Dannye Holley


A key premise of this article is that a fair assessment of the performance of state supreme court judges with regard to culpability evaluations must begin by differentiating among the states based upon the relative quality of statutory guidance available to each court on this crucial substantive criminal law issue. In light of the above discussion defining culpability evaluation and legislative action with regard thereto, this article categorizes states based on relative improvement in their statutory culpability evaluation scheme: first are those states with a set of hierarchical culpability concepts, which are specifically defined in relation to types of objective elements, provided that the legislature did not negate that improvement by enacting a conflicting "mistake-of-fact" provision. Second are those states with a mistake-of-fact statute that expressly subordinates that doctrine to culpability analysis. In an earlier article, the author found that half the states' legislatures arguably satisfied one of these two standards.