CrimProf Blog

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

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Shaun P. Martin: University of San Diego Law School Professor of Criminal Law

Martinsp2 Professor of Law


A.B. 1988, Dartmouth College; J.D. 1991, Harvard University

Professor Shaun P. Martin served as an editor of the Harvard Law Review and a general editor of Harvard University’s Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. He clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and practiced law with Quinn, Emanuel, Urquhart & Oliver in Los Angeles before coming to USD in 1995. Martin teaches civil procedure and professional ethics. He writes in the areas of civil procedure, criminal law and professional responsibility. Among his publications are "Intracorporate Conspiracies," Stanford Law Review, "Encumbered Shares," Illinois Law Review, and "Substitution," Tennessee Law Review. He received the Thorsnes Prize for Excellence in Teaching in both 2006 and 1999 and was the Herzog Endowed Scholar in 2007.  [Mark Godsey]

August 2, 2008 in Weekly CrimProf Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, August 1, 2008

No end in sight to death penalty wrangling

More than 30 years after it was reinstated by the nation’s highest court, the death penalty in the

United States

still faces serious legal and political challenges, even as a persistent majority of the American public believes convicted murderers should be executed.

The

United States

is among a handful of industrialized countries to sanction capital punishment, and it has executed more than 15,000 people since colonial days. More than 1,100 prisoners have been put to death since 1976, when the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for executions to resume following a decade-long national hiatus.

Continue reading

August 1, 2008 in Capital Punishment | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Showdown over a Texas execution

Aexecution_p1 The state plans to execute a Mexican national on Aug. 5, despite objections of the World Court.The state plans to execute a Mexican national on Aug. 5, despite objections of the World Court.

The United States is fast approaching a showdown over its commitment to the rule of international law as Texas prepares to carry out the scheduled Aug. 5 execution of convicted killer and rapist Jose Medellin.

On July 14, the International Court of Justice at The Hague ordered the US government to "take all measures necessary" to prevent the execution of Mr. Medellin and four other Mexican nationals awaiting execution dates on death row in Texas.

But Medellin is in the custody of Texas authorities, not the federal government, and the Texas governor says he intends to push forward with the execution next Tuesday.

Continue reading

July 31, 2008 in Capital Punishment | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Stalked: A Decade on the Run

31stalk190

THE woman in the blue suit striding briskly into the Sofitel Hotel near O’Hare airport looked like any other 50-something businesswoman on her way to a meeting. And in a way she was, a marketing consultant and freelance writer visiting from her hometown several hundred miles away.

But the woman flew to Chicago last Friday on a strangely secret errand: a newspaper interview that she gave under an assumed name. Afterward, she checked into a hotel downtown under a different fake identity.

Continue reading

July 31, 2008 in Criminal Law | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Legwork, lab work the real stars of 'CSI: Dallas'Legwork, lab work the real stars of 'CSI: Dallas'

Dalla For years, police detectives around the country have mocked the miraculous way investigators on hit TV shows such as CSI: Miami ply their trade: Computers instantly identify matching fingerprints, labs return DNA samples in an hour and the crime unit supervisor, Horatio Caine, draws his gun as often as he flashes his badge.

Continue reading

July 31, 2008 in Evidence | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Judge Holds that White House Aids Subject to Subpoena

President Bush's top advisers are not immune from congressional subpoenas, a federal judge ruled Thursday in an unprecedented dispute between the two political branches.

House Democrats called the ruling a ringing endorsement of the principle that nobody is above the law. They swiftly announced that the Bush officials who have defied their subpoenas, including Bush's former top adviser Karl Rove, must appear as part of a probe of whether the White House directed the firings of nine federal prosecutors. Democrats announced plans to open hearings at the height of election season.

The Bush administration was expected to appeal.

Continue reading

July 31, 2008 in Criminal Law, Political News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Michigan will join states that use GPS to track domestic abusers, stalkers

Mary Babb was in her SUV last year when her estranged husband slammed into her with his pickup truck. The crash overturned Babb's vehicle and left her suspended upside-down by her seat belt.

As she hung there helplessly, Thomas Babb fired two rounds from a shotgun, killing his wife in front of horrified witnesses outside the office where she worked.

Now Mary Babb's family has lobbied successfully for Michigan to join a growing number of states that have expanded electronic monitoring to include domestic abusers and stalkers.

Continue reading

July 30, 2008 in Technology | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Feinstein still questions U.S. attorney's staff moves

Five months after the sudden dismantling of the public corruption unit in the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles, questions are still being raised in Washington, D.C., about the controversial move.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has been exchanging letters with a top Justice Department official over the unit's disbanding, and the subject came up during a congressional oversight hearing late last month.

In March, Los Angeles U.S. Atty. Thomas P. O'Brien announced during a closed-door meeting that he was eliminating the Public Corruption and Environmental Crimes section and transferring its 17 lawyers to other units throughout the office.

Continue reading

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

DEATH ROW COST OVERRUN: $40 MILLION

Mnsanquentin30__0422432627 The cost of new housing for San Quentin State Prison's growing number of Death Row inmates will exceed estimates by nearly $40 million, and the compound could run out of space soon after it is completed, according to a state auditor's report released Tuesday.

The auditor's new $395.5 million price tag for the project, which is expected to be completed by 2011, is new bad news for a state facing billions of dollars in budget shortfalls. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Democrat-controlled Legislature are still trying to hammer out a spending plan for the fiscal year that began nearly a month ago.

Continue reading

July 30, 2008 in Capital Punishment | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Questions about Best Approach to Fixing Pervasive Internet Security Flaw

Since a secret emergency meeting of computer security experts at Microsoft’s headquarters in March, Dan Kaminsky has been urging companies around the world to fix a potentially dangerous flaw in the basic plumbing of the Internet.

While Internet service providers are racing to fix the problem, which makes it possible for criminals to divert users to fake Web sites where personal and financial information can be stolen, Mr. Kaminsky worries that they have not moved quickly enough.

By his estimate, roughly 41 percent of the Internet is still vulnerable. Now Mr. Kaminsky, a technical consultant who first discovered the problem, has been ramping up the pressure on companies and organizations to make the necessary software changes before criminal hackers take advantage of the flaw.

Next week, he will take another step by publicly laying out the details of the flaw at a security conference in Las Vegas. That should force computer network administrators to fix millions of affected systems.

But his explanation of the flaw will also make it easier for criminals to exploit it, and steal passwords and other personal information.

Continue reading

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

U.S. Supports Rehearing in Kennedy Death Penalty Ruling

The US Justice Department has appealed to nation's highest court to re-hear a major death penalty case involving sentencing for child rapists, saying the ruling was made without all the facts.

The Supreme Court last month ruled 5-4 against the death sentence for child rapists, but did so without considering a 2007 executive order that makes child rape a crime punishable by death according to military law, the Justice Department said in a rare motion filed this week.

Continue reading

July 30, 2008 in Capital Punishment, Criminal Law, DOJ News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Beheading as a More Humane Form of Execution?

BBC News: Three Indonesian militants facing execution for the 2002 Bali bombings want to be beheaded rather than killed by firing squad, their lawyer has said.

The three - Amrozi, Mukhlas and Imam Samudra - are expected to include the request in an appeal to the Supreme Court.

Their lawyer, Muhammad Mahendradatta, said beheading was a more humane form of punishment than firing squad.

Their execution was postponed last month to allow for a final appeal.

Continue reading

July 30, 2008 in Capital Punishment, Criminal Law, International | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Execution by Military Is Approved by President

29execute_190 WASHINGTON — President Bush on Monday approved the first execution by the military since 1961, upholding the death penalty of an Army private convicted of a series of rapes and murders more than two decades ago.

As commander in chief, the president has the final authority to approve capital punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and he did so on Monday morning in the case of Pvt. Ronald A. Gray, convicted by court-martial for two killings and an attempted murder at Fort Bragg, N.C., the White House said in a statement.

Although the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the death penalty in the military in 1996, no one has been executed since President Ronald Reagan reinstated capital punishment in 1984 for military crimes.

Continue reading

July 29, 2008 in Capital Punishment | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Report Faults Aides in Hiring at Justice Dept.

29justice_190 Senior aides to former Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales broke Civil Service laws by using politics to guide their hiring decisions, picking less-qualified applicants for important nonpolitical positions, slowing the hiring process at critical times and damaging the department’s credibility, an internal report concluded on Monday.

A longtime prosecutor who drew rave reviews from his supervisors was passed over for an important counterterrorism slot because his wife was active in Democratic politics, and a much-less-experienced lawyer with Republican leanings got the job, the report said.

Another prosecutor was rejected for a job in part because she was thought to be a lesbian. And a Republican lawyer received high marks at his job interview because he was found to be sufficiently conservative on the core issues of “god, guns + gays.”

Continue reading

July 29, 2008 in DOJ News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Lawmaker wants to strip governor's pardon power

His sister went to school with one of Adrienne's young sons. People he knew talked about it.

"All of us living in Pascagoula in 1989 remember that day," said Jones, now a young attorney representing Pascagoula in the Legislature. "And to know that someone can shoot someone in the plain light of day and walk free less than 20 years later. The governor's action has broken open a lot of old wounds and it offends the community's sense of justice and safety."

Continue reading

July 29, 2008 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

California to Begin Integrating Prisons for Men

LANCASTER, Calif. -- Male prisoners in the nation's largest corrections system, long kept segregated by race in an effort to temper violence, will soon be sharing cells with inmates of other ethnicities.

A program aimed at integrating California's prisons for men will begin in coming weeks at two facilities and will be extended to the state's 28 other penitentiaries over the next year or so, officials said.

Continue reading

July 29, 2008 in Race | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 28, 2008

President Bush Authorizes First Military Execution Since 1961

President Bush on Monday approved the first execution by the military since 1961, upholding the death penalty of an Army private convicted of a series of rapes and murders more than two decades ago.

As commander in chief, the president has the final authority to approve capital punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and he did so on Monday morning in the case of Pvt. Ronald A. Gray, convicted by court-martial for two killings and an attempted murder at Fort Bragg, N.C., the White House said in a statement.

Although the Supreme Court  upheld the constitutionality of the death penalty in the military in 1996, no one has been executed since President Ronald Reagan reinstated capital punishment in 1984 for military crimes.

Continue reading

July 28, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Conflicting marijuana laws take stage in trial

41251699 A highly anticipated trial involving conflicting marijuana laws got underway Friday in Los Angeles federal court with a prosecutor painting the owner of a Morro Bay medicinal marijuana store as a brazen drug trafficker who sold dope to teenagers and toted around a backpack stuffed with cash.

Defense attorneys struggled to provide context for their client's alleged crimes after being barred by the judge from mentioning the phrase "medical marijuana."

Continue reading

July 28, 2008 in Drugs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Shocking twist to murder, rape

Bilde Hamilton County law enforcement officials knew that David Steffen killed 19-year-old Karen Range in 1982 but he insisted for 26 years he never raped the teen. 

Prosecutors won murder and rape convictions against Steffen to send him to death row – the first Hamilton County inmate to receive a death sentence after it was reinstated in Oh File photos from 1983 Now, authorities have the man they believe responsible for the sexual attack.
Bilde2
A grand jury indicated a former Hamilton County Coroner Office's employee Monday for having sex with the teen’s body in the morgue.

Kenneth Douglas, 55, of Westwood, was arrested Friday for violating his probation for drug trafficking and his DNA matched the DNA in the girl’s body.

Continue reading

July 28, 2008 in Sex | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Study sees racial bias in traffic-stop searches

Civil rights groups called Thursday for ending the state police practice of searching vehicles during routine traffic stops, citing new statistics that show black and Hispanic motorists are searched more often even though drugs or other illegal items turn up more frequently among white drivers.

In a letter to Gov. Rod Blagojevich, the groups said the state-funded research shows that minorities are unfairly singled out by police departments around the state. They called on him to order the Illinois State Police to end "consent searches," in which drivers agree to open their cars for inspection.

"Now we have the proof in the pudding and that is that not only are [these searches] occurring with greater frequency among minority drivers, but that they are occurring with dramatically less effectiveness," said Harvey Grossman, legal director for the ACLU of Illinois.

Continue reading

July 27, 2008 in Race | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)