November 19, 2005
LawProf Al Brophy Blogs Chin on Jim Crow
Here's Al Brophy's guest post on the Solove/Wenger/Oman/Hoffman blog Concurring Opinions on my Constitutional Commentary paper Jim Crow's Long Goodbye. I hope you don't think I'm gratuitously posting this entry, which is not directly related to criminal law, just because Professor Brophy favorably comments on my work, although that would be true.
Al is my hero because of his brilliant legal history writing including Reparations: Pro and Con (Oxford), and Reconstructing the Dreamland: The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 (Oxford), and because he will spend the Spring as a visiting professor at the University of Hawai'i Law School, which is very nice work if you can get it. [Jack Chin]
Online Discussion about Prisoner Reentry
Here's an announcement of interest:
On behalf of the Government Innovators Network, KnowledgePlex, and the National Institute of Justice, I would like thank you for your interest in our web conference "Prisoner Reentry: Addressing the Challenges of Returning Home." We were delighted at the level of response we received on this important subject. Many of you attempted to join the conference, but found the meeting full, and we very much regret that we were not able to accommodate such a high turnout.
We would like to remind everyone, that the event was recorded; you can access this archived recording of the session on the KnowledgePlex website http://www.knowledgeplex.org/xchat.html), as well as the Government Innovators Network website http://www.innovations.harvard.edu/xchat.html
To access archived events, you must register with the KnowledgePlex or the Government Innovators Network -- registration is free and easy. Just click the word "register" on the top-right corner of the screen on either website, and follow the instructions. On this page, you will also be able to access a list of related resources including links to recent news articles and other resources on the topic of prisoner reentry and homelessness.
Many of you have expressed great interest in continuing the dialogue. Thus, we encourage you all to participate in our discussion forum, which will is titled "Prisoner Reentry," and can be found at the Government Innovators Network at http://www.innovations.harvard.edu/forums. Some starter topics have been added to get the ball rolling, including: "Barriers to Employment," "Securing and Networking Resources," and "Returning Sex Offenders."
The initial posts include many questions submitted by those of you who attended the 11/9 event. We encourage you to offer your professional insights and advice in response, or to pose some related questions of your own. In addition, we also invite you to post a new topic (e.g. one attendee has already initiated a great topic on the "Use of Technology and Workload"). There are many issues that were raised during the Q&A session, which the presenters only had time to touch on lightly, if at all, such as resources for children of incarcerated parents, reintegration of those released from juvenile detention facilities, reentry in rural communities, and coordinating mental health resources.
If you have any further questions about the accessing the recording of the event or the using the discussion forum, please let me know. We are happy to be working with this diverse group of leaders in prisoner reentry, and are excited to offer you further opportunities to exchange ideas.
James R. Cooney, Communities of Practice Coordinator, Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
Call for Papers from Syracuse CrimProf Paula Johnson
An interesting new project from Syracuse CrimProf Paula Johnson:
CALL FOR PAPERS: INTERRUPTED LIFE: THE EXPERIENCES OF INCARCERATED WOMEN IN THE UNITED STATES
The rapidly increasing women's prison population has generated great interest among policymakers, academics and activists in the causes, treatment, and consequences of women's imprisonment. When women become incarcerated, their lives and the lives of their families are forever changed. The book project, Interrupted Life: The Experiences of Incarcerated Women in the United States will be a collection of works by and about incarcerated women that interrogates the possibility of "agency" within contexts of systematic dehumanization, even as it recognizes and represents irrefutable acts of self-preservation on the part of imprisoned women.
Interrupted Life will be organized around themes that pertain to incarcerated women's identities beyond their prisoner status, and their struggles to create communities inside the prison and to maintain significant relationships outside of prison. Each section of the book will include diverse forms of expression, including narratives, essays, drama, poetry and illustration. The book will have eight sections, and each section will include five to seven entries of essays, reports, photographs, creative writing, memoir, narrative and related material. In addition, each section will address public representations of incarcerated women within the context of the section heading. Each section will also include examples of activist efforts of incarcerated women and their allies challenging institutional constraints.
We invite potential contributors to submit proposals. Full Details Here
Proposals for papers or other forms of contributions are due by December 16, 2005. The content of book chapters will be determined based on the proposals received. The editorial team will select proposals by January 5, 2006. Final versions of papers and other contributions are due by April 1, 2006. Feel free to contact any member of the editorial team regarding questions about Interrupted Life: The Experiences of Incarcerated Women in the United States: Paula C. Johnson, email@example.com Martha Raimon, firstname.lastname@example.org Tina Reynolds, TReynolds@osborneny.org Rickie Solinger, email@example.com Ruby Tapia, firstname.lastname@example.org
To forward proposal submissions to Interrupted Life: The Experiences of Incarcerated Women in the United States, please contact:
Paula C. Johnson
E.I. White Hall
Syracuse University College of Law
Syracuse, NY 13244
(315) 443-3364 phone (315) 443-4141 fax email@example.com
November 18, 2005
CrimProf Blog Spotlight: CUNY Law's Jeffrey Kirchmeier
"Professor Kirchmeier teaches Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Lawyering Seminar, and Death Penalty Law. He received his B.A. and J.D. degrees from Case Western Reserve University. Before joining the CUNY faculty, he began his legal career as a litigation associate at Arnold & Porter in Washington, D.C. and taught at Tulane School of Law and Arizona State University College of Law. For several years, he was a staff attorney at the Arizona Capital Representation Project, where he represented indigent capital defendants in state appeals, state post-conviction proceedings, federal habeas corpus proceedings, and at clemency hearings. Additionally, he supervised and helped train capital defense attorneys throughout Arizona and was the editor of a quarterly publication on legal developments in the death penalty area.
Professor Kirchmeier is the author of numerous articles about criminal procedure and the death penalty, including a recent analysis of the death penalty moratorium movement. He remains active in death penalty work, and is a member (and former Chair) of the Capital Punishment Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. His awards include a President's Commendation by Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice and the Young Alumni Award from Case Western Reserve University. The 2003 CUNY graduating class gave him the Distinguished Professor Award."
For a list of Professor Kirchmeier's publications, click here.
Clinical Jobs at Emory
EMORY UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW Juvenile Justice Clinical Instructor
Emory University School of Law invites applications for the position of Juvenile Justice Clinical Instructor. The responsibilities include developing the Juvenile Justice course, teaching fundamentals of juvenile law and litigation, interviewing and representing children, and supervising certified legal interns who represent children in delinquency and other proceedings - providing advocacy in the areas of school discipline, special education, mental health, and public benefits. The instructor is counsel of record in cases handled by the Barton Child Law and Policy Clinic at Emory University. The instructor will also perform duties related to the mission of the law school or the clinic. Teaching experience is desirable.
MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS: A J.D degree and several years of related legal experience are required. The candidate must be a member in good standing of the State Bar of Georgia by July 31, 2006. Experience working with juvenile court systems and child welfare systems is required.
COMPENSATION: The position is a full-time, non-tenured faculty position. The appointment is for two years, beginning in early 2006. Salary range is $50,000 - $55,000 plus benefits.
APPLICATION PROCEDURE: Applicants should submit: 1) a cover letter discussing their qualifications for the position and reasons for applying; 2) a resume; 3) telephone numbers and addresses of three references. Applications must be received by December 16, 2005.
Applications and materials should be sent to: CONTACT:
Professor Frank Vandall
Juvenile Justice Clinical Committee
Emory University School of Law
1301 Clifton Road, N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30322
Clinical Instructor for Criminal Defense Clinic
Emory University School of Law invites applications for the position of Clinical Instructor for the law school's new Indigent Defense Clinic. The Indigent Defense Clinic offers third year Emory law students the opportunity to represent criminal defendants, primarily in misdemeanor cases, in DeKalb County, Georgia. The Instructor's responsibilities include selecting cases appropriate for student involvement and supervising students in their handling of clients and cases. The Instructor also will teach a course for students enrolled in the clinic, covering legal and ethical issues that arise in the context of criminal representation and broader perspectives on the criminal justice system. In addition, the Instructor will engage in policy work on criminal justice issues at the local, regional, or national level.
The Clinic is a joint project with the Office of the Public Defender for the Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit. The Instructor will have the option to continue to work for the Public Defender's Office as a regular employee at the conclusion of the Instructor's service with the clinic.
MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS: J.D. degree from an ABA accredited law school, several years of criminal defense experience, and prior teaching experience are required. The candidate must be a member in good standing of the State Bar of Georgia by June 1, 2006.
TERMS OF EMPLOYMENT: The position is a full-time, non-tenured faculty position. The initial appointment is for two years with the possibility of renewal. The preferred starting date for the position is early 2006. The Clinic will begin representing clients in August 2006. Salary range is $50,000 - $55,000 plus benefits.
APPLICATION PROCEDURE: Applicants should submit: 1) a cover letter discussing their qualifications for the position and reasons for applying; 2) a resume; 3) telephone numbers and addresses of three references. Applications must be received by December 16, 2005.
Application materials should be sent to:
CONTACT: Professor Robert Schapiro Indigent Defense Clinic Committee Emory University School of Law 1301 Clifton Road, N.E. Atlanta, GA 30322 Questions also may be directed to: CONTACT: Robert Schapiro Email:
Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. Emory University is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer.
Robert Blake Liable for Wife's Killing
Story here. [Jack Chin]
Watch Video of Va. CrimProf Stephen Smith's Recent Lecture on Capital Punishment
From the Virginia Law website: In states that have capital punishment, institutional pressures in the justice system skew the outcome in death penalty cases toward conviction and execution, law professor Stephen Smith said in lunch remarks to the Board of Trustees and Alumni Council meeting Nov. 4. Better funding for indigent defense and higher standards of effective representation for the accused would likely result in more life sentences and make execution more rare. “Mending it could end it,” Smith said. “Supporters of the death penalty think that our current system has elaborate procedural protections and bends over backwards to make every effort to see that those who get the death penalty are society’s worst murderers, and that if you get the death penalty you really deserve it,” he said. But the reality is that the United States has “a highly politicized system” that also results in certain types of defendants, typically those unlike jurors, being sorted toward execution. If the Supreme Court uses constitutional arguments to regulate the death penalty “through a procedural approach that ignores the underlying political reality, the effort is doomed,” Smith said, acknowledging that certain procedural reforms the Court could institute would lead to a fairer death penalty. Watch a video of his talk here. [Mark Godsey]
Interesting New 4th Amendment Case
The Sixth Circuit holds that entries onto home's curtilage by tax assessor are not searches for purposes of the 4th Amendment. Decision here. [Mark Godsey, via CrimProf Michael Mannheimer at NKU]
November 17, 2005
Cyber-Conspiracy and International Cyber-Cops
Cyber-conspiracy to commit murder: As chat rooms continue to grow in popularity among teens, chat room providers find themselves grappling with complex criminal law issues.
From Edmonton Journal: "Teenagers involved in gang-style activity are bringing their feuds into cyberspace, a new trend that has Edmonton [Canada] police monitoring gang wars online as well as on the streets...Four Edmonton teens were charged with conspiracy to commit murder in a case in which tensions spiked in online chat rooms. "The comments they post on the websites may just be trash talk, but what it does is add fuel to the fire and it just escalates," [said Donna Cole of the Edmonton police department gang unit]...The arrests are the latest to result from Project Feud, a crackdown by the gang unit initiated in June. Detectives to date have charged 20 people with gang activity, primarily in southeast Edmonton..."We are seeing a lot of people displaying weapons online," Cole said. "We see hand guns and we have even seen automatic weapons."
Nexopia founder Timo Ewalds said online communities are the same as any community: most people are good, there are a few troublemakers and plenty of Nexopia's 500,000 mostly teenage members don't get along. "Sometimes they threaten each other, but usually they are empty threats," Ewalds said Wednesday. "If it appears to us that it is a real threat, we call the police." The vast majority of Nexopia's members are under 18 and most have grown up using the Internet the way older generations used the telephone.
"These things always happened in real life, but now it is documented online," Ewalds said. "If they intend to do harm and they express it online, deleting the account isn't going to change anything. University of Alberta criminal law professor Sanjeev Anand said the online conversation could be enough to convict the teens. "If they agree to commit the crime, then that's enough. That agreement is the criminal act," he said Wednesday. But the Crown prosecutor must also show the youths intended to actually carry out the crime. "The question is: Were they serious about it? Were they kidding? It is difficult to tell when you're online," Anand said. "It depends on how compelling the online conversation is."
The Need for International Cyber-cops: Many of today's cyber crimes (ranging from spam to cyber-stalking and identity theft) originate in India. So "cyber-cops" in Kolkata, India are calling for international collaboration and treaties to track down and prosecute cyber-criminals.
From The Statesman: "Officers from the recently formed [cyber-crime] unit, part of the detective department, say their efforts to solve local cyber crimes are being thwarted by lack of response from Internet Service Providers (ISPs) outside India...Kolkata’s cyber cops, all new to the job of tracking criminals, say inter-country treaties or collaboration are necessary so that ISPs or domain providers outside India can be formally approached to trace experienced cyber criminals. Officers say in most cases, the culprits use ISPs or domain providers registered in the USA or Europe. As a result, the cops have to approach those service-providers to gather necessary information for tracking the culprit. Mr R Subarno, DC (special branch), said: “This kind of initiative is beyond our jurisdiction. But the way cyber crime is increasing, the necessity of such treaties will be realised by the Central government and it will take necessary action.” [Mark Godsey]
U.S. House Budget Cuts Could Increase Youth Crime
From The Times-Tribune: "Law enforcement leaders Wednesday blasted proposed budget cuts by Congress, which they say will increase crime by slashing support to authorities and proven investments that help kids get the right start in life and avoid crime. [Leaders in Pennsylvania discussed the cuts' effects on the state's local programs.] [P]rograms such as Head Start, SMART, PRIDE and the Educational Assistance Program would lose more than $1 million and force hundreds of children throughout the Scranton School District out of after-school activities, officials said during a morning news conference at City Hall. “We did extremely well on our state assessment tests because we are able to offer after-school tutoring free,” said Scranton School Supervisor of Special Programs Lou Paris. “It’s a service that usually would cost parents about $35 per hour and not many could afford that.
Earlier this year the U.S. House of Representatives proposed a $50 billion budget cut that reduces by more than $8 billion federal support for vital crime-fighting investments. According to Bruce Clash, director of the nonprofit organization Fight Crimes: Invest in Kids Pennsylvania, by 2010 one out of 10 children would be shut out of after-school programs, one out of seven would be denied access to Head Start, and one out of six children of working parents would be denied access to quality child care under the new budget cuts." [Mark Godsey]
Spring, 2006 Immigration Job at CUNY
City University of New York School of Law / Immigrant and Refugee Rights Clinic
We invite applications for a visiting Teacher/Supervising Attorney in the Immigrant and Refugee Rights Clinic of the Law School’s Main Street Legal Services Clinic (“IRRC”) for the Spring 2006 semester. We are seeking creative and experienced lawyers with a desire to work collaboratively in a diverse environment, a serious interest in clinical teaching, and a commitment to our mission as a public interest law school. In collaboration with other IRRC faculty, duties include direct supervision of third-year students in litigation and policy advocacy projects; joint classroom teaching; and participation in law office management.
The current programmatic areas covered in IRRC include immigrant workers’ rights, deportation defense, asylum law, and VAWA petitioning. We expect that the attorney in this one-semester visiting position will focus on supervision and teaching in the area of immigrant workers’ rights and federal practice. Experience in these areas is required. Experience in public interest representation, including significant litigation experience, clinical teaching or supervisory experience, work with community organizing groups, and/or bilingual proficiency, preferred. J.D. degree or its equivalent required.
Appointment is for one semester. Exact start date is somewhat flexible. CUNY School of Law is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer. We affirmatively seek diversity in our staff with regard to gender, race, national origin, sexual orientation, and physical abilities. To apply, please send cover letter and resume. No phone calls please. Email of cover letter and resume will be accepted. Applications should be submitted as soon as possible. We will begin reviewing applications as they arrive and will continue until a suitable candidate is found. Early applications are encouraged. Contact: Ms. Maureen McCafferty, Administrator to Faculty Appointments Committee, City University of New York School of Law at Queens College, 65-21 Main Street, Flushing, NY 11367.
The City University of New York is an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action/Immigration Reform and Control Act/Americans with Disability Act Employer.
Holocaust Denier Arrested on Suspicion of Denying the Holocaust
David Irving was arrested in Austria for this crime. [Jack Chin]
Death Penalty News
From the DPIC:
Pennsylvania man becomes 122nd person in U.S freed from death row
New NC law allowing plea to life in prison to avoid death penalty results in sharp drop in death sentences
Prosecutorial misconduct results in new trial for death row inmate in Georgia. [Mark Godsey]
New Article Spotlight: Vandy's King
This article examines parties' ability to circumvent consistency in sentencing by bargaining around the rules that structure sentences within statutory ranges in federal criminal cases. Without careful control by judges, sentencing bargaining carries risks for structured-sentencings systems that may outweigh gains in efficiency. After a discussion of weaknesses in the ability of judges to oversee the factual accuracy of sentencing agreements, the article advances several options that would strengthen that supervisory role, promoting greater accuracy, transparency, and consistency in federal sentencing.
Obtain paper here. [Mark Godsey]
November 16, 2005
Alabama CrimProf on Sexual Orientation's Exclusion from Hate Crime Legislation
From Al.com (Montgomery, Ala.): AP--"The severe beating of a Montgomery man for allegedly making sexual advances toward another man is the latest example of why Alabama's hate crime law should include sexual orientation, the leader of a gay advocacy group said Wednesday. Police say Marcus Dewayne Kelley, 26, told them he beat Billy Sanford, 52, with a hammer because of repeated sexual advances. Sanford has remained in a coma since the Oct. 19 attack at his home. Kelley, who worked as a handyman for Sanford, was arrested Monday in Alexander City and will be charged with attempted murder...[T]he attack on Sanford is at least the fifth reported crime based on homosexuality in Alabama within a year.
"Hate crimes are based in hatred, and committed based on anti-gay hatred," said [Howard Bayless, Chairman of Equality Alabama]. "The most important thing about it is the perception of the perpetrator, not the identity of the victim." Alabama law defines a hate crime as a violent act committed against a person because of their race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, or physical or mental disability. For the last three legislative sessions, Rep. Alvin Holmes, D-Montgomery, has pushed bills to include sexual orientation within Alabama's hate crime statute. The bills have yet to pass.
University of Alabama Law professor and retired Judge Joseph Colquitt said the penalties in many cases like Kelley's are the same even though Alabama's hate crime statute is as strong as those in other states. Attempted murder carries the same penalties as actual murder — a sentence of 10 to 99 years served. An additional hate crime charge would raise the minimum sentence by five years. "It has some affect but not a great amount of impact," Colquitt said. "In many cases of attempted murder or murder, the sentencing may very well be more than 15 years."
[Regardless of the practical effects on sentencing,] Bayless said that including violence aimed at gays and lesbians would likely decrease those crimes. The state sends a message that it is OK to hurt gays and lesbians by excluding sexual orientation from the statute, he said. "It is so important that we get sexual orientation added to the hate crimes bill so that awareness of this problem will grow," Bayless said." [Mark Godsey]
RIP James Fyfe
James Fyfe was former NYPD patrolman who became one of the nation's best known criminal justice experts, teaching at Temple and John Jay, and then returned to the NYPD as Deputy Commissioner for Training. Memorial fund announcement here; obituary here.
Missouri: Felons Cannot Be Bail Bondsmen
Story here. [Jack Chin]
Second Chance Act
Here's a page with the test of the Second Chance Act, and hearings about the act, which was designed to facilitate prisoner reentry. According to Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich: “This Legislation authorizes much needed assistance to state and local governments for projects that enhance a person’s ability to find a job and receive housing or substance abuse and mental health treatment. . . . Just as important, the bill creates a federal task force from various agencies to identify ways to collaborate and remove barriers to successful re-entry.” [Jack Chin; thanks to Myrna Raeder]
Booker Conference at Houston Law; CrimProfs Abound
HOUSTON, Nov. 15, 2005 – University of Houston Law Center's Criminal Justice Institute and the Houston Law Review present “The Booker Project: The Future of Federal Sentencing” on Nov. 18 at UH. Federal judges, nationally-recognized scholars, and federal practitioners will examine the meaning and legacy of the controversial 2005 U.S. Supreme Court’s “Booker” decision that examined the constitutionality of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
Registration is complimentary for students of any law school and the judiciary; however, all attendees are required to register in advance for conference planning purposes. For registration information, go to http://www.law.uh.edu/news/Booker.pdf.
The Booker Project brings together experts to address the future of federal sentencing in this new world of “advisory” guidelines.
Principal speakers include:
Professor Ron Wright from Wake Forest University School of Law, one of the leading scholars on sentencing commissions. He teaches and writes about Criminal Justice and Administrative Law. His areas of expertise include prosecutorial charging decisions, plea bargaining, crime politics, criminal sentencing and the use of sentencing commissions in state and federal government to develop sentencing rules. Before entering academia in 1988 he was a Trial Attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice.
Professor Nancy King from Vanderbilt University Law School, a national expert on jury sentencing. A frequent contributor to conferences on jury research, her work focuses on juries and on the post-investigative features of the criminal process including plea bargaining, trials, evidence, sentencing, double jeopardy, and post-conviction review. She has written numerous articles on jury sentencing, the impact of the decision in Apprendi, capital sentencing, and a piece on the Blakely decision for the Federal Sentencing Reporter. She has authored or coauthored several articles and book chapters on state and federal sentencing issues, two of which have been cited in recent decisions of the United States Supreme Court. In the past year, she has testified before the United States Sentencing Commission, served as one of four panelists for an ALI/ABA web cast on Booker, and spoken about sentencing at Stanford, Duke, Columbia, Indiana, Illinois, and Brooklyn Law Schools.
A former federal prosecutor, Professor Frank Bowman, from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law, is recognized nationwide for his expertise in the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. In 1995-96, he served as Special Counsel to the U. S. Sentencing Commission in Washington D.C. He is the co-author of the treatise, Federal Sentencing Guidelines Handbook. Prof. Bowman has testified before the U.S. Sentencing Commission as well as before Congress regarding sentencing law.
Professor Douglas Berman, from Ohio State University Moritz Law School, is a nationally-regarded expert in federal sentencing. A story in the Wall Street Journal featured his web log, Sentencing Law and Policy, which has been a principal source of information for practitioners and scholars about the Blakely and Booker decisions. He recently co-authored a new casebook, Sentencing Law and Policy: Cases, Statutes and Guidelines. He has published numerous articles on topics ranging from capital punishment to the federal sentencing guidelines. Prof. Berman also has served as an Editor of the Federal Sentencing Reporter for nearly 10 years.
They will be joined by a number of notable commentators, including The Honorable Ricardo H. Hinojosa, Chairman, United States Sentencing Commission; James L. Turner, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Chief of the Appellate Division, Southern District of Texas; The Honorable Vanessa Gilmore, United States District Court, Southern District of Texas; Marjorie Meyers, Federal Public Defender, Southern District of Texas; Sandra Guerra Thompson, UH Law Foundation Professor of Law and Director of the Criminal Justice Institute at the UH Law Center.
For more information about the event, go to http://www.law.uh.edu/news/bookerbrochure.pdf.
November 15, 2005
Business Groups Join ACLU and Criminal Defense Lawyers to Limit the USA Patriot Act
From Bloomberg: "Even in Washington, this isn't a coalition you see every day. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers, the nation's two largest business groups, have formed an alliance with the American Civil Liberties Union and criminal-defense lawyers to oppose portions of the USA Patriot Act...The groups want Congress to limit provisions allowing the Federal Bureau of Investigation to demand, with only limited review by judges, that companies turn over personal records of customers, suppliers and employees. The ACLU is concerned about privacy rights; businesses are worried about lawsuits, and even criminal liability if the disclosure of records violates foreign privacy laws.
``Government is looking to deputize in-house counsel and, generally, businesses,'' says Susan Hackett, senior vice president of the Washington-based Association of Corporate Counsel, a group representing company attorneys that opposes the provisions. ``You're opening yourself to liability,'' particularly to overseas suits, says Hackett, the group's general counsel. ``It could be incredibly onerous and incredibly expensive.''
The Patriot Act expires at the end of the year unless Congress renews it. Negotiators for the House and Senate meet this week to reconcile their differing versions of the renewal legislation. The Senate version takes into account many of the business-civil liberties coalition's concerns; the House version doesn't...The lobbyists are focusing on two particular provisions of the law. One of them, which allows investigators to use so- called National Security Letters to request records, has been invoked about 30,000 times a year, according to the Washington Post. The Justice Department won't confirm that number, saying it's a secret.
The business and rights groups -- which include the Washington-based National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, which represents 47,500 attorneys, judges and law Professors -- are asking that the new version of the law require more judicial oversight of the requests, a position that is opposed by President George W. Bush." [Mark Godsey]