CrimProf Blog

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

Saturday, June 24, 2006

CrimProf David Miller Retires After 25 Years of Service

Miller_david University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law CrimProf David Miller was honored for his 25 years of distinguished service to the Pacific McGeorge faculty at a retirement party on June 15 at the Sutter Club. Miller taught Evidence, Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure to thousands of Pacific McGeorge students after arriving from the University of California, Davis School of Law faculty in 1981. Miller, who was the president of the law school’s Order of the Coif chapter for 10 years and also overhauled and co-directed the Appellate Advocacy program, is moving with his wife to Fort Collins, Colorado. [Mark Godsey]

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

Friday, June 23, 2006

CrimProf Spotlight: Margareth Etienne

Etienne_3This week, the CrimProf Blog spotlights CrimProf Margareth Etienne at University of Illinois College of Law. 

Professor Etienne received her bachelor’s degree in History with honors from Yale University, and earned her law degree from Yale Law School. Following law school, Etienne clerked for Judge Diana G. Motz on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Before joining the faculty, she practiced criminal law for several years.

Her most recent publications include “The Declining Utility of the Right to Counsel in Federal Court: An Empirical Study on the Role of Defense Attorney Advocacy Under the Sentencing Guidelines” (92 California Law Review, 2004); “Remorse, Responsibility, and Regulating Advocacy: Making Defendants Pay for the Sins of Their Lawyers” (78 New York University Law Review, 2003); and “Tinkering with Death in Illinois” (University of Illinois Law Review, 2003). Her article, “Addressing Gender Based Violence in an International Context,” appeared in 18 Harvard Women’s Law Journal 139 (1995).

Professor Etienne was awarded a Fulbright Grant to conduct judicial training on white collar crime in Senegal.  She has made presentations at the Law and Society Association 2004 Conference, Northwestern University Law School, Yale Law School, University of Illinois College of Law, Fordham Law School, University of Oregon Law School and the American Bar Foundation. She is a member of the American Bar Association and the Law and Society Association.

June 23, 2006 in Weekly CrimProf Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

University of Michigan Law School CrimProf Wins Supreme Court Victory

Rdfrdman_2 University of Michigan Law School CrimProf Richard D. Friedman won a major Supreme Court victory for his client in Hammon v. Indiana. The case involved the Confrontation Clause – the Sixth Amendment right of the accused to be “confronted with the witnesses against him.”

Friedman argued the case on March 20, 2006 after mooting it before a panel of Michigan Law faculty and student auditors on March 14.

An expert on evidence and Supreme Court history, Rich Friedman’s research and scholarship has appeared in numerous law journals, he is general editor of The New Wigmore, has been designated to write the volume on the Hughes Court in the Oliver Wendell Holmes Devise History of the United States Supreme Court, and has published The Elements of Evidence, now in its third edition. Friedman’s background includes a B.A. and J.D. from Harvard, editorship of the Harvard Law Review, a D. Phil in Modern History from Oxford, clerking for Judge Irving R. Kaufman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and working as an associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in New York. [Mark Godsey]

June 22, 2006 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Federal Authorities in Chicago Fight Back Against Rise in Fetanyl Overdoses

From In a blow meant to disrupt drug sales in a South Side housing complex at the center of Chicago's fentanyl crisis, federal authorities on Wednesday lodged conspiracy charges against 47 members and associates of the street gang that controls narcotics sales there.

Cook County Medical Examiner Edmund Donoghue on Wednesday said fentanyl has been discovered in the blood of 87 overdose victims who have died since spring 2005. As toxicology reports are completed on overdose deaths, the number of fatalities linked to fentanyl continues to grow.

"We felt an obligation to get out and do what we could to get this fentanyl off the street," said Tim Ogden, associate special agent in charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's Chicago field office. The DEA has also been investigating how much fentanyl is being manufactured in illegal laboratories. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

June 22, 2006 in Drugs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Dixon v U.S.: SC Places Burden of Proof on Defendant for Duress Defense

From In Dixon v. U.S., the Supreme Court clamped down on defendants who claim they were coerced into breaking the law. Those defendants, not prosecutors, have the burden of proving in trials that they committed crimes only under duress.

In the 7-2 ruling against a Texas woman who claimed her abusive boyfriend forced her to illegally buy him guns while his accomplices held her children hostage, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote in the majority opinion that Dixon's constitutional rights were not violated when jurors were told that she had to prove that she was coerced into breaking the law.

Congress can, if it chooses, enact a duress defense that places the burden on the government to disprove duress beyond a reasonable doubt," Stevens wrote. He also noted that prosecutors did have to show that she acted knowingly and willfully. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

June 22, 2006 in Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Nebraska Prison Overcrowding Reaches Emergency Capacity

From  All told, Nebraska prison cells are holding about 4,480 inmates, 40 percent more than they were designed to — a threshold lawmakers said could make the state legally vulnerable to charges prisoners face “cruel and unusual punishment.”

This concern motivated Nebraska lawmakers to pass a state law in 2003 that says when the 40 percent mark is reached, the governor may declare an emergency and order prisoners be released on parole to reduce capacity.

Gov. Dave Heineman’s response when learning prisons are at more than 140 percent of capacity: “The director (of the Department of Correctional Services), Robert Houston, advises me that the correctional institutions continue to operate safely … as a result, I have determined not to declare a correctional system overcrowding emergency.”

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

June 21, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Indiana University School of Law CrimProf Appointed to Named Professorship

Edwards_1Indiana University School of Law CrimProf George Edwards has been appointed to a named professorship as of July 1 of this year. Professor George Edwards, the director of the school’s Program in International Human Rights Law is now the Carl M. Gray Professor of Law. Professor Edwards teaches international human rights law, public international law, international legal transactions, international criminal law and criminal procedure. He also oversees the international human rights law track of the school’s LL.M. program. [Mark Godsey]

June 21, 2006 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Freed Man Testifies About The Reality of False Confessions

From Seventeen years ago, Christopher Ochoa told a Texas jury exactly how he and a friend repeatedly raped 20-year-old Nancy DePriest and then shot her dead at her workplace. But Ochoa's story was a lie — a total lie. He had been threatened with the death penalty by a police detective if he did not admit to the murder. The fact that Ochoa confessed falsely did not come to light until 2000, four years after the real killer told police that he was responsible for the young woman's death.

Today, Ochoa is testifying in Los Angeles at a hearing of the state's Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice about the ramifications of their experience for California. In particular, they want to express their strong feelings about a subject that many people find difficult to grasp: that innocent people sometimes really do confess to crimes they did not commit.

"Cases like this reveal in very dramatic terms that this does happen — not just with people who are mentally ill or of limited intelligence or otherwise vulnerable, such as children," said  University of Wisconsin School of Law CrimProf Keith A. Findley, who played an instrumental role in securing freedom for Ochoa and Danziger. "It happens with mentally healthy, intelligent people like Chris Ochoa," who last month graduated from the law school where Findley teaches, the professor said.

Indeed, of the 180 inmates in the United States exonerated by DNA testing in the last two decades, 44 had falsely confessed, said New York attorney Barry Scheck, a co-founder of the Innocence Project at New York's Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law who also played a key role in the case.

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

June 21, 2006 in Confessions and Interrogation | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Yale Law School CrimProf Comments about Davis v. Washington on NPR

Sullivan_ronaldYale Law School CrimProf Ronald S. Sullivan, Jr. was interviewed for a story that aired on NPR’s Morning Edition on June 20. Sullivan commented on this week’s Supreme Court decision on Davis v. Washington – a ruling that allows into evidence a 911 call from a domestic abuse victim who did not testify at trial.

Prof. Sullivan’s areas of interest include criminal law, criminal procedure, legal ethics, and race theory. He is the founding director of the Samuel and Anna Jacobs Criminal Justice Clinic and has worked as staff attorney, general counsel, and director for the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia. Listen. . . [Mark Godsey]

June 20, 2006 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Catholic University of America CrimProf Comments about Hudson v. Michigan on NPR

Bo20rutledge2001_1Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law CrimProf Peter “Bo” Rutledge provided commentary and analysis of a recent, controversial Supreme Court ruling for National Public Radio on June 19, 2006. As the sole guest for a one-hour segment on the nationally syndicated Kojo Nnamdi Show, Rutledge discussed the implications of Hudson v. Michigan, a 5-4 decision released on June 15 that held that a violation by the police of the "knock-and announce" rule when they enter a home with a warrant does not bar the use of evidence gathered in the search.

"What the knock-and-announce rule has never one's interest in preventing the government from seeing or taking evidence described in a warrant. Since the interests that were violated in this case have nothing to do with the seizure of the evidence, the exclusionary rule is inapplicable," Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in the majority opinion.

Rutledge, a CrimProf and a former clerk for Justice Clarence Thomas, has appeared previously on the program. Listen. . . [Mark Godsey]

June 20, 2006 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New Article Spotlight: Behavioural Genetics in Criminal Cases: Past, Present, and Future

Farahany Vanderbilt University Law School CrimProf Nita A. Farahany and Vanderbilt University Prof William Bernet have posted the above-titled article on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

"Researchers studying human behavioral genetics have made significant scientific progress in enhancing our understanding of the relative contributions of genetics and the environment in observed variations in human behavior. Quickly outpacing the advances in the science are its applications in the criminal justice system. Already, human behavioral genetics research has been introduced in the U.S. criminal justice system, and its use will only become more prevalent. This essay discusses the recent historical use of behavioral genetics in criminal cases, recent advances in two gene variants of particular interest in the criminal law, MAOA and SLC6A4, the recent expert testimony on behalf of criminal defendants with respect to these two gene variants, and the future direction of behavioral genetics evidence in criminal cases."

To obtain paper, click here

June 20, 2006 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 19, 2006

Police See No Reason For Changing Knock First Rule

From A Supreme Court ruling that protects evidence collected by police who fail to knock and announce themselves. But police professionals say they see no need to change their normal practices. They don't feel handcuffed by existing rules. Listen to story. . .  [Mark Godsey]

June 19, 2006 in Law Enforcement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Supreme Court: Statements Made During Emergency are Admissible in Court

From Associated Press: The Supreme Court ruled Monday that statements made by crime victims to 911 operators or police during emergencies can be used in court even if those victims do not testify at trial.

By a 9-0 vote in Washington v. Davis, justices ruled that a Washington man's right to confront his accuser was not violated because he could not cross-examine his ex-girlfriend, who claimed in a 911 call that he had assaulted her.

In another case, Hammon v. Indiana, the justices ruled 8-1 that a police officer had crossed the line, from dealing with an emergency to conducting an investigation, when he questioned a woman about what her husband had done to her well after she had been assaulted.

Writing for the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia said 911 statements are admissible in court when police are trying to deal with an emergency. But such statements cannot be used if the emergency has ended and police are gathering evidence to use in filing criminal charges, he said.

Justice Clarence Thomas was the lone dissenter in the Indiana case, writing that he believed the officer's testimony about what the woman had told him was admissible in court. But Thomas said he does not believe the majority's definition of when an emergency ends and an investigation begins is workable. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

June 19, 2006 in Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Supreme Court Rules that California Parolees may be Routinely Searched

From Associated Press: California parolees can routinely be searched by police as a condition of their release from prison, the Supreme Court ruled Monday in Samson v. California. By a 6-3 vote, justices said the 1996 law is a legitimate attempt by state officials to deal with a large population of repeat offenders who pose a danger to public safety.

In California, most prisoners eventually receive parole. But before release, each parolee is required to consent in writing to searches by police during the term of their supervision. If they refuse, they are not allowed out of prison. Under the law, police can conduct such a search as long as it is not arbitrary, capricious or conducted to harass the parolee.

Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for the majority, said California has a "special governmental interest" to control its parolees, an interest that outweighs a parolee's privacy.

Justice John Paul Stevens, writing in dissent, said the majority had "run roughshod" over previous court rulings on unreasonable searches and improperly allowed California to create another form of punishment for its prisoners. "What the court sanctions today is an unprecedented curtailment of liberty," Stevens wrote on behalf of himself and Justices David Souter and Stephen Breyer.

Rest of Article. . .  [Mark Godsey]

June 19, 2006 in Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Law Enforcement Losing Track of Sex Offenders

From Authorities have lost track of at least 22 convicted sex offenders in Mecklenburg County and hundreds more across the Carolinas, exposing gaps in the states' sex-offender registry laws.

The registry is supposed to warn the public where rapists, child molesters and other sex offenders live. But law enforcement agencies acknowledge that hundreds of offenders do not notify local sheriff's offices where they live and when they move.

N.C. lawmakers were already considering toughening how the state monitors sex offenders, including a proposal that would require some offenders to wear a tracking device, before the recent slaying of a Clemson University student renewed attention to the tracking laws.

At least 100,000 of the estimated 600,000 sex offenders nationally don't notify law enforcement agencies of their whereabouts as required by states' laws, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Full Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

June 18, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

This Week's Top Five Crim Papers

Ssrn_17_4 This week's top 5 crim papers, with number of recent downloads, are:

(1) 173 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) 156 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: June 5, 2006
(3) 156 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 31, 2006
(4) 156 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
(5) 128 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

June 18, 2006 in Weekly Top 5 SSRN Crim Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Cooley Innocence Project Recieves Justice For All Award

Justice_award The Thomas M. Cooley Law School Innocence Project was awarded the Justice for All Award by the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan (CDAM). The award was given to the project for the work associated with the June 2003 DNA exoneration of Kenneth Wyniemko, a Detroit-area man falsely imprisoned in a sexual assault case, and for the project’s continuing work on behalf of Michigan prisoners.

Individuals recipients of the award include Professor Norman Fell, director of the Innocence Project; Professor Kathy Swedlow, former co-director of the Innocence Project; Donna McKneelen, former Innocence Project student and its current staff attorney; and Marla Mitchell-Cichon, Innocence Project faculty supervisor.

According to Professor Swedlow, "The Cooley Innocence Project provides important assistance for Michigan prisoners who claim factual innocence, and also serves the general public by screening cases and only bringing the appropriate ones to court. In addition, our students learn that wrongful convictions can and do occur, and it's our hope that this training will have an effect on reducing wrongful convictions in the future. We are thrilled and grateful that CDAM has chosen to honor us for our work.” [Mark Godsey]

June 18, 2006 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)