CrimProf Blog

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

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The PrawfsBlawg Wants CrimProfs' Input

The PrawfsBlawg's, edited by University of Miami Prof Dan Markel, next subject matter for the Research Canons Project is Criminal Law. The purpose of the Research Canons Project is to get input from professors about the most important works of scholarship in the various areas of legal inquiry.

CrimProfs are encouraged to comment on the books and articles that are essential to a new academic in the field of Criminal Law. Comment Now. . . [Mark Godsey]

September 12, 2006 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New Article Spotlight: Federalism, Deportation, and Crime Victims Afraid to Call the Police

Orde2_1From  Arizona State University College of Law CrimProf Orde Kittrie recently published Federalism, Deportation, and Crime Victims Afraid to Call the Police.  Here is the abstract:

The article analyzes the federal versus local struggle over deportation's deterrent effect on crime reporting by unauthorized aliens. There are now 11.1 million unauthorized aliens in the U.S., including five percent of American workers. They are victims of more than one million crimes per year. The Supreme Court has held that unauthorized aliens enjoy certain constitutional rights. Unauthorized aliens fear, however, that turning to local police for protection would result in their deportation by federal immigration authorities.

The article describes how unscrupulous employers, common criminals, battering spouses, corrupt government officials, border vigilantes, and others exploit unauthorized alien fear of calling the police.

Three special visa categories incentivize reporting by unauthorized aliens of certain crimes. But the categories' narrowness means that federal law offers no relief from the deportation-versus-crime-reporting predicament with respect to more than ninety percent of the over one million crimes committed against unauthorized aliens in the U.S. each year.

Many of the largest U.S. cities have stepped into the breach with “sanctuary policies” prohibiting police cooperation with federal immigration authorities. The article finds that local sanctuary policies are ineffective in encouraging unauthorized aliens to report crimes. It also determines that several major city sanctuary policies are contrary to federal law. The article concludes by suggesting a more effective and legally viable way to encourage unauthorized aliens to report crimes.

The article's analysis reverberates far beyond immigration law. The Supreme Court's “new federalism,” including the anti-commandeering doctrine, and conservative control of the federal executive and legislative branches have activists looking to the local level to advance civil rights agendas on issues including gay marriage, medical marijuana, and the war on terror. The federal versus local struggle over deportation's deterrent effect on crime reporting by unauthorized aliens contains important lessons for these other causes. [Mark Godsey]

September 12, 2006 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Dayton CrimProf Ramzi Nassar Dies at Age 31

Nassar From a Dayton Law Press Release:  Ramzi Nasser started at Dayton in 2004. He was dedicated to the poor, particularly those needing representation in the criminal justice system.

Ramzi Nasser, a University of Dayton law professor since 2004, died Sunday at the age of 31 after a struggle with cancer.

There will be a prayer service at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 13, at the Riverside Masjid in Riverside, Calif. Burial will be at 2 p.m. at Montecito Memorial Park in nearby Loma Linda.

Nasser is survived by his parents, a brother and a sister.

“Professor Nasser loved being a law professor,” Lisa Kloppenberg, UD School of Law dean, said. “He was extremely dedicated to the poor, particularly those needing representation in the criminal justice system. He helped build a criminal law clinical course at the law school.”

A memorial service will be held on campus at a later date. A scholarship will be established in his memory.

Before coming to the UD School of Law, Nasser was a trial and appeals attorney for the federal defenders of San Diego, where he represented low-income people in federal court from arraignment to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Nasser was also a federal court law clerk for two years for James Giles, the chief judge of the eastern district of Pennsylvania.

For more information, contact Lisa Kloppenberg at 937-229-3795.

September 12, 2006 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

"No Clowning Around the WMDs"

A priest and two veterens face a federal jury tomorrow on felony criminal damaging charges after vandalizing a Minuteman III intercontinental nuclear missile in North Dakota.  The three men, dressed as clowns, hammered on and poured blood over the 40 ton missile in protest of the US's nuclear weapons policy. They explained the symbolism behind their clown garb--"court jesters were sometimes the only ones able to survive after speaking truth to power [figures]," they said.  If convicted, each faces up to 10 years in federal prison, and a $250,000 fine.  Of course Fr. Carl Kabat, a 72 year old Catholic priest, is no stranger to prison.  He has spent more than 15 years in prison for anti-nuclear protests (articles here and here) and has been arrested for trespassing during execution protests. Story here, pics and background here. [Michele Berry]

September 12, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Conservative, Activist, Potato, Potato?

I know the title made sense to you, because you said it to yourself.  Sorry Microsoft Word, "conservative" and "activist" aren't really antonyms, at least not in the judicial context. This NYTimes editorial says "Activism is in the Eye of the Ideologist." Conservative judges have shown themselves to be activists just as much as liberal judges —just for different causes.  A new study of Supreme Court voting patterns by Kentucky LawProf Lori Ringhand (forthcoming in Constitutional Commentary) suggests that the conservative Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas are actually more activist than their liberal colleagues. Read the editorial here. [Michele Berry]

September 12, 2006 in Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

McGruff Says, "Take a Byte out of Cybercrime"

McGruff, the beloved crime dog has a new mission: he's taking a 'byte' out of cybercrime.  He still strongly urges children not to talk to strangers or eat unwrapped candy, but now, McGruff has expanded his mission.  Yesterday, the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC), the organization behind the McGruff face, in conjunction with the Chief Marketing Officer Council, formally launched Take a Bite Out of Cyber Crime, a campaign to promote awareness of the risks of cybercrime for individuals and small businesses.  According to the NCPC, only 20% of all computers have the protection needed against the many computer threats lurking out there.  Partners in the campaign include Intel, McAfee, VeriSign, USA Today,, and Comcast. Here is McGruff's site to read more about the campaign. [Michele Berry]

September 12, 2006 in News, Technology, White Collar | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Drugs, Guns, or Both? Philadelphia to Target Crime Surge at its Core

Officials in Lancaster County, PA are meeting today to discuss the problems that led local newspapers to dub Philadelphia the "City of Blood."  In 2006, Philadelphia has seen 268 murders and more than 1,330 victims of gunfire. 

State House Speaker John Perzel, a Philadelphia Republican, wants the state to spend $225 million to help cities and towns across the state to hire 10,000 new police officers by 2010.  And Rep. Dwight Evans, a Democrat from Philadelphia, is seeking votes on bills that would limit the sale of handguns to one per month, per customer and ban military-style guns statewide. 

But Lancaster County District Attorney Don Totaro believes there are more effective ways of curbing violent crime than gun control laws.  He believes gun control laws only affect law abiding citizens. "Convicted felons who illegally possess guns and those who act as ‘straw purchasers’ to buy guns for felons present a clear danger to our community, yet state penalties are inadequate to deal with this serious problem."  The solution, he said, is tougher prison sentences. More from Lancaster Online. . . [Michele Berry]

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

Monday, September 11, 2006

Boston Expands the Role of Local Police to Immigration Law Enforcers

From Immigration officials will automatically be notified anytime the local or state police do a federal fingerprint check on a suspect who also happens to be wanted for serious immigration violations, under a new system being tested in Boston.

The automated notification is part of a Department of Homeland Security program that could expand the role that the local and state police nationwide play in the immigration enforcement effort.

To federal officials, it is a natural next step as police forces have hundreds of thousands of officers who routinely come into contact with illegal immigrants, while Immigration and Customs Enforcement has a squad of only about 6,000 criminal investigators.

But some immigration and civil liberties advocates objected. “Once the police become viewed as immigration agents, as opposed to simply safety and law enforcement patrols, they will lose the cooperation and trust of a significant portion of the communities they serve,” said Marshall Fitz, director of advocacy at the American Immigration Lawyers Association. “That ultimately undermines all of our security interest.” Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

September 11, 2006 in Law Enforcement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

CrimProf James Alan Fox Explains Bureau of Justice Crime Stats

Fox4webFrom Northeastern University CrimProf James Alan Fox recently explained the meaning of the Bureau of Justice Statistics which showed Americans were robbed and victimized by gun violence at greater rates last year than the year before, even though overall violent and property crime reached a 32-year low.

Last year, there were two violent gun crimes for every 1,000 individuals, compared with 1.4 in 2004, according to the department's Bureau of Justice Statistics. There were 2.6 robberies for every 1,000 people, compared with 2.1 the year before.

"This report tells us (the more serious) events, robbery and gun crimes, increased, and the FBI already told us homicides increased," said Fox. "So while the report shows the more numerous but least serious violence - simple assaults, which is pushing and shoving - went down, the mix got worse in terms of severity. That wasn't a very good trade-off," Fox said.

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

September 11, 2006 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

How the 9/11 Attacks Changed America's Legal Landscape

Here's a look from at how the 9/11 attacks changed America's legal landscape over the past five years--particularly, in the areas of criminal and constitutional law.  The article discusses specific shifts in executive power, international law, and privacy issues that normally would have taken decades to occur.  The article concludes that the changes in criminal law and the balance of power among the governement's branches have ultimately reduced or eliminated many of the external fact-checking measures typically in place to balance power and check the government.  For example, documents that once were available to the public have been reclassified as secret, and that which used to be available online has been removed from public view altogether.  As a result, accountability and public confidence in the system may wane and take decades to restore.

An excerpt: "As a measure of how far things have gone in the law, consider a single amendment to an anti-torture bill passed last year....Congress curtailed one of the most elemental rights, that of habeas corpus, when it said the men held at Guantanamo Bay could no longer go to the U.S. Supreme Court to challenge any aspect of their imprisonment.

That's 'just about the most stupendously significant act that the Congress of the United States can take,' Justice David Souter remarked at an oral argument this spring.  And then there was the revelation that the president had authorized domestic-wiretapping without court orders, even though a law specifically requires them...

'What I was seeing in the months after 9/11 was definitely a presidential exercise of power in what was perceived to be a moment of importance,' says Edwin Smith, constitutional law professor at the University of Southern California. 'I also saw a Congress going along with absolutely everything.'...And yet, in his conduct of the war on terrorism, President Bush has acted without the constitutionally required authority of Congress, the Supreme Court has ruled."  More from . . [Michele Berry]

September 11, 2006 in Civil Rights, Criminal Justice Policy, Homeland Security, International | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, September 10, 2006

This Week's Top Five CrimPapers

Ssrn_17_16The top 5 crim papers for this week, with number of recent downloads, from SSRN are:

(1) 126 Originalists, Politics, and Criminal Law on the Rehnquist Court
Rachel Barkow,
New York University - School of Law,
Date posted to database: June 22, 2006
Last Revised: July 13, 2006
(2) 123 The Multiple Dimensions of Tunnel Vision in Criminal Cases
Keith A. Findley, Michael Scott,
University of Wisconsin Law School, University of Wisconsin Law School,
Date posted to database: June 23, 2006
Last Revised: June 23, 2006
(3) 123 Manson v. Brathwaite Revisited: Towards a New Rule of Decision for Due Process Challenges to Eyewitness Identification Procedures
Timothy O'Toole, Giovanna E. Shay,
Affiliation Unknown, Yale University,
Date posted to database: July 14, 2006
Last Revised: July 14, 2006
(4) 114 Well Excuse Me! - Remorse, Apology, and Criminal Sentencing
Jeffrie G. Murphy,
Arizona State University College of Law,
Date posted to database: June 23, 2006
Last Revised: July 25, 2006
(5) 100 The First Amendment as Criminal Procedure
Daniel J. Solove,
George Washington University Law School,
Date posted to database: August 18, 2006
Last Revised: September 5, 2006

September 10, 2006 in Weekly Top 5 SSRN Crim Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

CrimProf Matthew Lippman Scoffs Urban Evacuation Drill

LippmanFrom University of Illinois at Chicago CrimProf Matthew Lippman recently criticized the nation's first large-scale urban evacuation drill Thursday afternoon in Chicago.

The orderly drill, which comes as the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks looms, underscored both the difficulty of re-creating a disaster’s havoc and also how far the city may always be from the elusive goal of “preparedness.”

“This is in no way a realistic exercise to ensure the public that Chicago is able to evacuate the Loop,” scoffed Lippman, who specializes in terrorism. “Is this really serious, or just a nice little media presentation?”

Lippman said it was good to have a crowd-control test, but there should be a focus on hospitals, police and fire response, and communication equipment. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

September 10, 2006 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Bush Administration Attempts to Legalize Harsh Interrogation Techniques

From Many of the harsh interrogation techniques repudiated by the Pentagon on Wednesday would be made lawful by legislation put forward the same day by the Bush administration. And the courts would be forbidden from intervening.

The proposal is in the last 10 pages of an 86-page bill devoted mostly to military commissions, and it is a tangled mix of cross-references and pregnant omissions.

But legal experts say it adds up to an apparently unique interpretation of the Geneva Conventions, one that could allow C.I.A. operatives and others to use many of the very techniques disavowed by the Pentagon, including stress positions, sleep deprivation and extreme temperatures.

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

September 10, 2006 in Confessions and Interrogation | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)