Skip to main content
Most Recent Print Issue
Spring 2021
Volume 18.2
Jenny E. Carroll
COVID-19 Relief and the Ordinary Inmate

This is the story of two men in Alabama. It is the story of a child in Texas; a woman in Washington. Or more precisely it is my retelling of their story, mixed with the stories of others like them to form a single narrative. This is not my story, but it is one I can tell—not because I know it best (I don’t) or because I am most entitled to give it voice (I’m not), but because I know it...

Andrew L. B. Davies, Ph.D., Victoria M. Smiegocki, Ph.D., & Hannah E. Hall
The Court is in Recession: On the Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic for Indigent Defense Spending

What is the likely effect of the recession brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic on indigent defense budgets in the United States? To look forward, we look backward. We examine data on county-level spending on indigent defense in Texas during the Great Recession of 2007–2009. Redistributive policies—those which use taxpayer funds to support individuals who themselves pay little or no tax—are particularly susceptible to cuts during times of fiscal stress...

M. Eve Hanan
Incarcerated Activism During COVID-19

Incarcerated people have a notoriously difficult time advocating for themselves. Like other authoritarian institutions, prisons severely curtail and often punish speech, organizing, and self-advocacy. Also, like other authoritarian institutions, prison administrators are inclined to suppress protest rather than respond to the grounds for protest. Yet, despite impediments to their participation, incarcerated people have organized during the pandemic...

Wayne A. Logan
Sex Offender Registration in a Pandemic

It is often said that modern laws targeting convicted sex offenders, including registration and community notification (SORN), are the result of a “moral panic,” generated by widespread media accounts of child sexual abuse cases in the 1980s.1 Although perhaps apt when SORN laws originated, the panic characterization no longer rings true. Thirty years later, the potent social and political forces driving SORN continue unabated...

Ed Spillane
The End of Jury Trials: Covid-19 and the Courts: The Implications and Challenges of Holding Hearings Virtually and in Person During a Pandemic from a Judge’s Perspective

Covid-19 has vanquished many institutions. Those who have not completely succumbed to the virus’ onslaught have been slow to recover their usual form. Courts have been no different. Initially, we closed our court in mid-March 2020. Virtually every court in Texas and the United States by late March had done the same. At that point, those embracing technology attempted to adapt Zoom and Zoom-like virtual meeting places to the judiciary...

India Thusi
The Biopolitics of Maskless Police

Despite the recent movement against police violence, police officers have been endangering their communities by engaging in a new form of violence—policing while refusing to wear facial coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Many states advise people to wear masks and to socially distance when in public spaces. However, police officers have frequently failed to comply with these guidelines as they interact with the public to enforce these COVID-19 laws...

Eda Katharine Tinto & Jenny Roberts
Expanding Compassion Beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic

As COVID-19 spread throughout the country in the spring of 2020, calls to remember those incarcerated in our prisons became louder and more numerous. Incarcerated individuals, legal and community advocates, and families demanded action to prevent devastating outbreaks of the coronavirus in carceral settings.

Barry Boss and Kara Kapp
How the Economic Loss Guideline Lost its Way, and How to Save It

This Article revisits a stubborn problem that has been explored by commentators repeatedly over the past thirty years, but which remains unresolved to this day. The economic crimes Guideline, Section 2B1.1 of the United States Sentencing Manual, routinely recommends arbitrary, disproportionate, and often draconian sentences to first-time offenders of economic crimes...

Eric M. Freedman
The Substance of Montgomery Retroactivity: The Definition of States’ Supremacy Clause Obligation to Enforce Newly Recognized Federal Rights in Their Post-Conviction Proceedings and Why it Matters

In Montgomery v. Louisiana, 136 S.Ct. 718 (2016), the Supreme Court made a decision of far-reaching importance to the criminal justice system: The Supremacy Clause requires states adjudicating post-conviction attacks to give full retroactive effect to “substantive” new rules of federal constitutional law.
The significance of this holding has so far been under-appreciated because of the assumption that “substantive” has the same narrow meaning in the context of...

Carlos M. Vázquez
The Scope of the Constitutional Right to Collateral Relief in State Court—A Reply

In The Constitutional Right to Collateral Post-Conviction Review, Professor Stephen Vladeck and I argued that the Supreme Court in Montgomery v. Louisiana recognized a constitutional right to collateral relief in state court for state prisoners incarcerated in contravention of a new substantive rule of federal law..

Eric M. Freedman
Montgomery and “Substantive” Rights Enforceable Retroactively in State Post-Conviction Proceedings: A Brief Reply to Professor Vázquez

I thank Professor Vázquez for his truly valuable response to my article proposing a definition of those newly-recognized “substantive” federal constitutional rights that under Montgomery v. Louisiana1 state courts must recognize retroactively in their post-conviction proceedings.

Aya Gruber
When We Breathe: Re-Envisioning Safety and Justice in a Post-Floyd Era

The viral video of police officer Derek Chauvin killing George Floyd stirred the conscience of the world. Chauvin was calm, collected, and in control while he pressed his knee on the neck of a dying man who was crying out for his mother. Meanwhile, the other officers casually waved away onlookers. That heart-wrenching video—so sad in its apparent inevitability, so evil in its banality—broke something loose. Amid the many other pressing issues of inequity...

Stephen E. Henderson & Jordan E. Thomas
Seeing Those We’ve Rendered Invisible—A Clarion Call for Criminal Justice

I decided I wanted to be a lawyer the first time I walked into a courtroom. I could not have been more than six years old. (P. 1.) So begins this critical, hopeful book written by Jonathan Rapping—part recipe for what ails us, part memoir, and a surprisingly rich enmeshing of the two.