Published online by Cambridge University Press: 27 December 2018
The Limits of the Criminal Sanction (1968) has spawned decades of commentary. This essay argues that Packer's two‐model conceptualization of the criminal process is best understood within his professional milieu of doctrinal legal scholarship and the political context of the Warren Court revolution. Within this context, the essay suggests a distinction between two due process visions: formalism and fairness. This distinction is useful for illuminating debates and decisions on criminal procedure matters in the Supreme Court such as Terry v. Ohio (1968) and Apprendi v. New Jersey (2000). I conclude by encouraging sensitivity to legal and historical context in future commentary on Packer's framework.