CrimProf Blog

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

Saturday, October 15, 2005

U Baltimore Jobs



The University of Baltimore School of Law seeks applications for tenure-track faculty positions to begin in the 2006-2007 academic year. The School especially encourages applications from women and minorities, and from persons with experience and interest in business and transactional law (e.g. commercial law, corporate law, finance, trusts & estates). The University of Baltimore as a whole, and the law school in particular, has a strong institutional commitment to a diverse faculty. The commitment does not end with hiring, but continues with a dedicated effort to nurture and support faculty members to achieve their greatest potential and attain a major reputation in the legal and academic community. Applications consisting of a vitae and cover letter should be sent to Professor Michael J. Hayes, Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee, The University of Baltimore School of Law, 1420 North Charles Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21201

October 15, 2005 in CrimProfs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Japanese Police Using Camera Phones to Fight Crime

Pictures of suspects on the run, etc., can be sent to each officer's cellphone immediately, increasing the chances of a succecsful arrest.  [Mark Godsey] 

October 15, 2005 in Technology | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 14, 2005

CrimProf Blog Spotlight: Virginia Law's Stephen F. Smith

SmithThis week the CrimProf Blog spotlights Stephen Smith of Virginia Law

"Stephen F. Smith joined the Law School faculty in 2000 as an associate professor of law.  As a student at the Law School, he received the Margaret G. Hyde Award and the Daniel Rosenbloom Award. He served as Articles Editor for the Virginia Law Review and was inducted into the Order of the Coif and the Raven Society. Upon graduation, he clerked for Judge David B. Sentelle of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and for Justice Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Before returning to the Law School, Smith served in the Supreme Court and appellate practice group of Sidley & Austin in Washington, D.C. He also served as Associate Majority Counsel to a 1996 House of Representatives select subcommittee investigating U.S. involvement in Iranian arms transfers to Bosnia and as an adjunct professor at George Mason University School of Law. He is actively involved in a number of community service organizations and civic projects.

Smith's area of research is criminal law and criminal procedure. His courses include Criminal Law, Criminal Adjudication, and Federal Criminal Law."  For a list of Professor Smith's publication's click here, and for a list of his comments to the media, click here.

October 14, 2005 in Weekly CrimProf Spotlight | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Yahoo to Ban Under 18s from Chat

This is a good development.   There are chatrooms out there which are patrolled by pedophiles looking for kids.  Why Yahoo allowed them to exist is a mystery.

"Among the illicit chat rooms removed were those with labels such as ``girls 13 & up for much older men,'' ``8-12 yo girls for older men,'' and ``teen girls for older fat men.'' Many of these were located within the ``Schools and Education'' and ``Teen'' chat categories.

An undercover investigator, posing as a 14-year-old while visiting one of those chat rooms, received 35 personal messages of a sexual nature over a single 25-minute period, the attorneys general said." (thanks to BoingBoing)

October 14, 2005 in Law Enforcement | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

RIP, Arizona Lawyer and CrimProf Darrow Soll

SollDarrow Soll of Phoenix, one of Arizona's top criminal defense lawyers, died last week at 39.  Darrow's parents named him after Clarence Darrow; as an adjunct professor at the University of Arizona, he was an inspiring figure to law students interested in criminal defense.  Darrow represented Padre Matt Bush, boxer Mike Tyson, and numerous pro bono clients. Here's Darrow in a 2000 New York Times Magazine interview talking about juvenile incarceration:

"I had juvenile referrals when I was a kid," says Soll, who is now a criminal defense attorney with a posh Phoenix firm. "And if I came into the system now, I'd probably be incarcerated. I wouldn't have gotten into the military. I wouldn't have gotten an education. I sure wouldn't have entered the bar." One of Soll's oddest moments as a public defender came when he was called upon to represent a 15-year-old boy charged in criminal court and facing a possible four-year prison sentence for stealing a golf cart and setting it on fire. "What was weird about it was that I had done virtually the same thing when I was that age," says Soll. He is 34 and a natty dresser with a bemused, cherubic face and a roster of well-heeled clients. But he grew up working class in Glendale, Jeff Stackhouse's neighborhood.

"O.K., in my case, I took the golf cart and drove it into the pool at school -- big prank," Soll explains. "But I went to court, and I had this Roy Bean-type judge who said, 'Son, in the old days I could have sent you into the Army, and I can't now, but that's what I'd do with you.' And I did go into the Army, and I became a paratrooper, and it was a great educational experience for me and a lot of other rough-and-tumble kids like me. A whole lot better than fending off gangs in the state pen. If I'd done that today, I'd have a felony conviction and they wouldn't even let me in the Army." He whistles under his breath. "Boy, you don't want to be the parent of a teenager these days."

October 14, 2005 in News | Permalink | TrackBack (1)

Marijuana good for the Brain?

A new study described in Forbes suggests that marijuana may have various positive effects on the brain.  The study, involving rats, used one of the psychoactive components in marijuana. [Jack Chin]

October 14, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Report: Jail Not the Cure For Street Crime

From The Globe and Mail:  "VANCOUVER -- A special justice-system task force has recommended that British Columbia become the first province in Canada to establish a "community court" that shifts the focus away from determining guilt or innocence, to instead place the emphasis on treating the illnesses and addictions of criminals.  "I think this is a revolutionary report," B.C. Attorney-General Wally Oppal said yesterday after the Justice Review Task Force released its findings. The task force spent more than a year studying the problem of street crime in Vancouver.  "You can't always be sending everybody to jail," Mr. Oppal said, as he endorsed the underlying theme of the report, which is that the justice system has to do a better job of striking at the root cause of crimes.

The report, put together by a group of lawyers, judges, police officers, health workers and social workers, says that society has to find a new way to deal with criminals whose actions are driven by substance addiction, mental-health problems or intense poverty.  The task force calls for a community court, that would be housed in a building separate from existing provincial court structures, with a specifically designated judge and court staff.  The community court, which would be part of a street-crime strategy guided by a community board of advisers, would cluster police, health and social workers in the same building.

The idea would be to have "wraparound" services that would help the courts break the "revolving door" of repeat incarceration, by streaming out those offenders who might better respond to treatment than to jail time.  Mr. Oppal said many of those who are committing street crimes are repeat offenders, and many of them come out of jail worse than when they went in.

"We simply cannot keep doing business the way we have been," Mr. Oppal said. "We have to use a creative approach."  Mr. Oppal described the report as "enlightening and far-reaching."  [Mark Godsey]

October 14, 2005 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Panel on Death Penalty at Pace Law

WHAT: A distinguished panel of lawyers talking about the future status of the death penalty in NY Mr. Doyle's speech is entitled "Beyond the Obvious: Problems With The Death Penalty We Do Not Even Get To."

WHEN: Wednesday, October 19, 2005 at 5 pm

WHERE: Pace Law School, Tudor Room, 78 North Broadway, White Plains, New York.

WHO: Keynote speaker is Kevin Doyle, the Director of the New York Capital Defender’s Office. Speakers will include distinguished Pace Professors Ben Gershman and Michael Mushlin, both of whom recently testified before the NY state legislature about prosecutorial misconduct and death row living conditions respectively.

October 13, 2005 in Conferences | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Slate on Lineups

Here. [Jack Chin]

October 13, 2005 in Law Enforcement | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

New from Carolina Academic Press


Authors: Ellen S. Podgor, Peter J. Henning, Andrew Tazlitz, Alfredo Garcia

The unique problems in the book allow for the exploration of policy considerations behind the rules and also allow for practice in interpreting statutes. Unlike many books, Criminal Law incorporates the Model Penal Code into the chapters without offering these provisions as the end-ofthe-line in the statutory evolution of criminal law. The cases in this book are current decisions, and discussions of gender, race, culture, and transnational and international matters offer a truly comprehensive study of criminal law. Unique to this book are relevant materials concerning scientific evidence, noting how this evidence plays a part in broader problems of trial proof, planning, credibility, and negotiation. The book stresses strategies and ethics in the exploration of traditional material as well as cutting edge topics.

A teacher’s manual will be available.

To order : Carolina Academic Press, 700 Kent Street, Durham, NC 27701, (800) 489-7486,

is a criminal law casebook that approaches the subject from a modern and practical perspective. It incorporates traditional methodology important to this required course, namely the teaching of statutory interpretation, but also provides a new dimension in preparing lawyers with the appropriate skills, strategies, and ethics that are important in the practice of criminal law.

October 13, 2005 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Booker Project: The Future of Federal Sentencing

November 18, 2005

The University of Houston Law Center's Criminal Justice Institute and the Houston Law Review present The Booker Project: The Future of Federal Sentencing. Federal judges, nationally-recognized scholars (Doug Berman, Ron Wright, Frank Bowman, and Nancy King), and federal practitioners will examine the meaning and legacy of the 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision that examined the constitutionality of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. The conference, which will carry a registration fee, includes Texas CLE participatory credit (pending), breakfast, lunch, and conference materials.   For more registration, visit

October 12, 2005 in Conferences | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

DeLay Prosecutor Subpoenaed

I've never heard of a prosecutor being subpoenaed before trial in an effort to challenge the grand jury.  I guess it is worth trying to be creative, but I doubt this will become a regular part of criminal practice.  [Jack Chin]

October 12, 2005 in News | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Article on Female Prisoners

Here. [Jack Chin]

October 12, 2005 in Sentencing Corrections | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Cincinnati's New Criminal Appellate Clinic Hits the Ground Running

Bergeron From The National Law JournalUniversity of Cincinnati College of Law students are getting their feet wet in some high-profile murder and drug cases through a new clinic that allows them to prepare and argue cases before the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.  Believed to be the first program of its kind in the Midwest, the school's yearlong appellate clinic got off the ground this fall after the 6th Circuit approved a rule allowing third-year law students to argue before the court under attorney supervision.  So far, the nine students participating in the clinic have taken on some heavy-duty cases, including the murder conviction of a man who claims that new DNA evidence will exonerate him, a drug conspiracy case and an immigration case that involves the application of the U.S. Supreme Court's recent Leocal v. Ashcroft decision, in which the court ruled that a drunken driving conviction does not allow for mandatory deportation of legal immigrants.

"It gives students an opportunity to understand the complexity that exists in a real live case with a real live client," said Barbara Watts, associate dean at the University of Cincinnati College of Law. "Teaching the theory of law and precedent is one thing. But there's nothing quite like a real client with life or freedom or property that's on the line to sort of bring it alive for students."

According to Watts, the clinic's existence is largely due to the help of Squire, Sanders & Dempsey. The 800-lawyer global firm volunteered one of its appellate lawyers, Pierre Bergeron, to direct and teach the clinic.


Bergeron, who had taught a one-semester course in appellate law at the University of Cincinnati a few years ago, looks forward to giving students a break from the classroom for some real-world experience.

"They've had such a heavy classroom schedule through the last two years, and this really gives them the opportunity to get out and do something real and practical," said Bergeron, who is based in Cincinnati. The clinic will also help students get over any fears they have of judges, he added.

"The natural reaction for students is to be intimidated by judges-that's certainly how I was when I was in law school," Bergeron said. "Part of our goal is to demystify the appellate practice and show them how the courts work."

According to Bergeron, only two other law schools offer appellate law clinics: Georgetown University Law Center and the University of Virginia School of Law.

Bergeron said that one of the benefits of the year-long appellate clinic is allowing students to follow cases through from initial review and research to argument.

In helping launch the program, he said, his first job was to find good cases for students to work on. Through professional and court referrals, he landed three. The most prominent involves Clarence Arnold Elkins, who was convicted in 1998 for the murder and rape of a grandmother and the rape of her 6-year-old granddaughter.

Bergeron said that his students hope to exonerate Elkins through new DNA evidence that exculpates Elkins and allegedly implicates another inmate.

The students started class on Aug. 26 and immediately started working on Elkins' behalf. Ohio v. Elkins, No. CA22834 (Ohio Ct. App.). As Bergeron put it, "they've hit the ground running."  (Bergeron pictured) [Mark Godsey]

October 12, 2005 in Teaching | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

First Criminal Decision of Roberts Court

A habeas win for the defendant!  [Mark Godsey]

October 12, 2005 in Supreme Court | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

New Article Spotlight: Colorado's Carolyn Ramsey

RamseyColorado CrimProf Carolyn Ramsey has posted Intimate Homicide: Gender and Crime Control, 1880-1920on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

The received wisdom, among feminists and others, is that historically the criminal justice system tolerated male violence toward women. Drawing on previously unexplored archival material, Intimate Homicide: Gender and Crime Control, 1880-1920 demonstrates that this story is in need of revision. It dramatically revises feminist understanding of the legal history of public responses to intimate homicide by showing that, in both the eastern and the western United States, men accused of killing their intimates often received stern punishment, whereas women charged with similar crimes were treated with leniency. Moreover, men who killed their lovers, spouses, or other family members in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were executed in larger numbers than today.

Although no formal "battered woman's defense" existed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, courts and juries implicitly recognized one - and even extended it to abandoned women who killed their unfaithful partners. In contrast, when men were accused of intimate murder, the provocation doctrine and other defenses were applied narrowly, and men were held to higher standards of self-control. This article thus questions the common view that a hegemonic gender ideology that accepted extreme violence towards women controlled public responses to intimate homicide. The research presented here is not simply a matter of interest to legal historians. Rather, it also requires criminal law scholars and feminists, such as the author, to re-examine the underpinnings of their theories.

Obtain the paper here.  [Mark Godsey]

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

Explorer Meriwether Lewis Stands Trial

From a press release:  (Portland, Ore.)— U.S. District Judge Owen Panner will sit in judgment over history when Lewis & Clark Law School and the Oregon Historical Society put Meriwether Lewis on trial.

As part of the national bicentennial commemoration of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the law school and historical society will produce two mock trials based on charges arising from the expedition. The charges involve the theft of a Clatsop Indian canoe by Capt. Meriwether Lewis while at Fort Clatsop, and the killing of two Blackfeet Indians in Louisiana territory during Lewis’s return trip home. The indictments are based on violation of federal law.

Four third-year law students from Lewis & Clark Law School will serve as prosecutors and defense attorneys. Among the historical figures expected to testify are Sacagawea, expedition guide; York, a slave to Capt. William Clark; Capt. William Clark; George Drouillard, an interpreter; and others.

The mock trial will be held twice: on Thursday, Oct. 20, and Saturday, Oct. 22. The sessions convene at 7 p.m. on each date in the Mark. O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse, 1000 S.W. Third Ave. Seating is limited.

For more information about the mock trials, call 503-222-1741. More information about commemoration events during the Lewis and Clark bicentennial can be found at Lewis & Clark or at the Oregon Historical Society.   [Mark Godsey]

October 11, 2005 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wyoming Prof Honored by PDs for Preserving Right to Counsel

C_burmansmall From a press release:  The Wyoming Public Defender’s office presented its 2005 “Gideon Award” to University of Wyoming College of Law Professor John M. Burman.  Burman has taught at the UW College of Law since 1985 and is of counsel to the Laramie law firm, Corthell and King.

The annual honor recognizes those who have made a significant contribution to preserving the meaning of the right to counsel guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, according to State Public Defender Ken Koski. He says award recipients are selected upon evaluation of their past efforts in Wyoming to assure that the right to counsel has been preserved, thus keeping "Gideon's Promise" that those accused of a crime will receive the benefit of counsel to represent them.

It is named after Clarence Gideon, an uneducated poor rural Southerner who was forced to represent himself and then convicted of a crime he did not commit. In 1963 the U.S. Supreme Court decided his hand-written claim was correct: the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guaranteed him the right to counsel.

Gov. Dave Freudenthal wrote that Professor Burman had been described as the “lawyer’s lawyer” for his efforts in advising and training lawyers on ethical issues. The governor also observed that, “perhaps no other attorney has provided more pro bono representation to the poor and downtrodden in this state than you.”

Wyoming Supreme Court Chief Justice William U. Hill wrote, “No one is more deserving. Your dedication to the law, our system of justice and to the students preparing to enter our profession are exemplary, and demonstrate your desire to honor the promise of the Gideon decision.”

Burman said he could not imagine an award that could mean as much as this one. He said, “The reason is the respect I have for the untiring, and often unappreciated, efforts” made by public defenders.   [Mark Godsey]

October 11, 2005 in CrimProfs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Suspect Lies About Kidnapping to Get out of Date

A Kentucky 18-year old, who had met someone on the internet, called to explain why she did not appear at the airport as expected: she had been kidnapped, raped, stabbed, and left at the side of the road.  Police mayhem ensued.  What crime, I wonder?  She did not fib directly to the police.  Yet, in Model Penal Code terms, it was substantially certain that such a call would be reported to the police, so perhaps it was a "knowing" false report. [Jack Chin]

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

Chicago Judge Takes the Fifth

A newly elected Cook County judge, implicated in the coverup of beatings of prisoners in a former job, took the fifth to questions such as "upon graduation from law school did you become an assistant state's attorney?"  [Jack Chin]

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