CrimProf Blog

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

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Case's Mock NSA Wiretap Hearing to Broadcast February 22

Case School of Law's recent Mock Congressional Hearing on the NSA Wiretap Controversy will be broadcast on WCPN, Cleveland's National Public Radio Station (90.3 FM), from 7:00-8:30 pm on Wednesday, February 22, 2006. The hearing featured two of the country's foremost experts on national security law, Ruth Wedgwood and David Cole, with a panel of Case law professors playing the part of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

February 18, 2006 in Homeland Security, Search and Seizure | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Crime, It's Not Pretty...

Physically unattractive teenagers are more likely to become criminals than average looking teenagers, and teenagers with above-average physical beauty are even less likely than the average looking teens...or so says this study.  So Derek Zoolander may have you believe otherwise, but it's no crime to be "so ridiculously good looking." [Mark Godsey]

February 18, 2006 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 17, 2006

Italian Supreme Court: Lack of Virginity = a Mitigating Factor to Sex Crime Charges

The Italian Supreme Court decided that a teenage sex-crime victim's lack of virginity can be considered as a mitigating factor at trial.   Because of her previous sexual experiences, the court said, the victim's "personality, from a sexual point of view, is much more developed than what would be normally expected of a girl of her age".  So it is "fair to argue that (the damage for the victim) would be lower" if the abused girl was not a virgin.  The court's decision drew widespread criticism across the political spectrum.  Full story from . . [Mark Godsey, thanks to Neil Wehneman]

February 17, 2006 in International, Sex | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

CrimProf Blog Spotlight: Oklahoma's Mary Sue Backus

BackusThis week, the CrimProf Blog spotlights Professor Mary Sue Backus of Oklahoma Law.

"Associate Professor Mary Sue Backus joined the law faculty in 2004 after a semester as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Law at William and Mary School of Law, where she taught Evidence and a seminar on indigent defense systems.

Professor Backus, who graduated first in her class at William and Mary, was selected as a member of Order of the Coif and the Order of the Barristers. She served as Senior Notes Editor of the William and Mary Law Review, on the staff of the William and Mary Bill of Rights Journal, and competed on the National Moot Court Team. Backus received the Margaret Thatcher Prize for Excellence in Graduate Studies, awarded by the College to the outstanding graduate student, and the Lawrence W. I'Anson Award, awarded by the law faculty.

Professor Backus began her legal career as a law clerk to the Honorable H. Emory Widener on the United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit. Following her clerkship, Backus joined the Washington, D.C. firm of Covington and Burling where she handled product liability litigation and regulatory matters. In addition, Backus provided pro bono assistance on custody and education matters and systemic reform of indigent defense systems.

Professor Backus is a member of the Virginia Bar and the District of Columbia Bar and currently teaches Torts and Evidence. She is currently serving as a Co-Reporter for the National Committee on the Right to Counsel, a bipartisan group reviewing the indigent defense system throughout the nation and creating consensus recommendations for reform."

February 17, 2006 in Weekly CrimProf Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wake Forest Law to Host Discussion on the Right to Counsel in Criminal Cases

On Wednesday, February 22, 2006, Professors Paul Marcus of William and Mary and Mary Sue Backus of Oklahoma will discuss the evidence uncovered throughout the United States by the National Committee on Right to Counsel.  The event will take place at the Wake Forest Law School in Courtroom 1312, at 12:00 noon.

Two years ago, on the 40th Anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright, the Constitution Project and the National Legal Aid & Defender Association formed a partnership -- funded by several organizations -- to consider the way in which the 6th Amendment Right to Counsel actually functions in criminal cases throughout the United States.  They created the National Committee on the Right to Counsel.

Specifically, the Committee's mission was (1) to examine, across the country, whether people who are charged with a crime, and cannot afford to hire a lawyer, receive competent legal representation and (2) to create consensus recommendations for any necessary reforms.

The two Reporters from the Committee, Professors Backus and Marcus will discuss the findings of the Committee and the Committee's draft of recommendations for change.

This program is open to the general public.

February 17, 2006 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Surveillance Cameras in Private Homes? Read Houston Police Chief's Proposal

From Grits for Breakfast: Houston Police Chief Harol Hurtt not only wants to put cameras in public spaces downtown, he also wants to force new malls and apartment complexes to install camera systems with direct feeds to the police department as part of the building permit process, maybe even in private homesAs for privacy, Hurtt told reporters, "If you're not doing anything wrong, why should you worry about it?" More. . . [Mark Godsey, thanks to Scott Henson]

February 16, 2006 in Search and Seizure | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

Escape-goading Guard? Details about the Cook County Jail Break

Prosecutors allege that the county-jail guard accused of aiding the weekend escape of six Cook County, IL inmates handcuffed himself and gave the inmates his uniform and ID.  The guard, Darin Gater, reportedly facilitated the escape in hopes of influencing the upcoming sheriff's election.  According to prosecutors, if he embarrassed outgoing Cook County Sheriff Michael Sheahan, he would aid the candidacy of Democratic-primary candidate Richard Remus. Remus isn't suspected of knowing anything about the plot. More details about the escape. . . [Mark Godsey]

February 16, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

3rd Cir: Police May Not Manufacture Exigency to Justify Warrantless Searches

The decision in United States v. Coles overturns a conviction for possession of crack cocaine and sharpens a split among the federal circuits in cases where police claim that a warrantless search was justified by "exigent circumstances." Prosecutors argued that the search of Terrence Coles' hotel room was valid because police heard rustling sounds and a flushing toilet soon after they announced their presence and therefore feared that evidence was being destroyed.

But defense attorney Jeffrey M. Lindy urged the court to focus on earlier events and argued that the police had no excuse for failing to obtain a warrant prior to approaching the hotel door in the first place. Voting 2-1, the court agreed with Lindy and held that the investigative tactics used by the officers had "impermissibly manufactured the exigency."

Senior U.S. Circuit Judge Leonard I. Garth noted that the agents at first used "subterfuge" to gain entry to the hotel room by falsely claiming they were "room service," and later that they were maintenance workers sent to fix a leak. It was only after those two attempts failed, Garth noted, that the officers identified themselves as police and then heard the toilet flushing. More from The Legal Intelligencer. . . [Mark Godsey]

February 15, 2006 in Search and Seizure | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

CA: Federal Judge Orders Changes to Lethal Injection Cocktail and Protocol

From DPIC: Ruling that the current mix of drugs used to carry out California's lethal injections may constitute cruel and unusual punishment, U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel has ordered California to alter its lethal injection procedures before it carries out the scheduled execution of Michael Morales on February 21. Fogel, who said he is troubled by the prospect that inmates may be conscious and undergoing extreme pain once a paralyzing agent and then a heart-stopping drug are administered during executions, ordered the state to either: 1) have an expert present at the exection to ensure that Morales is unconscious from the sedative; or 2) replace the state's three-drug execution mix with a single lethal dose of a barbiturate. Here is the judge's order, and here is a link to information about the methods of execution. [Mark Godsey]

February 15, 2006 in Capital Punishment | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Cheney Speaks about the Shooting Incident

Here is the story with a video; here is the transcript. [Mark Godsey]

February 15, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

New Orleans Judge Halts Prosecutions of Indigent Defendants

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — "A New Orleans judge last Friday halted prosecutions involving suspects with publicly appointed lawyers in his courtroom and ordered two state legislative leaders to appear before him later this month to talk about funding for the city's overburdened indigent defender office. It was unclear exactly how many cases would be affected by Judge Arthur Hunter's order, which covers only his section in the 12-section New Orleans criminal court system. His order came after a full morning of testimony about the sad shape of the public defender office, which was already in trouble before Hurricane Katrina struck on Aug. 29, and which, according to testimony, is in much worse shape now...

[B]efore Katrina, the office had 42 lawyers, six investigators and six office workers with a $2.2 million annual budget, 75 percent of which was financed thru traffic court fines. Now, the office has six lawyers, one investigator and one office staffer, a personnel problem complicated by the fact that people being held on criminal charges before the storm were sent to lockups around the state after Katrina hit, temporarily closing the New Orleans jail. In many cases, the lawyers they don't know who their clients are because they are scattered over the state." More. . . [Mark Godsey]

February 14, 2006 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Innocence Network Conference at U of W March 17-19

The 2006 Innocence Network Conference will be held from Friday, March 17th through Sunday March 19th at the University of Washington School of Law  in Seattle, Washington.  You can register for the conference at:  Early registration (especially at the $175 level) will assist us in determining whether we can offer a Saturday evening dinner at the University of Washington Club with the registration fee. 

Hotel rooms are reserved (single/$99 and double/$109) at a nearby University Tower Hotel, 4507 Brooklyn Avenue NE, Seattle; telephone 800-899-0251 or 206.634.2000.  Please note that room reservations should be made by February 16, 2006, after which time rooms will be available on a space-available basis only. Be sure to mention the "Innocence Project Network" when making your room reservation. For those traveling on  limited budgets, the College Inn hotel in the University District is  quite inexpensive:

The tentative schedule includes  meetings (Innocence Network  Board Meeting /Innocence Network Member Meeting) on Friday, March 17th from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.  Our first plenary session will begin at 5:00 p.m., and the conference will go through noon on Sunday, March 19th.

Confirmed sessions include:

---"The Year in Review:"  Moderated by Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld

---"The Progress of Eyewitness Identification Procedure Reform"  - Panelists include Dr. Gary Wells (Professor, Iowa State University), Keith Findley (Wisconsin), Chris Mumma (North Carolina), Stanley Fisher (Massachussetts) and Shawn Armbrust (Washington D.C.).

---"Innocence as a Wedge: Can Exonerations Help Challenge Mass Incarceration?"  - Moderated by Colin Starger.

---"The Life and Times of Commissions" - Moderated by Robert Hoelscher.  Panelists include Keith Findley,  (Wisconsin, Avery Task Force) ;     Chris  Mumma  (North Carolina, Actual Innocence Commission ); Andrew Vail  (Illinois, Commission on Capital Punishment) .

---"DNA for Dummies" - Mark Godsey

---"Innocence and the Death Penalty" - Panelists include David Dow (Texas Innocence Network); Daniel Givelber and Nina Morrison (Innocence Project)

---"The History of Wrongful Convictions" - Moderated by Daniel Medwed, Panelists include:  Bruce Smith (University of Illinois).

---"Innocence Policy Network" - Moderated by Stephen  Saloom

---A special screening of:  "The Trials of Darryl Hunt" followed by a Q & A session with Darryl Hunt and his attorney, Mark Rabil.

---"International Innocence Issues" - Moderated by Lynne Weathered (Australia).  Panelists include Robert Schehr (USA) ; Gary Botting (Canada); Carole McCartney (England)

---"Starting an Innocence Project" - Justin Brooks

---"Investigative Techniques" -- Diana Queen

Other sessions promise to be equally interesting.  We are also planning a number of  roundtable sessions, as well as sessions and workshops for exonerees.

February 14, 2006 in Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Kansas: Two Black Killers Miraculously Turn into a White Couple

In 1982, a young wife  told the police that  two black men had killed her  husband.  24 years later, cold case detectives proved that she and her then-boyfriend (later a Harvard MBA) did the job; she's convicted of Murder 1; he took a plea. She was secretary to the dean of a college, he was student body president. [Jack Chin]

February 14, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Risque Business: VA Cops' Search for Massage Parlor Prostitutes Leads to a Happy Ending

From washingtonpost: They enter the massage parlors as undercover detectives. They leave as satisfied customers.  In Spotsylvania County, VA as part of a campaign by the sheriff's office to root out prostitution in the massage parlor business, detectives have been receiving sexual services from "masseuses." According to court documents, detectives have allowed women to perform sexual acts on them on several occasions, at least once leaving a $350 tip. 

George Mason CrimProf Jon Gould commented, "I've never heard of that anywhere else in any police department. You don't have to go through with the act to prove" solicitation. He called it an improper use of taxpayer dollars.

To reassure naysayers, Spotsylvania Sherrif Howard D. Smith said that the practice is not new and only unmarried detectives are assigned to such cases.  Oooh, okay. [Mark Godsey]

February 14, 2006 in Sex | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

ABA: Warrantless Wiretaps Illegal

Story here. [Jack Chin]

February 14, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

NJ: Cop Faces Charges for Off-Duty Comedy Stylings

A New Jersey police sergeant faces discipline for bring "Club Soda Kenney", a  raunchy comedian who appears with Andrew Dice Clay and on the radio.  His jokes feature bestiality, incest and rape; how strange that he was not able to make a full time living with material like that.  Story here. [Jack Chin]

February 14, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 13, 2006

Criminal Job at Seattle

Seattle University School of Law invites applications for a visitor position to teach Criminal Law in Fall 2006. We are seeking an experienced professor to teach our 4-credit Criminal Law course to first year students. We are also open to the possibility of having a year-long visitor who would teach a course package that would include Criminal Law in Fall 2006 and Evidence (a 4-credit required upper division course) in Spring 2007.

Seattle University School of Law, with 1,100 students and a current student-faculty ratio of 16-1, educates ethical lawyers who distinguish themselves through their outstanding professional skills and their dedication to law in the service of justice.  Faculty, students, and staff form a vibrant, diverse, and collaborative community that promotes leadership for a just and humane world. The Law School's commitment to academic distinction is grounded in its Jesuit Catholic tradition – one that encourages open inquiry, thoughtful reflection and concern for personal growth. Innovation, creativity and technological sophistication characterize our rigorous educational program, which prepares lawyers for a wide range of successful and rewarding careers in law, business and public service.

Seattle University, founded in 1891, continues a 450-year tradition of Jesuit Catholic higher education. The University’s Jesuit Catholic ideals underscore its commitment to the centrality of teaching, learning and scholarship, of values-based education grounded in the Jesuit and Catholic traditions, of service and social justice, of lifelong learning, and of educating the whole person. Located in the heart of Seattle, the University enrolls approximately 6,000 undergraduate and graduate students in eight colleges and schools. Students enjoy a university ethos characterized by individualized faculty attention, a strong sense of community, a commitment to diversity, and an outstanding faculty.

Seattle University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer.  Finding prejudicial discrimination inconsistent with the mission of the University and the spirit of free academic inquiry, Seattle University does not discriminate in hiring on the basis of age, sex, race, religion, national origin, familial status, sexual orientation, or disability. This policy complies with the spirit and the letter of applicable federal, state, and local laws. Please send cover letter and curriculum vitae to: Annette E. Clark, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Law, Seattle University School of Law, 901 12th Ave, Box 222000, Seattle, WA 98122 Telephone: (206) 398-4069; E-mail: Email applications are welcome.

February 13, 2006 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New Article Spotlight: The Child Welfare Exception to the 4th Amendment

Duke CrimProf Doriane Lamblet Coleman has published Storming the Castle to Save the Children: The Ironic Costs of a Child Welfare Exception to the Fourth Amendment in the William & Mary Law Review. The abstract: "This article first sets out the child welfare system's  assumption that there is a child welfare exception to the Fourth Amendment and then describes the ways it is used to facilitate  child maltreatment investigations. It goes on to analyze the  validity of this assumption according to current Fourth  Amendment doctrine, including the special needs "administrative"  exception. (This analysis may be particularly useful to both  family/children's law scholars as well as to Fourth Amendment  scholars, as it examines all of the state and federal appellate  cases addressing the subject, and provides a most up-to-date  evaluation of the Supreme Court's special needs doctrine.)  Finally, the article makes the normative argument that a child  welfare exception under any guise is unreasonable because it is  both unnecessary to accomplish the desired ends and causes harm  to more children than it helps." The paper is available on SSRN at: 

February 13, 2006 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Administrative Enforcement: ALJs Arbitrary

Dan Ackman has an oped in the NY Times arguing that per diem ALJs have an interent conflict of interest.

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

28 Year Old Gets Life in Bali for Drugs

Story here.

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