CrimProf Blog

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

Wednesday, March 2, 2005

CrimPro Stop and Frisk Exercise

Jc16 I did a stop and frisk demonstration with the University of Arizona Police Department in my criminal procedure class yesterday.  Here's a picture (credit: James Shea), and here's an article in the Arizona Daily Star. [Jack Chin]

March 2, 2005 in CrimProfs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 1, 2005

Sex Crimes at Harvard

Here's an interesting story on various avenues of relief for victims of sex crimes at Harvard. [Jack Chin]

March 1, 2005 in Sex | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

BJS Report on Publically Funded Crime Labs

Here.  There's a big backlog. [Jack Chin]

March 1, 2005 in Technology | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

BREAKING NEWS: Juvenile Death Penalty Struck Down, 5-4 in Roper v. Simmons

Opinion here and here. Per Kennedy, joined by Souter, Stevens, Breyer, Ginsburg.  Dissenting: Rehnquist, Scalia, Thomas, O'Connor. MSNBC story here. Oral argument transcript here. [Jack Chin]

March 1, 2005 in Capital Punishment | Permalink | TrackBack (2)

Supreme Court Oral Argument Today in Capital Case

Supreme_court_13Today the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Deck v. Missouri, 04-5293.  At issue is whether the defendant was unfairly prejudiced by being handcuffed and shackled with leg irons and a belly chain during the sentencing phase of his capital trial.  Although the Supreme Court has held that "no person shall be tried while shackled and gagged except as a last resort," its decision is grounded in the fact that during trial the defendant is presumed to be innocent. The restraints, according to the court, compromise that presumption of innocence.  The Court has yet to consider whether the same heightened standard applies to the sentencing phase where the defendant has already been convicted of the crime.  More details and briefs here.  [Mark Godsey]

March 1, 2005 in Capital Punishment | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Forensic Science News Yahoo Group

I received this email from LA Sheriff's crime lab director Barry Fisher: "Writer Jan Burke, a friend of forensic science, has developed a Yahoo group entitled CLP Morgue. CLP stands for the Crime Lab Project which Jan is using to develop a grass roots effort among writers. CLP Morgue is a free subscription service where news articles on forensics are posted. Jan is doing this service on her own and we are grateful. At the end of this email is a link to allow you to join this group. If you are interested, sign up and pass it on to others whom you thing are interested."  Here's the group with instructions on how to join. [Jack Chin]

March 1, 2005 in Exoneration Innocence Accuracy | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Lithwick on Anti-Gay Hate Crime Legislation

Here.  [Jack Chin]

March 1, 2005 in Criminal Law | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Judge Gives an Ultimatum: Charge or Release Padilla within 45 Days

Yesterday, U.S. District Court Judge Henry Floyd in Spartanburg, S.C. ruled that the government cannot indefinitely hold Jose Padilla as an “enemy combatant.”  President Bush designated Padilla as an "enemy combatant" in 2002, but Floyd wrote that: “The court finds that the president has no power, neither express nor implied, neither constitutional nor statutory, to hold petitioner as an enemy combatant,"  The Bush administration now has 45 days to charge Padilla, or release him.  The Bush administration claims that Padilla 1) planned a "dirty bomb" attack; 2) sought to explode hotels and apartment buildings in the U.S; and 3) received training on the use of weapons and explosives from al-Qaida memebers.  He was arrested in 2002 at O'Hare Airport in Chicago after returning from Pakistan.  Padilla is one of two U.S. citizens deemed an "enemy combatant."  The other, Yaser Hamdi was released in October after the Justice Department decided that he no longer posed a threat to the U.S. or could give any more valuable intelligence information. More on this story... [Mark Godsey]


March 1, 2005 in Homeland Security | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Congratulations to UGA CrimProf Daniel Coenen

UGa CrimProf Dan Coenen was recently awarded a prestigious University Professorship.  A graduate of Cornell Law School, Professor Coenen clerked for Justice Blackmun. [Jack Chin]

March 1, 2005 in CrimProfs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 28, 2005

Denver Sex Crime Victim Gets Perpetrator's House

The Denver District Attorney's policy is to seek forfeiture of property used in crimes, including sex crimes.  When a man lured a 9-year old into his home and attempted to assault her, he was not only sent to prison but had his house forfieted.  The proceeds will go to the victim. [Jack Chin]

February 28, 2005 in Criminal Law | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

The Passing of Texas CrimProf Robert Dawson

Rdawson We are sad to report the unfortunate passing of Texas CrimProf Robert Dawson at age 65.  Details of his life and career, and a photo gallery are here.  [Mark Godsey]

February 28, 2005 in CrimProfs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Source: BTK Arrestee Confesses to Six Murders

Story here.  [Mark Godsey]

February 28, 2005 in News | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

New Search and Seizure Case: The Doctrine of "Consent Once Removed"

The Sixth Circuit held last week in U.S. v. Yoon, 03-5875, 2005 WL 427883, (and here) that once a civilian informant gains permission to enter a suspect's home and establishes probable cause that contraband is present, the informant may signal the police to enter the house as well and the police may then conduct a search.  The court held that the permission given by the homeowner/suspect to the informant to enter the home constitutes "consent once removed" for the police to then search the home, even if the homeowner/suspect is not aware that the civilian is a police informant.  The scope of the police search is limited to areas where the informant was granted access under the consent initially given to him, and of course, the police can seize any contraband in plain view in those areas.  In so holding, the Sixth Circuit agreed with the Seventh Circuit's decision in United States v. Paul, 808 F.2d 645 (7th Cir.1986).

Although the justification given by the Sixth Circuit is thin, the rationale seems to be that once a suspect has granted access to his home to a confidential informant, he has voluntarily limited his expectation of privacy in the home.  Thus, having the police then enter and search does not intrude upon any privacy interest not already abandoned by the homeowner through consent.  This seems like a stretch to me.  Granting access to a "friend," although the friend turns out to be not such a good friend, and in fact is a police informant, is a far cry from consenting to a police search of your home.  I guess one could argue that the homeowner "assumes the risk," as in White, Hoffa, Lewis and Lopez, etc., that the person he allows to enter his home is working for the police, and thus, forfeits part of his expectation of privacy.  But then again, those cases involved conversations, not the home per se, where the Fourth Amendment's protection is at its zenith.  And beyond an assumption of the risk theory, a reasonable person who gives consent to his friend to enter his home probably believes he still has an expectation of privacy that includes the right to exclude the police.  In other words, granting access to a friend or civilian on the one hand, and granting access to the police on the other, are not the same or even remotely similar from the perspective of the subjective expectation of the homeowner.  [Mark Godsey]

February 28, 2005 in Search and Seizure | Permalink | TrackBack (1)

Law Review Rankings Symposium

Paul Caron and Rafael Gely of Cincinnati have put together a spectacular symposium on law review rankings--info here. [Jack Chin]

February 28, 2005 in Conferences | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Genocide Charges Dismissed by Mexico Supreme Court

Upholding a 30-year statute of limitations, the Supreme Court of Mexico upheld the dismissal of genocide charges against a former president of Mexico for acts that occurred in 1971. [Jack Chin]

February 28, 2005 in Criminal Law | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Texas Study on Racial Profiling/Consent Searches

A Texas study examined data from the records of over 1,000 Texas law enforcement agencies; the findings show that: 1) in 2003, two out of three of these agencies searched black and Hispanic motorists more often than white motorists; and 2) during searches of white motorists, law enforcement officials were just as likely to find illegal items than when searching black or Hispanic motorists.  Executive director of the TX Police Chiefs Association believes that studies such as this are typically flawed for failing to account for time of day, location of the stop/search, and other such varying factors.  The study also made the following recommendations: 

  • Adopting uniform reporting standards for racial profiling data;
  • Requiring extra data to be collected by police agencies;
  • Establishing an independent statewide repository for reports; and
  • Banning consent searches (The study pointed out that three of five Texas police agencies were more likely to ask blacks and Hispanics than whites for a consent search).'s full report and Talkleft's coverage including an analysis and breakdown of the report; and GritsforBreakfast analysis.  [Mark Godsey]

February 28, 2005 in Search and Seizure | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Exoneration Roundup

Based on a new Massachusetts law, six people have filed claims for compensation for wrongful conviction.  In Ohio, a woman called 911 claiming she was being assaulted and held at gunpoint in her apartment; an investigation showed she was at work the whole time and the alleged assailant was miles away the whole time.  Police report a spate of false sexual assault claims from a high school in Maryland.  In Boston, a lawsuit is proceeding by a person wrongfully implicated in an attack fabricated by a stressed-out cop who has since resigned.  [Jack Chin]

February 28, 2005 in Exoneration Innocence Accuracy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, February 27, 2005

New York Times Examines Prison Health Care

The deaths of two New York inmates sparked the New York Times to investigate prison health care in New York.  Brian Tetrault was a 44-year old Parkinson's sufferer and former nuclear scientist jailed in 2001 for stealing skis and other items from his ex-wife's house.  He was denied his medication for Parkinson's after his tremors were dismissed as "fake."  After his death, corrections officers doctored his records to make it appear that he died after he was released.  Victoria Williams Smith was a 35-year old, jailed for smuggling drugs, who died of a heart attack after being given nothing more than Bengay for chest pains.  The nurse claimed that her pleas for hospitalization were a scam to get drugs.  The New York Times writes: "In these two harrowing deaths, state investigators concluded, the culprit was a for-profit corporation, Prison Health Services, that had moved aggressively into New York State in the last decade, winning jail contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars with an enticing sales pitch: Take the messy and expensive job of providing medical care from overmatched government officials, and give it to an experienced nationwide outfit that could recruit doctors, battle lawsuits and keep costs down.  A yearlong examination of Prison Health by The New York Times reveals repeated instances of medical care that has been flawed and sometimes lethal. The company's performance around the nation has provoked criticism from judges and sheriffs, lawsuits from inmates' families and whistle-blowers, and condemnations by federal, state and local authorities. The company has paid millions of dollars in fines and settlements. In the two deaths, and eight others across upstate New York, state investigators say they kept discovering the same failings: medical staffs trimmed to the bone, doctors underqualified or out of reach, nurses doing tasks beyond their training, prescription drugs withheld, patient records unread and employee misconduct unpunished.  Not surprisingly, Prison Health, which is based outside Nashville, is no longer working in most of those upstate jails. But it is hardly out of work. Despite a tarnished record, Prison Health has sold its promise of lower costs and better care, and become the biggest for-profit company providing medical care in jails and prisons. It has amassed 86 contracts in 28 states, and now cares for 237,000 inmates, or about one in every 10 people behind bars." The full story: "Private Health Care in Jails Can Be a Death Sentence" [Mark Godsey]

February 27, 2005 in News | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Prosecutor Kicked Out of CLE Event for Defense Attorneys

Defense attorneys argued that the prosecutor was improperly attempting to learn defense strategies in capital cases.  Story here.  [Mark Godsey]

February 27, 2005 in News | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Mark Godsey on DNA

In a story discussing the Ohio Innocence Project he runs out of the University of Cincinnati College of Law, Professor Godsey commented on the DNA revolution: “With the advent of DNA, people have been able to go back and re-look at old cases … kind of get a crystal ball into old cases and see what we didn’t know before and we’ve realized that many people who are in prison are actually innocent.”  And here's a separate story about the release of one of Professor Godsey's clients and his visit with the law school students who achieved his release. [Jack Chin]

February 27, 2005 in Exoneration Innocence Accuracy | Permalink | TrackBack (0)