CrimProf Blog

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

Saturday, July 8, 2006

APA Reviews CrimProf Bernard E. Harcourt's Language of the Gun

Harcourt_3The American Psychological Association Review of Books recently reviewed University of Chicago School of Law CrimProf Bernard E. Harcourt's new book, Language of the Gun. 

The review called the book an "erudite, fascinating, and boldly reasoned volume."  "It is an important book," the review states, "one that forces each of us to examine the assumptions that underlie our work.  Harcourt's work is a gift to the field, a work that stimulates, frustrates, inspires, and, most important, motivates us to think and read more."  [Mark Godsey]

July 8, 2006 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, July 7, 2006

CrimProf Spotlight: Professor Kathleen Ridolfi

Fcty_cookie_ridolfiThis week, the CrimProf Blog spotlights CrimProf Kathleen Ridolfi from Santa Clara University.

Professor Ridolfi is the Executive Director of the Northern California Innocence Project, a law school clinical course in which students work with attorneys and other professionals to investigate claims of wrongful conviction and seek post-conviction relief where appropriate.

Professor Ridolfi’s areas of specialty include criminal law, criminal procedure, post-conviction procedure, evidence, trial advocacy, jury selection, battered women, clemency and clinical teaching.

Professor Ridolfi was a part of the first group of lawyers and social scientists to develop the expertise of jury consulting. In 1976, she joined the National Jury Project and opened their Northeast Regional Office where she was co-director. In 1978, she became a national trial consultant for the Women’s Self-Defense Law project, a project of the National Jury Project and Center for Constitutional Rights in York City. In 1982, she joined the Defender Association of Philadelphia where she was a trial lawyer until her appointment on the faculty of CUNY Law School in 1989.

She was also a coordinator of the Feminist Trial Advocacy Seminar, a program of the National Association of Women and the Law. Professor Ridolfi has been at SCU School of Law since 1991.

July 7, 2006 in Weekly CrimProf Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Crimprof Amar Comments on Past Supreme Court Term on NPR

Amar_akhil From Yale Law School Southmayd CrimProf Akhil Reed Amar commented on the composition and past term of the U.S. Supreme Court on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition on Tuesday, July 4, 2006. Prof. Amar spoke about Chief Justice John Roberts and about the Court’s relationship to the presidency.

Professor Amar is the co-editor of a leading constitutional law casebook, Processes of Constitutional Decisionmaking. He is also the author of several books, including America’s Constitution: A Biography, which recently won the ABA Silver Gavel Award. Listen. . . [Mark Godsey]

July 6, 2006 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

CrimProf Joshua Dressler Comments on New Supreme Court Rulings Against Defendants

Dressler_1From Ohio State University Moritz College of Law CrimProf Joshua Dressler was recently quoted in the Wall Stret Journal Article "Supreme Court's Current Term Has Proved Tought on Defendants."

"There seems to be a new self-confidence or aggressiveness" by the court's conservative bloc, says  Dressler.  Defendants lost by a more than 2-1 margin during the term that began in October. In many votes, the two Bush appointees, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, sided with police, prosecutors and prison wardens. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

July 6, 2006 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

CrimProf Allison Danner Predicts US Will Not Allow Iraqi Govt to Decide When to Prosecute US Troops

Danner_1From Vanderbilt Law School CrimProf Allison Danner, an international criminal law specialist, was recently quoted in the Washington Post Article "Iraqi Leaders Question US Troops' Immunity.

Following a recent string of alleged atrocities by U.S. troops against Iraqi civilians, leaders from across Iraq's political spectrum called Wednesday for a review of the U.S.-drafted law that prevents prosecution of coalition forces in Iraqi courts.

Danner said that while the United States has occasionally allowed foreign governments to prosecute American troops, including in the Philippines and Japan, such decisions were made on a case-by-case basis, leaving the immunity intact. "I can't see them allowing the Iraqi government to decide when that should happen," she said. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

July 6, 2006 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Illinois' Plan to Prevent Traumatized Foster Children From Becoming Violent

From The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services launched a program this spring to help foster children who have been exposed to trauma. Experts say such children are likely to become violent themselves if they do not get help. The program is the first of its kind in the country, state officials say, and could be expanded to all at-risk children if the pilot program is successful.

"Part of the focus here is that if we can intervene with some of these kids and teach them to value themselves and teach them how to care for themselves and love themselves, then maybe we can break that cycle," said David Moore, an administrator of the trauma program at Kids Hope United in Collinsville.

The Metro East-area program began in April and targets foster children ages 12 to 19. Programs for children from birth to 5 and from 5 to 11 are under way in Chicago and Peoria. The 16-week Metro East-area project, covering the counties of St. Clair, Madison, Bond, Monroe, Clinton, Washington and Randolph, is funded by a state grant of about $160,000. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

July 5, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Louisiana's Economy Depends on Inmate Labor

From Many people here in East Carroll Parish, as Louisiana counties are known, say they could not get by without their inmates, who make up more than 10 percent of its population and most of its labor force. They are dirt-cheap, sometimes free, always compliant, ever-ready and disposable.

You just call up the sheriff, and presto, inmates are headed your way. "They bring me warm bodies, 10 warm bodies in the morning," said Grady Brown, owner of the Panola Pepper Corporation. "They do anything you ask them to do."

National prison experts say that only Louisiana allows citizens to use inmate labor on such a widespread scale, under the supervision of local sheriffs. The state has the nation's highest incarceration rate, and East Carroll Parish, a forlorn jurisdiction of 8,700 people along the Mississippi River in the remote northeastern corner of Louisiana, has one of the highest rates in the state.

As a result, it is here that the nation's culture of incarceration achieves a kind of ultimate synthesis with the local economy. The prison system converts a substantial segment of the population into a commodity that is in desperately short supply — cheap labor — and local-jail inmates are integrated into every aspect of economic and social life. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

July 5, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Questioning Why the South Leads the U.S. in Executions

From Though 38 states now have a death penalty, one region carries it out far more often than any other. Southern states have executed 81 percent of the national total since 1976. Nearly half have been in just two Southern states: Texas with 368 and Virginia with 95. Why the South leads the nation in executions is a complicated question with no definitive answer, say historians.

Some point to a passage in the Supreme Court's 1976 ruling, Gregg v. Georgia, as a clue: "In part, capital punishment is an expression of society's moral outrage at particularly offensive conduct. This function may be unappealing to many, but it is essential in an ordered society that asks its citizens to rely on legal processes rather than self-help to vindicate their wrongs."

Christopher Waldrep, an American history professor at San Francisco State University who has written extensively about Southern history says, "It really all comes down to retribution, and that is the same imperative that animated lynchers. It's an important point that the same region of the country that led the nation in lynchings now leads in executions. . . . I think there is a connection."

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

July 5, 2006 in Capital Punishment | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

LAPD is Strengthening Recruiting Strategy

From As Los Angeles tries to add 1,000 officers in five years to the smallest big-city police department in the nation, it has realized that reaching this goal will be a struggle. The LAPD and police departments around the country are engaged in an intense competition over an increasingly limited pool of suitable people interested in becoming cops.

In Los Angeles, the department is fortifying its recruitment efforts in its drive to beat out other departments and attract the elusive recruit. The department has increased its full-time recruitment team from two to 12. It is offering a $1,000 cash reward to any employee who brings in a successful recruit. And recruiters are hitting the college job-placement circuits.

"We are going to make this happen," said William Scott DeYoung, chief of police recruiting for the personnel department. "There is a lot of cachet not only to the LAPD, but also the city."

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

July 4, 2006 in Law Enforcement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New Article Spotlight: The Multiple Dimensions of Tunnel Vision in Criminal Cases

From University of WisconsinLaw School CrimProfs Keith A. Findley and Michael Scott recently published "The Multiple Dimensions of Tunnel Vision in Criminal Cases." Here is the abstract:

The 170-plus postconviction DNA exonerations of the last 15 years have exposed numerous problems that have contributed to convicting the innocent. The specific problems include eyewitness error and flawed eyewitness procedures, false confessions, forensic error or fraud, police and prosecutor misconduct, inadequate defense counsel, jailhouse snitch testimony, and others. A theme running through almost every case, that touches each of these individual causes, is the problem of tunnel vision.

Tunnel vision is a natural human tendency with particularly pernicious effects in the criminal justice system. This Article analyzes tunnel vision at various points in the criminal process, from police investigation through trial, appeal, and postconviction review. The Article examines the causes of tunnel vision in three domains. First, tunnel vision is the product of natural human tendencies - cognitive distortions that make it difficult for human beings in any setting to remain open-minded. Second, institutional or role pressures inherent in the adversary system can exacerbate the natural cognitive biases, and induce actors to pursue a particular suspect too soon or with too much zeal. Finally, in some ways the criminal justice system embraces tunnel vision as a normative matter; it demands or teaches tunnel vision overtly, as a matter of policy or rule. This Article concludes by examining possible corrective measures that might be adopted to mitigate the effects of tunnel vision. Full Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

July 4, 2006 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Judge Uses Staggered Sentences to Prevent Repeat DWIs

From St. Paul Pioneer Press: Isanti County Judge James Dehn in Cambridge has developed a way to reach the state's most dangerous drunken drivers — and cut their repeat offenses in half. His methods are becoming more common in Minnesota and are gaining interest nationwide.

"It's about treating them like human beings," Dehn said.

He dispenses justice on the installment plan. Instead of giving drunken drivers a traditional jail sentence, he spreads that sentence out over years, jailing them in July and December. Before each jail term, drivers must appear in court. If they can convince Dehn they've been sober, employed and otherwise reformed, he can allow them to skip the month in jail — until the next time.

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

July 4, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 3, 2006

Minneapolis is Fighting Crime With Lemonade

From a city beleaguered by a wave of murders, Minneapolis police believe they've hit on a new crime-fighting tool: lemonade. After a test-run in north Minneapolis last week, police officers today will set up a lemonade stand at the intersection of 22nd Avenue North and Sixth Street North. The area has been battered by crime this year, particularly violent crime.

"We're putting the lemonade stand right in the middle of these high-crime neighborhoods," said Mark Klukow, a street cop and 11-year veteran of the Minneapolis Police Department and the one who came up with the idea.

"Putting the cops in these high-risk neighborhoods literally shuts down crime," he said. "We were in sight -- literally in sight -- of three dope houses. They were perturbed that we were there. Their clients moved. On a Friday, I would guess they (dealers) would dump half of their marijuana that they dump in a given week, because it's payday for a lot of people, and they want to have some for the weekend." Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

July 3, 2006 in Law Enforcement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

CrimProf Joseph Daly Discusses Rodriguez Case and Death Penalty Law

Joedaly60_1 Hamline University CrimProf Joseph Daly was recently quoted in a article about the significance of the Rodriguez Case with concern to the death penalty and North Dakota Law. 

"This will be a national trial," said Joseph Daly, a criminal law professor at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn. "A federal death penalty case is quite unusual, especially when you're talking about a state that doesn't have the death penalty." Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

July 3, 2006 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

CrimProf Neil P. Cohen Retires

Cohenret1University of Tennessee College of Law CrimProf Neil P. Cohen was recently honored at a retirement reception at the University Club in Knoxville. Prof. Cohen is ending 34 years as a member of the faculty at the University of Tennessee College of Law at the conclusion of this academic year.

Prof. Cohen is a nationally recognized expert in the areas of Criminal Law and Procedure, Sentencing, and Evidence. His articles have been published in leading law journals, including the Harvard Journal of Legislation, the University of Florida Law Review, and the Journal of Legal Education. Prof. Cohen is the author or co-author of ten books. His book, The Law of Probation and Parole, has been cited by the United States Supreme Court, as well as several federal and state appellate courts. In addition, he drafted the gender-neutral version of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate, Civil, Criminal, and Juvenile Procedure, and assisted in drafting the Tennessee Rules of Evidence and the Tennessee Penal Code, as well as the modernized Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure. [Mark Godsey]

July 3, 2006 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, July 2, 2006

This Week's Top 5 Crim Papers

Ssrn_17_6This week's top 5 crim papers, with number of recent downloads from SSRN, are as follows:

(1) 174 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) 168 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) 162 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) 135 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
(5) 123 'How's My Driving?' for Everyone (and Everything?)
Lior Strahilevitz,
University of Chicago Law School,
Date posted to database: May 9, 2006
Last Revised: June 13, 2006

July 2, 2006 in Weekly Top 5 SSRN Crim Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Indianapolis: Trying to Stop Crime by Cleaning up the Streets

From On Thursday, a Near-Southside Indianapolis neighborhood served as the starting point for a summerlong effort to lower the city's rising crime problem.

Representatives from Mayor Bart Peterson's office, Indianapolis Police Department officers and crews from agencies including the Department of Public Works picked up 50 tons of trash and used 25 tons of asphalt to fill potholes in alleys and streets. Ten streetlights were repaired, and 55 street signs were repaired or replaced. The city also issued citations to owners of abandoned and poorly maintained lots, though exactly how many was not immediately known.

The effort is part of a wider anti-crime push announced earlier this month by the mayor and police officials that includes increased police patrols in crime-ridden areas. Police officer Stephen Knight disagreed, saying that maintaining areas such as alleys would lessen criminal activity. "Thieves, criminals, generally use places like alleys to make getaways. If (the alleys) look like they're being maintained, if the thieves realize they're being watched, they'll move on to another area," he said.

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

July 2, 2006 in Law Enforcement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

CrimProf Richard Frase Speaks About Rodriguez Trial

Fraser_1 University of Minnesota CrimProf Richard Frase was recently quoted in the Brainerd Dispatch article concerning the trial of Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., 53, a convicted sex offender from Crookston, Minnesota.  He is charged with kidnapping resulting in the death of University of North Dakota student Dru Sjodin and has pleaded not guilty.

Every time there is a case like this, it shines the light on some aspect of the system that wasn't tight enough, said Frase. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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