Roberts Presents at Law & Society and Cardozo; Publishes Articles in Alabama Law Review and the Indiana Law Journal’s The Supplement

In early June, Professor Anna Roberts presented her article, Convictions as Guilt, at the annual Law & Society Conference as well as at the NYC Criminal Justice Ethics Schmooze at Cardozo Law School.

Roberts

Convictions As Guilt is forthcoming in the Fordham Law Review.  Here is the abstract:

A curious tension exists in scholarly discourse about the criminal justice system. On the one hand, a copious body of work exposes a variety of facets of the system that jeopardize the reliability of convictions. These include factors whose influence is pervasive: the predominance of plea bargaining, which presents carrots and sticks to innocent and guilty alike, and the subordination of the defense, symbolized by resource disparities that prevent even narratives of innocence from getting a fair hearing. On the other hand, in a variety of contexts, scholars discuss those with criminal convictions in a way that appears to assume crime commission. This assumption obscures crucial failings of the system, muddies the role of academia, and, given the unequal distribution of criminal convictions, risks compounding race- and class-based stereotypes of criminality. From careful examination of this phenomenon and its possible explanations, reform proposals emerge.

Also in June, Professor Roberts’ article,  Arrests as Guilt , was published in the Alabama Law Review and her essay, LEAD Us Not into Temptation: A Response to Barbara Fedders’s “Opioid Policing,” was published in the Indiana Law Journal’s online component, The Supplement.  Here are the abstracts:

Arrests As Guilt

An arrest puts a halt to one’s free life and may act as prelude to a new process. That new process—prosecution—may culminate in a finding of guilt. But arrest and guilt—concepts that are factually and legally distinct—frequently seem to be fused together. This fusion appears in many of the consequences of arrest, including the use of arrests in assessing “risk,” in calculating “recidivism,” and in identifying “offenders.” An examination of this fusion elucidates obstacles to key aspects of criminal justice reform. Efforts at reform, whether focused on prosecution or defense, police or bail, require a robust understanding of the differences between arrest and guilt; if they run counter to an implicit fusion of the two, they will inevitably falter.

 

LEAD Us Not into Temptation: A Response to Barbara Fedders’s “Opioid Policing”

In “Opioid Policing,” Barbara Fedders contributes to the law review literature the first joint scholarly analysis of two drug policing innovations: Seattle’s Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program and the Angel Initiative, which originated in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Even while welcoming the innovation and inspiration of these programs, she remains clear-eyed about the need to scrutinize their potential downsides. Her work is crucially timed. While still just a few years old, LEAD has been replicated many times and appears likely to be replicated still further—and to be written about much more. Inspired by Fedders’s call for a balanced take, this Response examines a variety of sources that have described the LEAD program, investigating what they tell us about the ability of commentators to examine (and contribute to) the list of the program’s costs and benefits. Part I examines the way in which the positive potential of this program is described, and possible tendencies to paint a picture that may be unnecessarily rosy. Part II turns to the other side of the equation and highlights potential risks that commentators may downplay, or even compound.

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