March 4, 2006
Concurring Opinions on the Necessity Defense
The Concurring Opinions Blog has an interesting post here on a necessity defense case arising out of Katrina.
Illinois Hate Crimes Panel Fractures over Nation of Islam Appointment
Three Jewish panel members resigned when a Nationl of Islam leader was appointed to the state's Hate Crimes Panel. Story here.
Are Compelled Confessions from Foreign Lands Admissible in US Courts?
A Chicago case raises the question: A man interrogated over a long period by Israeli intelligence officers is challenging his statements.
Army IG Directs Criminal Probe of Tillman Coverup
The Army Inspector General's office has completed its probe of the false information given out about the death of Pat Tillman in Afghanistan, and has directed the opening of a criminal investigation. Story here.
BREAKING NEWS: Anna Nicole Smith to Wed Justice John Paul Stevens
Seemingly credible story here.
MI: Teacher Challenges Disclosure of Six year Old Conviction
A teacher filed a lawsuit to prevent authorities from reporting that he had a six year old conviction for larceny--the compalint was not that they should not report something that happened in 2000, but that their record showing he was convicted of this crime when he was six years old is obviously erroneous. The plaintiff, Eric Frohriep, claims that he has never been convicted of any crime, certainly not the seven that allegedly appear on his record. But, come on, when you have a name as common as "Frohriep", you must get used to being mixed up with other folks all the time. Story here; report of injunction here.
Oped: Are Relatives of Politicians More Likely to be Criminals?
The oped is about Florida, but there do seem to be a lot of arrests among the families of the elected. Story here. [Jack Chin]
Features on Criminal Investigations
A Phoenix New Times reporter has written an interesting series examining in depth successful homicide investigations by police. Here's one on a Murderous Boyfriend, one on the Murder of an On-Duty Cop; and finally Two Teens at a House Party. [Jack Chin]
UNC Student Arrested for Dangerous Driving
A recent UNC grad who drove his car through a crowd of pedestrians was charged with attempted murder and other offenses. The defendant of Iranian ancestry, "allegedly made statements that he acted to avenge the American treatment of Muslims". [Jack Chin]
March 3, 2006
Ex-Congressman Begins 8 Year Sentence
Story here. [Jack Chin]
March 2, 2006
Judge Wald Testifies on Racial Impact of Mandatory Minimums
From Margy Love: Here is testimony that will be given tomorrow by Judge Patricia Wald before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on the discriminatory impact of mandatory minimum sentences. This hearing was sought by the ABA and by a coalition of other justice advocacy groups. It is the first international inquiry into United States sentencing practices, and the fact it is being held is significant.
NYT: Prisons Shackle Prisoners During Childbirth
Story here. [Jack Chin]
What would Happen if Everyone--Or some Jerks--Went the Speed Limit on the Highway?
Answer here. It would slow things down and apparenlty be illegal. [Jack Chin]
Prof. John Donohue to Give Inaugural Lecture, "'Powerful Evidence' the Death Penalty Deters?" March 7
John J. Donohue III will deliver his inaugural lecture as the first Leighton Homer Surbeck Professor of Law at Yale Law School on Tuesday, March 7, at 4:30 p.m., in Room 127. His lecture is titled, "'Powerful Evidence' the Death Penalty Deters? Surely You're Joking, Mr. Sunstein!," and is free and open to the public.
Donohue explains that his lecture will draw on recent research he has done on the deterrent effect of the death penalty, and that it will be a response to recent econometric studies that have found a deterrent effect associated with each execution. "One of the most famous American law professors--Cass Sunstein of the University of Chicago--has recently relied on this empirical evidence as the basis of his argument that capital punishment is morally required on the grounds that it will save innocent lives," says Donohue. "The title of my talk refers to the fact that Sunstein deemed the empirical evidence to be sophisticated and powerful, which leads to my chosen subtitle, "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Sunstein!" since we found the evidence to be enormously fragile."
Donohue's talk will also be a part of a book he is writing about the uses and abuses of statistical evidence in policy debates, called Landmines and Goldmines: Why it's Hard to Find Truth and Easy to Peddle Falsehood in Empirical Evaluation of Law and Public Policy. Says Donohue, "In general, whether we are talking about global warming, the effects of a medical drug, the deterrent effect of the death penalty, or the impact of federal antidiscrimination law, there are a set of problems that must be adequately addressed before causal inferences about the treatment in question can be made. This talk will highlight some of the problems that plagued the studies concluding that the death penalty is a deterrent and shows that while Congress has recently been told that the evidence of deterrence is substantial and unanimous, this conclusion is clearly in error."
March 1, 2006
Track Lateral LawProf Moves with Dan Filler of Concurring Opinions
Congratulations to Alabama CrimProf Dan Filler on becoming a permanent blogger with Concurring Opinions. As part of his services on the blog, he will be tracking ALL law school lateral movements, a service similar to but more expansive than Brian Leiter's Law School Reports, who limits his tracking services to faculty moving to/from schools that figure in his faculty rankings.
So please submit your news about law school lateral movement including the following information to email@example.com:
Current Law School Webpage Address
Any Other Details (chair or administrative titles, etc.)
He calls the new service "hazing" to the "new kid on the blog." We call it helpful. Thanks to Professor Filler! [Mark Godsey]
February 28, 2006
SCOTUS: Rejects Lethal Injection Review
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court refused Monday to directly consider whether the drug combination used in executions across the country amounts to unconstitutional cruel punishment. The justices had already agreed to hear arguments in April in a case brought by Florida death row inmate Clarence Hill about the procedure for lethal injection challenges to be filed in federal court. Monday’s decision, which came on a separate appeal by Hill’s lawyer, has little practical significance because Hill’s other case is still pending. More from MSNBC.com. . . [Mark Godsey]
NACDL's Free Online Course in Forensic DNA
The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) is offering a free online course in Forensic DNA for Officers of the Court. This new interactive resource tool, which provides education and assistance to prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges when using forensic DNA in cases, is available online free of charge through http://www.dna.gov. The course consists of 15-minute modules and covers the biology of DNA, DNA laboratories, forensic databases, victim issues, DNA evidence at trial and post-conviction DNA cases. You can get to the online course and registration at: http://www.dna.gov/training/otc. [Mark Godsey]
ReentryNet/NY: Web-based Resources on Reentry from Incarceration
Kate Rubin of The Bronx Defenders in New York has informed us at the CrimProf Blog of Reentry Net/NY. ReentryNet/NY is the first ever support network and information clearinghouse on reentry from jail and prison and the civil consequences of criminal proceedings. This web-based resource for defenders, civil legal services, social services, and policy reform advocates was developed as a partnership project by The Bronx Defenders and Pro Bono Net. While the resources are specifically geared for New York State users, many materials are applicable nationally or in other states. Reentry Net/NY is also working with the Prisoner Reentry Institute at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY, to develop and host a National Research and Policy Library. Registration is required for ReentryNet/NY, but the webservice is free and can be found at http://www.reentry.net/ny/. [Mark Godsey]
Insurance Fraud Claim Charged Under RICO
An unusual application of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) will go forward following a Manhattan judge's denial of an insurance company's motion to dismiss. The Tennessee-based insurance giant UnumProvident Corp., which has already paid $23 million in settlement agreements with individual states over the past year, has been accused of developing an elaborate network of conspirators to avoid paying claims. To establish a claim under RICO, which has both civil and criminal components, a plaintiff must show that a defendant violated at least two of 35 enumerated crimes within a 10-year period. The crimes--such as mail fraud, wire fraud, sports bribery and obstruction of justice--are generally associated with organized crime, and carry harsh penalties, including triple damages and prison sentences of up to 20 years. The case is Weisel v. Provident Life, 600759/05. More from the New York Law Journal. . . [Mark Godsey]
February 27, 2006
Harvard Conference: Teaching from the Left
BC CrimProf Anthony Farley is one of the principal organizers of this conference, which includes criminal law as one of its main subjects. "This conference aims to provide the teaching and theoretical tools necessary to help law professors and students address the urgency of our times from a left perspective. We will address five main subjects: Legal Education, Contract Law, Criminal Law, Constitutional Law, and International Public Law. The conference is sponsored by The European Law Research Center at Harvard Law School. It will be held on March 11 - 12, 2006." Conference site here. [Jack Chin]