CrimProf Blog

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

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Monday, July 31, 2006

D.C. Will Hold National Crime Summit

From USATODAY.com: Citing increasing concerns about violent crime, D.C. law enforcement authorities are convening a national summit in D.C. next month to deal with sudden spikes in homicides, robberies and assaults.

Local police officials and municipal authorities from more than a dozen cities, including Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Louisville, Charlotte and Boston will meet Aug. 30 in Washington, where the mayor and police chief recently declared a "crime emergency."

"What we've seen happen in the past year across this country deserves all of our attention," said Charlotte Police Chief Darrel Stephens, referring to the first significant jump in homicides and other major crimes in more than a decade. "We need to get a better sense of what is going on."

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

July 31, 2006 in Law Enforcement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Indiana Study Finds Increase in IV Drug Use Among Teens

From indystar.com:The number of Indiana high school seniors who say they have shot up heroin, methamphetamine and other drugs has hit an all-time high, according to new Indiana University findings that are backed by drug counselors.
About 2.2 percent of 12th-graders surveyed by IU's Indiana Prevention Resource Center this spring admitted trying intravenous drugs, which users turn to for a more powerful high. That's an increase of more than 25 percent from a year ago, according to the 16th annual IU survey, to be released today.
While the overall head count of reported IV drug users is small, it shows "there is a subgroup of schoolchildren that are heavily into drug use," said Barbara Seitz De Martinez, the center's deputy director. "If they are using heroin and other injection drugs, you don't start off with that. You graduate to that over a period of time." Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

July 31, 2006 in Drugs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New Prison Sexual Abuse Study Claims Report Numbers are Low

From USATODAY.com: Fewer than three prisoners in every 1,000 report they were sexually abused or harassed, but that probably is not the whole story, a government study says.There may be far more sexual violence in prisons than is reported, the study's authors said, because inmates fear reprisal, adhere to a code of silence, do not trust the staff or are embarrassed.

The study released Sunday by the Justice Department agency is based on reports to corrections officials in 2005.The bureau looked at more than 1,800 correctional facilities holding some 1.7 million inmates — 78% of the adult prison population.The report is the second one required by the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003, which was an attempt to solve a problem believed to be widespread.

"What gets reported is the tip of the iceberg," said Cindy Struckman-Johnson, professor of social psychology at the University of South Dakota and a member of the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission. Struckman-Johnson said her studies found 10% of male Midwestern state penitentiary inmates have been raped. "In my research, only a third of the inmates actually reported it to anybody working in a prison," she said. Beck and Harrison found that 38% of allegations involved staff sexual misconduct and 35% involved forced sex by an inmate on another inmate. Also, 17% involved staff sexual harassment and 10% involved abusive sexual contact by an inmate on another.

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

July 31, 2006 in Reports | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, July 30, 2006

New Article Spotlight: Originalists, Politics, and Criminal Law on the Rehnquist Court

751697950From SSRN.com: New York University School of Law CrimProf Rachel Barkow recently published "Originalists, Politics, and Criminal Law on the Rehnquist Court."  Here is the abstract:

One of the most important legacies of the Rehnquist Court's criminal law jurisprudence is its reinvigoration of the Constitution's jury guarantee. The Court has made clear that legislators cannot pass laws mandating increases in punishment unless those laws are applied by juries, not judges. The Court has therefore rejected existing sentencing laws in numerous states and the federal system, and sentencing policy is under scrutiny as never before.

The Court's sentencing cases are not only significant for their impact on day-to-day plea bargaining and trial practice in the criminal justice system; they also provide a concrete and important example of the power of law and legal methodology - and not simply politics - in Supreme Court decisionmaking. The sentencing decisions are out of step with what attitudinalist political scientists would have predicted from the right-leaning Court. The cases are the product of an alliance between Justices that the attitudinalists view as the extreme left and right of the Court; they are the product of a partnership between the Court's self-proclaimed originalists and those members of the Court who are most sensitive to the role of the judiciary in protecting criminal defendants' rights from majority politics. This area of criminal law is therefore an important reminder of the significance of legal methodology to case outcomes.

In addition to documenting the importance of the jury cases, this Article uses those cases as a springboard for a larger analysis of the relationship between originalists, politics, and criminal law on the Rehnquist Court. By reviewing all of the Rehnquist Court's criminal opinions in argued cases during the ten-year period from the October 1994 Term through the 2003 Term, this Article shows that the Justices' votes in criminal cases do not fit neatly into the attitudinal model. While a review of those cases confirms the conventional view that the Court's liberal bloc voted for criminal defendants more frequently than the Court's conservatives in non-unanimous cases, the more interesting pattern is the variation among the Court's conservatives in non-capital criminal cases in which the five conservatives disagreed among themselves. In the fifty-five non-capital criminal cases in which the Court's conservatives did not vote as a bloc, Justices O'Connor, Scalia, and Kennedy each voted for the defendant twenty-four times, Justice Thomas voted for the defendant in eighteen cases, and Chief Justice Rehnquist in fourteen cases. In several of the most important constitutional decisions of that period, including but not limited to the jury cases, the conservative originalists voted for defendants while the pragmatist conservatives ruled for the government. The jury cases are therefore part of a larger pattern that reveals the relationship between originalism, politics, and criminal law to be far more complicated than is commonly believed.

July 30, 2006 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

CrimProf Kami Chavis Simmons Joins Wake Forest University School of Law

Wake Forest University School of Law is pleased to announce the appointment of Kami Chavis Simmons to the law school faculty.

Professor Kami Chavis Simmons received a B.A. with Highest Honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1996, where she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.  She then attended Harvard Law School, where she was an Earl Warren Scholar.  After receiving her J.D. from Harvard in 1999, Professor Simmons worked as an associate at private law firms in Washington, D.C., where she participated in various aspects of civil litigation, white-collar criminal defense, and internal investigations.  In 2003, she became an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia.  She has represented the United States in a wide range of criminal prosecutions and has argued and briefed appeals before the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.  Professor Simmons was also an adjunct lecturer at American University, Washington College of Law.  She will teach Criminal Procedure and Professional Responsibility.  [Mark Godsey]

July 30, 2006 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

THis Week's Top 5 Crim Papers

Ssrn_17_12The top 5 crim papers for this week, with number of recent downloads, from SSRN are:

(1) 199 Child Sexual Abuse and the State: Applying Critical Outsider Methodologies to Legislative Policymaking
Ruby P. Andrew,
Southern University Law Center,
Date posted to database: May 24, 2006
Last Revised: May 25, 2006
(2) 185 Defending the Right to Self Representation: An Empirical Look at the Pro Se Felony Defendant
Erica J. Hashimoto,
University of Georgia - School of Law,
Date posted to database: May 17, 2006
Last Revised: June 1, 2006
(3) 165 A Brief History of Information Privacy Law
Daniel J. Solove,
George Washington University Law School,
Date posted to database: July 10, 2006
Last Revised: July 27, 2006
(4) 138 The Right to be Hurt - Testing the Boundaries of Consent
Vera Bergelson,
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - School of Law,
Date posted to database: May 19, 2006
Last Revised: June 15, 2006
(5) 109 Looking Deathworthy: Perceived Stereotypicality of Black Defendants Predicts Capital-Sentencing Outcomes
Sheri Lynn Johnson, Jennifer L. Eberhardt, Paul G. Davies, Valerie J. Purdie-Vaughns,
Cornell Law School, Stanford University, University of California, Los Angeles Department of Psychology, Yale University, Department of Psychology,
Date posted to database: May 10, 2006
Last Revised: May 10, 2006

July 30, 2006 in Weekly Top 5 SSRN Crim Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, July 29, 2006

International CrimProf Michael A. Newton Speaks About Hussein Trial to N.Y. Times

NewtonFrom NY Times.com: Vanderbilt University Law School International CrimProf Michael A. Newton, who helped train the Iraqi judges now deliberating Saddam Hussein and seven other defendants' fate spoke to the New York Times about the trial today.

"Iraqi procedural law, which governs the trial, requires that the judges be satisfied there is “proof to a moral certainty” that a defendant is guilty," said Newton.

He criticized the boycott by Mr. Hussein’s chosen lawyers as detrimental to his case, and praised the court-appointed lawyers. “Their arguments were very capable and very comprehensive, they were focused on the details on the case,” he said in a telephone interview here. “I think they were very effective arguments, from a defense perspective.” Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

July 29, 2006 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, July 28, 2006

Weekly CrimProf Spotlight: Jose F. Anderson

AndersonThis week, the CrimProf Blog spotlights Jose F. Anderson from the University of Baltimore School of Law.

Professor Anderson joined the faculty in 1993. Prior to joining the faculty he engaged in the private practice of law in Baltimore and served for nine years in the Maryland Public Defender's Office where he was an assistant public defender and supervising attorney in the Appellate Division. From 1991 to 1993 he served as special assistant public defender, responsible for a number of statewide litigation and legislative matters, and was counsel to Stephen E. Harris, the state Public Defender for Maryland. During his tenure at the Public Defender's Office, he represented clients in major felony and death penalty litigation in the state trial and appellate courts and in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Professor Anderson played a key role in the development of the University of Baltimore Appellate Practice Clinic. He is the elected chair of the Maryland State Bar Association Section Council on Criminal Law and Practice in 2000-2001, and a member of the Section on Legal Education and Admission to the Bar. He has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Maryland Criminal Defense Attorney's Association, the Monumental Bar Association Judicial Selection Committee, the Maryland Criminal Pattern Jury Instruction Committee, and the Maryland General Assembly Criminal Code Revision Committee. He is a member of the faculty of the Maryland Institute of Continuing Professional Education of Lawyers (MICPEL) and frequently speaks at local and national attorney and judicial training conferences. He has also served as a special consultant to the Maryland Commission on the Future of the Courts and was appointed by Chief Judge Robert M. Bell as a member of the Maryland Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office Advisory Board. He is a member of the Maryland, United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and United States Supreme Court bars.

He has published articles in the Nebraska, Loyola Los Angeles, New England and University of Baltimore law reviews, and in the Rutgers and Howard University law journals.

July 28, 2006 in Weekly CrimProf Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 27, 2006

"Innocence Lost" Shows FBI How Pimps Recruit and Abuse Teen Prostitutes

From USATODAY.com: "Innocence Lost," is a project launched in 2003 by the Justice Department. The FBI set up 14 task forces in cities with the most reports of child prostitution; now the task forces are in 27 cities. The project has produced 543 arrests and 94 convictions, says Drew Oosterbaan, chief of the Justice Department's child exploitation section.

Legal filings in "Innocence Lost" cases reveal how pimps recruit and abuse teen prostitutes:

  • A Chelsea, Mass., woman, Evelyn Diaz was charged this month with recruiting girls who were 13, 15 and 16 to work as prostitutes. FBI special agent Tamara Harty testified that one girl, 13 at the time, told agents that Diaz took her shopping and to restaurants, then to clients in New York.
  • Juan Rico Doss of Reno was convicted last month of recruiting girls 14 and 16 to work as prostitutes in California. They were told to lie about their ages if arrested.
  • In Detroit, four Ohio residents were charged in December with holding girls as prisoners and making them call their pimp "Daddy."
  • Indictments of 16 people in Harrisburg, Pa., in December alleged that one 12-year-old girl was forced to have sex to pay for her grandfather's crack cocaine.

"Innocence Lost' will continue, Oosterbaan says. "When I see cases cropping up in places like Harrisburg," he says, "that suggests that the problem is more pervasive than people might think."

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

July 27, 2006 in Sex | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Solving Police Shortage: Fed Govt Could Pay for Cops to go to College

From baltimoresun.com: A growing problem for our nation's law enforcement community is the "cop crunch" that is leaving police departments across the country understaffed. The solution to this growing crisis is for Congress to reconstitute the Law Enforcement Education Program to attract qualified men and women to the field argues Karl Bickel, a former chief of law enforcement operations for the Frederick County Sheriff's Office and adjunct faculty member at Montgomery College in Rockville.

According to Bickel, from coast to coast, it is estimated that 80 percent of the nation's 17,000 state and local law enforcement agencies have vacancies they cannot fill. The Los Angeles Police Department has more than 700 vacancies, and in March, New York City announced plans to hire 800 more officers.

Bickel believes the solution is in a program that came out of the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, established by the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968. It is the Law Enforcement Education Program, or LEEP. LEEP was among the biggest successes to come out of the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration. In the 1970s, it helped pay to educate more than 300,000 law enforcement officers who attended more than 1,000 colleges and universities nationwide.  Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

July 27, 2006 in Law Enforcement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

Threats Against Federal Judges Have Reached a Record High

From USATODAY.com: Threats against federal judges and other court employees have reached record numbers, the U.S. Marshals Service says.

The number of threats in fiscal year 2005 increased 63% from 2003. Marshals investigated 953 threats and inappropriate communications in 2005. Threats this fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, are outpacing last year: Marshals have investigated 822 incidents.

The Marshals Service, charged with protecting federal judges, prosecutors, jurors and other court employees, has tripled its number of threat investigators and analysts from eight to 25 to respond to the threats, says Donald Horton, chief inspector for the marshals' Office of Protective Intelligence. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

July 27, 2006 in Law Enforcement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

NIDA Report: Treating Incarcerated Drug Users Costs Less than Ignoring the Problem

From washingtontimes.com: Failure to treat incarcerated drug abusers can lead to higher crime rates and re-incarceration, says to a report from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and the costs of treatment are not nearly as high as the costs to society when drug abuse is ignored.

"95 percent of those who receive no treatment while incarcerated end up relapsing into drugs. And 70 percent of those end up re-incarcerated as a result," Dr. Nora Volkow, director of NIDA, said yesterday. "By changing those numbers, we can reduce crime and lower the financial cost. Simply putting a drug abuser in jail without treatment does nothing."

NIDA said every dollar spent toward effective treatment programs yields a $4 to $7 return in reduced drug-related crime, criminal costs and theft. That return is even greater when health care savings are taken into account, the institute said. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

July 26, 2006 in Reports | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

CrimProf Michael Scharf Testified as an International Criminal Tribunal Expert

Scharf_sm_3 Case Western Reserve School of Law International CrimProf Michael Scharf recently testified befored the House Armed Services Committee with concern to Standards of Military Commissions and Tribunals. Specifically, he was asked to testify today as an expert on the Nuremberg and Tokyo Tribunals and the modern international criminal tribunals.

During the first Bush and Clinton Administrations, Scharf served as the Attorney Adviser in the Office of the Legal Adviser of the U.S. Department of State with responsibility for issues relating to war crimes prosecutions, and he helped draft the Statute and Rules of Procedure of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia – the first international war crimes tribunal since Nuremberg.

He is the author of seven books about international criminal tribunals, including two that have won national book awards. He has trained the judges of the Yugoslavia Tribunal, Rwanda Tribunal, and most recently the Iraqi High Tribunal, and the War Crimes Research Office at Case which he supervises currently provides research assistance to five international war crimes tribunals.

Read Prepared Statement. . . [Mark Godsey]

July 26, 2006 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Solving Police Shortage: Fed Govt Could Pay for Cops to go to College

From balitmoresun.com: A growing problem for our nation's law enforcement community is the "cop crunch" that is leaving police departments across the country understaffed. The solution to this growing crisis is for Congress to reconstitute the Law Enforcement Education Program to attract qualified men and women to the field argues Karl Bickel, a former chief of law enforcement operations for the Frederick County Sheriff's Office and adjunct faculty member at Montgomery College in Rockville..

According to Bickel, from coast to coast, it is estimated that 80 percent of the nation's 17,000 state and local law enforcement agencies have vacancies they cannot fill. The Los Angeles Police Department has more than 700 vacancies, and in March, New York City announced plans to hire 800 more officers.

Bickel claims the solution is in a program that came out of the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, established by the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968. It is the Law Enforcement Education Program, or LEEP. LEEP was among the biggest successes to come out of the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration. In the 1970s, it helped pay to educate more than 300,000 law enforcement officers who attended more than 1,000 colleges and universities nationwide.  Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

July 26, 2006 in Law Enforcement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

CrimProf John Myers Holds Conference for Midwest Regional Children's Advocacy Center

Myers_05 University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law CrimProf John Myers recently held a two-hour video conference sponsored by the Midwest Regional Children’s Advocacy Center that was transmitted to social workers and law enforcement professionals at 26 sites around the country. His training presentation for the Minnesota-based organization centered on the legal aspects of interviewing children in abuse and neglect cases. He is scheduled to do two more on different subjects related to child abuse later this year.

Professor Myers is one of the leading authorities on child abuse litigation. He travels throughout the U.S. and abroad, making presentations to judges, attorneys, police, doctors and mental health professionals on one of the most troubling social issues of our time. Myers is the author or editor of seven books and more than 100 articles on child abuse. His writing has been cited in 150 courts, including the United States Supreme Court and the California Supreme Court. Prior to coming to McGeorge, Professor Myers practiced law in Utah, where he represented the poor and disabled. He was named by the University as Distinguished Professor and Scholar in 2003. [Mark Godsey]

July 26, 2006 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Study Finds Florida Juvenile System is Harsher on Girls than Boys

From orlandosentinel.com: Florida's juvenile-justice system locks up a higher percentage of underage girls than 46 other states, hands out stiffer punishment to girls than boys and doesn't provide the kind of treatment girls need, according to a National Council on Crime and Delinquency study released Tuesday.

Researchers interviewed 319 Florida girls in juvenile programs. They found:

  • 49 percent were self-mutilators.
  • 34 percent had attempted suicide.
  • 35 percent were pregnant or had been.
  • 46 percent had an alcohol or substance-abuse problem.

Those problems are at the root of many of the girls' crimes. In contrast, boys more frequently broke the law because of peer pressure or gang activity, Council President Krisberg said. The report concluded that Florida locks up too many girls -- 172 out of every 100,000 girls between the ages of 10 to 18 during 2003 -- when it should, instead, place some in home- or community-based programs.

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]




July 25, 2006 in Reports | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

American University CrimProf Angela J. Davis Speaks out Against the Power of Prosecutors

AdavisFrom Seattle Times.com: American University CrimProf Angela J. Davis recently discussed some of her views from her forthcoming book "Arbitrary Justice: The Power of the American Prosecutor,"  with editors from the Seattle Times.

Prosecutors, notes Davis, are "the most powerful officials in the criminal justice system" — more so even than judges. Why? "The charging and plea-bargaining power they exercise almost predetermines the outcome of most criminal cases. Over 95 percent of all criminal cases are resolved by a guilty plea."

Views on class and race, even unconsciously, lead prosecutors to make shoot-from-the-hip decisions easily at odds with true justice, Davis asserts: "I saw it all the time in the D.C. system. A rich kid comes in (though few are arrested) with parents and family lawyer, explaining 'Little Johnny has a drug problem and let's put him in a program, not lock him up.' The prosecutor usually agrees. But a poor, black or Latino kid comes in on a parallel drug case, maybe with a public defender, and the prosecutor figures — 'I can't let you back into the neighborhood; I'll send you to jail.' "

Davis would have national, state and local bar associations conduct in-depth investigations to determine the adequacy of current prosecutorial misconduct controls, and possible reforms. She'd have bar associations set up state and/or local prosecution review boards — not only to receive specific complaints brought by the public, but to undertake random reviews of prosecutions and (with colleges and universities) launch surveys to reveal discriminatory practices by race or class. The idea is that an outside eye could discourage arbitrary, hard-to-justify choices by prosecutors without chilling the essential, fair law enforcement we all depend on. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

July 25, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Violence Among Youth is Spreading in Nashville

From Tennessean.com:Nashville police chief Ronal Serpas recently called violence among area youth a disease that needs immediate treatment.

"The facts have to be known so we can identify the symptoms and deal with the disease," Chief Ronal Serpas said Saturday. "Violence is a disease — insidious, malignant disease. We've got to find a way to have adults take the stand and say: 'I'm not going to let my kid go to the mall with a gun in their pocket.'

According to Serpas' Speech:

  • This year, 77 Nashville teens, ages 14-17, have been arrested 93 times for robbery.
  • Ninety percent of them had been in police custody before.
  • Nine of the juveniles already had been arrested for murder.
  • 22 had prior criminal records for carrying weapons illegally.
  • Fifty-four had been arrested previously for assault.

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

July 25, 2006 in Law Enforcement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 24, 2006

Michigan Will Expand Prison Re-Entry Initiative

From detroitnews.com: Michigan will expand this fall The Michigan Prisoner Re-Entry Initiative which helps inmates explore housing options and job training opportunities months before their release. The program serves inmates for up to two years after their release, with parole agents and social agencies holding them accountable for reaching benchmarks aimed at giving them stability.

Though participation numbers are too small to draw statistically significant conclusions, early reports show that out of the 1,330 program participants released, 85 have returned to prison since April 2006. That's a 14.9 percent recidivism rate, which is about three times lower than the 48 percent of parolees who return to prison without the program.

"Eventually this is not going to be an initiative, it's going to be the way we do business," said Dennis Schrantz, deputy director of the Policy and Strategic Planning Administration at the Michigan Department of Corrections. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

July 24, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

CrimProf Andrew Leipold's Study Finds Federal Judges Acquit More Than Juries

LeipoldFrom rockymountainnews.com: According to University of Illinois College of Law CrimProf Andrew Leipold's study of 77,000 federal criminal trials completed from 1989 through 2002, judges holding bench trials, that is without a jury, convicted slightly more than half the time. The average conviction rate for juries was 84 percent.

In addition to finding that judges acquit more often than juries, Leipold discovered that this observation is relatively recent. From the early 1960s to the late 1980s, conviction rates were roughly the same, and before that, "judges actually convicted much more often than juries."

"The core problem," Leipold says, "is to find something about criminal trials that has changed since the late 1980s, something that would affect judges but not juries.

"I think the Sentencing Guidelines best fits this description. The Guidelines took away a huge amount of sentencing discretion, which meant that judges were more often faced with cases where they knew that a conviction would result in a harsh - maybe too harsh - sentence. We don't have to say that judges were acting 'lawlessly' to reach the unremarkable conclusion that judges may hold the government even more tightly to its burden of proof when the stakes are high and unforgiving."

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

July 24, 2006 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)