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Paul H. Robinson

Colin S. Diver Professor of Law

Paul Robinson

Paul Robinson is one of the world’s leading criminal law scholars. A prolific writer and lecturer, Robinson has published articles in virtually all of the top law reviews, lectured in 85 cities in 34 states and 24 countries, and had his writings appear in 13 languages. Continue reading… Paul Robinson is one of the world’s leading criminal law scholars. A prolific writer and lecturer, Robinson has published articles in virtually all of the top law reviews, lectured in 85 cities in 34 states and 24 countries, and had his writings appear in 13 languages. A former federal prosecutor and counsel for the US Senate Subcommittee on Criminal Laws and Procedures, he was the lone dissenter when the US Sentencing Commission promulgated the current federal sentencing guidelines. He is the author or editor of 14 books, including the standard lawyer’s reference on criminal law defenses, three Oxford monographs on criminal law theory, a highly regarded criminal law treatise, and an innovative case studies course book.


He is the lead editor of Criminal Law Conversations (Oxford, 2009), a debate involving more than 100 scholars from around the world, and the author of Intuitions of Justice and the Utility of Desert (Oxford 2013); Distributive Principles of Criminal Law (Oxford 2008, also in Spanish and Chinese); and Structure and Function in Criminal Law (Oxford 1997 also in Chinese). Robinson recently completed two criminal code reform projects in the United States and the first modern Islamic penal code under the auspices of the U.N. Development Program. He also writes for general audiences, including popular books such as Would You Convict? (NYU 1999), Law Without Justice (Oxford 2005), and the forthcoming Living Beyond the Law: Modern Lessons from Pirates, Eskimos, Lepers & Survivors (Rowman & Littlefield 2014).
 

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Expertise

  • Criminal Law
  • Criminal Law Theory
  • Criminal Code Reform
  • Criminal Sentencing
  • Global Human Rights

Books

INTUITIONS OF JUSTICE AND THE UTILITY OF DESERT (Oxford University Press, 2013).

CRIMINAL LAW (2d ed. Wolters Kluwer Law & Business 2012) (with Michael T. Cahill) (1st ed. Aspen 1997).

CRIMINAL LAW CONVERSATIONS (editor, with Steve Garvey & Kim Ferzan) (Oxford 2009)

FINAL REPORT OF THE PENNSYLVANIA CRIMINAL CODE GRADING STUDY (December 2009) (with University of Pennsylvania Law School's Criminal Law Research Group).

DISTRIBUTIVE PRINCIPLES OF CRIMINAL LAW: WHO SHOULD BE PUNISHED HOW MUCH? (Oxford 2008), also appearing in Spanish and Chinese.

FINAL REPORT OF THE MALDIVES PENAL LAW & SENTENCING CODIFICATION PROJECT (Republic of Maldives 2006) (two volumes) (with University of Pennsylvania Law School's Criminal Law Research Group).

LAW WITHOUT JUSTICE: WHY CRIMINAL LAW DOESN’T GIVE PEOPLE WHAT THEY DESERVE (with Michael Cahill) (Oxford Univ. Press 2005).

FINAL REPORT OF THE ILLINOIS CRIMINAL CODE REWRITE AND REFORM COMMISSION (State of Illinois 2003) (two volumes) (with staff).

Articles and Book Chapters

Natural Law and Lawlessness: Modern Lessons from Pirates, Lepers, Eskimos, and Survivors, 2013 U. ILL. L. REV. 433.

Extralegal Punishment Factors: A Study of Forgiveness, Hardship, Good-Deeds, Apology, Remorse, and Other Such Discretionary Factors in Assessing Criminal Punishment, 65 VAND. L. REV. 737 (2012).

Four Distinctions that Glanville Williams Did Not Make: The Practical Benefits of Examining the Interrelation Among Criminal Law Doctrines, in THE SANCTITY OF LIFE AND THE CRIMINAL LAW: THE LEGACY OF GLANVILLE WILLIAMS (Dennis Baker ed., Cambridge University Press 2013).
[Available Here]

Perceptions of Fairness and Justice: The Shared Aims and Occasional Conflicts of Legitimacy and Moral Credibility, 47 WAKE FOREST L. REV. 212 (2012).

Are We Responsible for Who We Are? The Challenges for Criminal Law Theory in the Defenses of Coercive Indoctrination and "Rotten Social Background," 2 ALA. C.R. & C.L. L. REV. 53 (2012).

Life Without Parole Under Modern Theories of Punishment, in LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE: AMERICA'S NEW DEATH PENALTY? (Austin Sarat & Charles Ogletree eds., NYU Press 2012).

Advantaging Aggressors: Justice & Deterrence in International Law, 3 HARV. NAT'L SECURITY J. 143 (2011) (with Adil Ahmad Haque).

Criminalization Tensions: Empirical Desert, Changing Norms, and Rape Reform, in THE STRUCTURES OF THE CRIMINAL LAW 186 (Duff, Farmer, Marshall, Renzo, & Tadros, eds., 2011).

The Modern Irrationalities of American Criminal Codes: An Empirical Study of Offense Grading, 100 J. CRIM. L. & CRIMINOLOGY 709 (2010) (with Thomas Gaeta, Matthew Majarian, Megan Schultz, & Douglas Weck).

Realism, Punishment & Reform, 77 U. CHI. L. REV. 1611 (2010) (with Robert Kurzban, Penn Psych, and Owen Jones, Vanderbilt Law).

Competing Theories of Blackmail: An Empirical Research Critique of Criminal Law Theory, 89 TEX. L. REV. 291 (2010) (with Michael Cahill & Dan Bartels).

A Right to Bear Firearms But Not to Use Them? Defensive Force Rules and the Increasing Effectiveness of Non-Lethal Weapons, 89 B.U. L. REV. 251 (2009).

Competing Conceptions of Modern Desert: Vengeful, Deontological, and Empirical, 67 CAMBRIDGE L.J. 145 (2008).

Intuitions of Justice: Implications for Criminal Law and Justice Policy, 81 S. CAL. L. REV. 1 (2007) (with John Darley).

The Origins of Shared Intuitions of Justice (with Robert Kurzban and Owen Jones), 60 VAND. L. REV. 1633 (2007).

Concordance & Conflict in Intuitions of Justice, 91 MINN. L. REV. 1829 (2007) (with Robert Kurzban).

Codifying Shari'a: International Norms, Legality & the Freedom to Invent New Forms, 2 J. COMP. L. (British) 1 (2007) (with 11 present and former students in my Criminal Law Research Group, regarding our work in drafting an Islamic Penal Code for the Maldives under U.N.D.P. sponsorship).

More publications can be found here.

Working Papers

Murder Mitigation in the Fifty-Two American Jurisdictions: A Case Study in Doctrinal Interrelation Analysis (April 8, 2014), U of Penn Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 14-16. (forthcoming)
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Justice: 1850s San Francisco and the California Gold Rush (March 20, 2014), in LIVING BEYOND THE LAW: LESSONS FROM PIRATES, PRISONERS, LEPERS, AND SURVIVORS (Rowman & Littlefield, forthcoming August 2014); U of Penn Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 14-14 (with Sarah M. Robinson). (forthcoming 2014)
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Punishment: Drop City and the Utopian Communes, in LIVING BEYOND THE LAW: LESSONS FROM PIRATES, PRISONERS, LEPERS, AND SURVIVORS (Rowman & Littlefield, forthcoming August 2014); U of Penn Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 14-13 (with Sarah M. Robinson). (forthcoming 2014)
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The Model Penal Code's Conceptual Error on the Nature of Proximate Cause, and How to Fix It (January 14, 2014), U of Penn Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 14-3 (forthcoming)
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The Moral Vigilante and Her Cousins in the Shadows (November 22, 2013), U of Penn Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 13-29. (forthcoming)
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Empirical Desert, Individual Prevention, and Limiting Retributivism: A Reply (May 28, 2013), U of Penn Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 13-19 (with Joshua Samuel Barton & Matthew J. Lister). (forthcoming)
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The Proper Role of the Community in Determining Criminal Liability and Punishment (U. Pa. Pub. L. & Leg. Theory Res. Paper Series, No. 12-49, 2012)
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Comments on [Israeli] Proposal for Structuring Judicial Discretion in Sentencing, HUKIM – Israeli Journal on Legislation.

Research Areas

  • Criminal Law
  • Criminal Justice
  • Sentencing
  • Punishment

Positions

Penn Law - Colin S. Diver Professor of Law (2003- )

Northwestern - Edna & Ednyfed Williams Professor (1998-2002); Professor (1993-98); Visiting Professor (1992-93)

Georgetown - Adjunct Professor (1986-88)

University of Michigan - Visiting Professor (1998-99)

Rutgers - Acting Dean (1989-90); Distinguished Professor (1985-93); Professor (1980-85); Assistant Professor (1977-80)

Professional Activities

Director, University of Pennsylvania Law School Criminal Law Research Group.

Director, Maldivian Penal Code Reform Project.

Director, Illinois Criminal Code Rewrite & Reform Commission.

Director, Kentucky Penal Code Revision Project.

Co-Editor, SSRN Legal Scholarship Network (1996-present)

Courses

  • Criminal Law
  • Advanced Criminal Law
  • Criminal Law Theory Seminar
  • Punishment Theory Seminar
  • Criminal Law Codification
  • Penn Criminal Law Research Group

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