Law Quadrangle (formerly Law Quad Notes)


This article is a somewhat abridged version of The Siebenthaler Lecture which Professor Allen delivered at the Salmon P. Chase College of Law of North Kentucky University this year. The Siebenthaler Lectures are supported by the Chase College Foundation. The complete text of Professor Allen's speech appeared in the spring issue of the Northern Kentucky Law Review.

The area of penal policy that I intend to discuss is one demanding a certain amount of fortitude or, more accurately, of foolhardiness to enter. It is a difficult and complex area, and one already much trodden by some of the most distinguished personages in law and philosophy. What I shall be discussing are penal regulations of such things as the sale and consumption of narcotic drugs and liquor, gambling, prostitution, obscenity, and other forms of sexual expression. You will notice that I am eschewing the phrase "victimless crimes," which is the shorthand term most frequently applied to these offenses. It has proved to be an unfortunate tem1 because it often diverts discussion in the field from matters of substance to questions of label. At times, it appears to beg the very questions that these statutes engender and that are most in contention in the community. Perhaps I can best describe my purposes by saying that I intend to discuss a range of problems arising out of sumptuary criminal regulations enacted, in significant part, to vindicate certain moral attitudesattitudes that typically are in great contention and dispute within contemporary society.