Saturday, May 6, 2006
Emory Law students Daniel Schuman and Noah Robbins and alumna/adjunct faculty member Sarah Gerwig-Moore 02L scored a victory before the Supreme Court of Georgia in a case that focused on the right to effective assistance of counsel.
Schuman, who graduates in May, and second-year law student Robbins wrote an amicus curiae brief in support of prisoner Howard Harden's habeas appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court under the direction of Gerwig-Moore. Gerwig-Moore is Senior Appellate Supervising Attorney for the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council and teaches a course and clinic on Post-Conviction and Appellate Remedies at Emory Law School.
In petition for writ of habeas corpus, Harden explained that when he pleaded guilty to a number of crimes, his attorney had met with him for only ten minutes the day before the plea was to be entered. His attorney subsequently was disbarred for numerous counts of misconduct and refused to provide Harden his legal file. Harden has been imprisoned since 2001 and is serving a fifteen year sentence. The habeas court denied his petition and he appealed to the Supreme Court of Georgia.
"It would be wonderful if all attorneys approached the profession with the required level of diligence and competency. This experience has taught me that it is often up to us, as attorneys, to monitor the performance of our peers," Robbins said.
The Supreme Court, in an opinion written by Justice Carol W. Hunstein, held that the Court of Appeals erred by failing to examine whether there had been a truly adversarial process with reasonably effective counsel for the accused. The Court of Appeals focused on Harden's unsworn monosyllabic response to the trial court's question of whether he was satisfied with his attorney, ignoring the facts surrounding his ineffective assistance of counsel claim. Harden's case was returned to the lower court for full consideration of the ineffective assistance claim.
“Because of the Supreme Court decision, other people in Mr. Harden's situation will now have the opportunity to have their cases reviewed to make sure that they had competent legal assistance,” Schuman said.
Besides writing a brief in Harden’s case, students in the Appellate Clinic have written several other amicus briefs for habeas petitioners to the Georgia Supreme Court. Third-year students qualified under the Third Year Practice Act may also sign briefs filed in the state's high court. Both Schuman and Robbins were allowed to sit at the counsel table while Gerwig-Moore argued the case before the Court, and all students may attend oral arguments.
Students said the experience was invaluable.
Friday, May 5, 2006
Wednesday, May 3, 2006
Tuesday, May 2, 2006
I ask my first year CrimPro students (it is a first year course at Arizona) to do a ride-along with the Tucson Police Department, so they can see how the doctrines we study in class really work. They write a short paper about their experiences. Some of them chose to write poetry, which, I think you will agree, is so beautiful that it is liable to make a strong person weep. Here, some excerpts:
Excerpt from Saturday, April 1, 8:40 am:, by Andrew Barbour
Officer Jones, with his gun, ‘cuffs and shield
Cited a driver for failure to yield.
He pulled from his driveway without lookin’ or carin’
And rammed his truck into a passing LeBaron.
Truck driver had no license, nor proof of insurance.
But instead proffered his most solemn assurance
That he was indeed covered by policies Allstate or AFLAC
So he cell-phoned his wife to bring such proof, ASAP.
The wife then showed up with wallet and coverage
But this guy still got a ticket, much to his umbrage.
Fined one hundred and sixty two dollars, for real!
Jones explained his rights to dispute or appeal.
Full Andrew Barbour Poem
Excerpt from THE MAIN STREET WHORE, by Jeff Kerr
Once upon a midnight dreary, while we drove, bored and weary,
Past many a shady and sleazy motel of urban eyesore
While we drove, nearly napping, suddenly we saw two people rapping,
As of someone negotiating, rapping for the price to score.
“Tis a John,” I muttered, “picking up a Main Street whore;
Offering her some rock to score.”
Ah, distinctly, I felt spurned, when they disappeared as we
Eagerly I wished to know, where they went and why they’d go.
To find PC to ease my sorrow, sorrow for the lost Main Street whore,
To lock her up forever more.
Full Jeff Kerr Poem
Excerpt from My Ride-Along, by Nick Salazar
It was a dark and stormy night, but
not in Tucson, nay!
Arizona skies were clear; it was a lovely day.
I got myself to the station house and waited for my ride.
Up pulled Ed Boyen, in his car, and motioned me inside.
The night's first quest was pretty
tame; a level 4, I think.
The bad guys: two pedestrians who'd had too much to drink.
The call proved unsuccessful, but probably routine;
When we arrived, the two drunk peds had long since left the scene.
Unable to uncover them, we took a
Another drunken, wayward guy was walking 'round the mall.
Now this guy was an easy catch, he'd sat down on the ground.
He had no thoughts of quick escape; he wanted to be found.
When asked how much he’d had to
drink, this guy just shrugged and said,
“None. But sir, I’m pretty tired; I wanna go to bed.”
Before we even got the chance to scold the blatant liar,
We noticed that across the street, there burned a gas-station fire!
Full Nick Salazar Poem
Is this high-class legal education or what???? [Jack Chin]
(New York; May 1, 2006) -- The Innocence Project today released the following statement on the U.S. Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling this morning in a case about whether defendants have the right to introduce proof of a third party’s guilt – and their innocence – if forensic evidence helped secure their initial conviction. The Innocence Project filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case, Holmes v. South Carolina.
The statement is from Barry C. Scheck, Co-Director of the Innocence Project.
“This is a profoundly significant ruling. This ruling is a big victory, and its impact will be felt in cases throughout the nation. Today, the Supreme Court expanded the right of defendants to prove their innocence by demonstrating the guilt of third parties. The ruling recognizes that courts cannot accept the prosecution’s version of forensic evidence automatically and uncritically, and the defense has a right to examine and rebut it. In many of the 175 post-conviction DNA exonerations nationwide, people were wrongly convicted based on flawed forensics or limited science. DNA is the most powerful form of forensic proof available, but it is still subject to erroneous interpretation or application, and the defense has a right to challenge that in court. This ruling says that certain kinds of forensic science aren’t foolproof, and the mere fact that forensic evidence helped secure a conviction can’t prevent people from trying to prove their innocence. Today’s ruling is a strong signal that the Supreme Court is taking the right of defendants to prove their innocence very seriously and is taking a critical look at forensic evidence.”
For more on the Innocence Project, go to: http://www.innocenceproject.org.
For today’s full ruling, go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/pdf/04-1327P.ZO
Contact: Eric Ferrero, Innocence Project, 212-364-5346
Washington Post story here. [Mark Godsey] This story has a particular Tucson resonance (the location of the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law). We are an hour from the border. In conversations over the years with law students who are from Tucson, and therefore went to one of the local high schools, I have heard quite colorful stories about minors crossing the border for adventures that are impossible on the Arizona side of the line. One student told me how three way calling, cell phones, and a friend with a compliant little brother or sister made it possible to convince even a sophisticated parent with caller ID that one was at a sleepover with Megan, when one was really in Mexico, partying. As a parent, I am relieved that Arizona recently passed a law allowing police to prevent minors from crossing the border without parental permission. [Jack Chin]
From the Washington Post: "The CIA, the FBI and other federal agencies are using polygraph machines more than ever to screen applicants and hunt for lawbreakers, even as scientists have become more certain that the equipment is ineffective in accurately detecting when people are lying. Instead, many experts say, the real utility of the polygraph machine, or "lie detector," is that many of the tens of thousands of people who are subjected to it each year believe that it works -- and thus will frequently admit to things they might not otherwise acknowledge during an interview or interrogation." Story... [Mark Godsey]
Monday, May 1, 2006
Sunday, April 30, 2006
This week's top 5 papers on SSRN, with number of recent downloads, are:
|(1)||184||Report on Guantanamo Detainees: A Profile of 517 Detainees through Analysis of Department of Defense Data |
Mark Denbeaux, Joshua W. Denbeaux,
Seton Hall University - School of Law, Denbeaux & Denbeaux,
Date posted to database: February 21, 2006
Last Revised: March 6, 2006
|(2)||134||Therapeutic Forgetting: The Legal and Ethical Implications of Memory Dampening |
Adam J. Kolber,
University of San Diego School of Law,
Date posted to database: March 2, 2006
Last Revised: March 16, 2006
|(3)||112||The Poverty of the Moral Stimulus |
Georgetown University - Law Center,
Date posted to database: April 19, 2006
Last Revised: April 27, 2006
|(4)||86||Regulation by Generalization |
Frederick Schauer, Richard J. Zeckhauser,
Harvard University - John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University - John F. Kennedy School of Government,
Date posted to database: November 15, 2005
Last Revised: April 17, 2006
|(5)||65||Loyalty to One's Convictions: The Prosecutor and Tunnel Vision |
DePaul University - College of Law,
Date posted to database: March 16, 2006
Last Revised: March 17, 2006