Saturday, May 14, 2005
A prosecution witness, a former MJ employee, was granted use immunity in the MJ case, but when he talked to investigators, he didn't say what they wanted to hear, so he was not called. Now, the defense wants to call him, forcing him to talk under that same grant of immunity. It raises age-old questions about the government's ability to get harmful testimony while suppressing exculpatory information through selective grants of immunity. [Jack Chin]
Criminal law scholar Dan Markel will join the faculty of the Florida State University College of Law in the fall as an assistant professor. Before entering academia, Professor Markel was an associate at Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans, & Figel in Washington, D.C., where he practiced white-collar criminal defense and civil litigation in trial and appellate courts. He also has served as a law clerk for the Honorable Judge Michael Daly Hawkins on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. "Dan's writings in criminal law have already commanded national attention, and we are very excited by what he brings to the scholarly mix of our faculty," said Dean Don Weidner. Professor Markel's scholarship is focused on developing a new theory of retributive justice for liberal democracies and applying that theory in particular to topics such as the proper scope of mercy, the death penalty, punitive damages, shaming punishments, and transitional justice in states recovering from mass atrocities. His articles appear in Vanderbilt Law Review, Minnesota Law Review, and Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review (here is Dan's website, which contains more information and has links to all of his articles). He also has written for or appeared as a commentator in a wide variety of national and international mass media, and is an avid blogger (go to his Prawfsblawg here). Raised in Toronto, Professor Markel studied politics and philosophy as an undergraduate at Harvard University. He then did graduate work in political philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the University of Cambridge, before returning to Harvard for his law degree, where he was an Olin Fellow and on law review. Professor Markel is the fifth new tenure track faculty member to join the law school in the past two years.
From KLTV in East Texas: "LINDEN, Texas A mentally disabled black man is found unconscious, brain-bruised and shivering on a fire ant mound.
Four white men charged in the incident could have faced 10 years in prison. But some people in this East Texas town of 2,300 say they knew better.On Friday, the four young men accused of severely injuring 44-year-old Billy Ray Johnson during a late-night "pasture party" in 2003 are expected to be sentenced to probation or brief jail time after juries rejected more serious charges and recommended suspended sentences for two of them. Some white residents believe it's a fair outcome for a few "good boys" from prominent families with no previous legal trouble. But other residents -- blacks and whites -- say the sentences are far from fair and just another example of justice being tainted by small-town politics, racism and a court system that favors whites." [Mark Godsey]
Friday, May 13, 2005
We blogged previously about Michigan State associate professor Brian Kalt's article, The Perfect Crime, which was the subject of a BBC story. Now, Kalt has been interviewed about the law review article, forthcoming in the Georgetown Law Journal, by Robert Siegel on NPR's All Things Considered. Listen here. [Mark Godsey]
San Fransisco attorney Joshua Dale was suspended from the bar for four months for convincing a defendant charged with arson to confess to him. Dale was representing the landlord of the building that was damaged in the arson, and wanted to obtain a confession from the defendant in order to use it in his client's civil suit against its insurance company. Dale visited the uneducated defendant in prison and cajoled the desired confession from him. The confession occurred while the defendant was awaiting an appellate decision as to whether his earlier confession to the police should have been admitted at trial. Dale promised the defendant that the confession would only be used in the civil case, and would not hurt his chances of obtaining a new trial on appeal. Dale also ignored requests from the defendant's criminal attorney to stay away from his client. Story . . . [Mark Godsey]
From MSNBC.com: "FBI agents posing as cocaine traffickers in Arizona caught 16 current and former U.S. soldiers and law enforcement personnel who took $220,000 in bribes to help move the drugs through checkpoints, Justice Department officials said Thursday. Those charged include a former Immigration and Naturalization Service inspector, a former Army sergeant, a former federal prison guard, current and former members of the Arizona Army National Guard and the state corrections department, and a Nogales, Ariz., police officer, officials said." Story . . . Talkleft notes that the defendants have already agreed to plead guilty with unusually sweet deals. [Mark Godsey]
Thursday, May 12, 2005
An LA man who was shot and paralyzed by the police, and then sentenced to 23 years based on false testimony surely has a lot to complain about. But the wrongful conviction was overturned, and he received a $15 million settlement on the shooting. Now, he's suing the city, claiming the public defender who represented him in the criminal trial should have done more to show he was framed. [Jack Chin]
Southwestern CrimProf Myrna Raeder has an interesting article in the Spring, 2005 issue of Criminal Justice Magazine, A Primer on Gender-Related Issues that Affect Female Offenders. Here's the description:
With the overall crime rate on the decline, why are so many more women entering the criminal justice system today as compared to 30 years ago? And what are the consequences—to the women and especially to their families? Professor Myrna Raeder, of Southwestern University School of Law, offers an overview that examines the reasons behind the influx, the disparity in race and ethnicity, the effect on children of a mother’s incarceration, and the special needs and concerns of women prisoners over issues such as medical treatment, sexual abuse, and violence. It closes with suggestions to defense lawyers, prosecutors, correctional authorities, and legislators on how to alter the system to better respond to this growing criminal population.
Access to the full text requires ABA membership. [Jack Chin]
State v. Sykes, Wis., No. 2003AP1234-CR, 4/22/05
PROBABLE CAUSE TO ARREST CAN JUSTIFY WARRANTLESS SEARCH AS 'INCIDENT' TO LATER ARREST THAT OFFICER DIDN'T INTEND TO MAKE AT TIME OF SEARCH
The existence of probable case will justify treating a warrantless search as a search "incident" to a later arrest for a different crime even when the officer, at the time of the search, did not intend to arrest the defendant and the later arrest is based on evidence found during the search, the Wisconsin Supreme Court decides. It is not the officer's subjective intent that is important, the court says; it is the fact that the officer actually had probable cause to arrest the defendant at the time he performed the search. Decision here.
Garvey v. State, Del., No. 5-2004, 4/28/05
A defendant who responded to a request to waive his "Miranda" rights by saying, "Depends on what you ask me," unambiguously waived his rights, the Delaware Supreme Court holds. Decision here. [Mark Godsey]
During the Ohio State Bar Association Annual Convention, the OSBA Legal Education Committee will honor CrimProf Paul C. Giannelli of the Case Western Reserve University School of Law as the recipient of the 2005 OSBA Legal Education Committee Award. This award is given to the law professor who has contributed most to Ohio law and the Ohio bar. More . . . [Mark Godsey]
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
Catholic U LawProf Michael Noone on criminal liability for reckless flying. Wayne State's Peter Henning on an SEC investigation, and on Johnny Cochrane's semi-franchised legal operation. Catholic U CrimProf Clifford Fishman comments on the large number of wiretaps obtained by local prosecutors in Brooklyn, NY. [Jack Chin]
. . .when you hire people in spite of knowing about their recent murder convictions. But the crime this recently hired schoolteacher is accused of now is child molestation. I suspect a certain private school principal who made a hiring decision which, in retrospect, represented a misjudgment, will soon be looking for another position. [Jack Chin]
The following is the content of footnote 1, which appeared in the recent criminal case of United States v. Murphy, Nos. 04-2032, 04-2293, 04-2309, decided on May 4th:
The trial transcript quotes Ms. Hayden as saying Murphy called her a snitch bitch “hoe.” A “hoe,” of course, is a tool used for weeding and gardening. We think the court reporter, unfamiliar with rap music (perhaps thankfully so), misunderstood Hayden’s response. We have taken the liberty of changing “hoe” to “ho,” a staple of rap music vernacular as, for example, when Ludacris raps “You doin’ ho activities with ho tendencies.”