Wednesday, March 16, 2005
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
CrimProf Ira Robbins of American has published Anthrax Hoaxes in the American University Law Review. Here's the abstract:
In the aftermath of 9/11, not only were there several deadly anthrax attacks, but there were also numerous anthrax hoaxes. Some of these hoaxes resulted in serious jail time. Early on, prosecutors attempted to stretch existing laws (e.g., false-reports and bomb-hoax statutes) to fit the facts of individual cases. Some states have since enacted new laws designed to prosecute and deter anthrax hoaxes in particular. Many of these laws, however -- enacted in the heat of the moment -- either omit or misinterpret important aspects of mens rea and actus reus, thus making the successful and fair prosecution of offenders a difficult task.
This article considers whether hoax legislation should be a state or federal matter, reviews federal and state statutes used to prosecuteanthrax hoax crimes before 9/11, analyzes legislation introduced in response to the attacks on 9/11, and recommends a model hoax crimes statute. The article concludes with a recommendation that the federal government adopt a hoax crime statute that includes a mens rea requirement based on the mindset of the perpetrator and three distinct acti rei -- false reports, hoaxes, and terroristic threats -- with punishment tailored to the perpetrator's actual mens rea. Regardless of whether the federal government adopts these laws, the states should employ statutes that are based on this formulation.
To obtain a copy of the paper, click here. [Mark Godsey]
The San Francisco Chronicle reports on Oakland's plan to put photos of men arrested for soliciting prostitutes on billboards, and discusses the return of shaming punishments more generally. It recounts the story of a Toronto man who committed suicide after he was erroneously identified as a purchaser of internet child pornography. The article quotes Dan Markel, a soon-to-be FSU crimprof, who has written extensively in this area. [Jack Chin]
Story here. There was insufficient evidence, said the four members of the committee who voted against the bill, that spousal rape was a common enough problem to legislate against. Here's a critical editorial from the Arizona Daily Star.[Jack Chin]
From the DPIC: "By a vote of 25-15, members of the Connecticut
Judiciary Committee voted for legislation to repeal the state's death
penalty and replace it with life in prison without the possibility of
parole, an action that clears the way for the full House to debate the
measure." More . . . [Mark Godsey]
Each week we will feature the top 5 crim papers downloaded on SSRN. This week's top 5, with the number of recent downloads, are:
|(1)||234||Search Warrants in an Era of Digital Evidence |
Orin S. Kerr,
The George Washington University Law School,
Date posted to database: February 11, 2005
Last Revised: February 22, 2005
|(2)||129||On Law Enforcement with Boundedly Rational Actors |
Harvard University - Harvard Law School,
Date posted to database: December 7, 2004
Last Revised: March 2, 2005
|(3)||102||Rethinking the Involuntary Confession Rule: Toward a Workable Test for Identifying Compelled Self-Incrimination |
University of Cincinnati - College of Law,
Date posted to database: November 19, 2004
Last Revised: November 30, 2004
|(4)||96||The Blakely Earthquake Exposes the Procedure/Substance Fault Line |
University of Iowa - College of Law,
Date posted to database: January 21, 2005
Last Revised: February 4, 2005
|(5)||93||An Introduction to the Model Penal Code of the American Law Institute |
Paul H. Robinson, Markus Dirk Dubber,
University of Pennsylvania Law School, University at Buffalo School of Law,
Date posted to database: February 4, 2005
Last Revised: February 4, 2005
Monday, March 14, 2005
CrimProf Paul Robinson of Penn has posted Criminal Justice in the Information Age: A Punishment Theory Paradox on SSRN. Here's the abstract:
This paper suggests how the information age might produce high capture and conviction rates and speculates on the effect of such developments on the criminal justice system's punishment theory. The low rate at which offenders presently are punished makes a deterrent threat of official sanction of limited effect. With a high punishment rate, however, a distribution of liability and punishment based upon a deterrence principle might, for the first time, make sense. On the other hand, the greater deterrent effect might eliminate crime as a serious social concern. And, without the pressure of a serious crime problem, the theory for distributing punishment might revert to distribution based upon community notions of desert, with social science research suggests is the lay person's default distributive principle. (Even a desert distribution of punishment would convey a strong deterrent in a world of high conviction rates.) In other words, the success of deterrence might paradoxically pave the way for its demise and for the domination of desert as the operating theory for the distribution of punishment.
To obtain the paper, click here. [Mark Godsey]
From Law.com: "A federal judge on Long Island has banned from his
courtroom for life a defense lawyer who claimed the judge improperly
communicated with a co-defendant's lawyer.
Eastern District Judge Leonard D. Wexler said the 'lies'
contained in an affidavit submitted by attorney Joseph J. Fleischman
made him so furious that he could not proceed with an ongoing trial in
which Fleischman represented the main defendant. 'I think the half-truths and the lies by Mr. Fleischman have
messed this up,' Wexler said, according to a transcript of a March 1
hearing. 'And therefore I declare a mistrial.'
The judge barred Fleischman from ever again practicing before
him and he also barred Fleischman's law firm, Bridgewater, N.J.'s
Norris McLaughlin & Marcus, so long as Fleischman remained a
partner at the firm." More . . . [Mark Godsey]
In Seattle, the Division of Social and Health Services was found to have had many persons with serious criminal records on the payroll, including rape and robbery. Although criminal background checks were required for employees, an appeals panel was set up with authority to waive emplyment ineligibility, and over 90% of applicants received a waiver. [Jack Chin]
An op-ed in a Virginia outlet criticizes the lesser penalties for unintentionally causing death with a dog compared to a car or a gun. Meanwhile, here's a man-kicks-dog story in Massachusetts. In Connecticut a dog who was to be euthanized after attacking a 12 year old in 2003 but was saved by a public outcry attacked a 7 year old and was put down. [Jack Chin]
This story about Michael Jackson's trial tardyness followed by an appearance in pajamas illustrates one of the central truths of lawyering: The clients can sure mess up a case. USC crimprof Tom Lyon talks in this article about the consequences of a young witness being pressured to lie: "He's likely to turn out better if he was molested," Lyon said. "If he's lying because his mother's coaching him ... you have a boy who would be undergoing a really serious conflict. I find that a much more terrifying prospect." [Jack Chin] UPDATE: Headline: "Michael Jackson Arrives on Time to Court, Wearing Regular Pants."
Sunday, March 13, 2005
The boss of the Gambino Crime Family, Arnold "Zeke" Squitieri, underboss, Anthony "The Genius" Megale, and at least 30 other members were arrested Wednesday after an undercover FBI agent successfully infiltrated into their organization. MSNBC.com reports, "Prosecutors said Squitieri, Megale and other defendants made millions of dollars through extortion, loansharking, illegal gambling and other crimes during the past decade. Some of the crimes — which included the shakedown of a radio station and a beating at Bloomingdale’s — were plotted at a nursing home, court papers said. 'Had we left him [the undercover agent] out on the street much longer, the Gambino family ranks would actually have increased by one,' D’Amuro said." The undercover agent moled his way into the family for about two years and was even proposed for induction into the family. More... [Mark Godsey]
Here is a link that has updates on which law schools hired new professors, and who they hired, during the 2004-05 hiring season. If your newest recruit isn't on the list, send them an e-mail and they'll update it.
Also, if you recently hired a new crimprof at your school to start in Fall 2005, drop me an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let me know. I'll do a post introducing all the soon-to-be crimprofs with short bios. [Mark Godsey]