Victims' Rights and Victims' Wrongs: Comparative Liability in Criminal Law

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Stanford University Press, 2009 - Law - 234 pages
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"Don't blame the victim" is a cornerstone maxim of Anglo-American jurisprudence, but should the law generally ignore a victim's behavior in determining a defendant's liability? Victims' Rights and Victims' Wrongs criticizes the current criminal law approach and outlines a more fair, coherent, and efficient set of rules to recognize that victims sometimes co-author their own losses or injuries.

Evaluating a number of controversial cases involving euthanasia, sadomasochism, date rape, battered wives, and "innocent" aggressors, Vera Bergelson builds a theoretical foundation for reform. Her approach to comparative criminal liability takes into account the actions of both the perpetrator and the victim and offers a unitary explanation for consent, self-defense, and provocation. This innovative book supplies a practical and coherent mechanism for evaluating the impact of a victim's conduct on a perpetrator's liability in a variety of circumstances, including those that are now artificially excluded from comparative analysis.

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About the author (2009)

Vera Bergelson is Professor of Law and Robert E. Knowlton Scholar at Rutgers University.

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