CrimProf Blog

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

Monday, December 5, 2005

Murder by Perjury?

If one commits perjury in a capital case, and thereby causes the wrongful conviction of an innocent person, is the perjurer guilty of murder? Maybe, according to a Texas prosecutor, who is considering charging a witness who says he lied under police pressure.  The duress defense is problematic, because in many jurisdictions, duress is not a defense to murder, and it requires an imminent threat of death or serious physical injury, with no reasonable opportunity to escape, which is not alleged in this case. [Jack Chin--Thanks to Ken Williams]

December 5, 2005 in Criminal Law | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

African American Males in Higher Ed has this interesting article about African American men in higher education.  It talks about CUNY's efforts to deal with underrepresentation in the educational system; "part of the CUNY effort will focus on criminal justice. Black men currently face a 32 percent lifetime chance of spending at least a year in jail (the comparable figure for white men is 6 percent). Jeremy Travis, president of CUNY’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice, says that CUNY will not turn things around with black men unless it plays a role in bringing down the percentage of incarcerated black men — and working with those who are behind bars." [Jack Chin]

December 5, 2005 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

This Week's Top 5 Crim Downloads

Ssrn_6This week's top 5 crim papers, with number of recent downloads on SSRN, are:

(1) 185 Foreword: Limiting Raich
Randy E. Barnett,
Boston University School of Law,
Date posted to database: November 11, 2005
Last Revised: November 21, 2005
(2) 158 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) 119 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) 115 Home as a Legal Concept
Benjamin Barros,
Widener University - School of Law,
Date posted to database: September 16, 2005
Last Revised: September 16, 2005
(5) 85 Punishment, Deterrence, and Avoidance
Jacob Nussim, Avraham D. Tabbach,
Bar Ilan University - Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University,
Date posted to database: November 11, 2005
Last Revised: December 2, 2005

December 5, 2005 in Weekly Top 5 SSRN Crim Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New York: Random Subway Searches Upheld

Here's Daniel Solove's extensive coverage of the decision over at Concurring Opinions. UPDATE:   Here's more. [Jack Chin]

December 5, 2005 in Search and Seizure | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, December 4, 2005

FBI Plants Mole in W. Va Election

Here's an interesting story at Talkleft about the FBI having an informant run for elected office in W. Va. to help root out bribery and corruption in the state.   Sixteen arrests were ultimately made.  [Mark Godsey]

December 4, 2005 in Law Enforcement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Janet Reno Headlines Events Connected To 'Exonerated' in Iowa

Reno The Jan. 24-25 University of Iowa performances of "The Exonerated," a play staged by Tim Robbins' Actors' Gang that focuses on death-row inmates cleared by new evidence, has prompted Hancher Auditorium and the University Lecture Committee to collaborate on three days of free, public events preceding the performances in Hancher.  Among other events, former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno will address the death penalty and judicial reform in the Lecture Committee's annual Distinguished Lecture at 3 p.m. on January 22. Admission will be free and open to the public.  A full schedule of events connected with "Exonerated" is now accessible on the Web -- -- and tickets to the Actors' Gang performances are available through the Hancher box office.  Other participants in the three days of events will include Kirk Bloodsworth, the first person to be exonerated through post-conviction DNA evidence; Jeanne Bishop, a Chicago attorney associated with Murder Victims' Families for Reconciliation; several members of the UI faculty; and company members of the Actors' Gang.  At the lecture, Reno will receive the Distinguished Lecture Medallion from the Lecture Committee. Past recipients include President Bill Clinton, South African President F.W. DeClerk and Coretta Scott King, widow of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.  The Hancher performances of "The Exonerated" are supported by Hayes Lorenzen Lawyers PLC, through the University of Iowa Foundation.  Hancher Auditorium box office business hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays. From the local calling area, dial 319-335-1160. Long distance is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to 319-353-2284. People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial 319-335-1158, which is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

December 4, 2005 in Exoneration Innocence Accuracy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Former Attorney General Janet Reno Announces Greensboro Law Institute

The American Judicature Society's Institute of Forensic Science and Public Policy was announced by former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno at a Nov. 14 news conference in Greensboro.  The institute will open in January across the street from the new law school facility in downtown Greensboro. The institute will focus on areas in which science and the law intersect. For example, the institute will develop best practices for the handling and analyzing of DNA evidence, an effective new forensic tool that has helped solve many crimes and also disclosed numerous wrongful convictions.  More . . .  [Mark Godsey]

December 4, 2005 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Do "Wasp Sniffs" Constitute a Search?

Wasps may be replacing dogs in the future for sniffing out drugs and explosives.  [Mark Godsey, hat tip to Curtis Scribner]

December 4, 2005 in Search and Seizure | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wronfgul Conviction Case on 20/20 Jan. 6

20/20 (ABC) will air a special on a wrongful conviction case on Friday, Jan 6, 2006 at 9:00 pm CST, 10:00 pm EST, and 7:00 pm WST.  PI Paul Ciolono will appear. [Jack Chin]

December 4, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Austin Sarat on Clemency, for Tookie and Others

He argues that clemency is being treated as a final appeal, dealing with the question of whether due prcess was followed or the defendant might be innocent, rather than as a matter of mercy and grace, which is the original purpose of clemency.  Oped here. [Jack Chin]

December 4, 2005 in Capital Punishment | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Minnesota Meth Bootcamp Works

Story here. [Jack Chin]

December 4, 2005 in Drugs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

CrimProf Blog Spotlight: Judith Ritter of Widener Deleware

This week the CrimProf Blog spotlights Widener Deleware's Judith Ritter.

"Judith L. Ritter is Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Criminal Defense Clinic at Widener's Delaware campus. Professor Ritter received a B.A. from State University of New York at Buffalo in 1976, and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 1979, where she was a member of the Law and Policy in International Business Law Review.  Following graduation from law school, Professor Ritter served as a Staff Attorney for the Legal Aid Society of Nassau County, Mineola, New York from 1979-86; Clinical Staff Attorney, Rutgers, Newark, New Jersey, from 1986-90; Associate Counsel, Community Service Society of New York, New York City, New York, from 1990-93; and Visiting Associate Professor of Law, Hofstra University from 1993-1994.

Professor Ritter joined the faculty at Widener as Associate Professor of Law and has served in that capacity since 1994. Professor Ritter is admitted to practice in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and she teaches and writes in the areas of Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure and Post Conviction Remedies. Professor Ritter has been active in a number of professional and civic organizations, including the AALS Section on Clinical Education, Clinical Legal Education Association, and Volunteer Counsel, Center for Legal Education, Advocacy and Defense Assistance."  Here is a link to Professor Ritter's complete list of publications.

December 4, 2005 in Weekly CrimProf Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)