CrimProf Blog

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

Monday, October 16, 2006

Federal Crime Teams To Visit U.S. Cities

From Teams of federal investigators looking to curb increases in murder and robbery will visit several U.S. cities in order to pinpoint the root causes of community violence, the Justice Department is expected to announce today.

U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales plans to outline the initiative in an appearance at the annual meeting of the nation's police chiefs in Boston, the Justice Department said.

The Justice review comes after the Police Executive Research Forum, a national police advocacy group, reported last week that murder, robbery and assault offenses had increased substantially in a cross-section of cities during the first six months of 2006.

The federal program will dispatch investigators to several cities during the next few weeks to look at possible causes of increased violence, according to an outline of the initiative provided by the Justice Department. The department didn't identify the cities.

Teams also are scheduled to visit communities where crime has declined to determine which crime-prevention tactics have been most effective, the Justice Department said.

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

October 16, 2006 in Law Enforcement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

CrimProf Shaun Martin Discusses the Spousal Abuse Defense Law University of San Diego School of Law CrimProf Shaun Martin recently discussed the 2002 California law that allows judges to reconsider cases in which defendants were precluded from arguing what is commonly known as battered-spouse syndrome.

“The latest movement is a recognition that these defenses could have helped a jury determine the degree of the crime,” said Shaun Martin, a criminal law professor at the University of San Diego. “It is an attempt to correct what some people argue is a possible injustice.”

The courts can expect a surge in such cases because a law that took effect last year allows the defense to be used not only in killings but also in any violent felony. Seven Women have been freed due to the new law so far. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

October 16, 2006 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Reader's Corner: John Grisham's "Innocent Man"

From An obituary in The New York Times led writer John Grisham to the subject of his new book -- and first work of nonfiction -- The Innocent Man. It's a tale of the wrongful conviction, near-execution, exoneration and tragic death of Ron Williamson -- a small-town sports hero from Oklahoma whose life didn't turn out the way he expected. "Never in my most creative moment could I have come up with a story like this," Grisham says. Here's an excerpt and commentary from NPR. . . I haven't read it yet, but my Co-blogger Godsey can hardly put it down. [Michele Berry]

October 16, 2006 in Book Club | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

FBI Releases Hate Crime Statistics for 2005

From The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has released their 2005 statistics on hate crimes. Statistical data indicates a total of 7,163 criminal incidents. These incidents involved 8,380 reported offenses reported in 2005, resulting from a bias toward a particular race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity/national origin, or physical or mental disability...Racial bias topped the list as motivation for the 2005 hate crimes at 54.7 percent. Thereafter, smaller percentages were reported for motivations of religious bias at 17.1 percent, sexual-orientation bias at 14.2 percent, ethnicity/national origin bias at 13.2 and disability bias of 0.7 percent.  The "Hate Crime Statistics, 2005," is published by the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program. The data includes details on reported hate crimes from city, county, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement agencies across the country. More statistics. . . and more information from the FBI about these statistics here. . . [Michele Berry]

October 16, 2006 in Civil Rights, DOJ News, Race | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

CrimProf Michael Sharlot Says There is Nothing Wrong With Broad "No Sex Offender" Zones

Ssharlot_mikeFrom Dallas Morning University of Texas at Austin CrimProf Michael Sharlot sees no problem with the national game of one-upmanship: Which U.S. city can put the toughest living restrictions on registered sex offenders?

Opponents of "banishment zones," aka broad no sex offender zones, say such policies pose major constitutional problems. They tack extra punishment onto people who have already done their time, and they interfere with registered sex offenders' right to live in their community.

But CrimProf Michael Sharlot says that the disadvantages associated with being an ex-offender don't constitute further punishment. It's comparable, he said, to a felon being barred from voting or from holding public office. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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

CrimProf Steven Penney Believes Proposed Canadian Law Will Face Charter Challenge

PenneyFrom University of Alberta CrimProf Steven Penney believes a law proposed by Canadian Prime Minster Stephen Harper which would force repeat violent offenders to prove why they shouldn’t be jailed indefinitely would face a Charter of Rights Challenge.

Currently, it is up to the Crown to prove that an offender should be deemed a dangerous offender, a legal label that carries with it an indefinite sentence.

Critics of the Law, like CrimProf Penney, believe the law ties the hands of judges and that the program will ultimately fail, like similar programs which have failed to reduce crime in the United States. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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

This Week's Top Five Crim Papers

Ssrn_17_19The top 5 crim papers for this week, with number of recent downloads, on SSRN are:

(1) 183 The Fourth Amendment in Cyberspace: Can Encryption Create a Reasonable Expectation of Privacy?
Orin S. Kerr,
George Washington University - Law School,
Date posted to database: September 4, 2006
Last Revised: September 5, 2006
(2) 167 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: October 12, 2006
(3) 144 The First Amendment as Criminal Procedure
Daniel J. Solove,
George Washington University Law School,
Date posted to database: August 18, 2006
Last Revised: September 22, 2006
(4) 121 Therapeutic Jurisprudence and Readiness for Rehabilitation
David B. Wexler,
University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law,
Date posted to database: September 8, 2006
Last Revised: September 14, 2006
(5) 79 Competing Conceptions of Modern Desert: Vengeful, Deontological, and Empirical
Paul H. Robinson,
University of Pennsylvania Law School,
Date posted to database: August 18, 2006
Last Revised: September 5, 2006

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