CrimProf Blog

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

Saturday, July 15, 2006

University of Oregon CrimProf Tom Lininger will Spend a Semester at Lewis and Clark Law School

Lininger_1CrimProf Tom Lininger is one of the four new professors Lewis and Clark Law School is welcoming this fall. 

Tom Lininger, visiting professor from the University of Oregon School of Law, earned his bachelor’s degree from Yale University and his juris doctorate degree from Harvard. He worked as a federal prosecutor, as counsel to a subcommittee in the U.S. Senate, and as a litigator. Lininger remains on the University of Oregon faculty, but will spend a semester at Lewis & Clark teaching two criminal law classes. 

July 15, 2006 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, July 14, 2006

CrimProf Spotlight: Malvina Halberstam

Halberstam_malvinaThis week, the CrimProf Blog spotlights CrimProf Malvina Halberstam of Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. 

CrimProf Malvina Halberstam is a member of Cardozo's founding faculty. She has also taught at the law schools of Loyola (Los Angeles), University of Southern California, University of Texas, University of Virginia, and The Hebrew University. She clerked for Judge Edmund Palmieri, served as an assistant district attorney under Frank Hogan, as a reporter for the American Law Institute (Model Penal Code Project), and as a counselor on international law for the U.S. Department of State, Office of the Legal Advisor.

As counselor, she supervised the State Department's comments on what became the Restatement of U.S. Foreign Relations Law (Third) and headed the U.S. delegation in the negotiations on the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation, adopted in Rome in 1988. She is coauthor of Women's Legal Rights: International Covenants an Alternative to the E.R.A.? and has lectured widely and published articles on international law, U.S. foreign relations law, human rights, women's rights, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and criminal law and procedure.

She is a member of the American Law Institute, Advisory Committee of the ABA Standing Committee on Law and National Security, and the boards of the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists. Professor Halberstam was articles and reviews editor of the Columbia Law Review, a Kent Scholar twice, a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, and recipient of the Jane Marks Murphy Prize. [Mark Godsey]

July 14, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Catching Criminals by Watching the Way They Walk

From For more than ten years, scientists have been working on a computer system that can analyse the movements of criminals caught on CCTV and compare them with those of a suspect. The system works on the premise that every individual has a signature walking style.

The technique is still in its infancy but has been employed in high-profile cases. Swedish police successfully used it three years ago to identify a robber involved in a bank raid in which a customer was killed. Officers investigating the murder of Anna Lindh, the Swedish Foreign Minister, in 2003 asked experts to examine the walk of their suspect, Mijailo Mijailovic. Their efforts were not needed — Mijailovic confessed — but the case highlighted the technique’s potential.

Mark Nixon, of the Southampton University department of electronics and computing, said that studies showed everyone has a distinct walk. This was because of subtle differences in muscle strength, tendon and bone length, bone density, visual acuity, co-ordination skills, experience, body mass, centre of gravity, muscle or bone damage, physiological conditions, and a personal walking “style”. He said that it was very difficult for someone to disguise the way they walked, and they could still be identified whether casually sauntering up to the bankteller or sprinting from the scene of the crime.

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

July 13, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Opening the Doors to Medical Experimentation on Prisoners

From Philadelphia Inquirer: Thirty years ago, the federal government severely limited medical experimentation on prisoners after the discovery that pharmaceutical companies and medical researchers were using Philadelphia inmates as medical guinea pigs.

Now, an independent panel has suggested easing those restrictions. But with the lingering specter of Nazi experiments and the local Holmesburg Prison scandal, some say the door should remain shut.

"This is a dangerous cul-de-sac to go down again," said A. Bernard Ackerman, a New York dermatologist who worked at Holmesburg Prison as a second-year resident at the University of Pennsylvania during the trials. "There has to be experimentation in medicine, but populations that are aged, vulnerable or defective mentally should not be used." Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

July 13, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

CrimProfs Louis Michael Seidman and Randy Barnett Appointed to New Professorships

Seidman2_000 Georgetown University Law Center Dean T. Alexander Aleinikoff recently announced the appointments of Georgetown CrimProf Louis Michael Seidman as the Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Constitutional Law and  CrimProf Randy Barnett as the Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Legal Theory.  Seidman and Barnett will be formally installed at ceremonies during the 2006-2007 academic year.

Barnettgray Seidman joined the Georgetown Law faculty in 1976, where he teaches courses in constitutional and criminal law.  He was the James Monroe Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Virginia Law School and a visiting professor at Harvard Law School and New York University School of Law.   

Prior to coming to Georgetown, Seidman served as a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and J. Skelly Wright of the D.C. Circuit and as a staff attorney with the D.C. Public Defender Service.  He is the co-author of a constitutional law casebook and the author of several articles concerning criminal justice and constitutional law.  His most recent books are "Equal Protection of the Laws" (Foundation, 2002) and "Our Unsettled Constitution: A New Defense of Constitutionalism and Judicial Review" (Yale, 2001). 

Barnett will join the Georgetown Law full-time faculty this fall after serving as a visiting professor.  Most recently, he was the Austin B. Fletcher Professor at the Boston University School of Law, where he taught constitutional law, contracts and cyber law, as well as torts, criminal law, evidence, agency and partnership and jurisprudence.  He has been a visiting professor at Harvard Law School and Northwestern University and served as a prosecutor in the Cook County State's Attorney's Office in Chicago.  In 2004, he argued the medical marijuana case of Gonzales v. Raich in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Barnett has produced more than 80 articles and reviews, as well as seven books, including, "Restoring the Lost Constitution: The Presumption of Liberty" (Princeton, 2004), "Contract Cases and Doctrine" (Aspen, 3rd ed. 2003), and "The Structure of Liberty: Justice and the Rule of Law" (Oxford, 1998).

July 13, 2006 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Race Related Violent Robberies are on the Rise in D.C.

From A new crime trend is unfolding in the D.C. and some suburbs, too: an increase in armed robberies committed by thugs whose motivation appears to be less about getting money than inflicting pain. For even if you comply with demands to hand over your belongings, you are still likely to be assaulted, raped, kidnapped or killed. Much of this crime is being committed by adolescents.

Accompanying the increase in juvenile arrests for armed robbery has been an increase in juveniles arrested for carrying handguns -- a combination that Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey finds particularly disturbing. "We're dealing with adolescents who have no remorse, no regrets," he said. And they are well armed.

The latest trend in armed robberies includes the most volatile mix in the annals of American crime: black-on-white violence. The sense of security among the affluent and influential has been shaken.

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

July 12, 2006 in Race | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Project Prevention Founder Offers Drug Users Money to be Sterilized

From Barbara Harris drove her RV gingerly through Portland, Oregon and staked her territory beneath the Burnside Bridge, one of the first stops on her cross-country mission as head of Project Prevention, a foundation that offers $300 to drug users willing to be sterilized or use long-term birth control.

Harris founded her program in 1998. Originally called C.R.A.C.K. -- Children Requiring a Caring Kommunity -- it immediately attracted attention and criticism. Supporters call Harris a hero. Detractors label her tactics as modern-day eugenics.

Harris dismisses it all. "I don't care what anyone says. It's just not OK to take drugs and have a baby," she said. "If I got drunk and drove my car and killed someone, I'd get put in jail, and nobody would argue. Well, drug addicts who have babies have victims, too. They're called children."

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

July 12, 2006 in Drugs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Questions of Racial Profiling in L.A. Remain Unanswered

From Latino and African American motorists in most areas of Los Angeles are significantly more likely than whites to be asked during police stops to leave their vehicles and submit to searches, according to the latest study ordered by the city. However, the study group said its detailed analysis of the data cannot determine whether the different treatment is a sign of racial profiling by officers.

The collection and analysis of racial data involving vehicle and pedestrian stops was one of the requirements of a federal consent decree that was approved by a judge five years ago in response to allegations that the LAPD has engaged in a pattern of civil rights abuses, including the framing and shooting of minority residents by members of the Rampart anti-gang unit.

Racial profiling is one possible explanation, said Michael Smith, an author of the report, but he said there are other possibilities as well. "Ultimately, decisions are made by individuals, and an aggregate analysis like this can't climb into the minds of officers out there," Smith told the commission. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

July 12, 2006 in Race | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Juvenile Crime Rates Dramatically Increase in Sacramento

From Sacramento Across Sacramento County, more teenage boys are standing before a judge, charged as adults in some of the most vicious homicides of the year, a startling fact that defies national trends and one that has left police, community groups and families searching for elusive answers.

During the first six months of this year, 15 children -- including two 14-year-old boys -- have been arrested in homicide cases, surpassing the number of juveniles arrested in homicides annually since 1996, a Bee analysis shows. In one week alone last month, eight children appeared in court in murder cases from this year.

More troubling, the rise in homicide arrests among Sacramento youths bucks trends seen elsewhere. A study published last year by Rand Corp., a nonprofit think-tank, showed a 46 percent drop in juvenile arrests for violent offenses such as murder, from 1994 to 2003 in California. And a U.S. Department of Justice report this year boasted of a low rate of juvenile arrests in violent crimes not seen since the 1970s.

Daniel Okada, assistant professor of criminal justice at California State University, Sacramento, said the recent spate of arrests could be an anomaly. Or, it could signal the start of a cycle of youth violence he predicted would begin in 2008, based on population trends and other patterns.

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

July 11, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Debate Over Publicly Listing Juvenile Sex Offenders

From USA Laws meant to protect the public by listing sex offenders on Internet registries are colliding with laws intended to shield the identities of children who get into trouble.
Amie Zyla, 18, of Waukesha, Wis., has successfully promoted the idea that the public's right to know of a sex offender living nearby trumps a juvenile's right to keep court records secret. Last year, she persuaded her state's legislators to let police notify neighbors about the presence of a juvenile sex offender they consider a public risk.

This year, she went national. Congress is finishing work on a bill she promoted that could include juveniles on a federal registry being created. It would make failure to register a felony. Changes like Wisconsin's are at odds with a longstanding practice of giving juvenile offenders a clean slate when they become adults. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

July 11, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Italian CrimProf Giovanni Maria Flick Named Vice-President of Constitutional Court

Giovanni_maria_flick_1From AGI online: CrimProf Giovanni Maria Flick has been confirmed by the new president Franco Bile as the vice-president of the Constitutional Court in Italy.

Giovanni Maria Flick has had a long career as a criminal lawyer. He was the minister of justice from 1996 to 1998 in the government led by Romano Prodi. Flick was a professor of Criminal Law at the University of Messina from 1972 to 1975 and professor of law and criminal procedures at the University of Perugia starting in 1975. In 1981, he became professor of Criminal Law at the LUISS University in Rome.

He has also taught Commercial Criminal Law at the Official Carabinieri School in the capital. Flick is the author of many publications and numerous writings on the themes of crimes against Public Administration, Criminal law, and the economy. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

July 11, 2006 in International | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 10, 2006

Problems With Texas' Outpatient Sexual Predator Program

From When one of Texas' most dangerous sexual predators vanished from a Dallas halfway house two months ago, he simply sliced the electronic monitor from his ankle and strolled to a nearby convenience store before disappearing.

Mark Petersimes was one of 66 violent sexual predators who were judged to be so dangerous, so likely to offend again after they serve their prison time, that they were committed to an intensive supervisory program similar to house arrest.

The ease of his getaway highlights a major difference between Texas' civil commitment program and that of the 16 other states with such programs. Only Texas has an outpatient program that releases offenders into the community rather than keeping them under lock and key.

Rest of Article . . . [Mark Godsey]

July 10, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Questioning How to Compensate Exonerees

From As James Calvin Tillman of Connecticut awaits official exoneration from a rape conviction for which he has served 18 years of his life, Connecticut Officials will face the question of how to compensate someone who was wrongly labeled a rapist and imprisoned for much of his adult life.

It's a dilemma unfolding nationwide as states consider ways to help exonerated defendants.

They do not fit neatly into the category of "crime victims," a group defined and compensated in Connecticut state law. And experts say winning a court case could be difficult without proving misconduct by police or prosecutors, bad representation by defense attorneys, sloppy science or intentional misrepresentation of the facts.

The policies vary greatly nationwide. Some states have laws that provide set dollar amounts for every day or year of incarceration. Others also add free college tuition, counseling and other services. But Connecticut has no set procedures. The General Assembly can grant people permission to sue for wrongful conviction or, as some states have done, pass a special act to pay an exonerated person directly.  Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

July 10, 2006 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Gun Control Laws Can Control Elections

From Saul Cornell of Ohio State's Second Amendment Research Center, says polls consistently show broad support for gun control. What gives the gun lobby strength, he says, is that supporters see gun control as a make-or-break issue. With that passion comes money. Gun-rights groups contributed nearly 14 times as much as gun-control groups in the 2004 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Gun-control proponents should avoid efforts like the assault weapons ban that were more effective at agitating gun owners than at preventing gun violence, says Daniel Webster of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research. He recommends targeting unscrupulous dealers, and points to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who leads a coalition of over 50 mayors backing a crackdown on illegal gun sales. For backers of gun control, perhaps that's a start.

"When we as Democrats are trying to reach out and speak to voters in the center of the country, I don't think that we can support gun control," Oklahoma Rep. Dan Boren explains. After seeing Democrats hammered at the polls for voting to regulate guns, many of his colleagues seem to agree. As a result, a number of pro-gun measures moving through Congress will most likely face little opposition, as advocates of gun control increasingly find themselves marginalized and ignored.

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

July 10, 2006 in Political News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, July 9, 2006

Boston Debates on How to Stop Increasing Youth Violence

From With the dramatic rise in shootings in Boston in recent years, the percentage of victims who are teenagers has skyrocketed, according to new statistics. In the first four months of 2006, 45 percent of non fatal gunshot wound victims were under the age of 20 compared with 35 percent last year, 34 percent in 2004, and 20 percent in 2003, figures from the state Department of Public Health show.

As Boston officials rush to fund programs, hoping to stop bloodshed in a summer that many fear will be the most violent in years, community leaders, police, and others involved in crime prevention are arguing about how the bulk of the money should be spent. Some say more of it should go toward youth programs that could steer young people away from lives of crime, while others say programs aimed directly at known offenders should be emphasized.

Most agree that both approaches have advantages and drawbacks. Funding for prevention programs aimed at youth ``reduces crime in the long run, and that's a goal people everywhere share; however, it doesn't do much to prevent crime in the short run," said Richard Rosenfeld, a professor of criminology at the University of Missouri at St. Louis. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

July 9, 2006 in Cost of Crime | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Death Penalty Opponents Urge TX to Investigate Innocence Claims

From Opponents of the death penalty in Texas, joined by the sister of a Corpus Christi man who may have been executed for a murder he did not commit, called on Texas officials Thursday to establish a commission to investigate claims that innocent prisoners have been put to death in the nation's most aggressive death penalty state.

"Most people do not like the concept of executing innocent people. You have to ask yourself, what is it with the state of Texas that causes all these executions?" said David Atwood, founder of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

Atwood said his group had evidence that at least 10 other prisoners executed by the state of Texas may have been innocent. The state has carried out 368 executions since 1976, far more than any other state. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

July 9, 2006 in Capital Punishment | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Weekly Top 5 Crim Papers

Ssrn_17_8The top 5 crim papers for this week, with number of recent downloads, on SSRN are:

(1) 181 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: July 5, 2006
(2) 170 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) 164 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) 148 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) 124 '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 9, 2006 in Weekly Top 5 SSRN Crim Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)