Posted: 11 Nov 2015

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 2015


Misdemeanors are an increasingly vital arena of criminal justice scholarship and policy. With ten million cases filed each year, and vastly outnumbering felonies, the petty offense is the paradigmatic US crime. Indeed, most Americans experience the criminal system through the petty offense process. This review surveys the major structural and theoretical issues raised by the misdemeanor system, including its assembly-line quality, high rates of wrongful conviction, and powerful influence over the system's class and racial skew. It concludes that misdemeanors offer novel ways of understanding the US criminal justice institution as a whole and open up broad new avenues for inquiry.

Suggested Citation

Natapoff, Alexandra, Misdemeanors (November 2015). Annual Review of Law and Social Science, Vol. 11, pp. 255-267, 2015, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2689015 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-lawsocsci-120814-121742

Alexandra Natapoff (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

1563 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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