This Note argues that certain Southeast Asian defendants should be able to use their families' refugee experience as well as their own economic and social marginalization in the U.S. as a partial excuse for their criminal acts. This argument draws its strength from both the socioeconomic deprivation of much of the Southeast Asian community and the linking of this reality to a careful analysis of the moral foundations of the criminal law. In essence, the American criminal justice system, which draws much of its moral force to punish from the theory of retributivism, cannot morally justify the full punishment of a large portion of the Southeast Asian community. It is precluded from doing so by American society's contribution, in one form or another, to many of these defendants' criminal conduct.
Jason H. Lee,
Dislocated and Deprived: A Normative Evaluation of Southeast Asian Criminal Responsibility and the Implications of Societal Fault,
Mich. J. Race & L.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mjrl/vol11/iss2/9