Saturday, April 30, 2005
In the UK, police are sending repeat offenders birthday cards, with rhymes urging reforms. According to the Scotsman, here are two rehabilitative verses: “Another year, have you changed your life? You know that crime brings trouble and strife. Now it’s up to you, we can assist. Let’s cross your name off our list.” “On your birthday we wish you well. We would hate to see you in a cell. Time to change, we can assist. Let’s cross your name off our list.” With writing of this quality, it is hard to see how these reform efforts could possibly fail. [Jack Chin]
This week the CrimProf Blog spotlights co-editor Jack Chin of The University of Arizona College of Law. Gabriel (Jack) Chin earned his JD from Michigan Law School, where he graduated cum laude and was named a S.K. Yee Merit Scholar. Following his time at Ann Arbor, he headed to Colorado where he clerked a year for U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch. After a year in the West, Chin made his way back to the East Coast where he worked as an associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in New York City and Boston, followed by the Legal Aid Society of New York.
After six busy years of practice, the academic in Chin called him to Yale Law School where he earned his Masters of Law and an Editor of the Yale Law & Policy Review. In 1995, he began his first academic position as an Assistant Professor at the Western New England College of Law; during his remaining two years as a professor at Western New England, he also worked as the Special Assistant District Attorney in Springfield and Cambridge, MA. After making his mark in the East, Chin moved to Cincinnati, where he stayed from 1998 to 2003 and kept plenty busy. He worked as Special Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for Hamilton County and taught at the University of Cincinnati College of Law, where he eventually was named Interim Associate Dean and founded the Urban Justice Institute (now the Lois and Richard Rosenthal Institute for Justice/Ohio Innocence Project directed by co-blogger Mark Godsey). Currently, Chin is the Chester H. Smith Professor of Law and Professor of Public Administration and Policy at the University of Arizona. In addition to co-editing this blog, Chin is Co-Director of the Law, Criminal Justice & Security Program, and maintains the TeachLaw website of resources for new or aspiring law professors.
Chin has authored numerous books and articles. (There's a reason why he was listed in the 50 Most Cited Faculty Who Entered Teaching Since 1992.) For a complete list of his publications, click here, and for links to 11 of his articles, click here.
In addition to his academic work, Jack has fronted several important public interest initiatives. For example, during his tenure in Cincinnati he and his students convinced the Ohio General Assembly to ratify the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (report here), as well as to remove racial slurs still on the books. Currently, he and his students are fighting to remove Jim Crow laws across the Southern States that have been unenforced in recent years but never removed from the statute books; Georgia, Missouri and Louisiana have passed statutes in response. For this work he was named "One of the 25 Most Notable Asians in America" in 2001.
From MSNBC.com: "A call about a possible weapon at a middle school prompted police to put armed officers on rooftops, close nearby streets and lock down the school. All over a giant burrito. Someone called authorities Thursday after seeing a boy carrying something long and wrapped into Marshall Junior High. The drama ended two hours later when the suspicious item was identified as a 30-inch burrito filled with steak, guacamole, lettuce, salsa and jalapeños and wrapped inside tin foil and a white T-shirt." Story . . . [Mark Godsey]
Two Massachusetts men who were all over the media after claiming to have found $100k in buried treasure were charged with stealing that money from a barn where they were working as laborers. Story here. I hope they have a good lawyer; there is some law saying that a finder of "treasure trove" even on someone else's property, gets to keep it. "An owner of real estate is considered to be in constructive possession of property found "embedded in the earth," which may include such items as valuable earthenware and gold-bearing quartz, and property that has been "mislaid," which its owner intentionally put where he could resort to it but has forgotten the place. However, a landowner is said not to be in constructive possession of "treasure trove," which has been defined as gold, silver, bullion, or those metals' paper representatives, concealed for safekeeping, possessory rights to which exist in the finder." 61 A.L.R.4th 1180 [Jack Chin]
Friday, April 29, 2005
A Chicagoan cleared by DNA of a rape conviction after serving 11 years is suing the police, claiming that his confession was coerced. Story here. Meanwhile, here's an article about a St. Louis rape for which a defendant served 18 years; in spite of a DNA exoneration, the victim and her family still insist that the right person was convicted. [Jack Chin]
State and federal prosecutors applied for 1,710 wire taps last year, a dramatic increase over prior years. Wiretap applications are similar to search warrants, and require a demonstration of probable cause that incriminating conversations will be recorded. Every single wiretap application submitted to a judge last year in this country was approved. Every single one? When I was a federal prosecutor, some judges would approve a wiretap application after a quick skim-read, as they can be lengthy and time-consuming. One federal judge, who shall remain nameless, looked at the size of the application and asked me, "Is there probable cause here?" When I said yes, he started to sign it without reading a word. I had to respectfully ask him to read it. But most judges really busted my chops on the probable cause issue. All 1,710 applications approved? Have our judges become rubber stamps after 9/11? Story . . . [Mark Godsey]
From MSNBC.com: "Last year, the Oklahoma legislature enacted a bill that limits the sale of cold and allergy medicine, pseudoephedrine, a key component in “cooking” the drug. The law requires the ingredient to be sold behind the pharmacy counter and customers have to show identification and are limited on the amount they are allowed to buy." Other states are following suit, and Walmart and Target are imposing their own internal restrictions to prevent this type of conduct. Story . . . [Mark Godsey]
Fordham CrimProf Ian Weinstein has posted The Revenge of Mullaney v. Wilbur: U.S. v. Booker and The Reassertion of Judicial Limits on Legislative Power to Define Crimes on SSRN. Here's the abstract:
This article offers a historically
grounded account of the twists and turns in the Supreme Court's
sentencing jurisprudence from the end of World War II to the Court's
stunning rejection of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. The doctrinal
shifts that have roiled this area of the law can best be understood as
the Court's effort to respond to the changing political and social
landscape of crime in America. In the mid 1970's, legislative activity
in the criminal law was largely focused on Model Penal Code influenced
recodification. In that era, the Supreme Court took power from an
ascendant judiciary and gave it to legislators who did not seem
disposed to exercise their authority too broadly. By the late 1990’s
the tide had shifted and the Court turned sentencing doctrine on its
head to take power over criminal law from legislative bodies inclined
to push the limits of their power and transfer it back to a newly
cautious judiciary. This article explores how that shift in power was
informed by changing social and political conditions and was
accomplished through doctrines regulating the Sixth Amendment right to
To obtain the paper, click here. [Mark Godsey]
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Loyola Chicago announced the hiring of John Bronsteen, who will start in the fall. The press release says: "Professor Bronsteen is currently a Bigelow Teaching Fellow and Lecturer at The University of Chicago Law School. He received his undergraduate degree in Government magna cum laude from Harvard, and his law degree from Yale, where he was the Senior Editor of the Yale Law Journal. He served as a law clerk for the Honorable Douglas Ginsburg, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and then practiced for a year with Goldstein & Howe in Washington, DC. He will teach criminal law and procedure at Loyola, in addition to a seminar on class actions, a subject on which he has published two law review articles." [Mark Godsey]
Fordham recently hired two new CrimProfs to start in the fall. John Pfaff was previously spotlighted here. Here is the bio for Fordham's second hire, Youngjae Lee:
I was born in Seoul, Korea and grew up there until my family immigrated to the United States when I was fourteen. After spending my high school days in the Seattle area, I went to Swarthmore College, where I studied philosophy and economics. It was there, while studying philosophical controversies surrounding the concept of desert, that I first became interested in punishment.
After graduating from Swarthmore, I went back to Korea to study more philosophy at Seoul National University as a Fulbright Scholar. While I was in Korea, two ex-Presidents of South Korea were arrested and tried for treason, which further deepened my interest in the institution of punishment. There were various constitutional challenges against the prosecutions, and watching the legal process unfold also piqued my interest in Korean constitutional law and constitutional regulation of criminal procedure there.
I then returned here and attended Harvard Law School, and while I was a 2L, United States v. Bajakajian was decided, which was the first case in which a criminal fine was declared unconstitutional for being “excessive” under the Excessive Fines Clause of the Eighth Amendment. I wrote a student comment about the case, focusing on the concept of proportionality in punishment and revisiting the topic of desert.
After law school, I moved to Washington, D.C. and stayed there for a few years, first as a law clerk for Judge Judith Rogers on the D.C. Circuit, and later as a litigator at the Justice Department and at Jenner & Block.
Then I moved to New York to take up my current position as an Alexander Fellow at NYU School of Law. While here, I’ve pursued my academic interests in criminal law, criminal law theory, and comparative constitutional law in both my teaching and writing. I wrote two articles, “The Constitutional Right Against Excessive Punishment,” 91 Virginia Law Review (forthcoming May 2005), and “Law, Politics, and Impeachment: The Impeachment of Roh Moo-hyun from a Comparative Constitutional Perspective,” 53 American Journal of Comparative Law (forthcoming Spring 2005), and this semester I taught a seminar on criminal law theory, which I very much enjoyed.
I am very excited about teaching and joining the Fordham faculty. I will be teaching Criminal Law and Torts and will continue to write in the areas of criminal law, criminal law theory, and comparative constitutional law.
Send us info on your school's new CrimProf hires, and we'll introduce them to the profession. [Mark Godsey]
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
From BNA.com, U.S. Law Week: The Supreme Court decided the following criminal case today:
Pace v. DiGuglielmo, No. 03-9627 -- The one-year statute of limitations for filing a federal habeas corpus petition was not tolled while the petitioner awaited a state court's ruling on whether his late state post-conviction relief petition fell within a statutory exception excusing an untimely filing.
Decision here. [Mark Godsey]