The Supreme Court in its 1971 decision of Younger v. Harris prohibited federal court intervention in pending state criminal proceedings in the absence of special circumstances. This Article examines the Younger doctrine from a modern perspective and argues for its abolition. The Article shows that abstention in cases seeking reform of state criminal justice systems is inconsistent with federal court activism in other areas. It argues that state judges are not entitled to greater deference by federal courts than other state officials. It then explains why federal injunctive relief is essential to achieve systemic reform of state criminal justice. Finally, the Article offers specific guidelines for litigants and courts in the handling of criminal justice reform cases.
19 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 31 1985-1986