Abraham S. Goldstein's Contributions to Criminal Law Scholarship
Stith, Kate, The Yale Law Journal
Abraham S. Goldstein was an extraordinary legal scholar. His law review articles and books are now "classics" in a broad array of criminal law fields: (1) conspiracy law, (2) trial procedures, (3) the insanity defense, (4) comparative criminal procedure, (5) prosecutorial discretion and plea bargaining, (6) victims' rights, and (7) the criminal jury. While now classics, each of his writings was path-breaking when published. Moreover, each soon became the seminal work in the area--by which I mean that each Goldstein contribution spawned an immense amount of further research and scholarship, including many subsequent books and articles by his former students here at Yale Law School.
Goldstein wrote with elegance and intellectual power. His scholarship sought to understand the impact of criminal law doctrines in real courtrooms and in the real world. His analytical approach was rigorous and balanced, devoid of rhetorical or ideological excess. And he had a writing style unusual in the legal academy: He strove to be at once thorough but concise, each page chock full of powerful insights.
Goldstein was one of the early scholars to document the dangers and ambiguities of the law of conspiracy. In his powerful 1958 article, Conspiracy To Defraud the United States, (1) he wrote about the lack of boundaries imposed by the vague terms "conspiracy" and "defraud." Like all of his articles, this one could not have been written had he spent his entire life in the academy. It was the first law review article he wrote after serving for five years as a criminal defense and civil rights trial lawyer in Washington, D.C. His cases included the defense of a businessman accused of "conspiracy to defraud the United States," rather than the more usual charge of conspiracy to commit a particular offense. (2)
In the classroom as in his scholarly articles, Goldstein tackled issues that for most in the academy were barely on the horizon. In 1959, he and Joseph Goldstein (3) produced, but never published, a textbook-length set of mimeographed materials that essentially constitutes the first criminal procedure casebook (4)--predating Yale Kamisar's path-breaking and celebrated casebook by four years. (5) The Goldstein & Goldstein "book" organized what was then a barely …
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Publication information: Article title: Abraham S. Goldstein's Contributions to Criminal Law Scholarship. Contributors: Stith, Kate - Author. Journal title: The Yale Law Journal. Volume: 115. Issue: 3 Publication date: December 2005. Page number: 511+. © 2009 Yale University, School of Law. COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group.
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