Intuitions of Justice and the Utility of Desert

ISBN : 9780199917723

Paul H. Robinson
584 Pages
162 x 241 mm
Pub date
May 2013
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Research suggests that people of all demographics have nuanced and sophisticated notions of justice. In this intriguing new book, Paul H. Robinson demonstrates that judicial decisions that deviate from public conceptions of justice and desert can seriously undermine the American criminal justice system's integrity and legitimacy by failing to recognize or meet the needs of the communities it serves. Intuitions of Justice and the Utility of Desert sketches the contours of a wide range of lay conceptions of justice, touching many if not most of the issues that penal code drafters or policy makers must face, including normative crime control, universal understandings of justice, culpability, principles of adjudication, grading sentencing, justification defenses, and judicial discretion. Robinson warns that compromising the American criminal justice system to satisfy other interests can uncover hidden the costs incurred when a community's notions about justice are not reflected in its criminal laws. By ignoring the intuitions of justice held by the communities they serve, legislators, policymakers, and judges undermine the relevance of the criminal justice system and reduce its strength and legitimacy, creating a gap between what justice a community needs and what justice a court or law prescribes.


Preface and Acknowledgments
Selected Robinson Bibliography
Part I. The Nature of Judgments About Justice
Chapter 1. Judgments About Justice as Intuitional and Nuanced
Chapter 2. Judgments About Justice as a Human Universal: Agreements on a Core of Wrongdoing
Chapter 3. The Origins of Shared Intuitions of Justice
Chapter 4. Disagreements About Justice
Chapter 5. Changing People's Judgments of Justice
Part II. Should the Criminal Law Care What the Lay Person Thinks Is Just?
Chapter 6. Current Law's Deference to Lay Judgments of Justice
Chapter 7. Current Law's Conflicts with Lay Judgments of Justice
Chapter 8. Normative Crime Control: The Utility of Desert
Chapter 9. Building Moral Credibility and the Disutility of Injustice
Chapter 10. Deviations from Empirical Desert
Chapter 11. Implications for Criminal Justice and Other Reform
Part III. The Content of Lay Judgments of Justice
Chapter 12. Rules of Conduct: Doctrines of Criminalization
Chapter 13. Rules of Conduct: Doctrines of Justification
Chapter 14. Principles of Adjudication: Doctrines of Culpability
Chapter 15. Principles of Adjudication: Doctrines of Excuse
Chapter 16. Principles of Adjudication: Doctrines of Grading
Chapter 17. Law-Community Agreement and Conflict, and Its Implications
Part IV. Empirical Studies of Lay Judgments of Justice as a Law and Policy Tool
Chapter 18. Explaining History: Shifting Views of Criminality
Chapter 19. Testing Competing Theories: Blackmail
Chapter 20. Testing Competing Theories: Justification Defenses
Chapter 21. Guiding Judicial Discretion: Extralegal Punishment Factors
Chapter 22. Intuitions of Justice & the Utility of Desert

About the author: 

Paul H. Robinson is the Colin S. Diver Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania, and is a leading expert on criminal law. Professor Robinson holds law degrees from U.C.L.A., Harvard, and Cambridge. He has served as a federal prosecutor, as counsel for the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Criminal Law, and as one of the original commissioners of the U.S. Sentencing Commission. He is an editor of Criminal Law Conversations (Oxford 2009), and author of Distributive Principles of Criminal Law: Who Should Be Punished How Much? (Oxford 2008) and Law Without Justice: Why Criminal Law Doesn't Give People What They Deserve (Oxford 2005).

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