Scientists and legal scholars study ‘moral luck’

What can the structure of the human brain teach us about criminal law? Psychologist Fiery Cushman asks us to consider the following. Hal and Peter drink together in a bar. After becoming intoxicated from consuming identical amounts of alcohol, they drive separate cars home. Each man loses control of their car on an icy road. Hal’s car runs into a tree. Peter’s car hits a little girl and kills her. Hal will face some driving-related sanctions. Peter, on the other hand, has committed a homicide and will probably serve some time in prison. Why should two accidental outcomes of identical … [Read more...]

Technology and its impact on the Fourth Amendment

By Timothy P. O'Neill Let's set the Wayback Machine to 1983. You are in a law school classroom and are discussing a brand new U.S. Supreme Court case, U.S. v. Knotts, 460 U.S. 276 (1983). The professor says, "This case holds that police use of a beeper to track a suspect's car to a drug lab is not a search under the Fourth Amendment. In order for police activity to constitute a search, it must intrude on the person's reasonable expectation of privacy. Here the car was always on public streets; theoretically, any person could have viewed the suspect's movements. Use of the beeper only aided … [Read more...]

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