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Home Is Where the Crime Is

14 Pages Posted: 20 Dec 2010  

I. Bennett Capers

Brooklyn Law School

Date Written: December 16, 2010


There is a new vision of home that is beginning to gain ascendance, at least from the point of view of legal actors and doctrine in the criminal justice system. Under this vision, home is not always, or even usually, “sweet.” Under this new vision, the home is not a safe haven, inviolate and inviolable except for, perhaps, a burglar. Under this new vision, the home is a place of violence. And not violence perpetrated by intruders, but by co-habitants. The home, notionally a site of security, a place “safe” from outside intervention, now functions as a place that enables abuse, assault, and rape. It is the exemplary place of coercion. The home, in this re-vision, has metastasized into the scene of the crime. In short, home has become “where the crime is.”

What are we to make of this shift in how the law perceives the home, and how we perceive the home? What are the collateral consequences of this shift? These are the questions Jeannie Suk takes up in her provocative At Home in the Law. This Review assesses Suk’s claims critically, turns to some of the collateral effects of this shift that Suk elides, and switches lenses to reveal a larger, more troubling picture.

Keywords: Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Domestic Violence, Family Law, Protective Orders, Divorce, Burglary, Women, Gender

JEL Classification: K14, K40, K42

Suggested Citation

Capers, I. Bennett, Home Is Where the Crime Is (December 16, 2010). Michigan Law Review, Vol. 109, 2011; Hofstra University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-47. Available at SSRN:

I. Bennett Capers (Contact Author)

Brooklyn Law School ( email )

250 Joralemon Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
United States


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