January 7, 2006
SCOTUS to Decide what Emergency Circumstances Justify Warrantless Searches
From Law.com: The Supreme Court said Friday it would clarify when police can enter a home without a search warrant, in a case involving Utah officers who watched a fight through a window. Justices will consider officers' handling of an early morning complaint in Brigham City about a loud party. The officers peered through a door and windows and saw four adults restraining a juvenile, who then broke free and punched one of the adults in the face. The officers entered and arrested the adults, who were charged with intoxication, disorderly conduct and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
A judge threw out the charges, on grounds that the police entered without a search warrant. In an appeal, the state of Utah argued that courts are deeply divided on what emergency circumstances are required for warrantless police entries. The case is Brigham City v. Stuart, 05-502. [Mark Godsey]
January 6, 2006
CrimProf Blog Spotlight: Hofstra's Bennett Capers
"Professor Capers graduated from Columbia Law School, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, and holds a bachelor of arts in literature from Princeton University. Following law school, he served as a law clerk to Judge John S. Martin, Jr., in the Southern District of New York before joining the Department of Justice as an assistant United States attorney in the Southern District of New York. During his nine years as an assistant United States attorney, he prosecuted hundreds of federal cases, and tried approximately 20, ranging from RICO murders to insider trading, and argued numerous appeals before the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He also served on the Capital Review Committee. In 2004 he was nominated for the Department of Justice's Director's Award for his prosecution of Tito's Crew, a drug gang that engaged in murder-for-hire and was responsible for approximately 18 homicides in New York during the early 1990s, including the murders of two informants and an attorney.
Immediately prior to joining the Hofstra faculty, Professor Capers practiced at Willkie Farr & Gallagher in New York City, and was an adjunct associate professor at Brooklyn Law School. His scholarship explores the dialogic relationship between culture and law, and has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Columbia Law Review, Howard Law Journal, and the NYU Review of Law and Social Change."
For a list of Professor Capers' publications, click here.
NH Considers Making Forced Labor Criminal
China Reforms Death Penalty Procedures
From the DPIC: "Amidst widespread suspicion that innocent people have been sentenced to death or executed, China has announced that reforming its death penalty system is a priority and it is implementing procedural changes to protect against wrongful convictions. In October 2005, the People's Supreme Court announced that it would reverse a decision from the early 1980's that gave final review on many death penalty cases to provincial high courts. Under the new policy, the People's Supreme Court would reclaim responsibility for reviewing all capital cases. Some observers predict that the People's Supreme Court will find deep flaws within the current death penalty system and that their review of cases could result in a dramatic 30% decline in executions. Critics of the reforms claim that the changes do not go far enough to restrict the power of police and the courts. Though the exact number of annual executions in China remains unknown, a high-level delegate to the National People's Congress publicly estimated in 2005 that it was "nearly 10,000." In 2004, Amnesty International documented 3,400 executions in China, but noted that the actual number was probably far higher. (New York Times, December 31, 2005).
LA Crime Level Hits 50-Year Low
January 5, 2006
UK Ahead of US in Using DNA to Solve Crimes on the Front End
Since implementing a DNA expansion program in 2000, the UK has quadrupled the number of crimes detected in 5 years. If only the US could follow suit. [Mark Godsey]
January 4, 2006
New Article Spotlight: Northeastern's Daniel Givelber
Northeastern CrimProf Daniel Givelber has posted Lost Innocence: Speculation and Data About the Acquitted on SSRN. Here's the abstract:
Acquittals are the mystery disposition of the criminal process. The little we know about who is acquitted and why derives from Kalven and Zeisel's work forty years ago supplemented by anecdotes. Our ignorance has been both fostered and excused by the traditional perception that, like the convicted, the acquitted are actually guilty. This perception, while comforting in terms of the status quo, has neither theoretical nor an empirical support. Analysis of data collected in connection with a NCSC study of hung juries indicates that, at a minimum, features of the defendant and his case that are consistent with innocence - testimony by the defendant and at least one other witness, the lack of a prior criminal record, and a refusal to plead on the grounds of innocence - are present to a signficantly greater extent in cases that end in acquittal than they are in cases that result in hung juries or convictions.
To obtain the paper, click here. [Mark Godsey]
More Cities Install Public Suveillance Cameras
Prelim FBI Crime Stats for 2005
Here's an article that has some of the preliminary figures from the FBI's yet to be released crime report for 2005.
January 3, 2006
RIP, Pittsburgh CrimProf Welsh S. White
One of the country's leading authorities on capital punishment and police interrogations, Welsh S. White of Pittsburgh, died on December 31st. Although I never had the pleasure of meeting Professor White, his work greatly influenced my own scholarship relating to interrogations, and I, along with many others, consider him to be one of the leading confessions scholars in the country. Here is the press release from the law school:
Welsh White, Bessie McKee Walthour Endowed Chair and professor in the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, died Dec. 31. A leading national authority on the death penalty, White began teaching at Pitt in 1968. He taught such courses as criminal law, criminal procedure, and evidence.
“Welsh White was widely respected as one of the nation's leading experts on the death penalty and was one of the most distinguished faculty members in the long history of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law,” said Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg, a former dean of Pitt's School of Law. “His carefully crafted scholarly work helped change views of the death penalty and the way that it is administered. He also was a devoted teacher, who was beloved by his students, and a committed colleague, who always found time to serve as a thoughtful and caring mentor. He will be sorely missed, both for his professional contributions and for his warm personal touch.”
White, 65, was the author of three books on capital punishment, among them The Death Penalty in the Nineties: An Examination of the Modern System of Capital Punishment (University of Michigan Press, 1991), as well as numerous essays and scholarly articles on evidence and criminal procedure. His scholarly articles have appeared in the Columbia Law Review, Michigan Law Review, and Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Review, among others.
White spent the last 10 years studying police interrogations and confessions. In his book Miranda's Waning Protections: Police Interrogation Practices after Dickerson (University of Michigan Press, 2001), White examined Miranda-the U.S. Supreme Court case that established rights of suspects upon arrest-and other Supreme Court confession cases, emphasizing the conflict between law enforcement and civil liberties. He had recently completed work on a new book, Litigating in the Shadow of Death: Defense Attorneys in Capital Cases, which will be published by the University of Michigan Press early in 2006; this book already won praise from Yale Kamisar, professor of law at the University of San Diego, as “a most illuminating book by a splendid writer and an eminent critic of the capital punishment system.”
Prior to joining Pitt's law faculty, White practiced law with the Philadelphia firm of White and Williams, which was founded by his grandfather. He also worked in the Philadelphia District Attorney's office.
While teaching full-time in Pitt's law school, White represented or assisted in the representation of indigent defendants, particularly in capital cases.
White received the Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University in 1962 and the Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1965.
Here is his obituary from the paper in Pittsburgh. As Pittsburgh CrimProf John Parry put it, "It is a real loss on many levels." Parry also noted that "White's last book--on representing defendants in capital murder cases -- will be published any day now by Michigan. A wonderful book and a fitting memorial to his career." [Mark Godsey]
Funny DUI Video
Here. [Mark Godsey]
January 2, 2006
Sherry Colb on Warrantless Wiretaps
Here. [Jack Chin]
Oregon CrimProf Named Interim Dean
Oregon CrimProf Margie Paris has been named Interim Dean at Oregon. Press release here.
January 1, 2006
This Week's Top 5 Crim Papers
This week's top 5 crim papers, with number of recent downloads, are as follows:
|(1_||302||Economic Analysis of Law |
A. Mitchell Polinsky, Steven Shavell,
Stanford Law School, Harvard Law School,
Date posted to database: November 29, 2005
Last Revised: December 16, 2005
|(2)||218||No, Capital Punishment is Not Morally Required: Deterrence, Deontology, and the Death Penalty |
Carol S. Steiker,
Harvard Law School,
Date posted to database: November 28, 2005
Last Revised: December 5, 2005
|(3)||197||Foreword: Limiting Raich |
Randy E. Barnett,
Boston University School of Law,
Date posted to database: November 11, 2005
Last Revised: November 21, 2005
|(4)||138||The Theory of Public Enforcement of Law |
A. Mitchell Polinsky, Steven Shavell,
Stanford Law School, Harvard Law School,
Date posted to database: November 17, 2005
Last Revised: December 7, 2005
|(5)||118||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
OHIO: Automated Call System Gives Victims Disinformation
A number of Ohio crime victims were dismayed to hear automated recordings that their perpetrators were being released from prison. Some of the inmates had been convicted of serious crimes. But some or all of the 3,000 calls were erroneous; the inmates had not been released at all.
Dispute over NJ Prison Riot
COs say it was an unprovoked attack; inmates say even those not involved were beaten by guards afterwards. [Jack Chin]
Welcome to 2006: New Laws
Boston Globe survey here. [Jack Chin]
RIP, Chris Iijima
U Hawai'i LawProf Chris Kando Iijima died last week. We taught at Western New England College School of Law for three years, where he inspired me as a scholar, as a teacher and as a person. Chris did many things in his too short life. He was one of the first Asian American folk singers, with the trio Yellow Pearl; his group's album A Grain of Sand is still available, and he appeared on the Mike Douglas Show with John Lennon and Yoko Ono on February 15, 1972, singing We are the Children. (Here's Phil Nash's review of a 2000 reunion concert). Also in the 1960s, Chris was a founder of the Asian Americans for Action, one of the first APA advocacy organizations of the modern era of civil rights. Chris appears in the famous Life Magazine photograph of Mark Rudd smoking a cigar with his feet on Columbia President Grayson Kirk's desk during the 1968 strike and occupation; Chris is on the right in the hat, looking out the window for the police, surely not for the first or last time. (Scroll down to "In 1968 Student Radicals Take Over Administration Building at Columbia University.")
As director of the Hawai'i Law School's pre-admission program, he spent his professional career making legal education available to members of historically disadvantaged groups. His scholarship also focussed on historical and contemporary injustices; here's an article he wrote advocating for the rights of Native Hawai'ians. He was widely honored for his work. In December he won the "Keeper of the Flame Award" from the Na Loio Immigrant Rights and Public Interest Legal Center; earlier, he was recognized by the Hawai'i State Bar Association (scroll down). He was also an award-winning classroom teacher. Here, his letter "Why I Dissent" in opposition to the Iraq war (Scroll down); here's an an article about a talk he gave on Internment and its lessons for today. Farewell to a peaceful, courageous, committed man whose integrity and dedication will long be an inspiration. [Jack Chin] UPDATE: There's a memorial service in Hawai'i on January 18th; a radio memorial on WBAI on January 10. Info here.