CrimProf Blog

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

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Monday, June 30, 2008

Border Drug Wars Plague Cities in Mexico and U.S.

Drug cartels have made Juarez the deadliest city in Mexico. But they also operate just across the border, in El Paso, Texas — one of the safest cities in the U.S. NPR's Jason Beaubien speaks with host Andrea Seabrook about efforts to stop the violence.

June 30, 2008 in Drugs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Local and national outbreak of grave robbing

Grave robbing has become an above-ground affair. Gone are the days when enterprising thieves would dig up an old grave and pillage for gold teeth and rings. Today, it's mostly the bronze markers and flower vases that draw their attention. Rising scrap metal prices, coupled with the lagging economy, have triggered a string of cemetery thefts both locally and across the nation. "I can't think of anything lower," said David Evans, general manager for Valhalla Gardens of Memory in Belleville. "Nothing's worse than stealing from the dead."

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June 30, 2008 in Criminal Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Gun Laws and Crime: A Complex Relationship

29liptak_1901 Lurking behind the Supreme Court’s ruling last week that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to bear arms were a series of fascinating, disputed and now in many ways irrelevant questions. Do gun control laws reduce crime? Do they save lives? Is it possible they even cost lives? Justice Stephen G. Breyer, one of the dissenters in the 5-to-4 decision, surveyed a quite substantial body of empirical research on whether gun control laws do any good. Then he wrote: “The upshot is a set of studies and counterstudies that, at most, could leave a judge uncertain about the proper policy conclusion.”

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June 30, 2008 in Guns | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Will Some Felons Be Permitted To Own Guns After Heller?

N.Y. Sun.com: The Supreme Court's historic decision on the Second Amendment could make millions of felons eligible to own guns.

Under current federal law, the vast majority of felons are prohibited from so much as touching a gun or ammunition, on pain of punishment of up to 10 years in prison.

Some legal experts now say that the constitutionality of that law, known as the "felon in possession" law, was deeply undermined by the Supreme Court's decision Thursday in District of Columbia v. Heller.

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June 30, 2008 in Civil Rights, Criminal Justice Policy, Criminal Law, Law Enforcement | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

NRA Targets Gun Bans after Heller Decision

NPR.org: Five cities and suburbs are facing lawsuits challenging their bans on handguns. When the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark June 26 decision, rejecting Washington, D.C.'s ban on handguns, gun-rights lawyers swung into action.

As a result, the legal landscape for gun laws could face dramatic changes.

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June 30, 2008 in Civil Rights, Criminal Justice Policy, Criminal Law, Law Enforcement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Cops: Grand Theft Auto video game inspired crimes

Teenagers who police say went on a video-game-inspired late-night crime spree were arraigned Thursday after they mugged a man outside a New Hyde Park supermarket and menaced motorists in Garden City with a baseball bat, a crowbar and a broomstick, Nassau police said.

The teens told detectives they were imitating the "Grand Theft Auto" video-game series where characters steal cars, beat up other characters and commit crimes, authorities said.

Police have identified at least three victims: a man they said was severely beaten during a robbery; a would-be carjacking victim; and a driver whose van was smashed with a bat.

Nassau Det. Lt. Raymond Coté said there are likely more victims who were attacked.

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June 30, 2008 in Juveniles | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Mansfield drug case gone wrong: The inside story

In the shadows of boarded-up homes on a hazy October afternoon in 2005, two men pull into a gas station parking lot in a souped-up Buick Roadmaster with tinted windows.

They are there to buy $2,600 of crack cocaine.

Jerrell Bray is driving. The stocky man with unkempt hair is a killer. He spent 13 years in prison for his role in the death of a Cleveland drug dealer. Despite that, guys know him as Mr. Talk-a-lot: He never shuts up.

With Bray is his friend Todd, who is not Todd. He is Lee Lucas, a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent working undercover. Bray is Lucas' informant.

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June 29, 2008 in Drugs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Gang violence in Seattle on the rise, report says City study urges more spending on prevention

A report on gangs in Seattle bolsters what some in law enforcement and community groups already were saying -- gang violence is up, and more prevention programs are needed."It validated what I'd been hearing and experiencing the last few months," said Terry Hayes, a supervisor with the city's Human Services Department who works with youth programs.The 87-page report, completed in four weeks, cost $15,000. Work on it began Feb. 1, less than a month after two young Seattle men were slain in what were believed to have been gang-related shootings. Allen Joplin, 17, was shot dead Jan. 3 and, in a separate shooting, De'Che Morrison, 14, was killed Jan. 11. Neither case has been solved.

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June 29, 2008 in Gang Violence | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

SCOTUS Issues Landmark Opinion

upholding death penalty as "totally badass."  Hilarious video from the Onion here.

June 29, 2008 in Capital Punishment | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Robert Batey, a criminal law professor at Stetson University College of Law

Batey Robert Batey holds a bachelor's degree from Yale University and law degrees from the University of Virginia and the University of Illinois. After one year as a teaching assistant at the University of Illinois College of Law and two years as an assistant professor at West Virginia University College of Law, Batey joined the law faculty at Stetson University in 1977. During his tenure at Stetson, Professor Batey visited for one semester at the University of Virginia School of Law and served for four years as Stetson's associate dean. He has written extensively on criminal justice, law and literature, and related topics. Since 1995, he has been a local coordinator for Families Against Mandatory Minimums. [Mark Godsey]

Robert Batey
Stetson University College of Law
1401 61st Street South
St. Petersburg, FL 33707
batey@law.stetson.edu

Read More information about Robert Batey, a criminal law professor at Stetson University College of Law

June 28, 2008 in Weekly CrimProf Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Cops: Grand Theft Auto video game inspired crimes

Teenagers who police say went on a video-game-inspired late-night crime spree were arraigned Thursday after they mugged a man outside a New Hyde Park supermarket and menaced motorists in Garden City with a baseball bat, a crowbar and a broomstick, Nassau police said.

The teens told detectives they were imitating the "Grand Theft Auto" video-game series where characters steal cars, beat up other characters and commit crimes, authorities said.

Police have identified at least three victims: a man they said was severely beaten during a robbery; a would-be carjacking victim; and a driver whose van was smashed with a bat.

Nassau Det. Lt. Raymond Coté said there are likely more victims who were attacked.

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June 28, 2008 in Juveniles | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Allow DNA tests to prove innocence and assure justice

WHEN AN INNOCENT person goes to prison, a guilty person roams our streets, free to victimize again.That is the practical reason we need to do all we reasonably can to make sure that the innocent aren’t convicted and that, if they are, those convictions are reversed and an investigation re-opened. The moral reason, of course, is that it’s wrong to imprison the innocent. We will never get those initial convictions correct 100 percent of the time, but there is a way we can improve our chance of identifying and correcting the errors. Our Legislature will have the opportunity to put it into place today.

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June 27, 2008 in DNA | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

High Court: No Death Penalty for Child Rape

In a closely divided opinion today, the Supreme Court found that while the crime of raping a child is a "revulsion" to society, it does not merit the death penalty.

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June 26, 2008 in News | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (2)

Therapy Dogs Easing Stress for Victims of Violent Crime as They Prepare to Testify

These days, life is carefree for 5-year-old Lexi Lohr. But last year, something terrible happened to her. Mr. Chad. He did something bad … He was going to smack me," she recalled.

Mr. Chad is Chad Wiles, Lexi's former babysitter. He was accused of beating her.

To build a case, prosecutors needed Lexi to testify — a scary proposition for any victim of abuse, let alone a young child.

But officials in Carroll County, Md., had just added a new member to their prosecution team who would prove critical to the case: Buddy the therapy dog.

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June 26, 2008 in Criminal Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Case puts 'Stand Your Ground' law on defense

4850626mobley_embedded_prod_affilia More than five months after claiming self-defense in the fatal shooting of two unarmed men at a North Miami-Dade chain restaurant, Gabriel Mobley was arrested Thursday for murder.

Miami-Dade prosecutors believe the case is a key test of Florida's 2005 so-called Stand Your Ground law, which loosened standards for shooting in self-defense.

Mobley, 31, is accused of fatally shooting pals Jason Jesus Gonzalez, 24, and Rolando Carrazana, 24, in the parking lot of Chili's Grill & Bar, 5705 NW 173rd Dr., just past midnight on Feb. 28.

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June 26, 2008 in Criminal Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Politicians Respond to Kennedy

Angry politicians vowed to keep writing laws that condemn child rapists to death, despite a Supreme Court decision saying such punishment is unconstitutional.

"Anybody in the country who cares about children should be outraged that we have a Supreme Court that would issue a decision like this," said Alabama Attorney General Troy King, a Republican. The justices, he said, are "creating a situation where the country is a less safe place to grow up."

The court's 5-4 decision Wednesday derailed the efforts of nearly a dozen states supporting the right to kill those convicted of raping a child and said execution was confined to attacks that take a life and to other crimes including treason and espionage.

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June 26, 2008 in Capital Punishment, Criminal Justice Policy, Criminal Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sexual Victimization in Local Jails Reported by Inmates, 2007

Presents data from the 2007 National Inmate Survey (NIS), conducted in 282 local jails between April and December, with a sample of 40,419 inmates. The report and appendix tables provide a listing of results for sampled local jails, as required under the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-79).

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June 25, 2008 in DOJ News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Assembly panel kills bill to disclose LAPD disciplinary records

Despite lobbying efforts by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, an Assembly committee Tuesday killed a bill that would have cleared the way for the Los Angeles Police Department to make officers' disciplinary hearings and records open to the public.

The bill faced stiff opposition from many of the state's powerful police unions, which argued that the measure would compromise officer safety. LAPD Chief William J. Bratton, normally a Villaraigosa ally, pointedly chose not to take a position on the bill and Tuesday expressed concerns about it.

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June 25, 2008 in Law Enforcement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

NYPD wants suspects to sign search consent form

The New York City Police Department wants suspects to sign a consent form before searching their homes or cars, a move that eliminates the need for a warrant and is meant to provide police a layer of legal protection, Newsday has learned.The initiative was put in place because consent searches are often challenged at trial - and jurors too often believe the suspect's claim that police never got permission to conduct the search, police sources said.At the same time, sources said, there has been concern within the NYPD about a handful of cases in which an officer's truthfulness was recently called into question.

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June 25, 2008 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Supreme Court Rejects Death Penalty for Child Rape

The Supreme Court ruled, 5 to 4, on Wednesday that sentencing someone to death for raping a child is unconstitutional, assuming that the victim is not killed.

“The death penalty is not a proportional punishment for the rape of a child,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the court. He was joined by Justices John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer.

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June 25, 2008 in Capital Punishment | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)