questions that the criminal law asks – at least one for each (...) responsibility concept – and, I will suggest, a multitude of ways in which the techniques and technologies that comprise neuroscience might help us to address those diverse questions. In a way, on my account neuroscience is relevant to criminal responsibility in many ways, but I hesitate to state my position like this because doing so obscures two points which I would rather highlight: one, neither neuroscience nor criminal responsibility are as unified as that; and two, the criminal law asks many different responsibility questions and not just one generic question. (shrink)
There may be circumstances in which it is morally justifiable intentionally to kill a person who is morally innocent, threatens no one, rationally wishes not to die, and does not consent to be killed. Although the killing would wrong the victim, it might be justified by the necessity of averting some disaster that would otherwise occur. In other instances of permissible killing, however, the justification appeals to more than consequences. It may appeal to the claim that the person to be (...) killed has acted in such a way that to kill him would neither wrong him nor violate his rights, even if he has not consented to be killed or to be subjected to the risk of being killed. In these cases, I will say that the person is liable to be killed. Although I borrow the notion of liability from legal theory, and although much of what I say will be informed by the literature on liability in both tort law and criminal law, my concern in this article is with moral rather than legal liability. (shrink)
The entrapment defense is a puzzle of long standing. One the one hand, we are offended by the government’s subjecting someone vulnerable to extreme temptation. It seems like something anyone might fall prey to. On the other hand, it is hard to explain why someone who actually commits, or attempts a crime, and who would be liable if anyone other than the government had tempted him, should escape punishment. His blameworthiness seems the same. This essay seeks to illuminate this puzzle (...) by showing how it parallels the long-standing debate surrounding the criminal law problem of the actio libera in causa—situations in which someone seeks to escape liability by contriving to put a certain defense in place, such as provoking his victim into attacking him, so that he can then kill him in self-defense. The parallels between the two problems do not serve to resolve either, but make them appear in a rather different light. (shrink)
The criminal law raises wonderfully thorny foundational questions. Some of these questions are conceptual: What is a plausible conception of crime ? What is a plausible conception of criminal law ? Some of these questions are genealogical: What are the historical and genealogical roots of the criminal law in a particular jurisdiction? Other questions are evaluative: What are the political and moral values on which a given conception of criminal law depends? What kind of rational reconstruction, (...) if any, could the criminal law be given? And, finally, still other questions are exploratory and normative: Should parts of existing criminal law be abandoned? What new topics in criminal law theory need to be addressed in our globalised, technologically savvy world? The contributors to Antony Duff and Stuart P. Green’s collection Philosophical Foundations of Criminal Law tackle these questions with zeal and independent spirit. They disagree markedly with each other about what the foundational questions are. And, they disagree about how those questions should be handled. This article charts their disagreements by situating the contributors within two taxonomies. The first groups them according to their approaches to the foundational questions; the second groups them according to their modes of theorising. This double taxonomy provides a useful frame within which to analyse these competing takes on the philosophically foundational work of criminal law theory. (shrink)
National and international criminal law systems are continually seeking doctrinal and theoretical frameworks to help them impose individual liability on collective perpetrators of crime. The two systems move in parallel and draw on each other. Historically, it has been mostly international criminal law that leaned on domestic legal systems for its collective modes of liability. Currently, however, it is the emerging jurisprudence of the International Criminal Court that is at the forefront of innovation, with the (...) doctrine of indirect co-perpetration taking the lead in international prosecutions. The article assesses the potential contribution as well as the limits of this compound doctrine to domestic criminal law jurisprudence, particularly with regard to small-group criminality. Four modes of indirect co-perpetration are discussed, namely shared control, concerted control, controlling board, and flawed triangle perpetration. A doctrine of indirect co-perpetration would enable liability in these modes of perpetration, perhaps with the exception of the latter, which marks the limits of its applicability. (shrink)
Behaviour, including criminal behaviour, takes place in lived contexts of embodied action and experience. The way in which abstract models of selfhood efface the individual as a unique, living being is a central aspect of the ‘ethical-other’ debate; if an individual is modelled as abstracted from this ‘living’ context, that individual cannot be properly or meaningfully linked with his or her behaviour, and thus cannot justly be understood as responsible. The dominant rational choice models of criminal identity in (...) legal theory involve at least a partial abstraction of this ‘unethical’ type by prioritising the rational will over the more fluid dimensions of lived reality. From a phenomenological perspective, an approach of ‘restlessness’ is proposed which precludes the development of settled or general abstract categories, and can thus move us closer to an ethical understanding of living individuals on a theoretical level. Although such a move may initially seem to threaten criminal justice with an irrational nihilism, by maintaining awareness of the irreducibility of ‘living’ reality a restless theoretical understanding of moral selfhood may be able to shape or underpin the attribution of responsibility in more practical or substantive contexts without succumbing to meaninglessness. (shrink)
Following are two short contributions to the book, _Criminal Law Conversations_: commentaries on Paul Robinson's discussion of "Empirical Desert" and Antony Duff & Sandra Marshal's discussion of the sharing of wrongs.
Strict liability is a controversial phenomenon in the criminal law because of its potential to convict blameless persons. Offences are said to impose strict liability when, in relation to one or more elements of the actus reus, there is no need for the prosecution to prove a corresponding mens rea or fault element. For example, in the 1986 case of Storkwain, the defendant chemists were convicted of selling controlled medicines without prescription simply upon proof that they had (...) in fact done so. It was irrelevant that they neither knew nor had reason to suspect that the 'prescriptions' they fulfilled were forgeries. Thus strict liability offences have the potential to generate criminal convictions of persons who are morally innocent. -/- Appraising Strict Liability is a collection of original contributions offering the first full-length consideration of the problem of strict liability in the criminal law. The chapters, including European and Anglo-American perspectives, provide a sustained and wide-ranging examination of the fundamental issues. They explore the definition of strict liability; the relationship between strict liability and blame, and its implications for the requirement for culpability in criminal law; the relevance of European and human rights jurisprudence; and the interaction between substantive rules of strict liability and evidential presumptions. -/- The breadth and depth of the contributions combine to present readers with a sophisticated analysis of the place and legitimacy of strict liability in the criminal law. (shrink)
By what right, or under whose authority, do you try me? This is a common challenge raised by defendants standing trial in front of international criminal courts or tribunals. The challenge comes from the fact that traditionally criminal law is justified as a response of the state to wrongdoing that has been identified by the state as a crime. Nevertheless, since the early 1990s we have seen the development of international criminal tribunals that have the authority to (...) judge certain crimes. This article examines the moral foundation for the authority of international tribunals, arguing that it can be grounded on delegation of powers from the states with primary jurisdiction. The first part of the article examines whether there is any problem, as a matter of principle, in founding the courts’ jurisdictional authority on delegation of powers. It will argue that contrary to David Luban’s view, there is no inherent problem with states delegating their power to punish to other states or to international tribunals. Nevertheless, in making such a decision the ability of the court to provide fair process—a necessary requirement for the court’s ability to issue authoritative decisions—should be taken into account. The second part of the article takes the ICC as a case study and examines whether its jurisdiction can be grounded on delegation of powers. It will be shown that the court’s jurisdiction can indeed be founded on both direct and indirect delegation of jurisdiction from states with primary jurisdiction. This conclusion suggests that other international tribunals created by either multilateral treaties or by Security Council decisions may also be founded on similar grounds. (shrink)
This chapter examines how advances in nanotechnology might impact criminal sentencing. While many scholars have considered the ethical implications of emerging technologies, such as nanotechnology, few have considered their potential impact on crucial institutions such as our criminal justice system. Specifically, I will discuss the implications of two types of technological advances for criminal sentencing: advanced tracking devices enabled by nanotechnology, and nano-neuroscience, including neural implants. The key justifications for criminal punishment- including incapacitation, deterrence, rehabilitation, and (...) retribution – apply very differently to criminal sentences using these emerging technologies than they do to imprisonment. Further, use of these technologies would represent a shift away from retribution as the primary justification for criminal punishment. In addition, the possibility of nano-neural implants entails a new model of rehabilitation: namely, involuntary rehabilitation aimed at changing an offender’s character, rather than his environment. (shrink)
According to the dominant position in the just war tradition from Augustine to Anscombe and beyond, there is no “moral equality of combatants.” That is, on the traditional view the combatants participating in a justified war may kill their enemy combatants participating in an unjustified war— but not vice versa (barring certain qualifications). I shall argue here, however, that in the large number of wars (and in practically all modern wars) where the combatants on the justified side violate the rights (...) of innocent people (“collateral damage”), these combatants are in fact liable to attack by the combatants on the unjustified side. I will support this view with a rights-based account of liability to attack and then defend it against a number of objections raised in particular by Jeff McMahan. The result is that the thesis of the moral equality of combatants holds good for a large range of armed conflicts while the opposing thesis is of very limited practical relevance. (shrink)
Five pre-eminent legal theorists tackle a range of fundamental questions on the nature of the philosophy of criminal law. Their essays explore the extent to which and the ways in which our systems of criminal law can be seen as rational and principled. The essays discuss some of the principles by which, it is often thought, a system of law should be structured, and they ask whether our own systems are genuinely principled or riven by basic contradictions, reflecting (...) deeper political and social conflicts. The volume as a whole shows how lively and exciting contemporary legal theory can be. (shrink)
Joanna Mary Firth and Jonathan Quong argue that both an instrumental account of liability to defensive harm, according to which an aggressor can only be liable to defensive harms that are necessary to avert the threat he poses, and a purely noninstrumental account which completely jettisons the necessity condition, lead to very counterintuitive implications. To remedy this situation, they offer a “pluralist” account and base it on a distinction between “agency rights” and a “humanitarian right.” I argue, first, that (...) this distinction is spurious; second, that the conclusions they draw from this distinction do not cohere with its premises; third, that even if one granted the distinction, Firth’s and Quong’s implicit premise that you can forfeit your agency rights but not your “humanitarian right” is unwarranted; fourth, that their attempt to mitigate the counterintuitive implications of their own account in the Rape case relies on mistaken ad-hoc assumptions; fifth, that even if they were successful in somewhat mitigating said counterintuitive implications, they would still not be able to entirely avoid them; and sixth, that even in the unlikely case that none of these previous five critical points are correct, Firth and Quong still fail to establish that aggressors can be liable to unnecessary defensive harm since they fail to establish that unnecessary harm can ever be defensive in the first place. (shrink)
In Italy, a judge reduced the sentence of a defendant by 1 year in response to evidence for a genetic predisposition to violence. The best characterized of these genetic differences, those in the monoamine oxidase A (MAOA), were cited as especially relevant. Several months previously in the USA, MAOA data contributed to a jury reducing charges from 1st degree murder (a capital offence) to voluntary manslaughter. Is there a rational basis for this type of use of MAOA evidence in (...) class='Hi'>criminal court? This paper will review in context recent work on the MAOA gene–environment interaction in predisposing individuals to violence and address the relevance of such findings to murder trials. Interestingly, the MAOA genetic variants impact future violence and aggression only when combined with the adverse environmental stimuli of childhood maltreatment. Thus nature and nurture interact to determine the individual’s risk. Based on current evidence, I argue there is a weak case for mitigation. But should future experiments confirm the hypothesis that individual differences in impulse control and response to provocation found in MAOA-L men (without abuse) are significantly magnified when combined with childhood maltreatment, the case could turn into a stronger one. (shrink)
This new text will encourage students to develop a deeper understanding of the context and the current workings of the criminal justice system. Part One offers a clear, accessible and comprehensive review of the major philosophical aims and sociological theories of punishment, the history of justice and punishment, and the developing perspective of victimology. In Part Two, the focus is on the main areas of the contemporary criminal justice system including the police, the courts and judiciary, prisons, and (...) community penalties. The active engagement of students with the material covered distinguishes this text from others in the area and makes it a real teaching resource and invaluable text. (shrink)
The Grammar of Criminal Law is a 3-volume work that addresses the field of international and comparative criminal law, with its primary focus on the issues of international concern, ranging from genocide, to domestic efforts to combat terrorism, to torture, and to other international crimes. The first volume is devoted to foundational issues. The Grammar of Criminal Law is unique in its systematic emphasis on the relationship between language and legal theory; there is no comparable comparative study (...) of legal language. Written in the spirit of Fletcher's classic Rethinking Criminal Law, this work is essential reading in the field of international and comparative law. (shrink)
In recent years, political philosophers have hotly debated whether ordinary citizens have a general pro tanto moral obligation to follow the law. Contemporary philosophers have had less to say about the same question when applied to public officials. In this paper, I consider the latter question in the morally complex context of criminal justice. I argue that criminal justice officials have no general pro tanto moral obligation to adhere to the legal dictates and lawful rules of their offices. (...) My claim diverges not only from the commonsense view about such officials, but also from the positions standardly taken in legal theory and political science debates, which presume there is some general obligation that must arise from legal norms and be reconciled with political realities. I defend my claim by highlighting the conceptual gap between the rigid, generalised, codified rules that define a criminal justice office and the special moral responsibilities of the various moral roles that may underpin that office (such as guard, guardian, healer, educator, mediator, counsellor, advocate, and carer). After addressing four objections to my view, I consider specific contexts in which criminal justice officials are obligated not to adhere to the demands of their offices. Amongst other things, the arguments advanced in this paper raise questions about both the distribution of formal discretion in the criminal justice system and the normative validity of some of the offices that presently exist in criminal justice systems. (shrink)
Written by leading philosophers and lawyers from the United States and the United Kingdom, this collection of original essays offers new insights into the doctrines that make up the general part of the criminal law. It sheds theoretical light on the diversity and unity of the general part and advances our understanding of such key issues as criminalisation, omissions, voluntary actions, knowledge, belief, reckelssness, duress, self-defence, entrapment and officially-induced mistake of law.
David McCarthy has recently suggested that our compensation and liability practices may be interpreted as reflecting a fundamental norm to hold people liable for imposing risk of harm on others. Independently, closely related ideas have been criticised by Stephen R. Perry and Arthur Ripstein as incompatible with central features of negligence law. We aim to show that these objections are unsuccessful against McCarthy’s Risk–liability theory, and that such an approach is a promising means both for understanding the moral (...) basis of liability for negligence and for reasoning about possible reforms of the institution of negligence law. (shrink)
It has recently been suggested that philosophy – in particular epistemology – has a contribution to make to the analysis of criminal and military intelligence. The present article pursues this suggestion, taking three phenomena that have recently been studied by philosophers, and showing that they have important implications for the gathering and sharing of intelligence, and for the use of intelligence in the determining of military strategy. The phenomena discussed are: (1) Simpson's Paradox, (2) the distinction between resiliency and (...) reliability of data, and (3) the Causal Markov Condition. (shrink)
Doug Husak suggests that sometimes an actor should be deemed reckless, and not merely negligent, with respect to the risks that she knowingly created but has forgotten at the moment of action. The validity of this conclusion, he points out, depends crucially on what it means to be aware of a risk. Husak’s neutral prompt and counterfactual actual belief criteria are problematic, however. More persuasive is his suggestion that we understand belief, in this moral and criminal law context, as (...) a concept whose meaning is determined by its function as a culpability standard. Husak concludes that inadvertent actors are often less culpable than knowing-but-later-forgetful actors; this is plausible, but there are also numerous counterexamples. Holly Smith focuses on negligence cases in which an agent’s failure to notice a risk stems, not from a prior culpable choice, but from an objectionable attitude or set of attitudes. She is right to emphasize that genuine moral culpability does not depend on conscious choice. However, Smith also asserts that decisions that flow from an actor’s objectionable attitudes are only rarely culpable, because they often do not arise from a reasonably full configuration of the actor’s motives. This last requirement is, I fear, an unrealistic and unnecessarily demanding criterion of culpability. Even when many of the actor’s evaluative attitudes are inactive in Smith’s sense, the actor might deserve blame for not bringing them to bear on his decision. Michael Moore and Heidi Hurd thoroughly explore, and find deficient, H.L.A. Hart’s unexercised capacity theory of negligence. They are correct that that theory requires a further judgment: an actor’s inadvertence is culpable only if he had the capacity to have adverted if X where X is the source of the actor’s moral desert. They overstate, however, in suggesting that the capacity issue falls out of the picture once we identify that underlying desert basis. The authors also worry that if desert is grounded on an underlying vice, we lack a reliable way of ranking the different vices that might explain the actor’s inadvertence; this is not a fatal objection, however, because negligence determinations are quite feasible even in the absence of clear rankings. Moore and Hurd conclude by identifying eight distinct categories in which criminalliability for negligence is justifiable. Negligence is indeed a surprisingly complex and pluralist concept. The three articles in this symposium brightly illuminate some of the most fundamental conceptual and normative issues in the debate over whether it is just to blame and punish the negligently inadvertent. (shrink)
I provide a brief history of the common law governing the criminalliability of intoxicated offenders, and the codification and application of the intoxication rules in Canada. I argue that the common law and its statutory application in Canada violate a number of principles of criminal justice. I then argue that the rules cannot be saved by attempts to subsume them under principles of prior fault. I end with a modest proposal for law reform.
In this challenging collection of new essays, leading philosophers and criminal lawyers from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada break with the tradition of treating the philosophical foundations of criminal law as an adjunct to the study of punishment. Focusing clearly on the central issues of moral luck, mistake, and mental illness, this volume aims to reorient the study of criminal law. In the process of retrieving valuable material from traditional law classifications, the contributors break (...) down false associations, reveal hidden truths, and establish new patterns of thought. Their always illuminating and sometimes startling conclusions makes this essential reading for all those interested in the philosophy of criminal law. (shrink)
This article challenges the use of social deprivation as a punishment, and offers a preliminary examination of the human rights implications of exile and solitary confinement. The article considers whether a human right against coercive social deprivation is conceptually redundant, as there are recognised rights against torture, extremely cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment as well as rights to basic health care, education, and security, which might encompass what this right protects. The article argues that the right is not conceptually redundant, (...) but that, even if it were, there would be significant reasons to articulate it. (shrink)
Justificatory defenses apply to actions that are generally wrong and illegalâmainly since they harm peopleâwhen they are (exceptionally) justifiedâusually since they prevent (more serious) harm to others. A strict conception of justification limits justificatory defenses to actions that reflect all pertinent principles in the optimal manner. A more relaxed conception of justification applies (also) to actions that do not reflect all pertinent principles optimally due to (unjustified) mistake but are not too far from this optimum. In the paper, I consider (...) whether justificatory defenses should reflect the strict conception of justification or a more relaxed conception of justification. This question is important since often the relevant actions are not strictly justified, while the alternative of an excuse is frequently irrelevant or does not provide an appropriate solution. Reflection on this question raises the following dilemma: On the one hand, the strict interpretation seems too harsh, especially with regard to legal (particularly criminal) liability. On the other hand, it is difficult to explain the basis for a more relaxed conception of justification. I conclude, first, that justificationâand accordingly wrongfulnessâis a matter of degree and that the strictly justified action is merely the peak of a continuum, and, second, that a practical (negative) reaction is in place only with regard to actions whose wrongness is above a minimal threshold. (shrink)
In this essay, I address one methodological aspect of Victor Tadros's The Ends of Harm--namely, the moral character of the theory of criminal punishment it defends. First, I offer a brief reconstruction of this dimension of the argument, highlighting some of its distinctive strengths while drawing attention to particular inconsistencies. I then argue that Tadros ought to refrain from developing this approach in terms of an overly narrow understanding of the morality of harming as fully unified and reconciled under (...) the lone heading of justice. In a final and most critical section, I offer arguments for why this reconciliatory commitment, further constrained by a misplaced emphasis on corrective justice, generates major problems for his general deterrence account of the core justification of criminal punishment. (shrink)
This article constructs a critical historical, political and theoretical analysis of the essence of Fascist criminal law discourse in terms of the violence that shaped and characterised it. The article examines the significance of violence in key declarations about the role and purpose of criminal law by Alfredo Rocco, Fascist Minister of Justice and leading ideologue, in his principal speech on the final draft of the 1930 Italian Penal Code. It is grounded on the premise that criminal (...) law is particularly significant for understanding the relationship between State power and individuals, and so what was distinctive about Fascist thinking in this regard. The article analyses Rocco’s declarations as a discourse in order to highlight their contextual foundations, construction and ideological connections. It argues that the core theme of that discourse is violence, which has three principal dimensions: a close historical and rhetorical connection with war, a focus on repressive and intimidatory force, and a paramount concern with subordinating individuals to State interests. The article then uses this analysis to develop a theoretical reading of the nexus between criminal law and violence in Fascism, in terms of its foundations and reversal of ends and means. The article thus provides an original perspective on Fascism and criminal law, which it argues is important for critical engagement with criminal law discourse in our democracies today. (shrink)
This book presents a comprehensive overview of what the criminal law would look like if organized around the principle that those who deserve punishment should receive punishment commensurate with, but no greater than, that which they ...
The psychological literature now differentiates between two types of psychopath:successful (with little or no criminal record) and unsuccessful (with a criminal record). Recent research indicates that earlier findings of reduced autonomic activity, reduced prefrontal grey matter, and compromised executive activity may only be true of unsuccessful psychopaths. In contrast, successful psychopaths actually show autonomic and executive function that exceeds that of normals, while having no difference in prefrontal volume from normals. We argue that many successful psychopaths are legally (...) responsible for their actions, as they have the executive capacity to choose not to harm (and thus are legally rational). However, many unsuccessful psychopaths have a lack of executive function that should at least partially excuse them from criminal culpability. Although a successful psychopath's increased executive function may occur in conflict with, rather than in consonance with their increased autonomic activity - producing a cognitive style characterized by self deception and articulate-sounding, but unsound reasoning - they may be capable of recognizing and correcting their lack of autonomic data, and thus can be held responsible. (shrink)
The paper seeks to analyse how two domestic courts decided criminal trials under circumstances of emotional mobilisation and political stress. Decisions from Argentina after 1983 and Romania after Ceausescu’s dictatorship illustrate how citizens’ affects influence courts’ choices within penal cases. Both cases show how the judiciary had to enter a dialogue with resentful and indignant claims for redress. However, while the Argentinean court filtered emotions through the strainer of equal respect and thus pushed the cause of democratic justice ahead, (...) the Romanian case serves as a cautionary tale about how not to correct injustices through criminal law. These two cases provide us with important lessons about the obstacles, but also the opportunities associated with public emotions during periods of radical political transformation. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: 1. Introduction - when criminal law encounters bioethics: a case of tensions and incompatibilities or an apt forum for resolving ethical conflict? Amel Alghrani, Rebecca Bennett and Suzanne Ost; Part I. Death, Dying, and the Criminal Law: 2. Euthanasia and assisted suicide should, when properly performed by a doctor in an appropriate case, be decriminalised John Griffiths; 3. Five flawed arguments for decriminalising euthanasia John Keown; 4. Euthanasia excused: between prohibition and permission Richard Huxtable; (...) Part II. Freedom and Autonomy: When Consent Is Not Enough: 5. Body integrity identity disorder - a problem of perception? Robert Smith; 6. Risky sex and 'manly diversions': the contours of consent in criminal law - transmission and rough horseplay cases David Gurnham; 7. 'Consensual' sexual activity between doctors and patients: a matter for the criminal law? Suzanne Ost and Hazel Biggs; Part III. Criminalising Biomedical Science: 8. 'Scientists in the dock': regulating science Amel Alghrani and Sarah Chan; 9. Bioethical conflict and developing biotechnologies: is protecting individual and public health from the risks of xenotransplantation a matter for the (criminal) law? Sara Fovargue; 10. The criminal law and enhancement - none of the law's business? Nishat Hyder and John Harris; 11. Dignity as a socially constructed value Stephen Smith; Part IV. Bioethics and Criminal Law in the Dock: 12. Can English law accommodate moral controversy in medicine? The case of abortion Margaret Brazier; 13. The case for decriminalising abortion in Northern Ireland Marie Fox; 14. The impact of the loss of deference towards the medical profession Jose; Miola; 15. Criminalising medical negligence David Archard; 16. All to the good? Criminality, politics, and public health John Coggon; 17. Moral controversy, human rights and the common law judge Brenda Hale. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: 1. Introduction - when criminal law encounters bioethics: a case of tensions and incompatibilities or an apt forum for resolving ethical conflict? Amel Alghrani, Rebecca Bennett and Suzanne Ost; Part I. Death, Dying, and the Criminal Law: 2. Euthanasia and assisted suicide should, when properly performed by a doctor in an appropriate case, be decriminalised John Griffiths; 3. Five flawed arguments for decriminalising euthanasia John Keown; 4. Euthanasia excused: between prohibition and permission Richard Huxtable; (...) Part II. Freedom and Autonomy: When Consent Is Not Enough: 5. Body integrity identity disorder - a problem of perception? Robert Smith; 6. Risky sex and 'manly diversions': the contours of consent in HIV transmission and rough horseplay cases David Gurnham; 7. 'Consensual' sexual activity between doctors and patients: a matter for the criminal law? Suzanne Ost and Hazel Biggs; Part III. Criminalising Biomedical Science: 8. 'Scientists in the dock': regulating science Amel Alghrani and Sarah Chan; 9. Bioethical conflict and developing biotechnologies: is protecting individual and public health from the risks of xenotransplantation a matter for the (criminal) law? Sara Fovargue; 10. The criminal law and enhancement - none of the law's business? Nishat Hyder and John Harris; 11. Dignity as a socially constructed value Stephen Smith; Part IV. Bioethics and Criminal Law in the Dock: 12. Can English law accommodate moral controversy in medicine? Lessons from abortion Margaret Brazier; 13. The case for decriminalising abortion in Northern Ireland Marie Fox; 14. The impact of the loss of deference towards the medical profession Jose; Miola; 15. Criminalising medical negligence David Archard; 16. All to the good? Criminality, politics, and public health John Coggon; 17. Moral controversy, human rights and the common law judge Brenda Hale. (shrink)
This paper seeks to contribute to the field of transitional justice by adding new insights about the role that trials of victimizers can play within democratization processes. The main argument is that criminal proceedings affirming the value of equal respect and concern for both victims and abusers can contribute to the socialization of citizens’ politically relevant emotions. More precisely, using law constructively to engage public resentment and indignation can be successful to the extent that legality is not sacrificed. In (...) order to locate this argument within the rich literature on the pedagogical functions of transitional trials this paper enters a dialogue with three emblematic texts. Lawrence Douglas’s narrative jurisprudence approach, Judith Shklar’s critique of the limits of legalism, and Marc Osiel’s interest in ‘discursive solidarity’ represent starting points for a more complex conceptualization of the relationship between democracy, law and emotional education within transformational periods. (shrink)
This article examines the setting of the ages of criminal and participatory responsibility, noting that criminal responsibility is attributed significantly earlier than is participatory responsibility. I claim that the requirements for participatory responsibility are less onerous than those for criminal responsibility, and question the system that denies youth participatory responsibility. I suggest two methods of resolving this difficulty. First, lowering the voting age to enfranchise the capable youth who are currently excluded. Second, modeling criminal responsibility on (...) the Australian doctrine of doli incapax, which gives provisional immunity from the prosecution to youth between ten and fourteen years of age. (shrink)
This, the twenty-seventh volume in the annual series of publications by the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy, features a number of distinguised contributors addressing the topic of criminal justice. Part I considers "The Moral and Metaphysical Sources of the Criminal Law," with contributions by Michael S. Moore, Lawrence Rosen, and Martin Shapiro. The four chapters in Part II all relate, more or less directly, to the issue of retribution, with papers by Hugo Adam Bedau, Michael Davis, (...) Jeffrie G. Murphy, and R. B. Brandt. In the following part, Dennis F. Thompson, Christopher D. Stone, and Susan Wolf deal with the special problem of criminal responsibility in government-one of great importance in modern society. The fourth and final part, echoing the topic of NOMOS XXIV, Ethics, Economics, and the Law , addresses the economic theory of crime. The section includes contributions by Alvin K. Klevorick, Richard A. Posner, Jules L. Coleman, and Stephen J. Schulhofer. A valuable bibiography on criminal justice by Andrew C. Blanar concludes this volume of NOMOS. (shrink)
Alcohol use and abuse play a major role in both crime and negative health outcomes in Scotland. This paper provides a description and ethical and legal analysis of a novel remote alcohol monitoring scheme for offenders which seeks to reduce alcohol-related harm to both the criminal and the public. It emerges that the prospective benefits of this scheme to health and public order vastly outweigh any potential harms.
This paper is about how best to understand the notion of ‘public wrongs’ in the longstanding idea that crimes are public wrongs. By contrasting criminal law with the civil laws of torts and contracts, it argues that ‘public wrongs’ should not be understood merely as wrongs that properly concern the public, but more specifically as those which the state, as the public, ought to punish. It then briefly considers the implications that this has on criminalization.
In this paper I am specifically concerned with a normative assessment, from the perspective of a principled criminal law theory, of norms criminalizing illegal immigration. The overarching question I will dwell on is one specifically regarding the way of using criminal law which is implied in the enactment of such kinds of norms. My thesis will essentially be that it constitutes a veritable abuse of criminal law. In two senses at least: first, in the sense that by (...) criminalizing illegal immigration criminal law puts a ban on (certain categories of) persons, rather than on their actions/omissions, in a way in which a principled criminal law should not do; and—second—in the sense that the criminalization of illegal immigrants represents a perversion of the criminal law, being a case in which criminal norms are (unjustifiably) used as means to attain extrapenal aims. (shrink)
The paper begins with the plausible view that criminal responsibility should track moral responsibility, and explains its plausibility. A necessary distinction is then drawn between liability and answerability as two dimensions of responsibility, and is shown to underpin the distinction in criminal law between offences and defences. This enables us to distinguish strict liability from strict answerability, and to see that whilst strict criminalliability seems inconsistent with the principle that criminal responsibility should (...) track moral responsibility, strict criminal answerability is not. We must ask, therefore, whether, when and why strict criminal responsibility is unacceptable. (shrink)
There are legitimate worries about gaps between scientific evidence of brain states and function (for example, as evidenced by fMRI data) and legal criteria for determining criminal culpability. In this paper I argue that behavioral evidence of capacity, motive and intent appears easier for judges and juries to use for purposes of determining criminalliability because such evidence triggers the application of commonsense psychological (CSP) concepts that guide and structure criminal responsibility. In contrast, scientific evidence of (...) neurological processes and function – such as evidence that the defendant has a large brain tumor – will not generally lead a judge or jury to directly infer anything that is relevant to the legal determination of criminal culpability . (Vincent 2008) In these cases, an expert witness will be required to indicate to the fact-finder what this evidence means with regard to mental capacity; and then another inference will have to be made from this possible lack of capacity to the legal criteria for guilt, cast in CSP terms.<br><br>To reliably link evidence of brain function and structure and assessment of criminal responsibility, we need to re-conceptualize the mental capacities necessary for responsibility, particularly those that are recognized as missing or compromised by the doctrines of “legal capacity” (Hart 1968) and “diminished capacity.” I argue that formulating these capacities as executive functions within the brain can provide this link. I further claim that it would be extremely useful to consider evidence of executive function as related to the diminished capacity doctrine at sentencing. This is because it is primarily at this stage in criminal proceedings where the use of the diminished capacity doctrine is most prevalent, as evidenced by the recent Supreme Court cases of Atkins v. Virginia (536 U.S. 304 (2002)) and Roper v. Simmons (543 U.S. 551 (2005)).<br>. (shrink)
Organ trafficking and trafficking in persons for the purpose of organ transplantation are recognized as significant international problems. Yet these forms of trafficking are largely left out of international criminal law regimes and to some extent of domestic criminal law regimes as well. Trafficking of organs or persons for their organs does not come within the jurisdiction of the ICC, except in very special cases such as when conducted in a manner that conforms to the definitions of genocide (...) or crimes against humanity. Although the United States Code characterizes trafficking as a transnational crime with national implications, (22 U.S.C. Â§ 7101(b)(24) (2010)), trafficking is rarely prosecuted in domestic courts. It has thus functioned in practice largely as what might be judged a stateless offense, out of the purview of both international and national courts. Yet these forms of organ trafficking remain widespreadâand devastating to those who are its victims. In this article, we begin by describing what is known about the extent of organ trafficking and trafficking in persons for the purpose of removal of organs. We then critically evaluate how and why such trafficking has remained largely unaddressed by both international and domestic criminal law regimes. This state of affairs, we argue, presents a missed chance for developing the legitimacy of international criminal law and an illustration of how far current international legal institutions remain from ideal justice. (shrink)
The Rwandan genocide of 1994 occurred due to widespread complicity. I will argue that complicity can be the basis for legal liability, even for criminalliability, if two conditions are met. First, the person’s actions or inactions must be causally efficacious at least in the sense that had the person not committed these actions or inactions the harm would have been made significantly less likely to occur. Second, the person must know that her actions or inactions risk (...) contributing to a harmful enterprise, and must intend that these actions or inactions risk making this contribution. But it is not part of this analysis that the defendant must intend the harmful result. I explore the boundaries between legal and moral complicity and end with a discussion of how the analysis defended in the paper affects such questions as how many people in Rwanda should be prosecuted for the genocide which occurred due to widespread complicity. (shrink)
I take it as obvious that attempts to justify the criminal law must be sensitive to matters of criminalizationâto what conduct is proscribed or permitted. I discuss three additional matters that should be addressed in order to justify the criminal law. First, we must have a rough idea of what degree of deviation is tolerable between the set of criminal laws we ought to have and the set we really have. Second, we need information about how the (...)criminal law at any given time and place is administered, since the law in action is bound to differ radically from the law on the books. Finally, we must have some basis for speculating what life would be like in the absence of a system of criminal justiceâif the state ceased to impose punishments. (shrink)
In this article, I ask whether the state, as opposed to its individual members, can intelligibly and legitimately be criminalized, with a focus on the possibility of its domestic criminalization. I proceed by identifying what I take to be the core objections to such criminalization, and then investigate ways in which they can be challenged. First, I address the claim that the state is not a kind of entity that can intelligibly perpetrate domestic criminal wrongs. I argue against it (...) by building upon an account of the modern state as a moral agent proper, capable of both culpable moral and legal wrongdoing. I then consider objections to the intelligibility and legitimacy of subjecting states to domestic criminal processes, which primarily find their source in the assumption that such subjection would necessarily involve the state prosecuting, judging, and punishing itself. I argue that whether this (questionable) assumption is sound or not, it does not create the kinds of unsolvable quandaries its exponents think it does. I then move on to reject the distinct, yet related, objection that, at least in aspiring liberal jurisdictions, treating the state as a criminal objectionably involves extending to it various substantive and procedural guarantees that, given its nature and raison d’être, it should not have. Finally, I discuss three central objections to punishing the state. First, that organizations like states do not have the phenomenal consciousness required to suffer punishment. Second, that the constant possibility of dispersion of state punishment amongst individual members stands in the way of its justification. Lastly, that whatever justification there may be for making things harder for the state in response to its culpable wrongdoing, such treatment need not be understood as punishment. While partially conceding the strength of these objections, I strive to loosen their grip in ways that show that justified punishment of the state, meaningfully understood as such, remains a distinct possibility. I conclude by contrasting supposed alternatives to the criminalization of states, and by contending that my analysis leaves us with enough to keep the possibility of state criminalization on the table as a justifiable response to state wrongdoing. (shrink)
This article starts from the observation that in classical Athens the discovery of democracy as a normative model of politics has been from the beginning not only a political and a legal but at the same time a philosophical enterprise. Reflections on the concept of criminal law and on the meaning of punishment can greatly benefit from reflections on Athenian democracy as a germ for our contemporary debate on criminal justice in a democracy. Three main characteristics of the (...) Athenian model will be analysed: the self-instituting capacity of a democracy based on participatory and reflective citizenship, political power as the capacity of citizens for co-operating and co-acting with others, and the crime of hubris as one of the key issues in Athenian criminal law. These analyses will lead to the conclusion that one of the key issues of a democratic legal order lies in its capacity of recognizing the fragility of the human condition and of developing workable and effective standards of justice in that context. A relational conception of criminal law and punishment, based on proportionality, reflexivity, mutual respect and responsibility fits best with a democracy under the rule of law. (shrink)