CrimProf Blog

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

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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

FBI will Use DNA Database to Identify Missing Persons

According to USA Today, the FBI plans to use its national DNA database system to help identify not only criminals, but also missing persons and tens of thousands of unidentified bodies held by local coroners and medical examiners.

A new computer program planned for this fall will compare DNA taken from unidentified bodies to DNA submitted by family members of missing persons. The plan takes advantage of the fact that biological relatives sometimes have similar, though not identical, DNA profiles. [Mark Godsey]

May 31, 2006 in Technology | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Number of Death Row Inmates Continue to Decline

According to the latest edition of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund's Death Row USA, the number of people on the death row in the United States is continuing to decline, falling to 3,370 as of April 1, 2006. Texas and South Carolina have had the largest death row inmate decrease since January 1, 2006. California continues to have the nation's largest death row population, followed by Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. More. . .  [Mark Godsey]

May 31, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

City Ordinance Plans to Restrict Alley Use to Combat Crime

A Minneapolis City Ordinance Proposal plans to make miles and miles of Minneapolis alleys off-limits to strangers in an attempt to curtail crime. The proposal prohibits anyone from walking in an alley who doesn't live on that block, who isn't a guest of someone who does, or whose job does not require them to enter the alleys.

Counsel Members claim the Proposal is part of a continued effort to curb vandalism, theft, and drug sales that occur in alleys across the city. Story. . . [Mark Godsey]

May 31, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Hit and Run Grannies

72-year-old Olga Rutterschmidt and 75-year-old Helen Golay are accused of befriending vulnerable men, insuring the men's lives for millions of dollars, and then cashing in after the men die in mysterious back alley hit-and-runs.  Story. . . [Mark Godsey]

May 30, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

All Charges Dropped Against A New Jersey Man Who Once Faced The Death Penalty

Prosecutors in New Jersey announced that they were dropping all charges against Larry Peterson who had been convicted of murder in 1989, saying they could no longer meet their burden of proof in his case. Peterson's conviction was overturned last year after DNA tests failed to match him with evidence from the scene of the crime.  Story. . .  [Mark Godsey]

May 30, 2006 in Exoneration Innocence Accuracy | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Terms Differ in Jail Releases

According to the Los Angeles Times, experts worry Los Angeles County Sheriff Baca's policy of having certain prisoners serve more time for the same crime may invite Equal Protection challenges.

Under its policy of selectively releasing criminals to ease jail overcrowding, the Sheriff's Department has routinely forced women, prostitutes arrested in Compton, and certain gang members to serve more time than others convicted of identical crimes. [Mark Godsey]

May 30, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Execution Stats for 2006

From DPIC:  With the execution of Jesus Aguilar in Texas on May 24, there have now been 20 executions in 2006:

  • 50% of the executions have been in Texas
  • 75% have been in the South
  • 75% of those executed were of minority race
  • 62% of the victims in the underlying murders were white.

At the current pace, there would be 48 executions in 2006, a decline from the 60 executions in 2005, though many executions have been stayed while courts consider the lethal injection process.
(source: DPIC statistics, May 25, 2006).  See Executions and DPIC's Execution Database.

May 30, 2006 in Capital Punishment | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

Monday, May 29, 2006

This Week's Top 5 Crim Papers

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

(1) 156 The Poverty of the Moral Stimulus
John Mikhail,
Georgetown University - Law Center,
Date posted to database: April 19, 2006
Last Revised: April 27, 2006
(2) 134 Killing in Good Conscience: Comments on Sunstein and Vermeule’s Lesser Evil Argument for Capital Punishment and other Human Rights Violations
Eric D. Blumenson,
Suffolk University - Law School,
Date posted to database: April 25, 2006
Last Revised: May 8, 2006
(3) 109 Muslim Profiles Post-9/11: Is Racial Profiling an Effective Counterterrorist Measure and Does it Violate the Right to be Free from Discrimination?
Bernard E. Harcourt,
University of Chicago - Law School,
Date posted to database: March 30, 2006
Last Revised: April 19, 2006
(4) 106 Internal Separation of Powers: Checking Today’s Most Dangerous Branch from Within
Neal Kumar Katyal,
Georgetown University Law Center,
Date posted to database: May 8, 2006
Last Revised: May 10, 2006
(5) 102 The New Forensics: Criminal Justice, False Certainty, and the Second Generation of Scientific Evidence
Erin Murphy,
University of California, Berkeley, School of Law (Boalt Hall),
Date posted to database: April 19, 2006
Last Revised: May 3, 2006

May 29, 2006 in Weekly Top 5 SSRN Crim Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

Racial Profiling in Car Stops in MO

Blacks stopped 42% more than whites.  [Mark Godsey]

May 29, 2006 in Race | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

FBI Dumping Gun Shot Residue Test as Junk Science

This could lead to many individuals convicted on the basis of such evidence to challenge their convictions post conviction.  Story....[Mark Godsey]

May 29, 2006 in Technology | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, May 28, 2006

People Magazine of the Federal Judiciary

Stay up on the latest gossip on all your favorite federal judges.  Underneath Their Robes has it all, including the latest "hotties" list.

May 28, 2006 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (2)

W&M CrimProf Marcus Honored

Marcus_award Paul Marcus, the Haynes Professor of Law at William & Mary Law School, has been named a recipient of the 2006 Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award. The award was presented during the College's commencement ceremony on May 14, 2006.

To perpetuate the memory of the life of Algernon Sydney Sullivan, the New York Southern Society has arranged to make awards to one man and one woman in William & Mary’s graduating class, and to one other person who has a close relationship with the college. In selection of recipients, nothing is considered except characteristics of heart, mind, and helpfulness to others.
Since joining the William & Mary law faculty in 1992, Marcus has received many awards for his commitment to scholarship and instruction, including the Law School’s John Marshall Award and the Walter L. Williams, Jr. Teaching Award.

“Today, we honor him for the spirit with which he gives of himself – especially to those in need,” William & Mary President Gene R. Nichol said.

For the past several years, Nichol said, Marcus has served as a mentor to middle-school and elementary-school students through the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization – and was named the group’s 2004 Volunteer of the Year. Marcus has also founded a law and literature program at the Central Virginia Regional Jail where he and law students visit inmates once a month. Marcus currently volunteers his time to work with Habitat for Humanity and serves as co-reporter, with University of Oklahoma Associate Law Professor Mary Sue Backus '01, for the National Committee on the Right to Counsel, which is a massive effort to examine defendants rights in criminal cases across the country.

May 28, 2006 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 26, 2006

Smart Guns

A New Jersey company is developing a new gun that can only be shot by its owner.  The firearms have grip-recognition capacity, and will be on the market in 5 years.  [Mark Godsey]

May 26, 2006 in Technology | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New Article Spotlight: The Right to Be Hurt: Testing the Boundaries of Consent

Bergelson Rutgers CrimProf Vera Bergelson has posted the above-titled article on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

People’s right to consent to pain, injury or death has always been one of the most controversial issues in criminal law and moral philosophy. In recent years, that issue has moved to the forefront of public, legislative, and academic debates in the United States and abroad due to a series of high-profile criminal trials, which involved consenting victims in various contexts - from sadomasochism and cannibalism to experimental medical treatment and mercy killing.

Currently, American criminal law does not recognize consent of the victim as a defense to bodily harm, except in a few historically defined circumstances. That rule has been criticized for its arbitrary scope, outdated rationales, and potential for moralistic manipulation. Yet, despite those criticisms, no principled alternative has been worked out. This article is an attempt to develop a set of normative requirements for a new rule governing consensual bodily harm and a general defense of consent.

The new rule would treat valid (voluntary and rational) consent of the victim as a defense of partial or complete justification. Partial justification is warranted by the mere fact that consensual harm does not involve at least one aspect of a paradigmatic offense, namely a rights’ violation. The victim was a “co-author” of his own injury and thus the perpetrator should not bear full responsibility for it. Complete justification, on the other hand, would require that, in addition to the victim’s consent, the perpetrator had a “good reason” for his harmful action: he intended to achieve a better balance of harms/evils and benefits and, in fact, managed to achieve it. This article rejects the absolute character of today’s law. Instead, it promotes a balancing test that takes into account the severity of harm to the victim’s interests and dignity as well as the importance of the reasons that caused the harmful act.

To obtain paper, click here.

May 26, 2006 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Incarceration of Women up 757% in Last 27 Years

Maine Adds Homeless to Hate Crimes Law

Listen to NPR story here

May 25, 2006 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

ACLU Files Suit...

in 20 states over NSA surveillance

May 25, 2006 in Search and Seizure | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Man Exonerated By DNA Must Sit in Jail

From AP:  MARATHON, Fla. - A judge on Tuesday dismissed the conviction of a Cuban national wrongly accused of a 1982 rape but told him he would have to stay behind bars until immigration officials sort out his legal status.  Orlando Bosquete, 52, expressed frustration at his extended incarceration but said he was glad that DNA evidence had proved he was innocent.  “It is very important to me to forgive because I have to start a new life,” Bosquete said after Tuesday’s hearing.  Rest of story....  [Mark Godsey]

May 25, 2006 in Exoneration Innocence Accuracy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

CrimProf Chui Wins Scholarship Award

On April 7, 2006, Dean Frank Wu of Wayne State University School of Law presented Professor Elaine Chiu with an award for winning for the Inaugural Scholarly Paper Competition of the Conference of Asian Pacific American Law Faculty [CAPALF] held at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Professor Chiu won for her paper entitled Culture As Justfication, Not Excuse in which she urges the criminal law to adopt a new approach to how it regards the claims of defendants that their acts are cultural practices based on the norms and values of their minority cultures. Such claims should be thought of as claims of justification and not as pleas for excuse.

In addition to the award, Professor Chiu opened the conference with a presentation of her paper. The paper will be published in the October 2006 issue of the American Criminal Law Review.

May 23, 2006 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Death Penalty....

developments at the state level.   [Mark Godsey]

May 23, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)