Anthony Dillof

Anthony Dillof

Professor of Law

Contact

Room 3253
(313) 577-9450

Anthony Dillof

  • Biography

    Anthony Dillof currently teaches Torts, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure and Appellate Advocacy. In the past, he has taught Civil Rights and Jurisprudence. These classes complement his scholarly interest in exploring the forms of justice that underlie our civil, criminal and constitutional law systems respectively.

    Dillof has published articles in many of the nation's leading law journals. Topics he has written on include the concept of causation in personal injury law, the moral justification of the entrapment defense, the nature of wrongdoing in possessory offenses, the criminal law doctrine of transferred intent, the significance of harm for punishment assessment, and the free speech implications of hate crime laws. He believes that careful inquiry into the law's areas of stress, uncertainty and contradiction is necessary to chart its course forward.

    Dillof earned a bachelor’s in philosophy from Harvard University. At Columbia Law School, he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and a member of the law review. He worked at the Center for Law in the Public Interest in Los Angeles before taking a position as a law clerk for the Honorable William C. Canby, judge for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. He then served as special legal assistant for the American Civil Liberties Union where he worked on immigration issues.

    Dillof later joined the New York City Law Department, Office of the Corporation Counsel. There, he handled a wide range of civil matters including high-profile lawsuits involving challenges to New York City's recycling, solid waste disposal programs, and homeless litigation, as well as many cases before state and federal appellate courts. In 1994, Dillof was selected as one of three participants in Columbia Law School’s Associate of Law fellowship program. He subsequently joined the faculty at Texas Wesleyan University School of Law where he organized a student chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and a Pro Bono Criminal Law Project. Since 2002, he has been a member of the faculty of Wayne State University Law School.

    Dillof's interests outside of law include chess, aerogami, mathematics and book collecting. He also sings lead for a couple of local punk rock bands.

  • Degrees and Certifications

    LL.M., J.D. Columbia University
    A.B., Harvard University 

  • Courses Taught

    Appellate Advocacy
    Advanced Topics in Criminal Law and Procedure
    Criminal Law
    Criminal Procedure I
    Criminal Procedure II

  • Selected Publications

    Doomed Steamers and Thin Skulls: The Problem of Preempted Innocent Risks in Torts,30 Georgia State L. Rev. 703 (2014).

    Modal Retributivism: A Theory of Sanctions for Attempts and Other Criminal Wrongs, 45 Richmond. L. Rev. 467 (2011).

    Unraveling Unlawful Entrapment, 94 J. Crim. L. & Crim. 827 (2004).

    Unraveling Unknowing Justification, 77 Notre Dame L. Rev. 1547 (2002).

    Putting Hate in Its Place: The Codification of Bias Crime Statutes in a Modern Penal Code, 4 Buff. Crim. L. Rev. 341 (2000) (Model Penal Code Symposium issue).

    Transferred Intent: An Inquiry Into the Nature of Criminal Culpability, 1 Buff. Crim. L. Rev. 501 (1998) (New Voices in Criminal Theory symposium issue).

    Punishing Bias: An Examination of the Theoretical Foundations of Bias Crime Statutes, 91 Nw. U. L. Rev. 1015 (1997).

  • Social Science Research Network
    View SSRN Profile

    Publications

    • New: Unraveling Unknowing Justification
      July 29, 2019
      This Article concerns a narrow but significant topic in the theory of criminal law--the problem of unknowing justification. Briefly stated, the problem of unknowing justification is this: Should a defendant be exonerated of an offense due to circumstances he was unaware of, where he would have been entitled to a justification defense had he known of the circumstances? This Article will argue that, in general, the unknowingly justified actor should not qualify for a justification defense. Thus it will reject the so- called objective theories of justification, as well as the class of punishment theories in which wrongdoing is the central organizing principle. While wrongdoing is the critical concept for a theory of criminal conduct, i.e., what acts should be prohibited or required, responsibility for causing harm, it will be argued, should be the basis of criminal punishment, i.e., under what conditions sanction should be imposed. Furthermore, between the remaining theories of ...
    • New: Putting Hate in Its Place: The Codification of Bias Crime Laws in a Model Penal Code
      July 11, 2019
      Bias crime laws typically enhance punishment for criminal acts committed because if racial, religious or other form of bias. This article addressed how such laws are best codified within the Model Penal Code. The merits of varying approaches--bias crimes as part of the General Part, sentencing provision, or Specific Part--are considered and compared in light of their substantive implications and functionality.
    • New: Romer v. Evans and the Constitutionality of Higher Lawmaking
      October 8, 2018
      Romer v. Evans was a ground-breaking case in terms of the constitutionalization of gay rights. This paper gives a close reading of that case. While not condemning the result, the paper argues that the reasoning of the case is unsatisfactory and fails to provide a satisfactory foundation for the development of gay rights under the United States Constitution.
    • REVISION: Possession, Child Pornography and Proportionality: Criminal Liability for Aggregate Harm Offenses
      August 23, 2018
      Federal prosecution of individuals for possessing child pornography has risen steadily and dramatically over the last twenty years. As the number of prosecutions has increased, so have the penalties. Today a typical defendant charged with possessing child pornography can expect a seven-year prison sentence. The article considers whether such sentences are just, fair and proportionate. To answer this question, the article adopts a retributivist perspective on punishment. Retributivism, in turn, requires evaluating the wrongfulness of the conduct to be punished. The article argues that while the possession of child pornography by a large group of persons in aggregate creates significant social harm – for example, a robust market for the production of child pornography – individual acts of possession, considered at the margin, have only a trivial impact. This raises a serious problem of disproportionality in punishment for retributivists. The article attempts to solve this problem by ...
    • REVISION: Possession, Child Pornography and Proportionality: Criminal Liability for Aggregate Harm Offenses
      July 30, 2018
      Federal prosecution of individuals for possessing child pornography has risen steadily and dramatically over the last twenty years. As the number of prosecutions has increased, so have the penalties. Today a typical defendant charged with possessing child pornography can expect a seven-year prison sentence. The article considers whether such sentences are just, fair and proportionate. To answer this question, the article adopts a retributivist perspective on punishment. Retributivism, in turn, requires evaluating the wrongfulness of the conduct to be punished. The article argues that while the possession of child pornography by a large group of persons in aggregate creates significant social harm – for example, a robust market for the production of child pornography – individual acts of possession, considered at the margin, have only a trivial impact. This raises a serious problem of disproportionality in punishment for retributivists. The article attempts to solve this problem by ...
  • Accomplishments
    • Anthony Dillof wrote “Possession, Child Pornography and Proportionality: Criminal Liability for Aggregate Harm Offenses” for the Florida State University Law Review. The article explores federal penalties for possessing child pornography. Read the full article.

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