04 March 2009

In the Name of Justice: The Beginning

I'm finally getting some time to read In the Name of Justice, which CATO was kind enough to send me to review. It's a series of articles from renowned legal big-wigs in reaction to a 1958 article by Henry Hart Jr in which he lays out a basic understanding of criminal law. Here's a quote from the beginning of Hart's article
The statement has been made, as if in complaint, that "there is hardly a penal code that can be said to have a single basic principle running through it." But it needs to be seen that this is simply a fact, and not a misfortune. A penal code that reflected only a single basic principle would be a very bad one.
. . .
Examination of the purpose commonly suggested for the criminal law will show that each of them is complex and that none may be thought of as wholly excluding the others.
. . .
The problem, accordingly, is one of priority and relationship of purposes as well as their legitimacy - of multivalued rather than single-valued thinking.
So far, its intriguing. I look forward to delivering a full report asap.

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