CrimProf Blog

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

Monday, October 31, 2005

Pennsylvania Men Freed on Joint Motion of Prosecution and Defense

The men were serving life for a 1987 murder based on the testimony of a prostitute.  But the testimony did not match the physical evidence, and a witness came forward to explain that the murder was committed by others, as part of a botched drug deal.  Story here. [Jack Chin]

October 31, 2005 in Exoneration Innocence Accuracy | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Soldiers Chariged with Abusing Afghani Prisoners

Story here. [Jack Chin]

October 31, 2005 in International | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Bush to Nominate Alito to SCOTUS

Story here.  [Mark Godsey]

October 31, 2005 in Supreme Court | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Ohio: Attorney General Sides with Innocence Project, Against Local DA

CrimProf Blogger and Cincinnati CrimProf Mark Godsey's representation of an innocence project client has lead to a remarkable stand-off between the Ohio Attorney General and a local prosecutor.  Godsey and his students represent Clarence Elkins, who was convicted of raping and murdering an elderly woman and raping her six-year old grandaughter.  Elkins was convicted based solely on the testimony of the surviving six-year old, who has since recanted.  DNA evidence found on the girl's panties and the grandmother's vaginal swab does not match Elkins, but both samples match a convicted sex offender who resembles Elkins and lived in the neighborhood where the crime occurred.  In spite of this evidence, the local DA insists that the conviction is solid.  The Attorney General disagrees, and sent this letter stating that he intends to appear in the state habeas hearing supporting the defendant's release.  Jana Deloach of Akron and Howard Nichols and Pierre Bergeron of Squire, Sanders & Dempsey also represent Elkins with Godsey and his students.  Visit here.  [Jack Chin]

October 31, 2005 in Exoneration Innocence Accuracy | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, October 30, 2005

This Week's Top 5 Crim Papers

Ssrn_3 This week's top 5 crim papers, with number of recent downloads on SSRN, are::

(1) 179 Rescue Without Law: An Empirical Perspective on the Duty to Rescue
David A. Hyman,
University of Illinois College of Law,
Date posted to database: September 7, 2005
Last Revised: September 20, 2005
(2) 170 Reasonable Suspicion and Mere Hunches
Craig S. Lerner,
George Mason University - School of Law,
Date posted to database: August 25, 2005
Last Revised: September 1, 2005
(3) 131 Repression and Denial in Criminal Lawyering
Susan Bandes,
DePaul University College of Law,
Date posted to database: August 26, 2005
Last Revised: September 16, 2005
(4) 114 Property Rules and Liability Rules, Once Again
Keith N. Hylton,
Boston University School of Law,
Date posted to database: October 5, 2005
Last Revised: October 13, 2005
(5) 99 Reformulating the Miranda Warnings in Light of Contemporary Law and Understandings
Mark Godsey,
University of Cincinnati College of Law,
Date posted to database: August 26, 2005
Last Revised: October 6, 2005

October 30, 2005 in Weekly Top 5 SSRN Crim Downloads | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

New Article Spotlight: Discrimination in Sentencing Based on Afrocentric Features

Professors William T. Pizzi, Irene V. Blair and Charles M. Judd published Discrimination in Sentencing on the Basis of Afrocentric Features in 10 Michigan Journal of Race & Law No. 2 (2005).  The SSRN abstract: For a long time, social scientists have worried about possible racial discrimination in sentencing in the United States. With a prison population that exceeds two million inmates of whom approximately 48% are African American, the worry over the fairness of the sentencing process is understandable. This article is not about discrimination between racial categories as such, but about a related form of discrimination, namely, discrimination on the basis of a person's Afro-centric features. Section I of the article describes a line of social science research that shows that a person's Afro-centric features have a strong biasing effect on judgment such that subjects are more willing to attach racial stereotypes, both positive and negative, to persons whom they perceive as having stronger Afro-centric features. The authors theorize that what is happening is that Afro-centric features have come to have potency to influence judgment on their own, irrespective of race. Section II describes what happened when the authors took their research out of the laboratory and examined the sentencing of inmates in the Florida prison system. The same results were found: when inmates who had committed similar crimes and who had similar criminal histories were compared, inmates who had stronger Afro-centric features received longer sentences within their racial category than inmates with less pronounced Afro-centric features. This result is disturbing because it suggests sentences that are unfair, irrational, and unjust.

October 30, 2005 in Scholarship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)