Please note that the articles provided below are for reading purposes only and may not be reproduced in any manner without the express written consent of the author. Copyright 2000, Robert F. Shaw, Jr. All rights reserved. 

Losing One’s Livelihood To The Grasp Of Fiction – The Law Of Civil Forfeiture In The United States

"Losing One's Livelihood To The Grasp Of Fiction, The Law of Civil Forfeiture In The United States," is a 1996 article written by Robert Shaw which addresses the many troubling and controversial aspects of civil forfeiture as it is practiced in the United States. Parts II and III examine the origins and history of civil forfeiture in England and the United States. Part IV presents an overview of the primary federal civil forfeiture laws and discusses the typical procedures and standards utilized when civil forfeiture proceedings are initiated. Part V discusses the relationship between federal and state law enforcement agencies as shaped by federal forfeiture laws, the incentives which arise as a result, and the practical effects of these incentives on state policy and the citizenry. Part VI presents examples of the abusive practices that have become commonplace across the country pursuant to the authority granted under civil forfeiture laws. Part VII addresses the plight of innocent owners and the protections afforded them by the innocent owner statutory defenses that are provided in a small minority of statutes. Part VIII discusses the use of informants by law enforcement. And finally, part IX offers suggestions for reform.

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Looking With A Historical Eye: The Time Has Come To Eliminate The Peremptory Challenge

Despite its long history, it has been readily acknowledged that the right of peremptory challenge is not of constitutional magnitude and may be withheld without impairing the guarantee of an impartial and fair trial. This 1996 article by Robert Shaw suggests that in light of the inadequacy of the United States Supreme Court's decision in Batson v. Kentucky, and the history of discrimination which it serves to perpetuate, it is time to eliminate the peremptory challenge while vastly expanding the ability of attorneys to challenge for cause and building additional safeguards into the jury selection process. Part I provides an overview of the origin and evolution of the peremptory challenge in England and the United States. Part II provides a historical overview of African-American exclusion from the criminal justice system; this is a necessary prerequisite to understanding the peremptory's present function as the primary means of continuing a de jure and de facto tradition of racism and exclusion of African-Americans from the criminal jury system. Part III summarizes Batson and its progeny. And finally, part IV argues that in light of Batson's failure to eliminate discriminatory use of the peremptory challenge in criminal jury trials, the time has come to acknowledge that the harm associated with retaining it far outweighs any of its benefits.

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The Law’s Silent Premise

"The Law’s Silent Premise" is a short, thought provoking piece which examines the assumptions inherent in the judicial process surrounding our jury system, the nature of human perception, and whether the two are compatible with one another such that they are capable of producing just results. This article was written by Robert Shaw in 1997.

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