The Yale Law Journal

Gabriel S. Mendlow

Essay

Why Is It Wrong To Punish Thought?

Gabriel S. Mendlow

It is an age-old maxim of criminal jurisprudence that the state must never punish people for their mere thoughts—for their beliefs, desires, and unexecuted intentions. Yet its justification is something of a mystery. This Essay argues that each of the prevailing justifications is deficient and propo…