CrimProf Blog

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

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

CrimProf Faiza al-Basha Comments on LIbyan Laws

From Al-Fatah University CrimProf Faiza al-Basha recently wrote a commentary questioning Libyan laws.  Here is an excerpt:

Libya's basic legal documents affirm the right of every individual to freedom of thought, innovation and creativity, and aim to support the flourishing of science and the spread of arts and literature among the masses, not only the elite. Articles 19-26 of the 1988 Green Charter for Human Rights and Law 20 of 1991 on Enhancing Freedom enshrine these rights. Other laws, however, sometimes contradict such principles.

Press Law 76 of 1972, for example, states that the press is free and that every person has the right to express his or her view freely and to broadcast opinions and news by various means. The law also stipulates, however, that such expression must not "contradict the values and goals of society," a vague formulation open to interpretation.

Article 21 of the law bans prepublication censorship of printed materials, including newspapers, although this is contradicted by the practices of the Department of Publications, which imposes restrictions on all that is published. Works by authors and intellectuals, for example, may not be printed or distributed without the department's permission.

Article 4 of the law gives the private sector the right to own printing houses and publish materials. In practice, this right is legally restricted to specific designated agencies that are granted the right to express the opinions of their members. The result is that only state-issued newspapers and publications praising the government are printed. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

December 26, 2007 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Lethal Injection Resource Kit Provided by U.C. Berkeley Death Penalty Clinic is a project of the Death Penalty Clinic at U.C. Berkeley School of Law. The mission of is to create a web-based clearinghouse for information about lethal injection and challenges to lethal injection as a method of execution. The members of the Death Penalty Clinic continually working on the development of this website. They frequently post new features, updated design, and up-to-date information about lethal injection challenges, including the Baze v. Rees case  currently pending in the United States Supreme Court. Check it out. . .[Mark Godsey]

December 26, 2007 in Capital Punishment | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

New Article Spotlight: Jack Chin on Yick Wo v. Hopkins

Crimprof Jack Chin (Arizona) has written this draft on Yick Wo v. Hopkins.  The abstract:

Yick Wo v. Hopkins is simultaneously celebrated as a classic equal protection case, establishing the rule against discriminatory prosecution, and lamented as both the first and last case in which the Supreme Court invalidated a prosecution as racially motivated. This essay explores why Yick Wo proved to be a dead end. It proposes that the traditional view of Yick Wo is mistaken: Yick Wo was about neither race discrimination nor prosecution. Yick Wo turned on the Court's treatment of the conduct at issue, operating a laundry, as a constitutionally protected property right. Therefore, a forgotten but large body of cases from the Jim Crow-era holds Yick Wo categorically inapplicable to prosecutions for conduct the state has the power to criminalize. In addition, because the property interest at stake was constitutionally protected, Yick Wo's race was irrelevant to the decision; a white person or corporation deprived of property would have had precisely the same claim. In fact Yick Wo's race was a barrier to rather than a basis for relief: He could raise a property claim only because he had a treaty right to operate a laundry on the basis of equality with others. When the treaty was inapplicable, the Supreme Court upheld race-based economic discrimination against Chinese and other Asians. Yick Wo is famous because it apparently foreshadows the anti-racist jurisprudence of the post-Brown era. Read in the context of the jurisprudence of its own time, it is completely consistent with Plessy v. Ferguson, and stands for only the mundane point that a valid treaty trumps inconsistent state law.

December 25, 2007 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

CrimProf Richard Klein Discusses Troubles of Retrying a Defendant

R_klein From Touro Law Center CrimProf Richard Klein recently discussed the tribulations of retrying of Martin Tankleff nearly two decades after his parents were killed.

That's because while Tankleff's defense lawyers can get a nearly complete preview of the prosecution's case just by reading the transcripts from the first trial, prosecutors risk getting caught off guard by new defense evidence.

"Believe me, there's no joy in the DA's office to retry this case," said Richard Klein, a criminal law professor at Touro Law Center. "The prosecution is going to have no new evidence. All the new evidence is coming from the defense."

Klein said even if jurors believe after the trial that Tankleff did kill his parents, there is a chance they will acquit him simply because they feel he has served enough time and is not a danger to society.

    "Jurors are more likely to say, 'Enough! This is a different person now. He doesn't represent a threat," Klein said.  Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

December 23, 2007 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Evolution of Prison Food: Creating a Feast Fit For a Felon

From They dine on chicken patties because drumsticks could be sharpened into deadly weapons. They eat fruit in moderation because leftovers could be fermented into "hooch."

     And if they misbehave, their meal is blended into an unpleasant loaf that  serves as a nutritional punishment. Such feasts are fit for a felon, devised by correctional facilities to solve a complex culinary problem -- meeting nutritional guidelines with limited budgets. It's a delicate balance, trying to satisfy both dietitians and food critics prone to violent outbursts.

n the world of convict cuisine, even the dessert menu can trigger unrest.

"You have to be concerned about the Jell-O being runny," said Barbara Wakeen, a dietitian who created a menu this fall for the DuPage County Jail. "If an inmate is having a bad day, bad Jell-O could be what sets him off."

Providing 2,900 calories per day at 92 cents per meal, Wakeen devised a menu that met nutritional guidelines for a $1 million food service contract at the facility.

But the fare, which ranged from meatloaf and meatballs to Spanish rice and sloppy joes, also highlighted the evolution of inmate nutrition. Once little more than bread and water, prisoner plates now include calcium-enriched beverages that meet dietary requirements on a shoestring budget.

"In corrections, when you're trying to feed people and can't afford to give them 3 cups of milk a day, this is a way to accomplish it," said Wakeen, who has written menus for about 100 correctional facilities across the country since 1988. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

December 23, 2007 in News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

State COurt Rules that People May Carry small Amount of Pot with Dr's Note

From A person who carries a small amount of marijuana with a doctor's note allowing medical use can't be convicted of dealing the drug just because police thought he was a dealer, a California state appeals court ruled Friday.

In overturning an Orange County man's conviction for possessing marijuana for sale, the Fourth District Court of Appeal in Santa Ana said the prosecutor needed more evidence of sales than the opinion of a sheriff's deputy who specialized in investigating narcotics dealers.

The defendant, Christopher Chakos, was arrested in December 2004 in Rancho Santa Margarita near the medical office where he worked as a phlebotomist, drawing blood for lab tests. Officers found seven grams of marijuana in his car, along with a doctor's note recommending pot for his pain and depression.

They found more marijuana, in varying amounts, in a search of his apartment, along with a digital scale and a closed-circuit camera system.

The marijuana totaled about 6 ounces, less than the 8 ounces that medical marijuana patients can possess under state law. But Chakos was convicted of possession for sale based on expert testimony by Deputy Christopher Cormier, who conducted the search and said he had concluded Chakos was a dealer. Chakos was placed on probation for three years.

Cormier based his conclusion on the exact amount of marijuana in the car, which he said was typical of dealers, and the presence of the scale and the camera system at the apartment, despite defense testimony that the camera system belonged to Chakos' half brother.

Cormier said he had taken part in more than 100 drug investigations, but acknowledged that none involved a medical marijuana patient with a doctor's note.

The appeals court relied on a 1971 state Supreme Court ruling overturning a possession-for-sale conviction of a man who was using Methedrine, a trade brand of a type of methamphetamine, with a doctor's prescription. The court in that case said the arresting officer, who concluded the man was a dealer, lacked experience in cases involving the medical use of otherwise illegal drugs.

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

December 23, 2007 in Drugs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)