Volume 56
Issue 4
Spring '19

Criminal Law and Cooperative Federalism

Written By: William Partlett

Abstract

Cooperative federalism is now commonplace in the prosecution of street-level drug and gun crime in the United States. This Article argues that this cooperative federalism presents new—and largely unexplored—constitutional problems. In particular, unlike the civil regulatory context, cooperation threatens the constitutional rights of individual criminal defendants by allowing executives to circumvent local juries, judges, and laws. Moreover, this cooperation also potentially weakens the ability of states to function as political entities that can hold their law enforcement officers accountable in an area of traditional state police power. These problems suggest an important larger project exploring the solutions to these problems of cooperative federalism in criminal law.

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