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Call for Papers: The Future of Criminal Law – Minneapolis, MN 

The Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice hosts “The Future of Criminal Law?” April 24-26, 2013. As part of this conference, the institute is soliciting papers for the April 25-26 workshop.

Each paper should argue for a single crucial reform to the criminal law or the criminal process (the 2013 Robina Conference dealt with sentencing and punishment, so we will not include papers on these topics in the 2014 conference).

Deadline: September 30, 2013. Papers must be no longer than 6,000 words, including footnotes (or endnotes) and references. Include an abstract of no more than 300 words. Selection will be through blind review, so please remove all self-identifying references and provide contact details on a separate sheet. Email submissions to robina[@]umn.edu. im

“Many practitioners and theorists believe our systems of criminal law and criminal justice have been beset by crises. The criminal law’s reach extends more and more widely, as legislators reach for criminalization as a first, rather than as a last, resort to deal with perceived social problems. Criminal offenses are defined in ever broader terms, often with little apparent regard for the principle that criminal liability should depend on culpable wrongdoing. The criminal process, dominated by prosecutorial power and plea-bargaining, is hardly a process through which justice is done to those accused of crimes.

“Others regard such talk of “crises” as, at best, exaggerated. Our criminal justice system faces real challenges, but what critics cite as symptoms of systemic failure are actually necessary features of a criminal law that is to protect individual liberty and public safety in these dangerous times. Public protection requires an expansive criminal law that allows police and prosecutors a wide discretion in implementing it. It requires a criminal process that deals efficiently with large numbers of offenders.

“Even those who deny that criminal justice is in crisis recognize, however, that the system faces significant challenges. Disagreement centers on the nature and extent of these challenges, and on what sorts of response are warranted. The conference aims to bring together thoughtful scholars and practitioners to engage in imaginative and constructive discussion of these issues.”
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