CrimProf Blog

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

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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Too Old to Execute? UPDATED: No

Yesterday, on his 76th birthday, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal from Clarence Ray Allen, who argued that he was too old and feeble to be executed without violating the 8th Amendment's Cruel and Unusual Punishment clause.  Blind, deaf, and in a wheelchair, he was put to death in California today, just after midnight. Story including a video from CNN.com. . . [Mark Godsey]

January 17, 2006 in Capital Punishment | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 16, 2006

After Innocence Commentary

Npr_3From Day to Day: "Madeleine Brand speaks with Jessica Sanders, director of the documentary After Innocence. The film follows the stories of seven men convicted of felonies, sent to prison and later exonerated by DNA evidence. Sanders tracks the lives the men through different stages of re-settlement into society." Listen to the commentary here. [Mark Godsey]

January 16, 2006 in Exoneration Innocence Accuracy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

DNA Database Woes from Downunder

In Australia, the State of Tasmania's government has come under fire for not signing up to join a national DNA database, called the CrimTrac network, used to track criminals across the nation, using DNA profiles.  In the meantime, Tasmanian police officers must depend on interstate police assistance to match a suspect's DNA to DNA profiles stored in Australia's other jurisdictions. Story. . . [Mark Godsey]

January 16, 2006 in International | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

4th Cir: Prosecutor's Threats in 1970s Case May Lead to New Trial

From CNN.com: Raleigh, NC (AP): A panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, granted a motion Friday allowing a former Green Beret doctor convicted of the 1970 murders of his wife and daughters, to present the new evidence that the prosecutor threatened a witness during his trial over 30 years ago.  This new evidence could result in a new trial. Story. . . [Mark Godsey]

January 16, 2006 in Evidence | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Happy Martin Luther King Birthday

I'm celebrating by having lunch with one of my colleagues who clerked on the Supreme Court when Brown was argued.  Meanwhile, here is a TV Interview from 1957 with Dr. King and Federal Judge J. Waring Waites. [Jack Chin]

January 16, 2006 in Civil Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, January 15, 2006

This Week's Top 5 Crim Papers

Ssrn_8This week's top 5 crim papers, with number of recent downloads from SSRN, are as follows:

(1) 408 Economic Analysis of Law
A. Mitchell Polinsky, Steven Shavell,
Stanford Law School, Harvard Law School,
Date posted to database: November 29, 2005
Last Revised: December 16, 2005
(2) 237 No, Capital Punishment is Not Morally Required: Deterrence, Deontology, and the Death Penalty
Carol S. Steiker,
Harvard Law School,
Date posted to database: November 28, 2005
Last Revised: December 5, 2005
(3) 150 The Theory of Public Enforcement of Law
A. Mitchell Polinsky, Steven Shavell,
Stanford Law School, Harvard Law School,
Date posted to database: November 17, 2005
Last Revised: January 4, 2006
(4) 126 Punishment, Deterrence, and Avoidance
Jacob Nussim, Avraham D. Tabbach,
Bar Ilan University - Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University,
Date posted to database: November 11, 2005
Last Revised: December 2, 2005
(5) 94 Proportionality as a Principle of Limited Government
Alice Ristroph,
University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law ,
Date posted to database: November 23, 2005
Last Revised: November 29, 2005

January 15, 2006 in Weekly Top 5 SSRN Crim Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Utah: State Crime Lab Eliminates Gunshot Residue Testing

Add the Utah State Crime Lab to the list of underfunded, struggling state crime labs.  The lab has recently eliminated gunshot residue testing, in order to concentrate on DNA, fingerprint, and ballistics analyses.  Although GSR testing only shows the presence or lack of nitrates, not necessarily who fired a gun, the elimination of GSR testing is cause for concern among Utah defense attorneys; they emphasize that sentencing drastically differs for the triggerman and the accomplice in a shooting.  On the other hand, GSR testing has been criticized as junk science here and here. [Mark Godsey]   

January 15, 2006 in Evidence | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Court Grants Cert. on Duress Issue

Story here; 5th Circuit Opinion affirmance here.  According to SCOTUSBLOG, the court granted cert. on the burden of proof issue--does the government have to disprove the duress defense beyond a reasonable doubt, or does the defendant have to prove it to a preponderance? [Jack Chin]

January 15, 2006 in Criminal Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

CT: Former Senator Pleads Guilty to Helping Mobsters

Straight out of the Sopranos, a Connecticut Senator who resigned immediately before he pleaded guilty last week in federal court allegedly traded favors with organized crime interests.  The bribe he admitted taking, however, was not related to organized crime. [Jack Chin]

January 15, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

CT: Skakel Conviction Affirmed

Story here, opinion here, concurrence here. [Jack Chin]

January 15, 2006 in Criminal Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Knee Deep in Speculation...

Is it a coincidence that Pittsburgh Steelers' opponents keep turning up with injured knees?  First it was Cincinnati Bengals' star quarterback Carson Palmer.  Now, it's Indianapolis Colts' starting cornerback Nick Harper, who was slashed in the knee by his wife in a domestic dispute. Has Harper's wife been in contact with Steelers' thugs?  Just a stab in the dark. [Mark Godsey]

January 15, 2006 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)