The Center for Law, Society, and Culture ( is sponsored by the Indiana University Maurer School of Law. The Center actively supports and promotes multidisciplinary understanding of law and legal problems through scholarship, teaching, and discussion. The Center is located in the School of Law on the Bloomington campus of Indiana University, but produces, presents and coordinates research conducted by more than 70 scholars from schools and departments across Indiana University. The Center's affiliated scholars hold appointments in African-American studies, business, criminal justice, journalism, history, economics, English, law, and gender studies, among others, and are dedicated to an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the role of law in society and culture. The Center supports research related to the law in a broad sense, including the cultural aspects of law expressed through political theory and scientific aspects of law expressed through technological advances in biotechnology, environmental science and information technology.

Sponsored by: Indiana University Maurer School of Law

"Proximate Causation and the Armed Career Criminal Act" Free Download

ROBERT LEIDER, Independent

The Armed Career Criminal Act provides for a fifteen-year minimum sentence for those who illegally possess firearms and have been convicted of three or more violent felonies or serious drug offenses. The ACCA defines a "violent felony" to include the following crimes: "burglary, arson, or extortion, involves use of explosives, or otherwise involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another." This last provision is known as the residual clause.

This Comment argues that the primary difficulty in creating a workable residual clause jurisprudence has been one of proximate causation: identifying how close the relationship must be between the offense and the ultimate risk of physical injury. Many preparatory and inchoate crimes (e.g., conspiracy) do not by themselves place people in physical danger, even if the commission of those crimes could lead to further conduct that will. By limiting application of the residual clause to only those crimes that themselves present a serious potential risk of physical injury -- without considering the risk caused by future volitional acts -- the Supreme Court can create a reasonably precise construction of the residual clause.

"Mere Preparation" Free Download

MURAT C. MUNGAN, Florida State University - College of Law

Acts that are merely in preparation for the commission of a crime are not punished in many jurisdictions. This note provides an error-cost-minimization based justification for this practice. It also derives the cost-minimizing punishments for acts as a function of how proximate they are to the completion of the crime and the functional form of error costs.

"The Whole System is Guilty as Hell: Interrupting a Legacy of Racist Police Culture Through a Human Rights Lens" Free Download
Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy, Forthcoming

JUSTIN HANSFORD, Saint Louis University - School of Law

I was among those who engaged in peaceful protests in Ferguson following the fatal shooting of Michael Brown. I also co-authored the petition to the United Nations for redress of grievances brought on by police brutality and racial profiling in America. I then accompanied Ferguson protesters and Mike Brown's family to Geneva, Switzerland to testify before the UN Committee Against Torture. I share brief reflections on the experience in this article.

"Comment: Elonis, True Threats, and the Ontology of Facebook" Free Download
New York University Journal of Legislation and Public Policy Quorum, Forthcoming

ALESSANDRA BANIEL-STARK, New York University (NYU), Students

Elonis v. United States, argued before the Supreme Court in December 2014, raises the question of the applicable standard for determining whether speech is a true threat. Of particular interest in Elonis is how the Court will interpret appellant's speech, which took place on Facebook and often took the form of quoted rap lyrics. This Comment argues that, despite changes the Internet has wrought in how speech is delivered, the appropriate standard for determining whether speech is a true threat is an objective one, as such a standard best addresses the concerns that gave rise to the true threats exception. This Comment further discusses some of the challenges courts have faced in properly conceiving of rap music and urges that a particular view of rap not be enshrined as a matter of Supreme Court jurisprudence.

"The Transatlantic Flow of Data and the National Security Exception in the European Data Privacy Regulation: In Search for Legal Protection Against Surveillance" Free Download
University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law, Vol. 36, p. 459-524, 2014

IOANNA TOURKOCHORITI, Harvard Law School, National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) - School of Law

Europe regulates data privacy against violations coming from the private sector more strictly than the U.S. The EU Directive 95/46/EC has led to the implementation of a sophisticated system of data privacy regulation having strong enforcement mechanisms. The European Commission has submitted a proposal for a new regulation, which updates data privacy law protection strengthening individual rights and foreseeing important penalties. Both the existing Directive and the Proposed Regulation do not apply to activities concerning ‚Äúnational security.‚Ä? The EU has succeeded through negotiations to level up the standards of data privacy protection in the private sector in the U.S. through the Safe Harbor Agreement. This agreement also foresees an exemption of its application in case of national security, public interest, or law enforcement requirements. The European Regulation of privacy is indirectly affecting the access of public authorities to private data by limiting the possibility of private actors to collect and store this data, which they will be required to transmit to surveillance authorities. This paper analyzes the existing protection through the Safe Harbor Agreement and the Proposed Regulation, which strengthens the legal framework of privacy against collection of data by the private sector.


About this eJournal

Sponsored by: Indiana University Maurer School of Law.

This eJournal distributes working and accepted paper abstracts of empirical or theoretical scholarship on topics related to crime, criminal law, and criminal punishment (including the death penalty), from any disciplinary perspective. Covered topics include victims' rights, criminal sentencing rules, criminal sentencing procedures, criminal punishment, theories of criminal punishment, alternatives to traditional criminal punishment, criminal law doctrine, and administration of criminal justice.


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Advisory Board

Law & Society: Public Law - Crime, Criminal Law, & Punishment eJournal

Roscoe C. O'Byrne Professor of Law, Indiana University-Bloomington, Maurer School of Law

Professor of Law, Indiana University Maurer School of Law

George H. Young-Bascom Professor of Law, University of Wisconsin Law School

Willard and Margaret Carr Professor of Labor and Employment Law, Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Director, Center for the Study of Law and Society, Agnes Roddy Robb Professor of Law and Professor of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley - Jurisprudence & Social Policy Program and Center for the Study of Law and Society

Marion Butler McLean Professor in the History of Ideas, Wellesley College - Department of Anthropology

Voss-Bascom Professor of Law, Professor of Sociology [Emeritus] Review Section Editor - Law & Social Inquiry, University of Wisconsin Law School

Professor of Law, Adjunct Professor of Latino Studies, Adjunct Professor of Political Science, Indiana University Maurer School of Law

John & Rylla Bosshard Professor of Law, University of Wisconsin Law School, Madison

Co-Director, Center for Law, Society and Culture, Professor of History & Law, Indiana University-Bloomington, Maurer School of Law

Professor of Law, Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Editorial Advisory Board, Law and Society Review, Assistant Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Sociology

Professor of Law and Political Science, SUNY Buffalo Law School

Professor of Law, University of Denver Sturm College of Law