CrimProf Blog

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

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

In Lieu of Grading, Humorous Articles

Admittedly, the genre of riotously funny law review articles is smaller than one would have assumed.  But here are two classics (access to Hein, Lexis, Westlaw required):

Eric Muller, What's in a name (tag)?, 52 J. Legal Educ. 314 (2002) (suggestions for improving identification at the American Ass'n of Law Schools annual meeting). Hein Westlaw

James D. Gordon III, How Not to Succeed in Law School, 100 Yale L.J. 1679 (1991) Hein Lexis

Kaimi Wenger suggests Balkin & Levinson's How to Win Cites and Influence People and Kosinski & Volokh's Lawsuit, Shmawsuit

Mike Dimino points to the amusing Nebraska LawProf Steven Bradford, who has this humor page, which includes future classics Book Review: Spring 2002 UNL College of Law Upperclass Registration Packet, I'm a Law Professor; I'm O.K., and How to Keep a Law Review Editor Busy

[Jack Chin]

May 11, 2005 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Illinois Dad Allegedly Admits Killing 2 Girls

This case will test the Illinois anti-death penalty forces; a dad who kills two young girls is beyond the pale. Jerry Hobbs is the defendant; Laura Hobbs and Krystal Tobias are the victims.  Story here. [Jack Chin]

May 11, 2005 in News | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Greenpeace Found Guilty of Environmental Crime

From NBC:  "The environmental protection group Greenpeace is in hot water in Alaska for violating environmental protection laws.  A jury yesterday found it guilty of criminal negligence for an incident last summer when the group's ship entered Alaskan waters for an anti-logging protest without filing the required paperwork. The Greenpeace ship was carrying 70-thousand gallons of fuel, and Alaska law requires such vessels to file an oil-spill response plan.  Greenpeace could be fined up to 200-thousand dollars. The ship's captain could also be fined and sent to jail."  Story . . .  [Mark Godsey]

May 11, 2005 in News | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

New Article Spotlight: William Mitchell's Wayne Logan

LoganwayneCrimProf Wayne A. Logan has posted Horizontal Federalism in an Age of Criminal Justice Interconnectedness, forthcoming in the Pennsylvania Law Review, on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

Despite their status as independent sovereigns, states increasingly exhibit a willingness to interact when it comes to crime control matters. This Article examines the two foremost examples of this phenomenon: criminal recidivist enhancement laws and sex offender registration laws. Both types of laws have been around for decades and have evolved to accommodate ex-offenders, who, consistent with constitutional freedom of movement, can (and often do) change state residences. This effort at accommodation, however, puts states in the unusual position of having to interpret and apply the criminal laws and outcomes of their fellow sovereigns. As the Article makes clear, recidivist and registration laws, while motivated by a desire to hold individuals accountable for their past misconduct and deprive them of incentives to migrate in search of a "clean slate," present unique challenges and have important ramifications for "our federalism."

The Article begins with an overview of the means by which registration and recidivist laws take account of out-of-state prior convictions. While courts often face challenges in applying the laws to indigenous offenders, their task is made considerably more difficult when the predicate convictions occurred elsewhere. In such situations, they must construe foreign laws to determine if convictions, themselves possibly aged or evidenced by ambiguous or incomplete information, warrant consideration under their own recidivist or registration law. Part I examines the two basic approaches used today - external and internal - to make such determinations. The internal approach insists that out-of-state convictions, and any punishment attaching, satisfy the eligibility requirements of the forum state’s registration or recidivist law. The external approach, on the other hand, allows such decisions to be based on the legal characterizations of their fellow sovereigns.

Part II explores the practical and theoretical ramifications of interconnection, which can vary in accord with states’ use of the internal or external approach. In terms of the practical, the internal approach poses particular analytic challenges insofar as states often must undertake a difficult exercise in inter-state statutory construction. Because the approach places premium importance on local norms, without deference to how the prior conviction was treated in the foreign state, it is not uncommon for offenders to escape continued accountability. This uncertainty, in turn, can raise notice concerns for ex-offenders who must fathom (with respect to registration laws, often in a very short time period) the legal consequences of their prior conviction in their newly adopted state. Such concerns are not as pronounced in states using an external approach because, as noted, such legal consequences are pre-determined by the other state. The external approach, however, has a consequence of a different sort: potential unequal treatment of otherwise similarly situated ex-offenders. Because outcomes are allowed to hinge on how the other state would resolve the question, ex-offenders hailing from especially punitive states can suffer differentially compared both to their counterparts who enter the forum with convictions from less punitive states and indigenous ex-offenders. For individual offenders, the geographic happenstance of their criminal history in effect determines their destiny. At the same time, for society as a whole, the extreme criminal law positions of states are permitted to ripple across not just space but also time, because the laws consider convictions from years before, allowing perhaps draconian and retrograde mores to be frozen in amber and given ongoing, contemporary effect.

Part III examines the theoretical implications of interconnection. Internal approach states can be seen as stalwarts of "fifty-labs" federalism. They make their own calls on recidivist and registration eligibility, and resist foreign state characterizations, thereby giving effect to state autonomy and diversity. External approach states, on the other hand, place premium importance on uniformity and comity. Their deferential approach, in addition to depriving the nation of a "lab," has a number of subtle yet significant collateral consequences. These include: the deflection of political responsibility for the adoption of criminal law norms; the skewing of the ostensibly local character of the criminal law; and the removal of incentives for "laggard" states to conform their laws to the standards of their more progressive peers, possibly contributing to a "race to the bottom." Finally, with more uniformity and less experimentation, come possibly diminished prospects for democratic competition, with attendant negative effects on the constitutional right of free travel.

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

May 11, 2005 in Scholarship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

This Week's Top 5 Crim Papers

This week's top 5 crim papers on SSRN, with number of recent downloads, include:

(1) 2362 The Perfect Crime
Brian C. Kalt,
Michigan State University College of Law,
Date posted to database: March 25, 2005
Last Revised: April 19, 2005
(2) 1124 A Model Regime of Privacy Protection (Version 1.1)
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: May 2, 2005
(3) 555 A Model Regime of Privacy Protection (Version 2.0)
Daniel J. Solove, Chris Jay Hoofnagle,
George Washington University Law School, Electronic Privacy Information Center - West Coast Office,
Date posted to database: April 6, 2005
Last Revised: May 2, 2005
(4) 427 Searches and Seizures in a Digital World
Orin S. Kerr,
The George Washington University Law School,
Date posted to database: April 4, 2005
Last Revised: April 20, 2005
(5) 286 Is Capital Punishment Morally Required? The Relevance of Life-Life Tradeoffs
Cass R. Sunstein, Adrian Vermeule,
University of Chicago Law School, University of Chicago Law School,
Date posted to database: March 25, 2005
Last Revised: April 20, 2005 

May 10, 2005 in Weekly Top 5 SSRN Crim Downloads | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

WW II Japanese American Draft Resister Speaks

One of 27 U.S. citizens of Japanese ancestry tried and acquitted for draft evasion in 1944 spoke about his experiences last week in California. The men refused to be drafted out of the internment camps, arguing that they should not have to serve in the military if they were going to be denied the rights of citizens.  The episode was written up in NC CrimProf Eric Muller's excellent book Free to Die for their Country. [Jack Chin]

May 10, 2005 in News | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Pittsburgh Post Series on Eyewitness ID

New Article Spotlight: CrimProf Margareth Etienne of Illinois

Etienne CrimProf Margareth Etienne of Illinois has posted the following paper on SSRN: The Ethics of Cause Lawyering: An Empirical Examination of Criminal Defense Lawyers as Cause Lawyers. Here's the abstract:

Criminal defense attorneys are often motivated by an intricate set of moral and ideological principles that belie their reputations as amoral (if not immoral) hired guns who, for the right price, would do anything to get their guilty clients off. Using empirical data from interviews with forty criminal defense attorneys I consider the motivations that inform their decisions to enter the field of criminal defense and the values that influence the manner in which they do their jobs. I conclude that many criminal defense attorneys are in fact cause lawyers who are committed to individual clients but also the cause of legal reform in criminal law. These dual commitment - essentially to individual clients versus the collective group of criminal defendants - occasionally raise ethical conflicts that have largely gone under-examined and that the rules of ethics and professionalism are not well-equipped to resolve. Although examined here through the lens of criminal defending, the ethical dilemma of cause lawyering is a noteworthy problem generally for activist lawyers because they continue to play an important role in socio-legal movements in this country.

Here's the paper on SSRN [Jack Chin]

May 10, 2005 in Scholarship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Colorado CrimProf Named Ambassador to Belize

Robert Dieter, the President's Yale roommate, was named Ambassador to Belize.  Professor Dieter directs the Defender Program at the University of Colorado law school. [Jack Chin]

May 10, 2005 in CrimProfs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tennessee Still Rejects Marital Rape Law

Story here. [Jack Chin]

May 10, 2005 in Criminal Law | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Law Review Article Featured on BBC

Congratulations to Michigan State professor Brian Kalt. His new article, The Perfect Crime, previously spotlighted here, is not only the most downloaded crim paper this week on SSRN, but has been made the subject of a BBC news story here.  [Mark Godsey]

May 10, 2005 in Scholarship | Permalink | TrackBack (1)

Bill Pending in Nairobi Would Make Sexual Harassment A Crime

A bill pending in Nairobi would criminalize "unlawful, unsolicited and unwelcome sexual advances or request for sexual favours."  Sexually suggestive jokes, leering, intrusive sexual remarks, touching or fondling and exhibiting sexually explicit materials, gadgets or organs, would also result in criminal liability.  The law carries a maximum 5 years imprisonment, with steeper penalties for those in positions of authority such as teachers who harrass students or hospital employees who harrass patients.  Story . . .  [Mark Godsey]

May 10, 2005 in International, Sex | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Do Drug Courts Work?

From  "The Bush administration is encouraging the use of drug courts -- special tribunals targeted at lawbreakers with drug problems -- to address the issue of addiction in America. They were introduced in the 1980s. Are they working?"  Listen to story here.  [Mark Godsey]

May 10, 2005 in Drugs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 9, 2005

Exoneration Roundup

Louisiana considers paying those wrongfully convicted; 18 people in the state have been released from capital or life sentences since 1989 (and here's an editorial supporting reform of the indigent defense system).  In Wisconsin, prosecutors conceded that they could not prove guilt midway through the murder retrial of Evan Zimmerman; he had served 3 1/2 years before winning a new hearing.  After being in prison since he was 16, a 40 year old Louisiana man exonerated by DNA struggles to adjust.  Williams College professor Saul Kessin lectures on false confessions.  After claiming the documents did not exist, the Texas Department of Public Safety finally released documents on the testing of a man exonerated by DNA in December, 2004; the results: 8 years ago, the Department wrote that the conviction rested on evidence that could be deeply flawed.  [Jack Chin]

May 9, 2005 in Exoneration Innocence Accuracy | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Latinos Angry at Runaway Bride's False Charges: UPDATE

CrimProf Katheryn Russell-Brown of Florida is cited in this article.  Will critics be more forgiving when they hear her excuse for the escapade?  She was horny.  [Jack Chin] UPDATE: She's got a rap sheet.  The Smoking Gun has a nice collection of emails sent to Duluth, GA city officials with suggestions about how to handle the case.  After reading some of these, you will never again say that the art of letterwriting is dead.

May 9, 2005 in Civil Rights | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Mistrial on Insanity Defense in Ohio Sniper Case: UPDATE

The capital trial of the Ohio highway sniper has ended in a mistrial.  Jurors could not agree whether his untreated schizophrenia satisfied the insanity defense. [Jack Chin] UPDATED: Ohio State CrimProf Joshua Dressler comments here.

May 9, 2005 in Criminal Law | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

AP Study Finds Bias in Ohio Death Penalty

From LawLibrarian Blog (thanks to Joe Hodnicki): 

"The Ohio Associated Press studied 2,543 capital indictments from October 1981, when the law reinstating the state's death penalty took effect, through 2002. The study began in January 2003 and involved numerous Ohio news organizations that helped with research.

The results of this first-ever comprehensive analysis of Ohio's death-penalty system are being released in a three-part series in leading newspapers across the state. The AP report is also receiving national attention. The Washington Post reports that Ohio Supreme Court Justice Paul Pfeifer, who co-sponsored the death penalty law in 1981 when he was a member of Ohio's Legislature, said the findings are disturbing.

Part One: Death penalty is applied unevenly for Ohioans Cleveland Plain Dealer (May 7, 2005) ; AP: Race, Pleas Affect Ohio Death Penalty Washington Post (May 7, 2005); Death-row odds vary - Murder victim's race, use of plea bargain, community standards influence likelihood Akron Beacon Journal (May 7, 2005).

Part Two: Reimbursement from state falls to 31 percent of lawyer fees Cleveland Plain Dealer (May 8, 2005); Capital cases hard for smaller counties - Expense, manpower at issue Cincinnati Enquirer (May 8, 2005); Small counties feel pinch from trials Akron Beacon Journal (May 8, 2005).

Part Three: Two Murders; Two Paths to Justice Mount Vernon News (May 8, 2005) (Includes a timeline) ; Part Three is expected to be published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Cincinnati Enquirer on Monday, May 9, 2005.

In The Associated Press began its project by reviewing 2,543 capital indictments... (May 5, 2005) the Akron Beacon Journal provided background information about the project. The Akron Beacon Journal also identifies Ohio capital punishment offenses in Ohio's conditions for seeking the death penalty Akron Beacon Journal (May 7, 2005)."

The DPIC has a story on this study here.  [Mark Godsey]

May 9, 2005 in Capital Punishment | Permalink | TrackBack (3)

RIP Peter Rodino

LawProf and retired 20-term Congressman Peter Rodino, the "Peter Rodino Professor of Constitutional Law and Public Policy" at Seton Hall, died last week at 96.  He was a member of the U.S. Commission on Organized Crime among many other things.   10 years ago, he allowed me to interview him about the Immigration and Nationality Act Amendments of 1965, which he had worked on, and I always appreciated that. [Jack Chin]

May 9, 2005 in CrimProfs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

CA: Second Degree Murder Based on Dog Attack Case

The second degree murder conviction of two California lawyers has been reinstated on appeal.  The question is whether implied malice required the defendants to know the dogs were likely to kill, or be reckless with regard to the possibility that they would engage in conduct risky to human life.  Story here, 144 page opinion here. [Jack Chin]

May 9, 2005 in Criminal Law | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, May 8, 2005

Press Releases: CrimProfs Honored

Marjorie Cohn of TJ Law
From a press release:  "Professor Marjorie Cohn of the Thomas Jefferson School of Law is the 2005 recipient of the San Diego County Bar Association Service to Legal Education Award. Every year the SDCBA encourages San Diego’s lawyers to reach out to the community during Law Week. The service awards recognize individuals, law firms, agencies and community-based organizations that have made significant achievements and have had a positive impact on the public, the profession and the SDCBA. This year’s Law Week celebration, held this week, includes programs and events to honor American values and ideals such as liberty, equality and democracy. The celebration ends with a luncheon held at the SDCBA’s headquarters in downtown where Cohn will receive her award on Friday, May 6, 2005.

Cohn has taught at Thomas Jefferson since 1992, teaching criminal law and procedure, constitutional law and international human rights law. Cohn is a news consultant for CBS News and a legal analyst for Court TV, and she also provides legal and political commentary on BBC, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, NPR and Pacifica Radio. She lectures throughout the world on international human rights and U.S. foreign policy and is co-author of the book Cameras in the Courtroom: Television and the Pursuit of Justice. Last year’s September issue of the National Jurist labeled Cohn as a “star professor.”

Ronald Sullivan Jr. of Yale
Also, Ronald Sullivan Jr. of Yale won the annual Teaching Award at Yale.  [Mark Godsey]

May 8, 2005 in CrimProfs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)