Tuesday, November 29, 2005
On Monday the Supreme Court dismissed Shawn Gementera's appeal that his "scarlet letter" style punishment constituted cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the US Constitution and the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984. He was convicted of stealing mail, and as a result, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco sentenced Gementera to stand outside a post office for 100 hours wearing a sandwich board that reads: "I have stolen mail. This is my punishment." He was also sentenced to serve two months in prison and three years of supervised release. The case is Gementera v. United States, 03-10103. Story here from Law.com. . . [Mark Godsey]
So much for drug trafficking being the most lucrative crime, cyber-crime has taken over. With increasing use of technology in developing countries, cyber-crime--which includes corporate espionage, child pornography, stock manipulation, extortion and piracy of all sorts--is growing at a speed that law enforcement can't catch. In 2004, cyber-crime yielded a $105 billion turnover, more than the drug trade for the first time in history. Story here from PCMag.com [Mark Godsey]
Stetson CrimProf Robert Batey in the Christian Science Monitor on whether death row inmates should get credit for personal rehabilitation while on death row; Rutgers CrimProf George Thomas in the Asbury Park Press on a local case in which a convicted killer may walk free due to a technical jurisdictional problem; Florida CrimProf Christopher Slobogin in the St. Petersburg Times on the plain view doctrine and in the Miami Herald on the Al-Arian case (a South Florida professor charged with terrorism); Northwestern CrimProf Ronald Allen in the Kansas City Star on Italy prosecuting CIA operatives in abstentia; and South Texas CrimProf Susan Crump in the Houston Chronicle on felony-murder charges being filed against a local school bus driver who recklessly killed a child while driving the school bus. [Mark Godsey]
Paul H. Robinson, the Colin S. Diver Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania will speak at the College of Law on Thursday, December 1 at 4:30 p.m. in the Faculty Lounge. Professor Robinson will be participating in the College of Law's ongoing Criminal Colloquium, which brings some of the top scholars in the country to the law school to discuss their research. Professor Robinson will be presenting his paper, "Intuitions of Justice," which he is co-authoring with Robert Kurzban. The Colloquium is presented by the Illinois Program in Criminal Law & Procedure. For more information, visit www.law.uiuc.edu/Criminal
Monday, November 28, 2005
From MSNBC.com: Washington (AP): "The Supreme Court on Monday threw out a decision that erased the conviction and death sentence of a U.S.-British citizen in a fatal fire. Justices directed an appeals court to reconsider whether Kenneth Richey was wrongly convicted of the blaze in Ohio that killed a toddler nearly 20 years ago...Richey's lawyer, Kenneth Parsigian, said that investigators first said that the fire was caused by a faulty fan, and allowed the apartment manager to gut the building, with carpet and other potential evidence being hauled to the county landfill. The appeals court had found that Richey's lawyers at trial hired an unqualified forensic expert to investigate the fire and did not adequately challenge the state's handling of the investigation." So the appellate court ordered a new trial, but now, the Supreme Court has ordered the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider the case. The case is Bradshaw v. Richey, 05-101 (opinion here), and it has attracted international attention, including petitions from the British Parliament, review by Prime Minister Tony Blair, and a letter in support of Richey from the late Pope John Paul II. Read more here. . . [Mark Godsey]
Cal Berkeley and Georgetown Law Professors Stephen Choi and Mitu Gulati have co-authored Choosing the Next Supreme Court Justice: An Empirical Ranking of Judicious Performance, a study on what they believe to be a more objective measure for evaluating judicial performance, compared the ABA's rating system. The ABA relies on testimonials, an interview with the candidate, and an assessment of academics, while Choi and Gulati ranked judges based on the number of opinions each judge wrote consistent with an appellate court, how many times a judge was cited by other judges in opinions and dissents, and the number of times a judge sided with colleagues appointed by a president from the same political party. The study focused only on judges in the U.S. Courts of Appeals in 2003, aged 65 or under.
Both Choi and Gulati admitted they were suprised when Alito ranked 16th out of 74 active appellate court judges, meaning he's in roughly the top 20% of appellate court judges for judicial independence. He ranked fourth in neutrality. Story here from Law.com. . . [Mark Godsey]
|(1)||173||Foreword: Limiting Raich |
Randy E. Barnett,
Boston University School of Law,
Date posted to database: November 11, 2005
Last Revised: November 21, 2005
|(2)||125||Property Rules and Liability Rules, Once Again |
Keith N. Hylton,
Boston University School of Law,
Date posted to database: October 5, 2005
Last Revised: November 2, 2005
|(3)||112||Prisons of the Mind: Social Value and Economic Inefficiency in the Criminal Justice Response to Mental Illness |
Amanda C. Pustilnik,
Covington & Burling,
Date posted to database: August 26, 2005
Last Revised: September 8, 2005
|(4)||111||Home as a Legal Concept |
Widener University - School of Law,
Date posted to database: September 16, 2005
Last Revised: September 16, 2005
|(5)||75||The 'Wildavsky Heuristic': The Cultural Orientation of Mass Political Opinion |
John Gastil, Donald Braman, Dan M. Kahan, Paul Slovic,
University of Washington, Yale University - Law School, Yale University - Law School, Decision Research,
Date posted to database: October 28, 2005
Last Revised: November 3, 2005
Plea-bargaining literature predicts that parties strike plea bargains in the shadows of expected trial outcomes. In other words, parties forecast the expected sentence after trial, discount it by the probability of acquittal, and offer some proportional discount. This oversimplified model ignores how structural distortions skew bargaining outcomes, causing them to diverge from trial outcomes.
Part I of this Article explores the various structural forces that warp plea bargains. Agency costs, attorney compensation and workloads, resources, sentencing and bail rules, and information deficits all skew bargaining.
In addition, psychological biases and heuristics warp judgments. Part II applies recent research from behavioral law and economics and cognitive psychology to critique plea bargaining. Overconfidence, denial, discounting, risk preferences, loss aversion, framing, and anchoring all affect bargaining decisions. Skilled lawyers can partly counteract some of these problems, but they can also overcompensate. The oversimplified shadow-of-trial model of plea bargaining needs to be supplemented by a structural-psychological perspective. On this perspective, uncertainty, money, self-interest, and demographic variation greatly influence plea bargains.
Part III explores how to respond to the various structural and psychological influences that warp plea bargains. Reforming systems of defense counsel, bail rules, and the structure of sentencing rules, and increasing use of mediators and judges in bargaining could ameliorate some of these influences. Other problems, such as demographic variations in psychology, are very difficult to correct. These influences cast light on how civil and criminal bargaining differ in important respects.
Obtain the paper here. [Mark Godsey]
A prominent doctor in Jamaica says that widespread marijuana use in Jamaica significantly contributes to the high levels of crime in the country as well as to a disporportionate per capita percentage of Doritos consumption. [Mark Godsey]
Sunday, November 27, 2005
Jack Chin of CrimProf Blog has published three multi-volume sets collecting hearings of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and the Reports they led to. "In its heyday," Chin says, "the Commission was one of the most transparent, effective and honest organs of government, a bipartisan body of leading Americans, including people who had served as university presidents, state governors, cabinet members, judges, and journalists who had won Pulitzer prizes. As a result, its work was taken seriously, and it is entitled to claim substantial credit for landmark legislation such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965." The sets include: Reports on the Police, Reports on Voting, and Reports on Asian Pacific Americans, and are available from William S. Hein & Co. Inc., as is the 1996 anthology New York City Police Corruption Investigation Commission Reports, 1894-1994.