Via Sapientiae: The Institutional Repository at DePaul University

    Is it Immoral to Punish the Heedless and Clueless? A Comment on Alexander, Ferzan and Morse: Crime and Culpability

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    This essay, written for a symposium on the book Crime and Culpability: A Theory of Criminal Law, by Larry Alexander, Kim Ferzan and Stephen Morse, responds to the authors’ argument that the criminal law should not punish negligent behavior. The authors argue that criminal culpability should be measured in light of the level of risk the actor himself perceives, and that we are not morally culpable for taking risks of which we are unaware, even if our lack of awareness is objectively unreasonable. They contend that for the negligent actor, the failure to advert to risk is beyond the actor’s control, and beyond the influence of the criminal law, at the critical moment of action. It follows, they argue, that negligent conduct should not be culpable, since punishing negligence would require holding actors responsible when their failure to advert to a risk, however unreasonable, did not entail a conscious choice. The consequences that flow from the authors’ initial descriptive assumptions about awareness and choice are significant. The authors declare objective reasonableness standards for evaluating negligent behavior off-limits since objective standards would lead to punishment for a state of mind the actor did not in fact possess. And because the authors assume that negligent behavior lacks the element of choice and therefore falls below the threshold for culpability, they deem it improperly consequentialist to consider whether punishing negligence would promote the penal goal of communicating and enforcing norms for future conduct. The essay raises concerns about this distinction, questioning whether the criminal law\u27s norm-creation and norm-enforcement functions can be readily distinguished from its role in assessing moral desert. One obvious drawback of doctrines that insulate negligent conduct from criminal liability is that they reward heedless and clueless behavior. The actor who somehow failed to advert to well-know risks is off the hook, while the actor who adverted to such risks and engaged in the risky behavior anyway may be liable. Nevertheless, this essay does not argue that criminal negligence liability is necessarily a matter of good policy. It argues that the authors have taken the policy debate off the table based on contestable assumptions about the nature of consciousness, choice and character. The authors’ normative argument that negligence liability must be rejected as a threshold matter relies heavily on their descriptive assumption that the negligent actor is impervious to influence or correction - an assumption that is increasingly at odds with evolving knowledge in the fields of cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience

    Civil Liberties and the \u27Imaginative Sustenance\u27 of Jewish Culture

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    This short essay is included in a symposium issue entitled People of the Book: Judaism\u27s Influence on American Legal Scholarship. It is a meditation on how my background as a Reform Jew growing up in New York City influenced my work as a constitutional lawyer and my scholarship in the fields of criminal procedure and federal jurisdiction. As Irving Howe observed: The imaginative sustenance that Yiddish culture and the immigrant experience could give to American Jewish writers rarely depended on their awareness or acknowledgement of its presence. Often it took the form of hidden links of attitude and value. In this essay, I will focus on three of those links of attitude and value. First is the value of dispute and dialectic as a bedrock principle in both the religious and legal realms. Second is an entrenched skepticism about power and a heightened awareness of power imbalances. Third is a respect for settled ritual and process, and how it comes into tension with the substantive goal of justice

    lcp1 mutant zebrafish: A look at neutrophils, cancer, and gene compensation

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    Lymphocyte cytosolic protein 1 (lcp1 or L-plastin) is a small actin-bundling protein that is typically only expressed in motile leukocytes, such as neutrophils and macrophages. However, it is also overexpressed in cancer cells, which may be related to tumor metastasis. Using CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing, our lab has created zebrafish that are genetic knockouts for lcp1 in order to better understand the relationship between L-plastin and cell motility. Previous studies on L-plastin knockout mice have shown that the mutants have a decreased immune response, and therefore I predicted that our zebrafish mutants might have impaired development or distribution of immune cells. Other experiments have demonstrated that decreasing lcp1 in tumor cells in mice decreases the growth, invasiveness, and metastasis of cancer cells both in vitro and in vivo. Inducing tumors in the zebrafish mutant might show decreased tumor penetrance, which would further confirm the relationship between lcp1 expression and cancer. Finally, I investigated the entire transcriptome of the lcp1 mutant zebrafish embryos and compared that to the wildtype transcriptome using RNA-seq. This provides information about any genes that may be differentially expressed in the mutant in order to compensate for the lack of lcp1 mRNA. Overall, this study aims to further characterize lcp1 mutant zebrafish in terms of their distribution of immune cells, susceptibility to tumors, as well as differences in their transcriptome in comparison to wildtype zebrafish. This data can expand on the current knowledge of the role of lcp1 in hematopoiesis and cancer, as well as adding new understanding to the dynamic between lcp1 and other genes in the transcriptome in relation to transcriptional adaptation

    Ex Ante Intellectual Property Considerations for Small Businesses

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    The Idea of a Case

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    Ariosa Diagnostics, Inc. v. Sequenom, Inc.

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    VMG Salsoul, LLC v. Ciccone, 824 F.3d 871 (9th Cir. 2016)

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