Modal Retributivism: A Theory of Sanctions for Attempts and Other Criminal Wrongs

Anthony M. Dillof *

This article attempts to think systematically about what sanctions are deserved for a range of criminal offenses. The offenses considered include both consummate offenses (such as murder) and inchoate offenses (such as attempts), as well as offenses of negligence and crimes of passion. Unlike other theories of punishment, which tend to focus on justifications of the practice of punishment, or the “why” question, the theory presented here focuses on the amount of punishment, that is, the “how much” question: Specifically, “How much punishment, in terms of size and severity, is deserved for a given criminal offense?” The article attempts to answer this question for a variety of crimes in a unified, principled manner.

Continue reading.


 

*Associate Professor, Wayne State University Law School. J.D., LL.M., Columbia University School of Law; A.B., Harvard University. I thank Steven Winter for his helpful comments and Maricanne Miller for her encouragement.