CrimProf Blog

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

Saturday, November 4, 2006

Feds Round up Largest Number of Sex Offenders in Single Operation

From The Justice Department on Thursday announced the arrests of more than 1,600 fugitive sex offenders as part of a weeklong roundup, the largest number ever arrested in a single operation.

In all, federal, state and local authorities in 24 states east of the Mississippi arrested more than 10,700 fugitives last week, including 140 people wanted on murder warrants, 232 for firearms violations, and 3,600 on drug charges. Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales called the group “the worst of the worst,” with particular priority given to capturing unregistered and wanted sex offenders who he said posed a “serious threat to our children.”

Mr. Gonzales said in response to a question at a news conference that there was no political motivation behind the arrests and that the Justice Department “played no role in the timing of this program,” less than a week before the midterm elections. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

November 4, 2006 in Law Enforcement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, November 3, 2006

CrimProf Spotlight: Tracey Meares

MearesThis week the the CrimProf Blog spotlights University of Chicago Law School CrimProf Tracey Meares. 

Tracey Meares received her B.S. in General Engineering from the University of Illinois, and her J.D. from The Law School. She joined the University of Chicago faculty in 1994 after serving as an Honors Program Trial Attorney in the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice. Prior to serving as a Department of Justice prosecutor Ms. Meares clerked for Judge Harlington Wood, Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Ms Meares's teaching and research interests center on criminal procedure and criminal law policy, with a particular emphasis on empirical investigation of these subjects. In addition to teaching at The Law School, Ms Meares has an appointment as a Senior Research Fellow at the American Bar Foundation. She is also a faculty member of the University of Chicago Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture. [Mark Godsey]

November 3, 2006 in Weekly CrimProf Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Father is Convicted for the Genital Mutilation of his Daughter

From It may have been the quiet testimony of his young daughter that brought down convicted mutilator Khalid Adem. Or maybe it was testimony from defense witnesses whose credibility was easily attacked. Or it could have been in the little lies that a prosecutor found in Adem's own testimony that led to his downfall.

Whatever the reason, after seven days of testimony it only took a jury three hours to find Adem guilty of aggravated battery and cruelty to children. The verdict ended the rare trial that was being followed nationally, a landmark case for activists fighting against female genital mutilation.

Though Adem defiantly denied the act, he will serve 10 years in prison and five years' probation for using scissors to circumcise his then-2-year-old daughter in 2001. Adem was born in Ethiopia where circumcision is sometimes performed on young girls.  The African tradition has been denounced for decades by health and human rights activists. In some areas of Africa, it is still considered a coming-of-age ritual. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

November 2, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

CrimProf David Moran Discusses New Evidence in a Kindergarten Teacher's Sexual Assault Case

Moran_3From Wayne State University School of Law CrimProf David Moran discusses the Free Press Review  that found new evidence in the case of kindergarten teacher James Perry sexually assaulting two boys in his school.

The prosecution's case was based almost entirely on the contradictory accounts of boys who were 4 and 5 in October 2005, when authorities determined the assaults occurred. That's an age where experts say children are susceptible to suggestion, and courts are often skeptical of their ability to separate truth from fiction.

The review found:

• Police never questioned three instructors in a special-education classroom where the assaults allegedly occurred. All three now say the crime could not have occurred there because the classroom was occupied at all times that day by students and at least one teacher. Prosecutors have argued consistently that the assaults took place in an empty classroom during lunch.

• In court testimony, an Oak Park detective told jurors he recognized Perry from a previous case. The jury never was told that Perry was cleared in that case, has no criminal record and previously had never been charged with anything.

• Contrary to the advice of counselors, the boys' mothers repeatedly questioned the boys -- on at least one occasion together -- about the attacks. Experts say such questioning, even if well-intentioned, can taint or influence the accounts of young children.

• During the six-day trial, Perry wore a global-positioning tether that was clearly visible to jurors. Perry's trial lawyer never objected to the device, which is usually hidden to avoid an implication of guilt.

Moran said doubts about where the crime occurred weakened the case and the prosecutor's credibility. "That argument is an insult to the intelligence of the judge," Moran said."When you prove that it happened in a specific place and new evidence proves that it couldn't have happened there, that not only undermines the location, it undermines whether it happened at all."

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

November 2, 2006 in Evidence | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

Maryland Court: A Woman Cannot Withdraw Consent During Intercourse

From A three-judge panel of the Maryland Special Court of Appeals reinforced the provision of Maryland's rape law that says a woman who gives consent prior to intercourse cannot withdraw her legal consent during the act. The decision came recently when the Court overturned a rape conviction. During deliberation in the original trial, the jury had asked, "If a female consents to sex initially and, during the course of the sex act to which she consented, for whatever reason, she changes her mind and the... man continues until climax, does the result constitute rape?" The trial judge said that Maryland’s law was unclear and would not provide a definite answer.

The Special Court of Appeals, however, disagreed with the trial judge's interpretation of the law. Current Maryland rape law is "not ambiguous," said the ruling; if a woman consents prior to sex, she may not withdraw her consent during the act and accuse her partner of rape if he continues the act.

Women's rights groups are outraged by the ruling. "You should have the right to say no at anytime and that should mean no and if sexual acts continue after you've withdrawn your consent, they should be considered a crime," said Jennifer Pollitt Hill, a member of the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault, to WJZ, a local television station. According to WJZ, several decision-makers have already said they wish to address the issue in the upcoming legislative session, though legislation that would have given women the right to withdraw consent at anytime has failed in both 2004 and 2005.

Maryland is one of two states that have ruled that women do not have the right to withdraw consent. Seven other states have ruled that women may withdraw consent at anytime.

Read Opinion. . . [Mark Godsey]

November 2, 2006 in Sex | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Latest Trend in the War Against Drunk Driving: Alcohol Detection Ankle Bracelet

From Motorists accused of driving drunk soon may be fitted with a fancy new piece of jewelry - a high-tech ankle bracelet to see if they're tipping the bottle.

The electronic device is part of an alcohol-detection system gaining popularity across the nation that can sample a person's perspiration as often as every 30 minutes to gauge consumption.

At least 4,000 people are wearing the gadget today, and another 2,800 are waiting to be outfitted in the 38 states where SCRAM, Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring, is in place.

The wearer must stand within 30 feet of a modem in his home once a day for up to 15 minutes so the results can be transmitted through a telephone line to a secure computer system, which is monitored by either the manufacturer, service provider or, in some cases, probation or other court officials.

"I was impressed with the system," DuPage Chief Judge Ann Jorgensen said. "Unless you have a probation officer sitting with someone 24 hours a day, seven days a week, it's impossible to monitor someone all the time." Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

November 1, 2006 in Technology | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

China Responds to Criticism by Changing Death Sentence Rules

From Responding to domestic and international criticism of its extensive use of capital punishment, China adopted new rules on Tuesday requiring review of all death sentences by the Supreme People’s Court, state news media reported.

China executes more people every year than all other nations combined, by some Chinese estimates, up to 10,000 a year. Chinese courts have been embarrassed in recent years by a number of executions of people who were later proved innocent.

China’s legislature, the National People’s Congress, approved the amendment to the law, which “is believed to be the most important reform of capital punishment in China in more than two decades,” the official New China News Agency said in a brief report.

The state news media have estimated that the number of executions could drop by as much as 30 percent under the new system, though they have not said how they arrived at that figure.

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

November 1, 2006 in Capital Punishment | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

American University College of Law Hosts Sexual Violence in Prison Discussion with Author T.J. Parsell

974_tj_parsellT.J. Parsell, author of FISH: A Memoir of a Boy in a Man’s Prison, will highlight a discussion on sexual violence in prisons and prospects for the success of the Prison Rape Elimination Act. Parsell was incarcerated at age 17, and his book is a memoir of the traumas he experienced while in prison. The event will be held at American University Washington College of Law on Thursday, Nov. 2.

Parsell is a writer and human rights activist dedicated to ending sexual abuse against men, women and children in detention. He is president of Stop Prisoner Rape, serves as a consultant to the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission and has worked with the National Institute of Corrections to produce an inmate orientation video on how to avoid sexual violence behind bars. Parsell has testified before numerous government bodies and was instrumental in passage of the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003, the first-ever federal legislation to address this issue.


  • T.J. Parsell, president, Stop Prisoner Rape; author of FISH: A Memoir of a Boy in a Man’s Prison
  • Cynthia Totten, senior policy associate for Stop Prisoner Rape, who will discuss SPR’s advocacy efforts in this area
  • Brenda Smith, director, National Institute of Correction, WCL Project on Addressing Prison Rape; professor of law, who will discuss the implications and opportunities raised by the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003.

Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the event. Stop Prisoner Rape works to put an end to sexual violence against men, women, and youth in all forms of detention. To achieve this goal, SPR seeks to: engender policies that ensure government accountability for prisoner rape; change ill-informed and flippant public attitudes toward sexual assault behind bars; and promote access to resources for survivors of this type of violence.

This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law; the Journal of Gender, Social Policy and the Law; and the Criminal Law Society.

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

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

New Criminal Law Blog: "Sex Crimes"

Aspiring CrimProf Corey Yung has recently developed a new Criminal Blog called "Sex Crimes."  The blog is devoted to the criminal laws regulating and punishing sex offenders.

The goals of the blog are to:

(1) compile news and legal developments about the criminalization and punishment of sex offenses in the United States.

(2) offer legal opinions about developments in the laws regulating and punishing sex crimes.

(3) provide a resource for people doing research and/or writing about sex crimes.

One of the most significant developments related to the subject matter of this blog is the growing use of residency and work restrictions to prevent sex offender recidivism.  This is also the scholarly area in which Yung is currently writing.  As a result, this will be one of the primary subjects focused on in posts. 

Check it Out . . . [Mark Godsey]

October 31, 2006 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

SCOTUS to Hear Whorton v. Bockting Today

Supreme_court_20_2Today the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in the Whorton v. Bockting case.

Question Presented: (1) Whether, in direct conflict with opinions of the 2nd, 6th, 7th and 10th circuits, the 9th Circuit erred in holding that the Supreme Court's 2004 decision in Crawford v. Washington regarding the admissibility of testimonial hearsay evidence under the 6th Amendment, applies retroactively to cases on collateral review? (2) Whether the 9th Circuit's ruling that Crawford applies retroactively to cases on collateral review violates the Supreme Court's 1989 ruling in Teague v. Lane? (3) Whether, in direct conflict with opinions of the 4th and 7th circuits, the 9th Circuit erred in holding that 28 U.S.C. sec. 2254(d)(1) and (2) adopted the Teague exceptions for private conduct which is beyond criminal prosecution and watershed rules? Details. . . [Mark Godsey]

October 31, 2006 in Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

New Article Spotlight: Toward an International Criminal Procedure: Due Process Aspirations and Limitations

From University of North Dakota School of Law CrimProf Gregory Gordon recently published "Toward an International Criminal Procedure: Due Process Aspirations and Limitations."  Here is the Abstract: 

The breathtaking growth of international criminal law over the past decade has resulted in the prosecution of Balkan and Rwandan mass murderers, the development of a substantial body of atrocity law jurisprudence and the creation of a permanent International Criminal Court with jurisdiction over genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

The growth of international criminal procedure, unfortunately, has not kept pace. Among its shortcomings, critics have pointed to lengthy pre-trial detention without a real possibility of provisional release, the use of affidavits and transcripts instead of live witnesses at trial, the absence of juries, and the right of prosecutorial appeal. Existing literature has pointed out these deficits but has failed to offer a systematic or comprehensive explanation for them. While such literature is helpful in identifying the problem, it has failed to provide a conceptual framework necessary for formulating solutions.

This article constructs such a framework and uses it to provide a starting point for expanding international due process protections. It contends that three separate phenomena contribute to the restriction of international due process growth: (1) fragmentation of enforcement; (2) integration of conflicting legal systems; and (3) gravity of the crimes involved. It also analyzes the interplay among these three restricting phenomena and argues that any future growth of due process will hinge on efforts to achieve greater degrees of structural globalization, procedural hybridization, and transnational public awareness.  [Mark Godsey]

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

Monday, October 30, 2006

SCOTUS to hear Lawrence v. Florida Today

Supreme_court_20_6The Supreme Court will hear the oral argument in Lawrence v. Florida today.

Questions presented: (1)Whether the one-year statute of limitations period of the Antiterro rism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) denies habeas relief? (2) Does the confusion around the statute of limitations --as evidenced by the split in the circuits -- constitute an "extraordinary circumstance," entitling a defendant to equitable tolling during the time when his claim is being considered by the U.S. Supreme Court on certiorari?

Details. . . [Mark Godsey]

October 30, 2006 in Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

FBI Report Shows that the Number of Police Feloniously Killed Has Declined

From The FBI reported today that 55 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty last year; 67 officers died in accidents while performing their official duties; and 57,546 officers suffered assaults while on duty.

The deaths occurred in 24 states and Puerto Rico. The number of officers feloniously killed in 2005 decreased by 2 compared with the 2004 figure (57 officers). A 5-year comparison shows a decrease of 15 line-of-duty deaths compared with the 2001 number (70 officers) and a decrease of 6 compared with the 1996 figure (61 officers).

Of the officers feloniously killed, 15 were handling traffic pursuits or traffic stops. Eight of the slain officers were handling arrest situations, and another 8 were ambushed. Seven of the slain officers were answering disturbance calls, and another 7 were investigating suspicious persons. Of the remaining 10 officers who were feloniously killed in the line of duty, 4 were pursuing investigative activities, such as surveillance; 3 were in tactical situations; 2 were handling mentally deranged persons; and 1 had custody of a prisoner for transport.

An analysis of the data by region showed that 28 of the felonious deaths occurred in the South, 10 in the West, 10 in the Midwest, and 5 in the Northeast. Two of the deaths took place in Puerto Rico. Law enforcement agencies identified 57 alleged assailants in connection with the 55 felonious line-of-duty deaths. All of the assailants were male, and 54 of them had previous criminal arrest records.

Get Report. . . [Mark Godsey] 

October 30, 2006 in Reports | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

CrimProf David Steinberg Comments on New Law Allowing Sexually Violent Predators to Remain Indefinitely Hospitalized

SteinbergFrom Thomas Jefferson School of Law CrimProf David Steinberg comments on the legal controversy emerging over modifications to a California state law allowing sexually violent predators to be committed indefinitely at mental hospitals after they've served their prison terms.

On Sept. 20, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill 1128, which removed provisions in the original laws requiring predators to have a trial every two years to determine whether authorities can continue to confine them at the hospitals. Such proceedings are usually referred to as recommitment hearings.

The question remains: Can a person's current two-year commitment term at a state hospital be automatically converted into an indefinite term under the modified law?

“I suspect the answer is no,” said CrimProf Steinberg. “To do so would be a taking of their liberty without due process.”

Sexually violent predators are a special classification of sex offenders under the new law. Officials must document two or more violent sex crimes – such as rape, sexual assault or child molestation – and a diagnosis of a mental disorder making future crimes likely. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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

Sunday, October 29, 2006

SCOTUS will hear Lorenzo v. Bock Today

Supreme_court_20_5The Supreme Court will hear the oral argument in the Lorenzo v. Bock case today. 

Questions presented: (1) Whether satisfaction of the Prison Litigation Reform Act’s exhaustion requirement is a prerequisite to a prisoner’s federal civil rights suit such that the prisoner must allege in his complaint how he exhausted his administrative remedies (or attach proof of exhaustion to the complaint), or alternatively, whether non-exhaustion is an affirmative defense that must be pleaded and proven by the defense? (2) Whether the PLRA requires a prisoner to name a particular defendant in his or her administrative grievance in order to exhaust his or her administrative remedies as to that defendant and to preserve his or her right to sue them? (3) Whether the PLRA prescribes a “total exhaustion” rule that requires a federal district court to dismiss a prisoner’s federal civil rights complaint for failure to exhaust administrative remedies whenever there is a single unexhausted claim, despite the presence of other exhausted aims? Details. . . [Mark Godsey]

October 29, 2006 in Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Cali's Plan to Ship Inmates To Other States May Be Unconstitutional

From Lawyers for the state Legislature said Thursday that government contracts set to ship hundreds of inmates to four private prisons outside California beginning next month were unconstitutional.

The opinion by the Legislative Counsel, a nonpartisan legal office that provides policy advice to lawmakers, casts a legal shadow over Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's plan to relieve the prison crowding crisis by housing some inmates out of state in lockups run by private firms.

The opinion said that, with certain exceptions, the state may not contract out services that have traditionally been performed by public employees.

But corrections spokesman Oscar Hidalgo defended the contracts, saying that "obviously we looked at all the legal implications — including constitutionality — before moving forward with this."

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

October 29, 2006 in Law Enforcement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

THis Week's Top Five Crim Papers

Ssrn_17_21The top 5 crim papers for this week, with number of recent downloads, from SSRN are:

(1) 195 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) 139 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
(3) 79 Towards a Common Law Originalism
Bernadette A. Meyler,
Cornell University - School of Law,
Date posted to database: August 22, 2006
Last Revised: October 12, 2006
(4) 55 Systemic Changes that Could Reduce the Conviction of the Innocent
Arnold H. Loewy,
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - School of Law,
Date posted to database: August 29, 2006
Last Revised: August 29, 2006
(5) 52 The Fourth Amendment: Internal Revenue Code or a Body of Principles?
Stephen A. Saltzburg,
George Washington University School of Law,
Date posted to database: August 29, 2006
Last Revised: September 14, 2006

October 29, 2006 in Weekly Top 5 SSRN Crim Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Complaint Against Alleged Sunglass Stealing Detective will Not be Made Public Without Probable Cause

Rossman_white_65wFrom Boston University School of Law CrimProf David Rossman discusses the fact that the complaint against a homicide detective who allegedly stole a pair of sunglasses from a boutique will not become public unless a Boston Municipal Court clerk finds probable cause for the charge.

"As a matter of routine this is the way police treat matters of larceny dealing with less than eye-popping amounts," said Rossman.

Rossman said that while probable cause is a low standard, court clerks sometimes do not find it in cases that appear to warrant charges. He cited the case of Cambridge City Councilor Anthony D. Galluccio, who was not criminally charged by Boston Municipal Court Clerk Magistrate Daniel J. Hogan in April despite testimony from three witnesses who said the councilor appeared to be driving drunk in December when he was involved in a four-car crash, and by two police officers who said Galluccio was so disruptive that he had to be restrained. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

October 29, 2006 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)