CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Saturday, April 2, 2005

CrimProf Spotlight: Rob Mikos of UC Davis

Rob_mikos_picture_1This week, CrimProf Blog highlights Rob Mikos of UC Davis.  Mikos writes:  I grew up in Fort Dodge, Iowa. My nine older siblings pursued a variety of careers (contractor, lawyer, banker, software engineer, etc.), but I never imagined I would one day become an “academic.”  I went to Princeton, where I earned my degree in public and international affairs, and joined a small strategy consulting firm in Boston upon graduation.

After a few years in business, however, I chose to enter law school. I hardly expected to enjoy the three years of legal education. I returned to the classroom mainly because I had a strong  desire to become a criminal prosecutor (my father’s furniture store was badly damaged by an arsonist while I was in college), and getting the J.D. was a necessary first step. The University of Michigan was the natural place to go, given that my wife Cindy had already begun her graduate studies in the Political Science program there.

Much to my surprise, I was immediately captivated by my legal studies. This was due, no doubt, to the skill of my first year professors, who included Omri Ben-Shahar, Evan Caminker, Yale Kamisar, and Jim Krier, among others. Omri, in particular, took me under his wing and introduced me to the study of law and economics, which influences my scholarship today. We even collaborated on a project that became my first accepted publication, The (Legal) Value of Chance, forthcoming in the American Law and Economics Review. At Michigan I immersed myself in the latest scholarship, frequently attending various workshops and serving as an articles editor of the Michigan Law Review. I graduated summa cum laude and was lucky enough to receive several honors, including the Henry M. Bates Memorial Scholarship.

After graduation from Michigan, I had the very good fortune to serve as a law clerk for Chief Judge Michael Boudin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. The next year, I began my teaching career at the University of Michigan Law School while my wife Cindy finished up her Political Science Ph.D. We both joined the faculty at the University of California, Davis in the fall of 2003. I have taught Antitrust, Constitutional Law, and Law and Economics at the Law School.

My current research interests include federalism and criminal law. My first major article, Enforcing State Law in Congress’s Shadow (90 Cornell Law Review ___ (September 2005)) addresses both topics. The article analyzes federal statutes that impose sanctions (such as deportation, or loss of firearms privileges) on individuals who have been convicted of state crimes. It demonstrates that by raising the stakes involved in state criminal cases, federal sanctions may cause defendants to contest state charges more vigorously, thereby producing one of two unintended consequences. First, the sanctions may make it more costly for state prosecutors to enforce state laws. Second, due to resource constraints or dislike of the federal sanctions, state prosecutors may circumvent these statutes by manipulating charging decisions. But in the process, state prosecutors may have to reduce state sanctions as well, thereby undermining deterrence and the fair application of both state and federal law. The full text of the article is available at

April 2, 2005 in Weekly CrimProf Spotlight | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Explosives Found in Nichols' Residence

The home of Terry Nichols, convicted co-conspirator of Timothy McVeigh, was searched this week and blasting caps and other explosives were found in a crawlspace where they had evidently been since 1995.  Nichols' lawyer said the discovery could be a hoax or a major FBI failure. [Jack Chin]

April 2, 2005 in News | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

North Carolina Death Penalty Moratorium Supported By Murder Victim Famlies

The families of murder victims lobbied North Carolina legislators to pass a moratorium on capital punishment while the fairness of its application could be studied.  A similar effort failed last year. [Jack Chin]

April 2, 2005 in Capital Punishment | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, April 1, 2005

Marin County Minorities Allege Discrimination

Marin County, California is consideirng creating a police oversight agency based on numerous reports by minorities of unfair treatment. The San Francisco Chronicle interviewed 30 randomly selected African American residents, of whom 10 reported being stopped and harassed within the last year. [Jack Chin]

April 1, 2005 in Race | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tips on Teaching Criminal Law and Rape

Questions and comments on two Volokh posts: Tips on teaching Criminal Law; tips on teaching rape specifically. [Jack Chin; Thanks to Kaimi Wenger for the tip]

April 1, 2005 in CrimProfs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

"Pranksters" Charged with Conspiracy for False Report

Two people who played an alleged internet prank game called "bombing," involving making a false report to see how many police respond, were charged with conspiracy and other offenses, after SWAT officers responded to a New Jersey home based on a 911 call reporting a kidnapping and rape. [Jack Chin]

April 1, 2005 in Criminal Law | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

David Harris, Good Cops

Harris Toledo Crimprof David Harris has published Good Cops: The Case for Preventive Policing (The New Press).  There is an associated website, Praise for the book comes from such people as Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who says: “In this important book, David Harris shows how modern police forces can make us safer from crime and terrorism.” William Bratton says: “This book should be read by everyone in law enforcement and every citizen who cares about the future of our country.”  [Jack Chin]

April 1, 2005 in Book Club | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Cop Screw-Ups Interfere With Births

In Florida, a cop stopped a doctor rushing to the hospital (10 miles over the speed limit) to help give birth to a baby.  When the doctor explained that he was on his way to a delivery, the cop answered, "What are you delivering, a pizza?"  The cop refused to let him go, handcuffed him as he wrote the ticket, and the doctor missed the birth.   The officer was suspended.  In Ohio, a woman driving herself to the hospital as she was in the process of giving birth was stopped by cops and ordered out of the car at gunpoint because the cops mistakenly believed she had stolen the car.  The woman gave birth at a gas station.  [Mark Godsey]

April 1, 2005 in News | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Tony Blair and "Tough on Crime"

In a recent interview, British PM Tony Blair argued that being tough on crime means implementing "preemption" programs to stop anti-social behavior at a young age.  "Because what people tell me - and I am not an expert on this -  is that even of the age of four or five, you can start to tell if children have got a disposition towards anti-social behavior. There are deep-rooted family problems."  He pointed to the need to expand nursery school programs and the Sure Start program as cutting down on future crime.  Story . . .  [Mark Godsey]

March 31, 2005 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Judge Orders County to Stop Strip Searches

From  "An upstate New York county has been ordered to suspend a policy in which all detainees, including those arrested on misdemeanor and traffic charges, are required to strip naked in front of a corrections officer.  Northern District Judge David N. Hurd temporarily enjoined Montgomery County from enforcing its security policy and also granted class action status to plaintiffs alleging violations of their Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures. In a decision dated Friday, Hurd said the plaintiffs have demonstrated a substantial likelihood of success on the merits" and are therefore entitled to preliminary injunctive relief. Montgomery County, as a matter of jail policy, requires everyone admitted to the jail to strip in view of an officer of the same sex. The county had claimed that since officials were merely observing detainees and not performing body cavity examinations they were not conducting a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. But Hurd found the argument "one of semantics" and inconsistent with 2nd Circuit precedent."  Story . . .  [Mark Godsey]

March 31, 2005 in Search and Seizure | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Alabama Proposes Criminalizing Slandering Political Candidates

An Alabama senator has introduced a bill proposing five year prison terms for individuals convicted of slandering political candidates.  [Jack Chin]

March 31, 2005 in Criminal Law | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Few Trials in Oklahoma

An Oklahoma newspaper reports that of over 12,000 felony and misdemeanor criminal cases filed in the year ending July 1, 2004, only 164 went to trial.  Most of the rest, of course, were disposed of in guilty pleas. [Jack Chin]

March 31, 2005 in Trials | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Why Is Identity Theft Rampant?

The's infographic here.  [Mark Godsey]

March 31, 2005 in News | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Bad Luck Robbers Busted By Witness Half A World Away

A man in Australia who was trying out his new high speed internet connection randomly came across a webcam posted outdoors in England, and just happened to catch a robbery in progress at that moment.  He called the police in England and tipped them off, and the police made the bust.  Story . . .  [Mark Godsey]

March 31, 2005 in Technology | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

New Supreme Court Decision Today

From  "In Rhines v. Weber, No. 03-9046, the court held that a federal district court has discretion to stay a "mixed" habeas corpus petition containing both exhausted and unexhausted claims while the petitioner goes back to state court to exhaust the latter, thereby tolling the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act's statute of limitations, before returning to federal court for review of the perfected petition, so long as there was good cause for the failure to exhaust, the unexhausted claims are potentially meritorious, and nothing suggests that the petitioner is dragging his feet."  [Mark Godsey]

March 30, 2005 in Supreme Court | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Washington Considers Mandatory Crime Reporting

A Washington legislator who was hit by a car while jogging and ignored by passing traffic has introduced legislation to require making a 911 call in serious criminal cases where there is no danger to the reporter; the bill has passed the House of Representatives.  Among the cases warranting such a change, say supporters, is a 2002 case where no less than 10 people observed a bound and gagged kidnap victim in the garage where she was being held, but no one reported the crime until after she was murdered. [Jack Chin]

March 30, 2005 in Criminal Law | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Sting Nets U Wisc Professor

A University of Wisconsin professor was arrested after engaging in sexually explicit communications with a "14 year old boy" who was in fact a cop.  [Jack Chin]

March 30, 2005 in Criminal Law | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

New Article Spotlight: The Perfect Crime

Kalt_head Brian Kalt of Michigan State has posted The Perfect Crime, forthcoming in the Georgetown Law Journal, on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

This article argues that there is a 50-square-mile swath of Idaho in which one can commit felonies with impunity. This is because of the intersection of a poorly drafted statute with a clear but neglected constitutional provision: the Sixth Amendment's Vicinage Clause. Although lesser criminal charges and civil liability still loom, the remaining possibility of criminals going free over a needless technical failure by Congress is difficult to stomach. No criminal defendant has ever broached the subject, let alone faced the numerous (though unconvincing) counterarguments. This shows that vicinage is not taken seriously by lawyers or judges. Still, Congress should close the Idaho loophole, not pretend it does not exist.

To obtain the paper, click here.  [Mark Godsey]

March 30, 2005 in Scholarship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Top 5 Crim Papers on SSRN

Ssrn_22_1 The top 5 crim papers for this week, with number of recent downloads, on SSRN are:

(1) 863 A Model Regime of Privacy Protection
Daniel J. Solove, Chris Jay Hoofnagle,
George Washington University Law School, Electronic Privacy Information Center West Coast Office,
Date posted to database: March 11, 2005
Last Revised: March 11, 2005
(2) 261 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
(3) 125 Rethinking the Involuntary Confession Rule: Toward a Workable Test for Identifying Compelled Self-Incrimination
Mark Godsey,
University of Cincinnati - College of Law,
Date posted to database: November 19, 2004
Last Revised: March 16, 2005
(4) 119 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
(5) 108 The Blakely Earthquake Exposes the Procedure/Substance Fault Line
Stephanos Bibas,
University of Iowa - College of Law,
Date posted to database: January 21, 2005
Last Revised: February 4, 2005

March 30, 2005 in Weekly Top 5 SSRN Crim Downloads | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

New Zealand Politicians Target Youth Crime

According to New Zealand National Party leader, Dr. Don Brash, people ages 10-16 are responsible for 25% of all crime in New Zealand.  In response, he announced the Youth Justice Policy to lower the age of criminal responsibility for youths from 14 to 12 and to hold parents responsible for their children's actions. The Youth Justice Policy would include supportive programs for parents to teach and encourage positive parenting, programs for schools to address truancy, second chances for young first offenders, stiffer penalties for repeat offenders, and more effective post relief supervision and rehabilitation programs.  New Zealand law currently provides family group conferences before sending a youth to Youth Court, but the new Youth Justice Policy also would limit the number of these conferences to two.  Dr. Brash reported that some youth offenders have had as many of 14 of these conferences before being sent to court; clearly this is an ineffective measure, he said.  The new policy's parental responsibility/involvement component adopts measures similar to British measures.  The program will require parents of juvenile offenders to attend counseling sessions and learn how to provide better parameters for their children--such as ensuring their regular attendance at school, enforcing a curfew, or prohibiting them from visiting certain places or people.  The British system of fighting youth crime has halved youth crime since 1998.  New Zealand hopes for similar or better results. More... [Mark Godsey]

March 30, 2005 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | TrackBack (0)