CrimProf Blog

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

Saturday, August 5, 2006

CrimProf Robert Batey Explains that Judges Usually Follow Jury Recommendations

Batey_1From Daytona Beach News Stetson University College of Law CrimProf Robert Batey spoke to the Daytona Beach News Journal about the  fact that the chances a circuit judge will not heed a jury's recommendation to place needles in the arms of two men convicted of killing six people in Deltona are slim.

"It seems statistically unlikely that the judge will depart from the jury's recommendation," said Robert Batey, professor of criminal law at Stetson University College of Law in St. Petersburg.

Robert Batey holds a bachelor's degree from Yale University and law degrees from the University of Virginia and the University of Illinois. After one year as a teaching assistant at the University of Illinois College of Law and two years as an assistant professor at West Virginia University College of Law, Batey joined the law faculty at Stetson University in 1977. During his tenure at Stetson, Professor Batey visited for one semester at the University of Virginia School of Law and served for four years as Stetson's associate dean. He has written extensively on criminal justice, law and literature, and related topics. Since 1995, he has been a local coordinator for Families Against Mandatory Minimums.

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

August 5, 2006 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, August 4, 2006

CrimProf Spotlight: Ellen Marrus

Ellenmarrus_1This week, the CrimProf Blog spotlights Ellen Marrus from the University of Houston Law Center.

Ellen Marrus received her J.D. in 1990 and her LL.M. from Georgetown University Law Center in 1992. She came to the University of Houston Law Center in 1995 after practicing as a public defender in California.

Professor Marrus is the Director of Clinical Programs. She has expanded the Law Center's offerings in clinical education to include a civil clinic which focuses on family law and children's issues, an immigration clinic, a transactional clinic, a juvenile defense clinic, a mediation clinic, criminal prosecution and defense clinics, and an extensive externship placement program in a variety of government and public interest law firms and judicial internships with state and federal judges.

Professor Marrus concentrates her scholarship in the areas of children's rights, professionalism and clinical education. She presents at various conferences and seminars on juvenile law and clinical education.

August 4, 2006 in Weekly CrimProf Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 3, 2006

WSJ Reviews CrimProf Stuart P. Green's "Lying, Cheating, and Stealing: A Moral Theory of White Collar Crime"

Stuart_2From Wall Street  Lousiana  State University CrimProf Stuart P. Green's new book "Lying, Cheating, and Stealing: A Moral Theory of White-Collar Crime"  was recently reviewed by the Wall Street Journal.  The review stated:

0199268584"When Enron's former chief executive Kenneth Lay died earlier this month, public reaction was sharply divided. On the one side were those pleased because Mr. Lay, convicted in May of fraud for disguising Enron's precariousness from investors, was in fact dead and thus no longer able to inhabit this lovely earthly realm with the rest of us. On the other side were those angered because Mr. Lay was now, being dead, saved from a gruesome prison experience. Certainly Mr. Lay's stewardship of Enron deserved a lot of criticism. But did it merit the bloodlust that greeted his death?

Stuart P. Green's "Lying, Cheating, and Stealing: A Moral Theory of White-Collar Crime" will be helpful to anyone thinking about such cases. Mr. Green discusses a set of malfeasances that, he is content to say, show a "family resemblance," among them: business fraud, perjury, insider trading and tax evasion. He then explores, lucidly and informatively, the categories of ethical error that propel a lot of white-collar crime -- not only lying and cheating but also promise-breaking, disloyalty and coercion. Mr. Green is not a sermonizer: Among other things, he wants to explain the subtle legal and moral distinctions between, say, criminal fraud and mere hype or between insider trading and shrewd investing.

And indeed, "Lying, Cheating, and Stealing" is strong on moral philosophy, not least in the way it illuminates the gray areas of business conduct. (For example: If it's OK to buy a cheap painting without disclosing your knowledge that it's actually a Vermeer, then what is wrong with insider trading -- buying stock in a company without letting on that it is a takeover target?) But the book is short on moral psychology -- on how the world looks to anyone at the center of a real-life crisis, with its pressure, confusion and emotion. Here Mr. Lay's story offers a good test case of the utility of Mr. Green's analysis.

The essence of the case against Enron's former chief executive Kenneth Lay is that he consistently told analysts, journalists and investors that Enron was in solid shape when in fact it was careering toward bankruptcy. As Mr. Green shows, there are moral defenses available to someone who spreads falsehoods. Perhaps a person never knew the truth in the first place, or could never know it, so that, although he speaks falsely, he does so believing what he says. Or perhaps a person makes a false statement reasonably expecting that it won't mislead others, because his listeners are skeptical enough to discount for what amounts to routine hype."

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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

Indiana Felons Must Start Providing DNA

From Thousands of convicted Indiana felons are being required to give DNA samples at county probation offices. Starting Monday, felons in Marion County must begin providing the samples. Felons in counties surrounding Indianapolis must begin the process in August, with the rest of the counties phased in after that.

Previously, only those who committed the most violent crimes were routinely tested. But under a 2005 state law, all felons in the state must submit to the procedure.
Advocates of the requirement say it will take repeat offenders off the street more quickly, reduce the incidence of violent crime and solve "cold" cases. By matching the DNA from old crime scenes with that from the felons tested, "we're going to get hits, we're going to get investigative leads, we're going to get suspects," said Mark Renner of Strand Analytical Laboratories, which will extract the samples. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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

Harvard CRCL Law Review Publishes First Article Written by a Prison Inmate

CrclbarThe Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review is publishing its first ever article written by a prison inmate, Thomas C. O’Bryant, who is a jailhouse lawyer serving two consecutive life sentences in prison without hope of release.  Having taught himself the law from prison, O’Bryant has represented himself and other inmates in numerous criminal and civil lawsuits in state and federal courts over the past ten years.

In his law review article, O’Bryant describes the difficult process that he and other indigent inmates must endure to challenge their state convictions. O’Bryant argues that the combination of federal laws and stringent prison conditions make it impossible to challenges wrongful convictions effectively. O’Bryant describes his own case, in which his lawyer assured him that if he pled guilty, he would be eligible for release after ten years, even though he discovered from prison that he would never be eligible for release.

O’Bryant’s article is the centerpiece of a Symposium of articles in the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review that examines pro se litigation ten years after AEDPA.  Other authors of articles in the Symposium include Bryan Stevenson, the director of the Equal Justice Initiative of Alabama and a Professor at NYU Law School, Jamie Fellner, the director of U.S. Programs at
Human Rights Watch, and Jessica Feierman, at attorney at the Juvenile Law Center in Philadelphia, PA.  Coming on the heels of the 10th Anniversary of the passage of Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, all of the articles in the Symposium challenge legislators, scholars, advocates, and everyone interested in issues of criminal justice in America to rethink its
treatment of “final” criminal convictions.

The entire Summer Issue including O’Bryant’s article. . . [Mark Godsey]

August 3, 2006 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

New State Law Requires KY Jailers to Fingerprint Inmates

From Courier Police say a complete file of fingerprints is invaluable. But because many jailers have not fingerprinted everyone booked at their jails, fewer than half of the more than 300,000 people arrested in Kentucky last year are entered in the state and national databases.

Jailers have said they don't have the time and manpower to do so, even though the state has provided automated Livescan electronic fingerprint equipment to all 74 Kentucky jails.

That changed this month. A state law that took effect July 12 requires jailers to collect and transmit fingerprints from every inmate booked at their jails. Previously, the law wasn't clear as to whether jailers or arresting officers were supposed to take the prints, so in many cases, no one did, officials say.

"We're not equipped for it," said Warren County Jailer Jackie T. Strode, who estimates that he will have to hire up to five more workers to handle all three shifts of booking and fingerprinting. "It's an unfunded mandate that now county taxpayers will have to foot the bill."  Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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

Survey Shows Exonerees Have Difficulty Adjusting to Society

From dallas According to a survey by the nonprofit Life After Exoneration Program, daily struggles are typical for the hundreds of people nationwide who have been exonerated through DNA testing and released from prison. Almost all exhaust their finances in prison fighting to prove their innocence, and many suffer deep family fractures while locked away.

"They've got the normal problems of readjusting on the outside, and nobody wants to listen to their story," said Jeff Blackburn, who directs the Lubbock-based West Texas Innocence Project. "For people to admit that an innocent person got locked up forces them to ask questions about how just the system is."

Mr. Blackburn plans to use the story of Greg Wallis, the third convict from Dallas County whom public defender Michelle Moore has helped to secure DNA tests that exonerated, to help lobby for changes in the way exonerees are compensated for the time they are locked away. Currently, compensation is taxed heavily. The exonerated also give up their right to sue over their convictions and false imprisonment by accepting restitution.

"I think he's one of the few who's got the strength of character to get him through," Mr. Blackburn said. "At the same time, with him, this is a real classic example – this is a guy who's not working, can't afford a car, who's in terrible shape all because of what the government did to him."

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

August 2, 2006 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Small Cars Dominate Most Stolen Car List

From Small cars that can be chopped into parts and sold for use by street racers dominated the list of the most-stolen autos in the U.S. last year, but high-priced cars and expensive sport-utility vehicles also ranked high, according to a report released Tuesday.

Leading the way was the 2001 BMW M-Series Roadster, which was stolen at a rate of one for every 200 on the road, according to the Chicago-based CCC Information Services, an industry group that tracks theft and vehicle damage.

Six of the top 10 most-stolen cars were models of the Acura Integra, which has a powerful engine that easily can be swapped into a lighter Honda Civic, making it a quick street racer, said Jeanene O'Brien, who analyzes the data for CCC. The Acura models in the top 10 are from the mid-to-late 1990s through 2001. O'Brien said the 2004 and 2005 Suzuki Aerio, another small car with a powerful engine, appeared in the No. 11 and 12 slots almost from nowhere.

Acura realized the theft problem and built more deterrent systems into the RSX, said Mike Spencer. an Acura spokesman. The RSX will not start without the key, which has a computer chip in it that the ignition system must recognize, Spencer said.  Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

August 2, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Dallas Jails are Overcrowded and Tax Payers are Footing the Bill

From The Dallas County Jail is too crowded, a growing problem that is costing taxpayers millions of dollars and one that county leaders have been slow to solve. Dallas County has the seventh-largest jail system in the country and the highest incarceration rate among Texas' five largest counties.

Jail populations are influenced by crime rates. But in Dallas County, many people are awaiting trial in jail unnecessarily, according to jail population numbers, judges and lawyers. And at $33 a day to house an inmate, taxpayers are picking up the tab.

Other issues that have led to crowding include:

  • Dismantling of the county's pretrial release program that helps low-risk offenders get out of jail on reduced personal bonds
  • Delays in transporting inmates to state prisons
  • A district attorney policy requiring the testing of drugs before cases can move through the system

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

August 1, 2006 in Law Enforcement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

CrimProf Robert G. Lawson Releases "Turning Jails into Prison--Collateral Damage from Kentucky's War on Crime"

LawsonFrom University of Kentucky A new article written by University of Kentucky College of Law CrimProf Robert G. Lawson titled "Turning Jails into Prison -- Collateral Damage from Kentucky's War on Crime", will appear in the first issue of this year's Kentucky Law Journal, and has been gaining attention across the Commonwealth and beyond. In the article, Lawson discusses the increasing number of prisoners being placed in the overcrowded county jails due to the lack of space in prisons, and why this is detrimental to not only the inmates, but to Kentucky communities as well.

Lawson, who traveled to nine jails around the state while writing his article, argues that by placing prisoners in overcrowded jail pods, the system is denying them of any chance to become rehabilitated, which is ultimately a concern that faces the public.
"Virtually all inmates are going to be released, and they're going to live in our neighborhoods and communities," Lawson said. "If you put convicted felons in jails and you don't do anything to help their problem, they're likely to be worse when they come out then when they went in, and that's not in the interests of any of us." Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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

CrimProf Richard Klein Speaks About New Nassau D.A.'s Actions

R_klein From Touro College CrimProf Richard Klein speaks out about the actions of new Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice.

Rice was rently quoted in a newpaper article saying she, and not judges, would dictate the jail sentences for criminals who made plea deals -- a major change to what had been county policy for 30 years. She also fired longtime favorite prosecutors and pushed for a special courtroom for drunken driving cases – all moves bound to please some groups and rankle others.

"Her new ideas are very admirable," said Richard Klein, a criminal law professor at Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center in Huntington, Rice's alma mater. "But you can't just unilaterally implement changes. You have to have the support of other people who partake in the legal system."

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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

Monday, July 31, 2006

D.C. Will Hold National Crime Summit

From Citing increasing concerns about violent crime, D.C. law enforcement authorities are convening a national summit in D.C. next month to deal with sudden spikes in homicides, robberies and assaults.

Local police officials and municipal authorities from more than a dozen cities, including Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Louisville, Charlotte and Boston will meet Aug. 30 in Washington, where the mayor and police chief recently declared a "crime emergency."

"What we've seen happen in the past year across this country deserves all of our attention," said Charlotte Police Chief Darrel Stephens, referring to the first significant jump in homicides and other major crimes in more than a decade. "We need to get a better sense of what is going on."

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

July 31, 2006 in Law Enforcement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Indiana Study Finds Increase in IV Drug Use Among Teens

From number of Indiana high school seniors who say they have shot up heroin, methamphetamine and other drugs has hit an all-time high, according to new Indiana University findings that are backed by drug counselors.
About 2.2 percent of 12th-graders surveyed by IU's Indiana Prevention Resource Center this spring admitted trying intravenous drugs, which users turn to for a more powerful high. That's an increase of more than 25 percent from a year ago, according to the 16th annual IU survey, to be released today.
While the overall head count of reported IV drug users is small, it shows "there is a subgroup of schoolchildren that are heavily into drug use," said Barbara Seitz De Martinez, the center's deputy director. "If they are using heroin and other injection drugs, you don't start off with that. You graduate to that over a period of time." Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

July 31, 2006 in Drugs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New Prison Sexual Abuse Study Claims Report Numbers are Low

From Fewer than three prisoners in every 1,000 report they were sexually abused or harassed, but that probably is not the whole story, a government study says.There may be far more sexual violence in prisons than is reported, the study's authors said, because inmates fear reprisal, adhere to a code of silence, do not trust the staff or are embarrassed.

The study released Sunday by the Justice Department agency is based on reports to corrections officials in 2005.The bureau looked at more than 1,800 correctional facilities holding some 1.7 million inmates — 78% of the adult prison population.The report is the second one required by the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003, which was an attempt to solve a problem believed to be widespread.

"What gets reported is the tip of the iceberg," said Cindy Struckman-Johnson, professor of social psychology at the University of South Dakota and a member of the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission. Struckman-Johnson said her studies found 10% of male Midwestern state penitentiary inmates have been raped. "In my research, only a third of the inmates actually reported it to anybody working in a prison," she said. Beck and Harrison found that 38% of allegations involved staff sexual misconduct and 35% involved forced sex by an inmate on another inmate. Also, 17% involved staff sexual harassment and 10% involved abusive sexual contact by an inmate on another.

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

July 31, 2006 in Reports | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, July 30, 2006

New Article Spotlight: Originalists, Politics, and Criminal Law on the Rehnquist Court

751697950From New York University School of Law CrimProf Rachel Barkow recently published "Originalists, Politics, and Criminal Law on the Rehnquist Court."  Here is the abstract:

One of the most important legacies of the Rehnquist Court's criminal law jurisprudence is its reinvigoration of the Constitution's jury guarantee. The Court has made clear that legislators cannot pass laws mandating increases in punishment unless those laws are applied by juries, not judges. The Court has therefore rejected existing sentencing laws in numerous states and the federal system, and sentencing policy is under scrutiny as never before.

The Court's sentencing cases are not only significant for their impact on day-to-day plea bargaining and trial practice in the criminal justice system; they also provide a concrete and important example of the power of law and legal methodology - and not simply politics - in Supreme Court decisionmaking. The sentencing decisions are out of step with what attitudinalist political scientists would have predicted from the right-leaning Court. The cases are the product of an alliance between Justices that the attitudinalists view as the extreme left and right of the Court; they are the product of a partnership between the Court's self-proclaimed originalists and those members of the Court who are most sensitive to the role of the judiciary in protecting criminal defendants' rights from majority politics. This area of criminal law is therefore an important reminder of the significance of legal methodology to case outcomes.

In addition to documenting the importance of the jury cases, this Article uses those cases as a springboard for a larger analysis of the relationship between originalists, politics, and criminal law on the Rehnquist Court. By reviewing all of the Rehnquist Court's criminal opinions in argued cases during the ten-year period from the October 1994 Term through the 2003 Term, this Article shows that the Justices' votes in criminal cases do not fit neatly into the attitudinal model. While a review of those cases confirms the conventional view that the Court's liberal bloc voted for criminal defendants more frequently than the Court's conservatives in non-unanimous cases, the more interesting pattern is the variation among the Court's conservatives in non-capital criminal cases in which the five conservatives disagreed among themselves. In the fifty-five non-capital criminal cases in which the Court's conservatives did not vote as a bloc, Justices O'Connor, Scalia, and Kennedy each voted for the defendant twenty-four times, Justice Thomas voted for the defendant in eighteen cases, and Chief Justice Rehnquist in fourteen cases. In several of the most important constitutional decisions of that period, including but not limited to the jury cases, the conservative originalists voted for defendants while the pragmatist conservatives ruled for the government. The jury cases are therefore part of a larger pattern that reveals the relationship between originalism, politics, and criminal law to be far more complicated than is commonly believed.

July 30, 2006 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

CrimProf Kami Chavis Simmons Joins Wake Forest University School of Law

Wake Forest University School of Law is pleased to announce the appointment of Kami Chavis Simmons to the law school faculty.

Professor Kami Chavis Simmons received a B.A. with Highest Honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1996, where she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.  She then attended Harvard Law School, where she was an Earl Warren Scholar.  After receiving her J.D. from Harvard in 1999, Professor Simmons worked as an associate at private law firms in Washington, D.C., where she participated in various aspects of civil litigation, white-collar criminal defense, and internal investigations.  In 2003, she became an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia.  She has represented the United States in a wide range of criminal prosecutions and has argued and briefed appeals before the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.  Professor Simmons was also an adjunct lecturer at American University, Washington College of Law.  She will teach Criminal Procedure and Professional Responsibility.  [Mark Godsey]

July 30, 2006 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

THis Week's Top 5 Crim Papers

Ssrn_17_12The top 5 crim papers for this week, with number of recent downloads, from SSRN are:

(1) 199 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
(2) 185 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) 165 A Brief History of Information Privacy Law
Daniel J. Solove,
George Washington University Law School,
Date posted to database: July 10, 2006
Last Revised: July 27, 2006
(4) 138 The Right to be Hurt - Testing the Boundaries of Consent
Vera Bergelson,
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - School of Law,
Date posted to database: May 19, 2006
Last Revised: June 15, 2006
(5) 109 Looking Deathworthy: Perceived Stereotypicality of Black Defendants Predicts Capital-Sentencing Outcomes
Sheri Lynn Johnson, Jennifer L. Eberhardt, Paul G. Davies, Valerie J. Purdie-Vaughns,
Cornell Law School, Stanford University, University of California, Los Angeles Department of Psychology, Yale University, Department of Psychology,
Date posted to database: May 10, 2006
Last Revised: May 10, 2006

July 30, 2006 in Weekly Top 5 SSRN Crim Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)