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Criminal Law Conversations$
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Paul H. Robinson, Stephen Garvey, and Kimberly Kessler Ferzan

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199861279

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199861279.001.0001

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Objective Versus Subjective Justification

Objective Versus Subjective Justification

A Case Study in Function and Form in Constructing a System of Criminal Law Theory

(p.342) (p.343) 16. Objective Versus Subjective Justification
Criminal Law Conversations

Paul H. Robinson

Oxford University Press

This chapter deals with objective versus subjective justification, with particular emphasis on the importance of function and form in developing a system of criminal law theory. It first examines the distinctions on which the criminal law ought to rely, based on the assumption that the criminal justice system cares about whether the actor's conduct causes a harm or evil, about the blameworthiness of the actor, and about legality virtues such as giving fair notice. It also discusses the difference between cases of objective justification and cases of subjective, mistaken justification. The chapter includes comments by some of the nation's top legal scholars from the field of criminal law, tackling topics such as “unknowing justification” and the necessity defense.

Keywords:   objective justification, subjective justification, criminal law theory, criminal justice system, blameworthiness, fair notice, necessity defense

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