CrimProf Blog

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

Monday, August 8, 2005

Controversy Over DNA Rights for Inmates

Many states, including my home state of Ohio, are passing legislation that gives inmates who claim they are innocent a set period of time in which to seek DNA testing.  If these inmates miss the deadline or technology has not evolved to allow testing in their case (some case have a small or degraded sample that cannot be tested now, but might be testable in a few years when newer and more sensitive versions of DNA testing come along), then they miss the boat.  Some argue that these deadlines are unfair, while state officials often argue that they are necessary to bring finality to the process.  NPR covers this story in the context of Florida's ongoing struggle with this issue here.  [Mark Godsey]

August 8, 2005 in Exoneration Innocence Accuracy | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Inmates and Daughters bond through Girl Scout Program

The Girl Scouts Behind Bars program aims to let daughters have contactw ith their incarcerated monthers.  The hope is that the harmful consequences of incarceration for both parties will be mitigated. [Jack Chin]

August 8, 2005 in Sentencing Corrections | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Quoted CrimProfs

MGeorge CrimProf Michael Vitiello was quoted in the San Fransisco Chronicle about a local case where an 11-year old girl was arrested, handcuffed, and made to wear an ankle monitor after her release for hitting another child with a rock.

Laurie Levenson of Loyola-LA was quoted by CBS news in a story about the DA in the Robert Blake case calling the jury "stupid" for aquitting him.  Levenson says the prosecutor's comments were unprofessional.

Robert Rigg of Drake was quoted in the Chicago Tribune about the extension of Martha Stewart's home confinement.

Send you quotes to Mark Godsey at with a link to the article on the web.  [Mark Godsey]

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

Sunday, August 7, 2005

What if You Disappear, but you are not Cute, White, Female?

You will not get media attention. [Jack Chin]

August 7, 2005 in News | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Developing Scandal: Girl Scout Cookies and the Money Trail

The Washington Post had this story about apparently-stolen Girl Scout Cookie funds; an adult leader ordered cookies, sold them, but failed to turn in the money.  There is a nice criminal law question about whether this is a debt or a theft; if Joe's Supermarket gets Oreos on credit, sells them and fails to pay the wholesaler because Joe spent the money on the light bill and has a money-losing business, it is not theft.  (But maybe cookie dough is like a trust fund, not fungible dollars.)  In any event, it turns out that this sort of misappropriation is not unusual.  There are reports of failure to turn over proceeds in Wisconsin, San Diego, Columbus, and Tucson.  In some jurisdictions, troop leaders who can't keep their hands out of the cookie jar are prosecuted, for example in Cincinnati, Alabama, and Minnesota.  The cookies themselves are frequently stolen; here's a story from Arkansas; here's someone who admits stealing cookies; it happens often enough that this contract addresses the issue (and makes the organization responsible for stolen product).  Look at this cookie sale manual; although covered with hearts and teddy bears, on page 19, the kingpins explain how they handle street-level dealers who take product but don't turn in the benjamins.  (Remember, the bosses always use juveniles to distribute the product, because at least 85-90% of them have no records, not even tardiness.  No one knows how many tax-free millions the bosses make, but the soldiers get crumbs.)  I don't think there's any way to escape the bottom line:  "GSCs" as they are called in the street may be innocuous in and of themselves.  However, the nature of the business and its participants "tends to attract an undesirable quantity and quality of transients, adversely affects property values, [and] causes an increase in crime" (Young v. American Mini-Theaters); as the San Francisco Chronicle has proposed, GSCs should be banned from legitimate parts of the community.   At least one jurisdiction is getting smart, locking up street sellers on quality-of-life pretexts.  Even Cookie Monster--Cookie Monster!--is apparently in a 12-step program, and now sings "A Cookie is a Sometime Food."  So: Just say "no" to Do-Si-Dos. [Jack Chin] 

August 7, 2005 in News | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

This Week's Top 5 Crim Papers

Ssrnlogo100_2 This week's top 5 crim papers, with number of recent downloads on SSRN, are:

(1) 281 Cultural Cognition and Public Policy
Dan M. Kahan, Donald Braman,
Yale Law School, Yale University - Law School,
Date posted to database: August 2, 2005
Last Revised: August 2, 2005
(2) 263 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
(3) 200 Exonerations in the United States, 1989 through 2003
Samuel R. Gross, Kristen Jacoby, Daniel J. Matheson, Nicholas Montgomery, Sujata Patil,
University of Michigan Law School, University of Michigan Law School, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Law School, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia,
Date posted to database: July 6, 2005
Last Revised: July 26, 2005
(4) 114 Broken Windows: New Evidence from New York City and a Five-City Social Experiment
Bernard E. Harcourt, Jens Ludwig,
University of Chicago - Law School, Georgetown University - Public Policy Institute (GPPI),
Date posted to database: June 14, 2005
Last Revised: July 3, 2005
(5) 82 Against Prediction: Sentencing, Policing, and Punishing in an Actuarial Age
Bernard E. Harcourt,
University of Chicago - Law School,
Date posted to database: July 27, 2005
Last Revised: July 30, 2005

August 7, 2005 in Weekly Top 5 SSRN Crim Downloads | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

FL: Gov. Bush Orders Preservation of DNA Evidence

There's an impending deadline for filing challenges to old convictions based on DNA evidence.  Nevertheless, gov. Bush has ordered that DNA evidence be preserved, even in old cases, unless particular steps are taken, including notice to the Attorney General.  Story here; column about a Florida exoneration here. [Jack Chin]

August 7, 2005 in Exoneration Innocence Accuracy | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Justice Stevens on Capital Punishment

He doesn't like it. [Jack Chin]

August 7, 2005 in Capital Punishment | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Lab Tech Steals Drugs, Hurts 400 Prosecutions

From MSNBC:  "SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - A former crime lab technician with the Missouri State Highway Patrol pleaded guilty to stealing confiscated drugs — thefts that forced prosecutors to dismiss or decline to prosecute nearly 400 cases."  Story . . .  [Mark Godsey]

August 7, 2005 in Drugs, Law Enforcement | Permalink | TrackBack (0)