The April issue of Boston College Law Review is now available. The issue features two articles by outside authors as well as three student notes. Summaries of the five pieces can be found below. The full texts are also available on the BCLR website.
Federal Guilty Pleas: Inequities, Indigence, and the Rule 11 Process by Professor Julian A. Cook, III
In his Article, Professor Cook examines the guilty-plea hearing process through the lens of two recent Supreme Court cases: Lee v. United States and Class v. United States. Professor Cook argues that in each case, the district courts accepted a "guilty" plea from the defendants without adequately ensuring that the defendants understood what rights are forfeited upon entering a guilty plea as required by Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. In examining the Rule 11 Process, Professor Cook argues that defendants, particularly indigent and minority defendants, are negatively impacted by the plea hearing process despite the rules and procedures in place to protect them.
Securities Disclosure As Soundbite: The Case of CEO Pay Ratios by Professors Steven A. Bank and George S. Georgiev
In their Article, Professors Bank and Georgiev analyze the history, design, and effectiveness of the highly controversial CEO pay ratio disclosure rule, which went into effect in 2018. Based on a regulatory mandate contained in the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, the rule requires public companies to disclose the ratio between CEO pay and median worker pay as part of their annual filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Professors Bank and Georgiev suggest that the pay ratio disclosure rule represents a unique approach to disclosure, which they term disclosure-as-soundbite. This approach is characterized by (1) high public salience—the pay ratio is superficially intuitive and resonates with the public to an extent much greater than other disclosure, and (2) low informational integrity—the pay ratio is a relative outlier in terms of certain baseline characteristics of disclosure, meaning that the information is lacking in accuracy, difficult to interpret, and incomplete. They find that in its current formulation, the rule is ineffectual and potentially counterproductive when viewed as a means of generating useful and reliable information for investors, or influencing firm behavior on matters of worker and executive compensation. However, given the low probability of legislative action in this area in the near term, Professors Bank and Georgiev propose that the SEC should seek to improve the rule’s informational integrity by mandating a narrative disclosure approach that provides information about median worker pay and the resulting pay ratio with more context, nuance, and explanation.
In her Note, Lauren Allen argues that 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv) is facially unconstitutional under the overbreadth doctrine. Applying the analysis from Brandenburg v. Ohio, she first argues that the statute regulates protected speech, specifically advocacy speech. The statute’s application criminalizes a substantial number of defendants who are engaging in this protected speech, and thus the statute is overly broad. Lauren also suggests that the statute be redrafted by Congress to include stronger words, such as “urge” and “facilitate,” and carve out a special exception for immigrants with remediable claims. These solutions would bring the statute back within the realm of constitutionality.
Straight to Video: America’s Inmates Deprived of a Lifeline Through Video-Only Visits by Alexandre Bou-Rhodes
In his Note, Alex Bou-Rhodes examines the growing video-visitation industry in United States’ jails and prisons. When correctional facilities adopt video visitation, they often then eliminate in-person visitation. But research supports the notion that in-person visitation has beneficial impacts on inmate mental health, facility security, and rehabilitation. Alex argues that correctional facilities should keep in-person visitation, and describes potential judicial, legislative, and regulatory interventions.
In his Note, Roman Ibragimov discusses the problem of "zombie mortgages" that arose following the Financial Crisis when borrowers moved out of their homes after their lenders initiated foreclosure proceedings. After many lenders failed to complete the foreclosure, these borrowers were shocked to find that they still retained title to their homes, along with all the costs associated with their now disheveled, zombie-like home. Roman argues that states wishing to prevent zombies from rising should consider implementing laws that would allow a borrower to forcibly vest title in a lender that failed to complete a foreclosure and allowed the home to turn into a zombie.