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Emory Law Journal Online


We assume that legal concepts are generic and indifferent to facts. But bad attempts at crime (something always unlawful) and bad attempts at art (something almost always lawful) are potentially treated very differently in many U.S. jurisdictions. Surprisingly, the bad attempt at art might be more likely to result in punishment. I draw on notions of capacity and responsibility to suggest why the amateur rapper should be excused for genuine aesthetic attempts that are perceived as threatening. In doing so, I comment on form and formalism in public law, and how principles of criminal law can help to maintain the integrity of our constitutional law doctrine.

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Criminal Law Commons