Offense Grading and Multiple Liability: New Challenges for a Model Penal Code Second

13 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2005


This commentary raises two issues that, in the author's view, present some of the greatest challenges - as well as opportunities - for modern criminal theory and criminal-code reform. The first issue relates to the allocation of decision-making authority regarding an offender's ultimate punishment. Specifically, while Apprendi, its progeny, and most of the scholarship in this area have discussed the appropriate constitutional rules to govern element-versus-sentencing-factor determinations, more attention must be paid to developing and justifying a normative basis for making such determinations. The second issue relates to when, and how, criminal law imposes liability for more than one offense at a time. Here again, though the law of double jeopardy may provide a constitutional resolution of the issues, exploration of the underlying normative considerations remains surprisingly, and seriously, inadequate.

Keywords: sentencing, punishment, double jeopardy

JEL Classification: K14

Suggested Citation

Cahill, Michael T., Offense Grading and Multiple Liability: New Challenges for a Model Penal Code Second. Available at SSRN:

Michael T. Cahill (Contact Author)

Brooklyn Law School ( email )

250 Joralemon Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
United States
718-780-7901 (Phone)
718-780-0376 (Fax)


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