Saturday, July 23, 2005
Barry Scheck in The Champion: "Does your cable company want to expand the PATRIOT Act? According to a recent Wall Street Journal editorial, the answer is yes; hotels, Internet service providers and other businesses support expanded no notice subpoena power because they want the 'legal cover of being able to say they were complying with a subpoena' when they hand over your personal records to the FBI without telling you and without giving you an opportunity to contest the search. The newspaper went on to endorse a provision in legislation to renew the PATRIOT Act (S. 1266) that would create breathtaking new powers for the FBI to subpoena any materials that are relevant to foreign intelligence investigations." Full Column here... [Mark Godsey]
This week CrimProf Blog spotlights Professor James W. Diehm of Widener PA. "James W. Diehm is a Professor of Law at the Harrisburg Campus of the Widener University School of Law. Prior to coming to Widener, Professor Diehm served as the Presidentially-appointed United States Attorney for the District of the Virgin Islands from 1983 to 1987. Before receiving that appointment, he was a partner in a St. Croix law firm engaged in a litigation practice. He also served as an Assistant Attorney General for the United States Virgin Islands from 1974 to 1976, and as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia from 1970 to 1974.
Professor Diehm received his J.D. degree from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1969. He has been a lecturer and an instructor at the Attorney General's Advocacy Institute of the United States Department of Justice, at courses provided by the National Institute of Trial Advocacy, at seminars for judicial officials, and at a number of other similar programs throughout the country.
Professor Diehm is the author of several articles and has, for three years, taught a course in Comparative Criminal Procedure in Widener's summer program in Geneva, Switzerland.
In the fall of 1997, Professor Diehm was sent by the American Bar Association and the United States Department of Justice on a three-month mission to Ukraine and Russia to work with their governments on reforming their criminal justice systems. Professor Diehm teaches Criminal Law, Evidence, Criminal Procedure, and Advanced Criminal Procedure.
Professor Diehm has been active in a number of professional organizations, including the National Association of Former United States Attorneys and the American Bar Association. During his most recent service with the United States Department of Justice, he was a member of the Attorney General's Advisory Committee of United States Attorneys." Complete list of publications.
From Law.com: (Fulton County Daily Report): "The Court of Appeals of Georgia has ruled that a jury foreman should not have been removed from a case for telling jurors to "go to hell" during deliberations, so the defendant is entitled to a new trial on drug-dealing charges in Lowndes County, Ga. The appeals court ruled 4-3 on July 7 that Southern Judicial Circuit Chief Judge H. Arthur McLane abused his discretion when he dismissed the foreman solely for using vulgar insults....The jury deadlocked at 10-2 in favor of conviction...The foreman was one of the two supporting acquittal, and after McLane removed him, the jury returned with a conviction in 16 minutes later...[T]he foreman did not threaten jurors physically, and McLane had not tried a less drastic approach, such as admonishing the deadlocked jury to deliberate with civility. 'While we certainly do not condone the use of vulgar or coarse language among jurors, 'total placidity is not in the nature of jury deliberation,'" wrote Bernes, quoting from U.S. v. Tallman, 952 F2d 164, a 1991 decision of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals." Story... [Mark Godsey]
Friday, July 22, 2005
From Findlaw.com: (AP) Mobile, AL: A federal judge ordered a 90-year-old woman, (Lucious 'Big Mama' Westry) and her 60-year-old son (Calvin Westry) jailed without bail on drug charges, saying they might represent a danger to the community if freed....Defense attorneys asked U.S. Magistrate Judge Bert Milling Jr. to let them stay with Calvin Westry's daughter until the case is resolved, but he refused" based on evidence that Lucious, despite her age, is the "matriarch of a crime family that engaged in a wide-ranging conspiracy to sell street drugs, including crack, and prescription medications, such as OxyContin, from their home." Story [Mark Godsey]
From NYTimes.com: Just this morning, around 5 am Eastern, 10 am locally, London Police have fatally shot a man at London's Stockwell subway station, the day after four failed bombing attempts on trains and a bus.) In response to the latest terrorist acts in London, "[t]he police last night began random searches of backpacks and packages brought into the New York City subways as officials expressed alarm about the latest bomb incidents in the London transit system. The searches, which will also include commuter rail lines, are not a response to a specific threat against the city, said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who authorized the searches shortly before he announced them at a morning news conference.
The police have previously inspected bags at major events like parades and demonstrations, and the authorities in Boston conducted random baggage searches on commuter rail lines during the Democratic National Convention last year, but officials here could not recall a precedent for a broad, systematic search of packages in the New York City subways, which provide 4.7 million rides each weekday. At some of the busiest of the city's 468 stations, riders will be asked to open their bags for a visual check before they go through the turnstiles. Those who refuse will not be permitted to bring the package into the subway but will be able to leave the station without further questioning, officials said." Story...
Related--From NYTimes.com: It's Time for Tougher Scrutiny, Many Subway Riders Concede [Mark Godsey]
From NYTimes.com: Last week, "Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly...unveiled an $11 million high-technology crime center designed to free detectives from much of the time-consuming research they undertake during investigations. A team of analysts at the center (the Real Time Crime Center)...will field inquiries from detectives around the clock, Mr. Kelly said. They will help speed up investigations using dozens of databases - including more than 5 million New York State criminal, parole and probation records, and 33 billion public records, he said. The look of the place, a large sleek room lined with flat-screen televisions, suggests an interplanetary control center....The tools allow analysts to review 911 and 311 calls to find witnesses; detect relevant crime patterns; determine whether previous crimes have been committed at a particular location; and find any parolees living nearby. They can also search databases on tattoos, other distinguishing marks and nicknames." Story... [Mark Godsey]
NYTimes.com: Baton Rouge, LA (AP): Now that he's a free man, prison writer, "prison journalist Wilbert Rideau has filed for bankruptcy, saying he can't pay the more than $126,000 in court costs from a trial that resulted in his release after 44 years behind bars. The order to pay court costs is under appeal, but Rideau's bankruptcy attorney said the threat of having to pay the sum called for a bankruptcy filing. Rideau, 63, won freedom from a life prison sentence in January when a jury -- the fourth to hear his murder case -- found him guilty of a lesser charge of manslaughter in the 1961 death of a bank teller during a robbery. Rideau was released because the maximum penalty for manslaughter at the time of the crime was 21 years.
In ordering Rideau to pay court costs, the judge acknowledged Rideau was broke but said he could reap a windfall by turning his life story into a book. The judge compared the payment order to assessing costs to a person who expects a settlement from a pending civil suit." Story [Mark Godsey]
Thursday, July 21, 2005
My friend and colleague (at the ABA) Margaret Colgate Love, the former U.S. Pardon Attorney, among other things, has published an outstanding resource: Relief From The Collateral Consequences of A Criminal Conviction: A State-By-State Resource Guide. It is available on the web, and will be published in hard copy. [Jack Chin]
NPR: "Monica Brady-Myerov of member station WBUR reports on new security cameras in Chelsea, Mass., that will put most of the city under video surveillance. Residents and business owners have differing opinions on how effective the cameras will be in deterring crime." Listen to the story here... [Mark Godsey]
From TwinCities.com: (St. Paul Pioneer Press): "A former assistant director of Minnesota's crime lab was sentenced Friday (July 8) to one year in the Ramsey County workhouse — a far lighter sentence than possible — for stealing 2 pounds of cocaine from an evidence locker to feed his own addiction. Judge Salvador Rosas sentenced David Bruce Petersen to seven years in prison, but that sentence was stayed pending completion of an unusually long term of 30 years' probation. With good behavior, the judge said, he will consider allowing Petersen to leave the workhouse after three to six months and be subject to home confinement for the remainder of the year. Rosas also gave Petersen credit for four days served, a $3,000 fine and said he must abstain from all nonprescribed drugs and alcohol and submit to drug testing." Story... [Mark Godsey]
From the IndyStar.com: A former Marion County prosecutor and a former leader at the local crime lab will officially open their private DNA testing laboratory (Strand Analytical Laboratories) in Indianapolis today....Experts say the private lab, which would be the first of its kind in Indiana, could help address the problem of delays and backlogs in DNA testing locally and across the country. Mike Medler, director of the Marion County crime lab, welcomes the new venture and hopes it will help cut the county's current backlog of 111 DNA tests....Private labs across the country are being called upon to help public labs catch up on DNA testing. Long testing times have often been blamed for causing trial delays" among other problems. Story... [Mark Godsey]
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
CrimProf Kathy Swedlow of Cooley Law School, who co-directs the Innocence Project of Michigan, will participate in the Death Penalty Panel to take place at the ABA's Annual Convention in Chicago. Noting that 12 of the 75 cases on the Supreme Court's docket involved various capital punishment related issues, the panel, On the Docket 2005: The Death Penalty in the Supreme Court, will analyze these issues and how the Court addressed them. The panel is a free CLE event.
On: Saturday, August 6
From: 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
At: Acapulco, Gold Level, West Tower
Chicago, IL More details and information about the panelists... [Mark Godsey]
Whether the offense is DUI, Rape, torture, brutalizing opossums, or chickens, or murder, the lesson of history is that it is not helpful to videotape yourself committing a criminal act. (But do videotape it if someone else is attempting to commit a crime against you.) [Jack Chin]