Archive of Events 2021 – 2019

Archive of Events 2021 – 2019

Host: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law

Why Outcomes Matter (And How They Do)

Guest Lecture
  • Date: Nov 17, 2021
  • Time: 18:15
  • Speaker: Dr. Antje du Bois-Pedain
  • Antje du Bois-Pedain is Professor of Criminal Law and Philosophy at the Faculty of Law and Director of the Centre for Penal Theory and Penal Ethics at the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge. She was trained as a lawyer in Germany, re­ceived her Dr. iur. from Humboldt University Berlin, and in the U.K. (Magister Juris, University of Oxford). She has been based at the University of Cambridge since 2001. One strand of her work addresses the philosophical founda­tions of state punishment and their significance for the application of law, and law reform. Here, recent collaborative work includes edited volumes on Criminal Law and the Authority of the State (2017), on Penal Censure: Engagements Within and Beyond Desert Theory (2019) and on Re-reading Beccaria: On the Contemporary Significance of a Penal Classic (forthcom­ing). Another major strand of her work is in criminal law theory and doctrine, often with a comparative or transnational di­mension. Here, she has recently written on participation in crime and on criminal-law causation, and is currently exploring outcome responsibility, as well as conceptions and functions of recklessness and negligence.
  • 2G rules/hybrid session: Please note that 2G rules will apply. In case we cannot ensure social distancing (1.5 m), you will also be required to wear a mask. You may choose to join via Zoom (details are provided below).
  • Location: Freiburg, Fürstenbergstr. 19
  • Room: Seminar room (F 113) | Guests are welcome!
  • Host: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law
  • Contact:
The problem of outcome responsibility, in criminal law, is the problem of providing a normative foundation for criminal-law practices that make outcomes relevant to criminal liability and sentencing – sometimes (as in the law of attempts) with relevant differences between intended and negligently-risked outcomes. My talk develops a conception of agency that can provide theoreti­cal underpinning for these practices. As a first step, I defend the widely accepted view that producing an outcome (either as an in­tended or as a negligently-unlucky one) makes a difference: so long as the outcome can be imputed to the agent, it qualifies what the agent is responsible for. The object of assessment (“what D has done”) changes from “X activity” (minus the outcome) to “X activity with outcome”. Potentially much more contentious is the second step in my argument: the claim that how the outcome matters for our responsibility is affected by the question whether the outcome is the product of our intentions or whether it is the product of risks we have negli­gently created. This analysis explains many contentious features of the criminal law. However, it puts pressure on the justification for outcome-dependent crimes of negligence as such. For how can, on the assumption that we have a much less tight connection to negligently-risked outcomes than to intended ones, the criminal law’s prac­tice of making the occurrence of the outcome the linchpin for most offences of criminal negligence, be defended? [more]

Lab Experiments – An Overlooked Tool in the Box of Criminology

Guest Lecture
Good fences make good neighbours. The “naturalistic fallacy” is a particularly solid fence. It not only claims that the normative disci­plines need not worry about facts. It would actually be a category error if they care. Although at its core the law is a normative disci­pline, it has not always been that hostile towards facts. But it used to have a rather loose attitude towards empirics. Often, any factual statement “that matters” has been accepted as a legitimate ele­ment of legal reasoning. A social scientist would likely disagree. A factual claim is not the same as empirical evidence, most im­portantly since correlation is not causation. Criminology defines itself as the social science concerned with crime and punishment. This invites a division of labour: to the extent that a normative conclusion in the area of criminal law rests on an empirical claim, it is for criminology to deliver the evidence. Yet what counts as evidence? To a relevant degree, this is not only a question of epistemology. It also is a matter of disciplinary culture. Historically, criminology defines itself as applied sociology. This historical root is a productive one. But it has led the discipline to largely ignore an im­portant source of evidence: experiments under the controlled conditions of the lab. Interestingly, in empirical legal studies, this method is much more established than in criminology, despite the fact that empirical legal studies are much more recent. The talk will explain why lab experiments could be helpful for criminology, and accordingly for the empirical grounding of criminal law, and will illustrate the power with experiments on crime and punishment. [more]

Noncitizen Justice: The Criminal Case Processing of non-U.S. Citizens in Texas and California

Guest Lecture
Immigration enforcement is increasingly dependent on local criminal justice authorities, and yet basic questions on the criminal case processing of non-U.S. citizens in state and local jurisdictions remain unanswered. Leveraging uniquely rich case information on all felony arrests in California and Texas between 2006 and 2018, this article provides a detailed examination of the legal treatment of non-U.S. citizens from booking through sentencing. In both states, we find that non-U.S. citizens arrested for the same crime and with the same prior record are significantly more likely to be convicted and incarcerated than U.S. citizens. These unexplained citizenship gaps often exceed the observed disparities between white and minority defendants, but the results were not identical in both states. In line with the more rigid views towards migrant criminality in Texas, the case processing of foreign nationals is notably more severe there than in California at nearly every key decision point. These findings suggest that even in local criminal justice settings, citizenship is a unique and consequential axis of contemporary legal inequality. [more]
Grea­ter so­cioe­co­no­mic in­e­qua­li­ty is as­so­cia­ted with hig­her cri­me ra­tes. If this as­so­cia­ti­on is cau­sal, it is un­cle­ar how the po­pu­la­tion-le­vel va­ria­ble, in­e­qua­li­ty, af­fects de­ci­si­ons to of­fend in in­di­vi­du­als’ heads. I will pre­sent a re­cent theo­re­ti­cal mo­del in which in­di­vi­du­als strive to re­main their re­sources abo­ve a thres­hold of de­spe­ra­ti­on that is set by their so­ci­al con­text. Grea­ter in­e­qua­li­ty means mo­re in­di­vi­du­als who are at or be­low this thres­hold. It be­co­mes ra­tio­nal for them to of­fend as a ris­ky stra­t­egy to leap cle­ar of it. This pro­du­ces a link bet­ween po­pu­la­ti­on-le­vel in­e­qua­li­ty and in­di­vi­du­al de­ci­si­on-ma­king. Mo­reo­ver, we show that in­cre­a­sing pu­nis­h­ment se­ve­ri­ty un­der the­se as­s­ump­ti­ons should not ge­ne­ral­ly ex­pec­ted to re­du­ce of­fen­ding. I pre­sent a fra­me­work for stu­dy­ing the as­s­ump­ti­ons and pre­dic­ti­ons of the mo­del in a mul­ti-player in­cen­ti­vi­zed eco­no­mic ga­me. Pre­li­mi­na­ry da­ta are con­sis­tent with the pre­dic­ti­ons of the mo­del. Ho­we­ver, they are al­so con­sis­tent with simp­ler but still re­le­vant hy­po­the­ses that do not use the as­s­ump­ti­on of a de­spe­ra­ti­on thres­hold, such as that loss com­pa­red to so­me men­tal re­fe­rence point leads to frus­tra­ti­on and an­ger. We are current­ly at­t­emp­ting to test bet­ween the­se al­ter­na­ti­ves. We ho­pe that the ex­pe­ri­men­tal fra­me­work, re­gard­less of which way the re­sults fall out, is use­ful for un­der­stan­ding an­ti­so­ci­al mo­ti­va­ti­ons. [more]

Sociological Approaches to Legal Theory

Guest Lecture
This talk approaches core issues in contemporary legal philosophy from a sociologically informed standpoint. It begins by positioning sociological approaches in relation to legal philosophy, and then discusses, in turn, sociological jurisprudence (including holism and historicism), law as an artifact, and the social construction of law. Critical comments are welcome on this draft essay. [more]

Collaborative Dishonesty – A Meta-Study

Guest Lecture
Dishonesty is often a result of collaborative efforts. We present the first meta-study on collaborative dishonesty, reviewing 51,640 decisions, made by 3,264 individuals. Results reveal that: people lie more (i) in collaborative than in individual settings, (ii) when their partners lie, and (iii) in later stages of the interaction. [more]

“Sex Must be Voluntary”: Sexual Communication and the New Definition of Rape in Sweden

Guest Lecture
  • Date: Mar 31, 2021
  • Time: 18:00 - 20:00
  • Speaker: Dr. Linnea Wegerstad (Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law, Lund University / Sweden)
  • Lin­nea We­ger­stad has a De­gree of Doc­tor of Laws from Lund Uni­ver­si­ty. Her doc­to­ral the­sis ex­plo­res the con­cept of se­xu­al in­te­gri­ty through a his­to­ri­cal, theo­re­ti­cal, and doc­tri­nal ana­ly­sis of Swe­dish cri­mi­nal law. She has prac­ti­ced as a jud­ge in the ge­ne­ral courts for a few years and is now a se­ni­or lec­tur­er of cri­mi­nal law at Lund Uni­ver­si­ty. Her main field of re­se­arch is se­xu­al of­fen­ses and fe­mi­nist le­gal theo­ry. She is current­ly in­vol­ved in a re­se­arch pro­ject tit­led “The #Me­too Mo­men­tum and Its Af­ter­math: Cri­me Vic­tims’ Ju­sti­ce-See­king and So­cie­tal and Le­gal Re­spon­ses”, fun­ded by the Swe­dish Cri­me Vic­tim Com­pen­sa­ti­on and Sup­port Au­t­ho­ri­ty.
  • Location: via Zoom
  • Host: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law
  • Contact:
Ma­ny coun­tries are in a pro­cess of re­pla­cing out­da­ted sex of­fen­se re­gu­la­ti­ons with laws that ac­cu­ra­te­ly cor­re­spond to mo­dern ideas about gen­der equa­li­ty, se­xu­al self-de­ter­mi­na­ti­on, and con­sen­su­al sex. One ex­am­ple is Swe­den, whe­re a law that de­fi­nes ra­pe ba­sed on a cri­te­ri­on of non­vo­lun­ta­ry par­ti­ci­pa­ti­on en­te­red in­to for­ce in 2018. This lec­ture pres­ents an ana­ly­sis of how ra­pe is un­der­stood in the new le­gal dis­cour­se in Swe­den, and I show that ra­pe is pre­sen­ted as a mat­ter of choi­ce and com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on in se­xu­al si­tua­ti­ons. I argue that the new ra­pe law sends a cle­ar mes­sa­ge about what sex should be — na­me­ly, vo­lun­ta­ry — but does not ac­cu­ra­te­ly de­s­cri­be the cri­me and the be­ha­vi­or that de­ser­ves cri­mi­nal cen­su­re. I con­clu­de that a les­son from Swe­den is that fu­ture ra­pe law re­forms may be­ne­fit from em­pi­ri­cal know­led­ge of how peo­ple com­mu­ni­ca­te in se­xu­al si­tua­ti­ons. [more]
The workshop will provide a forum for bilateral dialogue between German and Chinese legal scholars, dealing with some most interesting topics in the field of cybercrime. [more]
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