CrimProf Blog

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

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Ireland Considers Raising Age of Criminal Responsibility from 7 to 10

Story here. [Jack Chin]

June 21, 2005 in International | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Former Klansman Convicted

From  "PHILADELPHIA, Mississippi (CNN) -- Forty-one years to the day three civil rights workers were ambushed and killed by a Ku Klux Klan mob, a jury found former Klansman Edgar Ray Killen guilty of all three counts of manslaughter Tuesday.  The "Freedom Summer" killings of James Chaney, 21, Andrew Goodman, 20, and Michael Schwerner, 24, galvanized the civil rights movement.  The jury of nine whites and three blacks reached the decision after several hours of deliberations." Story . . .  [Mark Godsey]

June 21, 2005 in Civil Rights, News | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Crime News

A man convicted of murder in Oklahoma and sentenced to 40 years was extradited to Wisconsin where he was mistakenly released because Wisconsin authorities did not have the right paperwork.  In California, the DA is considering criminal charges in the latest dog mauling death, of a 12 year old.  Party Gaming, the world's largest on-line gambling company, may face criminal charges in Canada. Police in Virginia are investigating Korans found burned outside a mosque as a potential hate crime.  The Missouri legislature may send juvenile smoking offenses back to juvenile court, after directing that they be heard in adult court a few years ago. In Texas, prison authorities are under fire for selling retired horses to slaughterhouses.  [Jack Chin]

June 21, 2005 in News | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Organized Crime May Be Behind Massive Credit Card Breach

From  "The huge security breach that exposed more than 40 million credit cards to potential fraud appears to be the work of organized criminals, experts said Monday.  System vulnerabilities at CardSystems Solutions, a payment card processor, allowed an intruder to break into the network and access cardholder data, MasterCard International said Friday. The incident exposed more than 40 million cards of all brands to fraud, including 13.9 million MasterCard branded cards.  The breach represents a high-tech version of "skimming," in which criminals used a small device to snatch information from the magnetic strips on the back of credit cards, said Tom Kelly, a senior investigator at the private investigations division of Stroz Friedberg, a computer forensics and technical services firm.  Next-generation skimming involves attacking servers that process credit-card transactions, collecting account data and then selling that information to people who use it to create counterfeit cards or to make purchases, he said.  "This is very unique to crime groups in Eastern Europe," said Kelly, who has more than 25 years of investigating credit-card and fraud. "It has been going on for years. They're very well organized."  Taking advantage of the vast size of the credit-card breach would require the resources of organized crime, said Chris Noell, vice president of business development at managed security firm Solutionary."  [Mark Godsey]

June 21, 2005 in News, Organized Crime, Technology | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 20, 2005

New Article Spotlight: Joelle Anne Moreno

Moreno CrimProf Joelle Anne Moreno of New England has posted Faith-Based Miranda: Why the New Missouri v. Seibert Police Bad Faith Test is a Terrible Idea on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

On June 28, 2004, the Supreme Court decided Missouri v. Seibert, 124 S. Ct. 2601(2004). At first glance, Seibert may look like a Miranda victory, but this is an illusion. Although Justice Souter's plurality decision condemns question-first police practices designed to circumvent Miranda, the case is governed by Justice Kennedy's concurrance which requires that the defendant prove that the police officer acted in bad faith.  The problem with Seibert is not that courts applying the new rule will ignore some epidemic of inadvertent Miranda violations; these are presumably rare. The real danger is that opportunistic Miranda foes can use Seibert to persuade judges to admit statments taken in violation of Miranda in future case when the defendant fails to prove that the police acted with subjective bad faith. Under this new rule, even statements taken in deliberate bad faith violation of Miranda should be admitted if the police have taken certain curative measures.  This article suggests an alternative future. Without the police bad faith test, which does not currently have the support of the majority, Seibert's ban on unwarned pre-interrogation questioning could help transform Miranda into a more effective deterrent. Seibert reflects the reality that Miranda alone does not work and could be used to support the adoption of additional enforcement mechanisms, such as rules requiring the videotaping of custodial interrogations. With more than fifteen states currently contemplating the mandatory taping of all custodial interrogations, the time is ripe for a critical analysis of Seibert and its full potential.

The author would be very interested in comments from faculty interested in exploring the problems that arise when focus shifts to the subjective intent of the interrogator.  Although Seibert may have slipped under most folks' radar, there have been hints of a similar shift in the discussions of permissible forms of torture. 

She can be reached at

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

June 20, 2005 in Scholarship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Do Cops Resort to Tasers Too Soon?

Talkleft has a story here, including an incredible video in which the cops taser a woman a few moments into a routine traffic stop because she continues to talk on her cellphone and ignore them when they tell her to get out of her car.  [Mark Godsey]

June 20, 2005 in Law Enforcement | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Editorial: "Not White, Female? Don't Go Missing."

Here. [Jack Chin]

June 20, 2005 in News | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Supreme Court Reverses Death Case on IAC Claim

From  "The Supreme Court on Monday ordered a new trial for a Pennsylvania death row inmate in a 17-year-old murder case, ruling that his attorney was sloppy in failing to investigate possible evidence of mental retardation.  In a 5-4 decision, justices ruled in favor of Ronald Rompilla, 56, who was convicted of robbing, stabbing and setting on fire a tavern owner in Allentown, Pa., in 1988. It was the second time in a week that the high court overturned a death row sentence, citing an inadequate trial."

Here is's description:  "Even when a capital murder defendant and his family have suggested that there is no available mitigating evidence, defense counsel has a duty to make reasonable efforts to obtain and review material that the attorney knows prosecutors will probably rely upon as aggravating evidence at trial.

Decision in Rompilla v. Beard, No. 04-5462 here.  [Mark Godsey]

June 20, 2005 in Capital Punishment, News, Supreme Court | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

CSM: California Prison Boom Ends

The Christian Science Monitor reports that California is turning to rehabilitation rather than building more prisons. [Jack Chin]

June 20, 2005 in Sentencing Corrections | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

This Week's Top 5 Crim Papers

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

(1) 154 Victims, Survivors and the Decisions to Seek and Impose Death
Wayne A. Logan,
William Mitchell College of Law,
Date posted to database: May 2, 2005
Last Revised: May 6, 2005
(2) 132 Improving Prosecutorial Decision Making: Some Lessons of Cognitive Science
Alafair S. Burke,
Hofstra University - School of Law,
Date posted to database: April 26, 2005
Last Revised: May 1, 2005
(3) 119 Comparative Law Without Leaving Home: What Civil Procedure Can Teach Criminal Procedure, and Vice Versa
David A. Sklansky, Stephen C. Yeazell,
University of California, Los Angeles - School of Law, University of California, Los Angeles - School of Law,
Date posted to database: April 19, 2005
Last Revised: May 2, 2005
(4) 115 Financial Scandals and the Role of Private Enforcement: The Parmalat Case
Guido Alessandro Ferrarini, Paolo Giudici,
Università degli Studi di Genova - Law School, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano - School of Economics,
Date posted to database: May 27, 2005
Last Revised: June 9, 2005
(5) 98 Of God's Mercy and the Four Biblical Methods of Capital Punishment: Stoning, Burning, Beheading, and Strangulation
Irene Merker Rosenberg, Yale L. Rosenberg,
University of Houston - Law Center, University of Houston - Law Center,
Date posted to database: January 5, 2005
Last Revised: April 27, 2005

June 20, 2005 in Weekly Top 5 SSRN Crim Downloads | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, June 19, 2005

The Illustrious Arizona Supreme Court

University of Chicago CrimProf Geoffrey Stone observed at the Arizona Bar Convention in Tucson last week that at 60% the Arizona Supreme Court may have the highest percentage of former U.S. Supreme Court clerks of any tribunal in the nation.  Chief Justice Ruth McGregor clerked for Justice O'Connor; Justice Andrew Hurwitz clerked for Justice Stewart, and Justice (designate) Scott Bales also clerked for Justice O'Connor.  The other members are also exceptionally distinguished: Justice Michael Ryan was in the Marine Corps in Vietnam before being medically retired for combat wounds, and since served at every level of the Arizona judicial system.  With over 80 foster children, he warrants a special "Happy Father's Day" wish; as someone who has accomplished everything he has while getting around by wheelchair, he is an inspiration.  Justice Rebecca White Berch was Arizona's Solicitor general, First Assistant Attorney General, and a law professor before being joining the court.  In case you are wondering, Arizona's judges are appointed. [Jack Chin] 

June 19, 2005 in News | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Memories of the Ford Administration: Retired Professor Convicted

A retired poli sci professor was convicted of attempting to kill a former Ford administration official who denied him a government job in 1975.  His stalking over the years included appearing at the official's house dressed as Hannibal Lecter. [Jack Chin]

June 19, 2005 in News | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Iowa: Governor Restores voting Rights to Discharged Felons

For years, Iowa was one of the few states without a long history of race-based vote suppression to deny discharged felons the right to vote.  After Nebraska passed a a law automatically restoring voting rights earlier this year, Iowa stood alone.  Now the governor by executive order will restore voting rights to all persons who have been discharged from prison, probation and parole.  Story here, editorial against felon disenfranchisement here; Roger Clegg on the merits of felon disenfranchisement here.  [Jack Chin]

June 19, 2005 in Civil Rights | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Civil Suit Against Michael Jackson?

Story here. [Jack Chin]

June 19, 2005 in News | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

NY Times Features Crim Article by Florida Prof

The article featured Jonathon Klick's article Using Terror Alert Levels To Estimate The Effect Of Police On Crime.  Story and article here.  [Mark Godsey]

June 19, 2005 in Scholarship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Book and Movie Deals for Deepthroat and The Runaway Bride

Deepthroat I can understand, but the Runaway Bride?  Story . . .  [Mark Godsey]

June 19, 2005 in News | Permalink | TrackBack (0)