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Political Science Commons

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Political Theory

2003

Georgetown University Law Center

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Full-Text Articles in Political Science

Reconceptualizing Criminal Law Defenses, Victoria Nourse Jan 2003

Reconceptualizing Criminal Law Defenses, Victoria Nourse

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In 1933, one of the leading theorists of the criminal law, Jerome Michael, wrote openly of the criminal law "as an instrument of the state." Today, criminal law is largely allergic to claims of political theory; commentators obsess about theories of deterrence and retribution, and the technical details of model codes and sentencing grids, but rarely speak of institutional effects or political commitments. In this article, the author aims to change that emphasis and to examine the criminal law as a tool for governance. Her approach is explicitly constructive: it accepts the criminal law that we have, places it in ...