CrimProf Blog

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

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Delaware Joins National Program to Put Former Inmates Back to Work

From Convicted felon. These two words can quickly end a job interview.

Some may consider this appropriate punishment for someone who is a proven criminal. But if you are concerned about reducing the crime rate in Delaware and the nation, those are exactly the people who need jobs, says Jack McDonough, newly appointed chief of the U.S. Probation Office in Delaware.

So McDonough's office has joined a national push to get probationers employed. The effort, called the Workforce Development Program, is designed to reduce recidivism and get ex-offenders back into the mainstream.

McDonough believes if you get a former inmate gainful employment , he or she is less likely to return to old ways and statistics back up his theory. If a person has a job at the start and end of supervised release, federal court statistics show, the success rate is 85 percent, meaning no new arrests. National and Delaware statistics are almost the opposite for ex-offenders without jobs: More than 70 percent of unemployed probationers end up back in jail within three years.

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

December 23, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, December 22, 2006

CrimProf Spotight: Celestine Richards McConville

Mcconville_cThis week the CrimProf Blog spotlights Chapman University School of Law CrimProf Celestine Richards McConville.

Professor McConville joined the Chapman faculty as an Associate Professor in August 2000. Before coming to Chapman, she was a visiting faculty member at Case Western Reserve School of Law, where she received the Student Bar Association's Teacher of the Year award for 1999, an honor determined by the graduating class. She earned her B.A. at Boston University, graduating magna cum laude, and her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, graduating magna cum laude in the top one percent of her class. She was selected for Order of the Coif and served as an editor for the Georgetown Law Journal's Criminal Procedure Project.

After law school, Professor McConville served as a law clerk to Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist at the Supreme Court of the United States. She also clerked for Judge Cynthia Holcomb Hall on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and for Judge Donald C. Nugent on the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

Following her clerkship on the Supreme Court, Professor McConville practiced law for three years as an associate with Shea & Gardner in Washington, D.C., working primarily on litigation matters involving constitutional, labor, banking, and aviation law issues. Professor McConville's current research and writing projects are in the constitutional law and death penalty areas. [Mark Godsey]

December 22, 2006 in Weekly CrimProf Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The ABA and the NDAA Agree on Criminal Recommendations Reports

From The American Bar Association Commission has submitted for consideration by the ABA House six reports with recommendations. The reports deal with alternatives to incarceration and conviction; improvements in parole and probation supervision; employment and licensure of convicted persons; access to and use of criminal records for non-law enforcement purposes; representation relating to collateral consequences; and training in the exercise of discretion.

These six reports were originally submitted to the House last summer, but were withdrawn for further consideration and discussion with the National District Attorneys Association. As a result of the Commission's discussions with NDAA a number of revisions were made to the recommendations, and the NDAA agreed to co-sponsor four of the six sets of recommendations. The Criminal Justice Section and the National Legal Aid and Defender Association also renewed their co-sponsorship of the recommendations.

Among other things, the NDAA and the ABA agreed on recommending:

  • Community based alternatives to incarceration that also avoid a conviction record, including diversion and deferred adjudication, should be available to all but the most serious offenders;
  • People under community supervision should only be returned to prison for serious violations of their conditions of release, such as where a new crime has been committed or lesser sanctions have failed;
  • Public access to criminal records should in general be limited, in light of the government's interest in encouraging successful offender reentry and reintegration, people should be able to challenge the accuracy of their records, and only law enforcement agencies should have access to records of closed criminal cases that did not result in a conviction;
  • All criminal justice professionals -- including judges, prosecutors, defense counsel, probation and parole officers, and correctional officials -- should be trained in understanding, adopting and utilizing factors that promote the sound exercise of their discretion.

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

December 21, 2006 in Reports | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Seton Hall Prof Files Suit For Wrongly Accused Detainee

Azmy_baherSeton Hall University Prof Baher Azmy, who is also legal counsel to former Guantánamo detainee Murat Kurnaz, filed suit today in federal court to compel the Department of Defense to release transcripts relating to his client’s detention.

The government held Kurnaz, along with hundreds of other men, at Guantánamo Bay for over four years without charges or trial. Instead of a trial, the military held its own “combatant status review tribunals” and “administrative review board” hearings, with the military’s own officers to judge the detainees. It is the transcripts of these hearings – which purported to justify Kuna’s detention – that are sought by today’s suit, filed in federal district court for the Southern District of New York.

In January 2005, Judge Joyce Hens Green of federal district court in Washington, D.C. ruled that Kurnaz’s detention was illegal. She pointed to five exculpatory statements by U.S. intelligence authorities and questioned why the Defense Department had ignored them.

“Not only is Kurnaz obviously innocent of any wrongdoing, the United States actually knew of his innocence as early as 2002,” said Azmy. “Why wasn’t this evidence shared with him? How did the government justify detaining him in spite of this evidence? The government needs to come clean and explain to Murat Kurnaz and the American people why the military continued to detain a person who was never connected to terrorism.” Rest of Press Release. . . [Mark Godsey]

December 21, 2006 in International | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Maryland Halts Executions

From CJJNCMaryland's highest court ordered a halt yesterday to executions in the state, ruling that procedures for putting prisoners to death were never submitted for the public review required by law, the Baltimore Sun reports. Under the ruling, state prison officials face the prospect of having to submit the execution protocols to a joint legislative committee. The court said the legislature could exempt the execution procedures from that review process - something one state senator characterized as "very unlikely."

One way or another, the legislature is going to need to look at the issue again," said University of Richmond law Prof. Carl Tobias, "They're going to want to have hearings, and that could potentially open up the whole death penalty issue for debate." Executions have been halted in Florida and California amid concerns that lethal injection, as carried out, violates the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Some death penalty opponents, legal experts, and capital defense attorneys said the court's decision has paved the way for a debate on the state's method of putting convicted killers to death.

Baltimore Sun story here.  [Mark Godsey]

December 21, 2006 in Capital Punishment | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tying Hateful Language to Criminal Cases

From NPR:  News & Notes, December 20, 2006 · What is the role of race and language in the offenses branded as hate crimes? Columbia University law professor Patricia Williams and Farai Chideya take a closer look.  Listen to story here.  [Mark Godsey]

December 21, 2006 in Race | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Violent Crime Increases

From CJN:  A surge in violent crime that began last year accelerated in the first half of 2006, providing the clearest signal yet that the historic drop in the U.S. crime rate is being reversed, reports the Washington Post. Reports of homicides, assaults, and other violent offenses rose nearly 4 percent in the first six months of the year compared with the same period in 2005, says the FBI Uniform Crime Report. The numbers included an increase of nearly 10 percent for robberies, considered a leading indicator of trends. 

Many communities, particularly those in urbanized areas, may be headed into a period of sustained crime increases, some experts said. While no one is certain of the causes, they cited an increase in the number of young men in their crime-prone years, diminished crime-fighting assistance from the federal government, fewer jobs for people with marginal skills, and the ongoing growth in methamphetamine use in some places. Car thefts and other property crimes dropped 2.6 percent overall, but burglaries, another key indicator, rose 1.2 percent. A Justice Department spokesman said an ongoing federal study of crime trends in 18 cities will help determine "what is causing this increase" and "which crime-fighting efforts are most effective."

Washington Post article here.  [Mark Godsey]

December 20, 2006 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

UCLA CrimProf Wins Prize

LOS ANGELES—Mark Greenberg, acting professor of law and assistant professor of philosophy at UCLA, was recently selected as the winner of the 2007 Fred Berger Memorial Prize for outstanding article in the philosophy of law published in 2004-2005. Greenberg was honored for his article, "How Facts Make Law," which was published in Legal Theory in 2004.

The Berger Memorial Prize in the Philosophy of Law was established by the American Philosophical Association (APA) in memory of Professor Fred Berger of the University of California at Davis.  The prize is awarded every two years for an outstanding published article in the philosophy of law.  The winning selection is made by the APA Committee on Philosophy and Law.

Greenberg will be honored by the APA Committee at a special session for the Berger Prize at the APA Pacific meetings in San Francisco, April 4-8, 2007.

Rest of press release....

December 20, 2006 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Franklin Pierce Students Win Suppression Hearing

Students in the clinic get a 4th Amendment victory.

December 20, 2006 in Search and Seizure | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 18, 2006

Top 5 Crim Papers

This week's top 5 papers, based on SSRN downloads of papers posted in the last 60 days, are:

1 68 Confirmation Bias in Criminal Investigations
Barbara O'Brien, Phoebe C. Ellsworth,
University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Psychology, University of Michigan Law School,
Date posted to database: July 5, 2006
Last Revised: September 22, 2006
2 59 Disposing of Children: The Eighth Amendment and Juvenile Life Without Parole After Roper
Hillary J. Massey,
Boston College,
Date posted to database: August 29, 2006
Last Revised: August 29, 2006
3 56 Finding Bickel Gold in a Hill of Beans
Douglas A. Berman,
Ohio State University - Michael E. Moritz College of Law,
Date posted to database: September 13, 2006
Last Revised: September 13, 2006
4 36 What's Wrong with Involuntary Manslaughter?
Stephen P. Garvey,
Cornell Law School,
Date posted to database: September 13, 2006
Last Revised: September 18, 2006
5 28 Scalian Skepticism and the Sixth Amendment in the Twilight of the Rehnquist Court
M. Katherine B. Darmer,
Chapman University - School of Law,
Date posted to database: September 8, 2006
Last Revised: September 28, 2006

December 18, 2006 in Weekly Top 5 SSRN Crim Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Executions on Hold in FLA and CA

Read or listen to NPR story here.  [Mark Godsey]

December 18, 2006 in Capital Punishment | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)