Tuesday, July 26, 2005
From ChinaDaily.com: "China is speeding up legislation of its first anti-money laundering law, the draft of which will be submitted to the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, for review this year....An official with PBC, China's central Bank, said the law will probably expand the scope of application into the other major areas of "upstream crimes" the sources of illicit money in money laundering. The existing Criminal Law only extends to money laundering involving drug trafficking, organized crime gangs, terrorism and smuggling. Once extended the law is likely to include the crimes of embezzlement and bribery. The report also said the PBC is drafting regulations to tackle money laundering in the securities and insurance industries." Story... [Mark Godsey]
From the HoustonChronicle.com: "Research and community experts say that on average, students perform better, people live longer, and crime rates are lower when people who live in the same community have a basic familiarity with each other," so Dreyer's Slow Churned(TM) Light Ice Cream "invited ice cream lovers nationwide to break the ice with new and even long-time neighbors by nominating their blocks for an ice cream block party." Dreyer's will host free ice cream block parties for 1,500 neighborhoods nationwide in hopes that "these ice cream block parties [will be] a catalyst for more neighborly gatherings." Neighborhoods of all types, ranging from high rise urban apartment complexes to trailer parks, participated and were chosen as winners. California won the most ice cream socials, followed by New York, Texas, Florida, and Pennsylvania. Story... [Mark Godsey]
Monday, July 25, 2005
Case Western CrimProf Michael Sharf and Case School of Law's War Crimes Research Program were profiled in the cover story of the Cleveland Plain Dealer Sunday Magazine. Entitled "A Nobel Cause," the seven-page article describes the events that led to the formation of the War Crimes Research Program at Case, culminating in Professor Scharf's nomination for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize. The article can be viewed at: http://www.cleveland.com/sundaymag/
From Washingtonpost.com: An incident involving a fatal crash from 2003 involving a high speed chase by an off-duty officer, Cpl. Thomas Hart, in an unmarked car "is the latest of several [incidents] that highlight the widespread practice of moonlighting by Prince George's officers -- and the questions about their accountability when they are involved in controversies....The D.C. police detective who investigated the fatal crash...had to ask a Prince George's officer, a sergeant, and a captain to call Hart and have him return to the scene. [After turning the alleged suspects over to on-duty officers, Hart drove away, even though the chase ended in a fatal crash and a foot chase]. Prince George's police never reviewed Hart's actions. A county police lieutenant said in a deposition that he decided that Hart wasn't involved in a police pursuit because he didn't use his lights and siren. Neither Hart nor any of his supervisors filed any reports or filled out any forms, both police and Hart said....If Hart had been on duty, his actions almost certainly would have drawn the scrutiny of police supervisors, officials said." Story here... [Mark Godsey]
Two college students arrested for driving a Mexican entering Arizona to the hospital have rejected a diversion agreement offered by the Arizona U.S. Attorney's Office. The students, part of an activist group "No More Deaths" stationed themselves in the desert where many people trying to cross the border have died of thirst. [Jack Chin]
OK, this is not exactly a criminal matter. But: Is it just me? Or does it seem difficult to libel a talented but convicted child molester, who had to testify by video for fear of being extradited? (One can also question the propriety of a libel verdict based on allegations of sexual excess in the 1960s.) [Jack Chin]
Buffalo CrimProf Marcus Dirk Dubber has posted 'An Extraordinarily Beautiful Document': Jefferson's Bill for Proportioning Crimes and Punishments and the Challenge of Republican Punishment on SSRN. Here's the abstract:
By any measure, a dramatic punishment gap today separates the United States from other Western countries. In this paper, I argue that the extreme punitiveness of American criminal law is at least partly attributable to the fact that in the United States the basic challenge of legitimating the state's punishment of its own citizens has not been addressed. The first and only attempt to derive a system of criminal law from the basic principle of political legitimacy driving the foundation of the American Republic, self-government or autonomy, was Thomas Jefferson's remarkable Virginia "Bill for Proportioning Crimes and Punishments" of 1779. Jefferson's bill was not only limited in scope (dealing with punishments, not with crimes or principles of criminal liability, and only with punishments for a very few offenses at that), but also fell considerably short of its ambition to "deduc[e] from the purposes of society" a principle of proportionate punishment. Rather than setting out a republican approach to criminal law consistent with the principle of autonomy, Jefferson drew on Anglo-Saxon dooms to retain such penalties as ducking and whipping, while making general reference to the need to deter potential offender through "long-continued spectacles" of penal servitude, to "reform" offenders "committing an inferior injury," and to "exterminate" anyone "whose existence is become inconsistent with the safety of their fellow citizens," albeit only as "the last melancholy resource." Jefferson, I argue in this paper, conceptualized punishment as a question of police, rather than of law. At the time, police and law represented two distinct modes of governance. Police was thought of as the householder's authority over members of his household transferred onto the political sovereign. Law, by contrast, was thought to consist of those abstract rules that govern relationship among equal persons, or citizens. From the perspective of police, punishment is a problem of household discipline, employed by the superior sovereign against his inferior disobedient subject. As such, it is subject to limitations of prudence and expedience, but not of justice. Jefferson's Bill thus provides a sketch of punishment as a matter of good governance, rather than as a matter of right. It did not lay the foundation for the continuing process of critique in light of principles of justice without which republican punishment cannot be legitimated.
Obtain the paper here. [Mark Godsey]
From DenverPost.com: Denver: "The (Denver Community Court), which started in 2003 as a pilot project, will run out of city money by 2006...The court takes cases involving juveniles in seven northeast Denver neighborhoods...who get tickets for small violations such as shoplifting, vandalism or school fighting. It redirects the cases from regular juvenile court to the neighborhoods where the crimes occur. Since its inception, the court has applied community-building and problem-solving techniques to more than 1,000 juvenile cases....[T]he court doesn't just punish, but also prevents crime through community service, literacy and substance-abuse programs. And it gives kids the chance to right what they did wrong. 'If you bust up Miss Jones' fence, we get hammers and nails and fix Miss Jones' fence,' Johnson (the court's community service coordinator) said." Story...
Fort Collins and Northglenn: These "[t]wo financially strapped Colorado cities are using a new budget system that turns services such as police protection into products and transforms city councils into wary customers....(Due to $8 million budgetary cuts and shrinking tax bases, both cities have adopted) the "Budgeting for Outcomes" approach...(having) abandoned the standard approach of budgeting, which usually focuses on regular yearly increases for services and departments...The new approach - developed by a consortium of former city managers and school superintendents - calls for cities to link goals to funding, ensuring budgets stay stable....A city may set a certain goal, such as a low crime rate, and then ask departments to meet that goal based on spending limits. Departments then come back with offers on how to meet the goal - more police foot patrols or better lighting for parks - with hopes of winning funding"..."'It's a lesson in salesmanship'...(and) 'survival of the fittest.'" Story... [Mark Godsey]
From TwinCities.com: Washington County, MN (St. Paul Pioneer Press): "The next time the Washington County sheriff's canines gear up for a manhunt or armed standoff, they'll be sniffing around in new body armor. The six German shepherds each received a $710 protective vest as a gift from the DeLonais Foundation about two weeks ago and are being trained to wear them. Deputies say the Kevlar vests, which fit like a saddle, will protect vital organs if the dogs are shot or stabbed trying to take down a dangerous suspect." Story... [Mark Godsey]
Sunday, July 24, 2005
(AP)- Evansville, IN: "The crippling reach of methamphetamine abuse has become the nation's leading drug problem affecting local law enforcement agencies, according to a survey of 500 sheriff's departments in 45 states. More than half of the sheriffs interviewed for a National Association of Counties survey released Tuesday (July 5) said they considered meth the most serious problem facing their departments. About 90 percent of those interviewed reported increases in meth-related arrests in their counties over the past three years, packing jails in the Midwest and elsewhere." Story here... [Mark Godsey]
From post-gazette.com (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette): In efforts to reform juvenile sex offenders, "Allegheny County (uses) a program that keeps (juvenile sex) offenders in their homes and runs on the assumption that children are not miniature adults and that most first-time juvenile offenders will not become adult sex criminals. That is counter to the trend in much of the country....Many jurisdictions are seeking tougher sentences for juveniles and the ability to treat them like adults. 'There is a very strong current that sex offenders are sex offenders and they don't stop,' said Dr. David Kolko of Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, who is the director of the program (used by Allegheny County)...'But a young offender is not the same as a 35-year-old pedophile. That means not taking it lightly, but not equating them with adults.' The vast majority of juvenile offenders don't go on to be adult offenders, and most first-time offenders are never arrested for another sexual offense, Kolko said." Story... [Mark Godsey]
A total of 228 children have been referred to the Special Services Unit/Services for Adolescent and Family Enrichment program since it started in 1998. Of the 163 juveniles who consented to research follow-up and have now been discharged, three were sent to a juvenile facility by the judge for disclosing a prior or a new sexual offense; another 21 were sent to a facility because of nonsexual offenses or for violating the terms of their probation. Of the 106 juveniles that the program has been monitoring for two years following their discharge, two (1.9 percent) have been adjudicated for new sexual offenses, and three (2.8 percent) for non-sexual offenses, Kolko said.
Juvenile court judges order children and adolescents that they deem good candidates into the program. Repeat offenders, those who committed violent crimes, and those who committed offenses against family members or who have very bad family situations are not sent to the program. The child stays in his or her home and is seen by a probation officer two or three times a week -- at a group session with other offenders, as well as at weekly family and individual sessions with Western Psych therapists. Treatment typically lasts a year, though some children have successfully completed the program in as little as 10 months and others have continued for as long as 15 months.