July 1, 2006
CrimProf Arnold H. Loewy Writes to "Protect the Flag's Spirit"
George Killiam CrimProf Arnold H. Loewy at Texas Tech Law School wrote a Point of View Opinion for the newsobserver.com titled "Protecting the Flag's Spirit."
"There are those in (and out) of Congress who have expressed the well-meaning but incorrect belief that the American flag would be best protected by a constitutional amendment forbidding its desecration (a vote for such an amendment came up one vote short Tuesday in the Senate). Because these advocates seek to protect our flag, it is obvious why I describe them as well-meaning. Less obvious is why I describe them as incorrect." Loewy wrote. Rest of Article. . .
June 30, 2006
CrimProf Spotlight: Diane Courselle
This week, the CrimProf Blog spotlights CrimProf Diane Courselle from University of Wyoming College of Law.
Diane Courselle joined the faculty as a Visiting Assistant Professor and Director of the Defender Aid Program in July 1998, and was then hired as a regular member of the faculty. She is currently an Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Defender Aid Program.
After graduating from law school in 1991, Prof. Courselle clerked for Judge Henry A. Mentz of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, and then for Judge Henry A. Politz of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. She then served as an attorney with the Office of the Appellate Defender in New York City. She has also been a visiting assistant professor at the Loyola College of Law in New Orleans.
Courselle’s primary areas of teaching and scholarship are criminal law and procedure. She directs the College of Law’s Defender Aid Program, a clinical program in which third-year law students represent indigent defendants in criminal appeals and other post-conviction matters. She also teaches a seminar on Gender and the Law, and has previously taught Property and Legal Writing.
Courselle’s recent publications include “Suspects, Defendants, and Offenders with Mental Retardation in Wyoming,” in the Wyoming Law Review (2001), and she is currently working on articles related to jury reform and capital punishment. She has been a frequent presenter in CLE programs and national conferences on such subjects as military tribunals, effective oral argument, and practice in rural communities.
June 29, 2006
Clark v. Arizona: Insanity Defense Law Not Too Strict
From AP: The Supreme Court ruled by a 6-3 vote Thursday in Clark v. Arizona that Arizona's law on the insanity defense is not too restrictive in limiting evidence defendants can present at trial.
Under Arizona's law, defendants "may be found guilty except insane" if they prove they were so mentally ill that they did not know what they did was wrong. Many other states also allow insanity findings for defendants who can show they did not understand the nature of their criminal acts.
"Arizona's rule serves to preserve the state's chosen standard for recognizing insanity as a defense and to avoid confusion and misunderstanding on the part of jurors," Justice David Souter wrote in the majority opinion. Souter said the state can limit psychiatric testimony to avoid such confusion, given the often dueling opinions of experts and inability of anyone to truly know what is in someone else's mind. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
CrimProf Nita Farahany joins Vanderbilt Faculty
CrimProf Nita Farahany joins the Vanderbilt University School of Law faculty as assistant professor of law after spending the 2005-06 academic year as a fellow and instructor in law at Vanderbilt. Professor Farahany, who is pursuing research in the areas of behavioral genetics, neuroscience, forensic psychiatry and criminal law, is currently a candidate for a Ph.D. in philosophy at Duke University and is completing her master's thesis for her A.L.M. in biology from Harvard. She earned her undergraduate degree in genetics, cell and developmental biology from Dartmouth and her J.D. and a Master's degree in philosophy, focusing on the philosophy of biology and the philosophy of law, at Duke. During 2004-05, she clerked for the Honorable Judith W. Rogers on the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit.
An article she coauthored with William Bernet, M.D., “Behavioural Genetics in Criminal Cases: Past, Present and Future,” which she co-presented at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, was published in the April 2006 issue of Genomics, Society & Policy Journal. She was also the co-special editor of the Winter and Spring Symposium Issues of Law and Contemporary Problems, entitled "The Impact of Behavioral Genetics on the Criminal Law," where her article, “Genetics and Responsibility: To Know the Criminal from the Crime,” coauthored with James E. Coleman, Jr., was also published. [Mark Godsey]
CrimProf Debra A. Livingston Nominated to U.S. Court of Appeals
CrimProf Debra A. Livingston,the vice dean and Paul J. Kellner Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, has been nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit.
Livingston is co-author of Comprehensive Criminal Procedure, the leading casebook on criminal procedure and has done pioneering work on community policing. She has written and lectured about domestic surveillance, national security issues and the delicate balance with individual rights.
From 1986 to 1991, she was assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York, where she prosecuted public corruption cases and served as deputy chief of appeals. From 1994 to 2003, she served as a commissioner of the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board, overseeing complaints about police brutality. She also served as legal consultant to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Bangkok (1982-83) and was an associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.
Livingston began her academic career in 1992 at the University of Michigan Law School and joined the faculty of Columbia Law School in 1994. As the Paul J. Kellner Professor of Law at Columbia, she teaches criminal procedure and evidence, as well as seminars on national security and terrorism. She co-directs the school’s Center on Crime, Community and Law and served as vice dean of the Law School and chair of the Appointments Committee. She received her undergraduate degree from Princeton University and her J. D. from Harvard Law School. After graduation, she clerked for the Honorable J. Edward Lumbard, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit.
"I'm delighted she has been nominated," says Columbia Law School Dean David Schizer. "She is an extraordinarily skilled lawyer and wise leader in our community. If confirmed, Livingston will bring a rare combination of wisdom, judgment and expert lawyering to the bench. She will be a fabulous asset to the judiciary. At Columbia, we’re delighted by her nomination" [Mark Godsey]
June 28, 2006
Cali SC: Law Enforcement May Stop Drivers on Anonymous Drunk Driving Tips
From latimes.com: Law enforcement may stop and detain drivers based on anonymous and uncorroborated tips that they were driving while intoxicated, the California Supreme Court decided 4-3 Monday.
The state high court ruled that the California Highway Patrol acted legally when it pulled over a woman outside Bakersfield, even though its officer did not personally note any evidence of impaired driving. The officer was responding to a telephone tip that the van was weaving.
Monday's decision was the latest in a string of rulings that give police broader powers in searches. Earlier this month, the state high court ruled that police may enter a person's home without a warrant in some situations to administer a blood-alcohol test when a caller reports the person had been driving while intoxicated. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
Beard v Banks: Penn Prison Officials did Not Violate Prisoners' Rights By Denying Access to Writings
From washingtonpost.com: In Beard v Banks, the Court said in a 6-2 decision that Pennsylvania prison officials did not violate the rights of troublesome inmates by denying them access to certain newspapers and magazines, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday. The justices said the state had a legitimate reason for using inmates' access to secular newspapers as an incentive to get prisoners in a high-security unit to behave themselves.
But Justice Stephen Breyer, writing for the majority, said Pennsylvania's victory could be short-lived if there is another constitutional challenge to the prison unit's rules because the justices were divided over how far states can go in determining punishment for offenders.
In a concurring opinion, Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia said courts have no business second-guessing state officials' decisions on prison operations. Nor, they said, should courts force states to accommodate inmates by providing substitutes for the rights taken away. Justices John Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented, saying even the "worst of the worst" offenders have constitutional protections, especially the First Amendment's coverage of "rights to receive, to read and to think." Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
CrimProf Dwight Aarons Comments on Scheduled Execution
From citypaper.com: University of Tennessee College of Law CrimProf Dwight Aarons was quoted in the Nashville City Paper in a story concerning the scheduled execution of two Tennessee death row inmates early Wednesday morning.
“It’s crunch time, for sure,” said Dwight Aarons, who is also a death penalty law specialist at the University of Tennessee College of Law. “Both sides are definitely in a stage where they’re raising every argument they can think of.” Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
June 27, 2006
CrimProf Paul Butler Appointed as the Carville Dickinson Benson Research Professor
The George Washington University Law School Dean Frederick M. Lawerence recently appointed Paul Butler as the Carville Dickinson Benson Research Professor of Law. Butler, who joined the Law School faculty in 1993, is a noted expert in the fields of race relations and criminal law. He has been awarded the Soros Justice Fellowship for 2006-07, during which time he will complete a book about the future of criminal justice. His new position will be effective as of the fall 2006 semester. [Mark Godsey]
Supreme Court: The Deprivation of the Right to Choose One's Attorney is Enough to Get a Conviction Overturned
From nytimes.com: In United States v. Gonzalez-Lopez, the court ruled Monday in a 5-4 decision that the right to hire a lawyer of one's choice is so basic that a defendant who has been wrongly forced to accept a different lawyer is entitled to have a conviction overturned.
The right to counsel and the right to a fair trial were two separate rights, Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the court, stated, adding that the right to counsel "commands, not that a trial be fair, but that a particular guarantee of fairness be provided — to wit, that the accused be defended by the counsel he believes to be best."
Justice Scalia noted that the Sixth Amendment also guarantees the right to "effective" legal representation and that the court's precedents require defendants claiming a violation of that right to show that they have suffered "prejudice" from ineffective counsel.
The distinction was logical, Justice Scalia said, because a violation of the right to effective representation "is not 'complete' until the defendant is prejudiced." By contrast, he said, the right to counsel of choice is a violation "because the deprivation of counsel was erroneous" and "no additional showing of prejudice is required to make the violation 'complete.' "
Rest of Article... [Mark Godsey]
Prosecutor's Study Claims NY Revised Drug Laws Freed KingPins
From nytimes.com: A year and a half after the New York Legislature revised the drug laws in an effort to reduce harsh prison sentences for low-level offenders, a study by Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan, examined 84 drug offenders prosecuted by her office who have asked for resentencing since the laws were changed in 2004. The offenders had been convicted of possessing or selling enough hard drugs to make them eligible for sentences of at least 15 years to life.
The study found that judges granted lower sentences to 65 of those prisoners, and 22 of them, or about 34 percent, were either what she called "kingpins," leaders of international drug organizations, or "major traffickers," that is, leaders of local drug operations that moved large quantities of narcotics. Of the kingpins and major traffickers, 16 were granted relief from lifetime parole, and four of them have been released, she said.
The study looked only at those cases handled by her office, which accounted for about a quarter of the prisoners released statewide since the 2004 reforms. Advocates of the reforms said yesterday that because the special prosecutor was charged with handling the most serious cases, the study was somewhat skewed. Still, the study offers the first prosecutor's perspective of how the reforms have played out at a time when legislators are still debating whether they went too far or whether to relax the sentencing laws even further. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
Banning Toy Guns to Protect Children and the Police
From dallasnews.com: Dallas's proposed law may restrict the sale of realistic-looking toy guns and outlaw children from playing with them in public. It may also require that toy guns be brightly colored or clear plastic. The ordinance is being reviewed by city attorneys and will be discussed Aug. 7 by the city's Public Safety Committee. It is expected to be approved by the City Council in August.
Similar ordinances have been passed in Plano, Carrollton, and Highland Park in recent years. Replica weapons are banned in Baltimore; Hartford, Conn.; and Akron, Ohio.
"This was mind-boggling to me ... I didn't realize we had these realistic-looking toy guns on our streets," said Dallas City Council member Mitchell Rasansky. "They're dangerous, and they're a disaster just waiting to happen." Mr. Rasansky and other Dallas officials believe banning the sale and display of the fake weapons would help protect children and police. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
June 26, 2006
Justice Alito Breaks the Tie To Uphold Kansas Death Penalty Law
From NY Times.com: In Kansas v. Marsh, New Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito broke a tie Monday in a ruling that affirmed the state death penalty law.
The Kansas case was unique. The state law says juries should impose death sentences if aggravating evidence of a crime's brutality and mitigating factors explaining a defendant's actions are equal in weight.
In the 5-4 decision, the Court overturned a Kansas Supreme Court ruling that found the law violated the Eighth Amendment's protection against cruel and unusual punishment. Writing for the majority, Justice Clarence Thomas disputed the claim by critics that the law created ''a general presumption in favor of the death penalty in the state of Kansas.'' Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
Texas Starts a Mental Health Court With Hopes of Smarter Justice
From Chron.com: Harris County, Texas has started a mental health court, an intensive supervision program that was started in March to help people with mental health problems complete their probation and continue treatment.
People assigned to the court have violated the rules of their probation because of mental illness, state District Judge Marc Carter said. Sending them to jail does little to protect the community, he said, if they are released without correcting their problems.
Officials hope the new program eventually will help ease crowding in the county jail and state prisons, where probation violators often end up."It's win-win for everybody," said Kathleen Williams, manager of special programs for the county's Community Supervision and Corrections Department.
Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
June 25, 2006
This Week's Top Five Crim Papers
|(1)||165||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
|(2)||164||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)||159||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)||119||'How's My Driving?' for Everyone (and Everything?) |
University of Chicago Law School,
Date posted to database: May 9, 2006
Last Revised: June 13, 2006
|(5)||99||Does Child Abuse Cause Crime? |
Janet Currie, Erdal Tekin,
Columbia University - Department of Economics, Georgia State University - Department of Economics,
Date posted to database: April 6, 2006
Last Revised: June 6, 2006
Stetson University CrimProf Robert Batey Clarifies Battered Spouse Syndrome
From St. Petersburg Times: In a recent article about a local murder suspect using battered spouse syndrome as a defense, Stetson University College of Law CrimProf Robert Batey stated for the article that battered spouse syndrome is actually part of a duress defense, which can't be used to excuse homicide under Florida state law. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
Loyola Law School CrimProf Laurie Levenson Discusses the Pros of No Preliminary Hearing
From the Press-Enterprise.com: In a recent article concerning a local councilman waiving his preliminary hearing concerning criminal charges connected to his divorce settlement, Loyola Law School CrimProf Laurie Levenson explained that there is an incentive on both sides not to hold a preliminary hearing. Both the defense and prosecution may not want to reveal information or strategies before the trial, she said.
"It may mean we have more surprises at the trial because we won't have information at the prelim in which we can sort out." Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]