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Policing Possession: The War on Crime and the End of Criminal Law

151 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2004  

Markus D. Dubber

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law; University of Toronto - Centre for Ethics

Abstract

The war on crime has been the dominant ideology of American criminal law for the past three decades. This paper examines the inner workings of this remarkably successful, yet still little understood, strategy of social control. Particular attention is paid to the role of victimless crimes, and possession in particular, as sweep offenses to incapacitate dangerous undesirables. Easy to detect and to prove, yet far more potent and less vulnerable to constitutional scrutiny, possession emerges as the new and improved vagrancy, a modern policing tool for a modern police regime, the war on victimless crime.

Keywords: criminal law, criminal process, police power, possession, war on crime

JEL Classification: K14, K30

Suggested Citation

Dubber, Markus D., Policing Possession: The War on Crime and the End of Criminal Law. Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, Vol. 91, No. 829, 2002. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=310840

Markus D. Dubber (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

78 and 84 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.utoronto.ca/faculty-staff/full-time-faculty/markus-dubber

University of Toronto - Centre for Ethics ( email )

6 Hoskin Avenue
Toronto, Ontario M5S 1H8
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://ethics.utoronto.ca

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