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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

G. Kristian Miccio Sturm College of Law Professor of Criminal Law

Miccio_250x375 Prof. Miccio is a nationally recognized expert on the law as it affects survivors of male intimate violence. She has written, lectured, litigated and testified, at Congressional and State Legislative hearings, on the issue of male intimate violence, women survivors and conceptions of state accountability. Miccio was the author of the NYS law that opened up the family and criminal courts to survivors of male intimate violence and one of the authors of the state’s mandatory arrest law in domestic violence cases. She has won numerous awards for her work on behalf of battered women-and for her teaching. And she has been interviewed by the print and electronic media on such matters as hate crimes, violence against women, Miranda, the OJ Simpson, Kobe Bryant and Laci Peterson cases, to name a few. At the College of Law, Prof. Miccio teaches criminal law and procedure, family law, jurisprudence, and seminars on the Holocaust, the Law and Domestic Violence. In 2007, Miccio was awarded a Fulbright and taught at University College of Dublin School of Law and lectured throughout Ireland on the issue of male intimate violence, the state and conceptions of state accountability. [Mark Godsey]

October 25, 2008 in Weekly CrimProf Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Debaters argue over Utah's approach to addressing polygamy

Is Utah selling out children or protecting the constitutional rights of its citizens? Those were the clashing views of two speakers debating the state's approach to dealing with polygamy Wednesday at the University of Utah's College of Law. Marci A. Hamilton, of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York, charged Utah officials with "whitewashing" problems within polygamous communities. Kirk Torgensen of the Utah Attorney General's Office offered a defense, saying the state has successfully prosecuted individual cases without "throwing a net at a whole bunch of people because they happen to hold certain beliefs."
   

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October 24, 2008 in Criminal Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Prop. 5 is no boon to violent offenders

As a law professor who teaches criminal law and procedure in California, I feel compelled to weigh in on the debate over Proposition 5, the Nonviolent Offender Rehabilitation Act. I write not as a supporter of Proposition 5 but as a law professor concerned that voters are provided correct information. A poor interpretation of Proposition 5, promoted by some biased parties, has so taken hold that several large newspapers (including The Times) have come out against the measure based on this view. I will propose what, in my view, is an accurate reading of Proposition 5 and its likely effect on California's criminal justice system.

Misleading claim: Proposition 5 gives criminals a "get out of jail free" card.

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October 24, 2008 in Criminal Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Judge backs county inmates in jail case

A federal judge has sided with inmates' claims that conditions in Maricopa County jails continue to violate their constitutional rights.

U.S. District Court Judge Neil V. Wake on Wednesday modified a 1995 judgment that laid guidelines for a wide range of issues in Maricopa County jails, including medical and mental-health care, population control and record keeping.

Maricopa County sheriff's officials said they plan to comply with the judge's orders.

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October 24, 2008 in Sentencing Corrections | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Chicago torture victims face uphill legal battle

Melvin Jones says he screamed and begged for mercy as Chicago police touched metal clips to his feet and thighs, churned a hand-cranked device and sent shock waves of electricity through his body more than 25 years ago.

He says he was told the torture would stop when he confessed to murder.

Jones is among the dozens of alleged torture victims who have little hope of winning compensation, despite the arrest this week of a former police commander who officials say lied about the abuse.

Some have already completed prison terms for crimes they claim they confessed to only after police beat or electrocuted them. More than 20 remain in prison.

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October 24, 2008 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

San Francisco to Vote on Decriminalization of Prostitution

In this live-and-let-live town, where medical marijuana clubs do business next to grocery stores and an annual fair celebrates sadomasochism, prostitutes could soon walk the streets without fear of arrest.

San Francisco would become the first major U.S. city to decriminalize prostitution if voters next month approve Proposition K — a measure that forbids local authorities from investigating, arresting or prosecuting anyone for selling sex.

The ballot question technically would not legalize prostitution since state law still prohibits it, but the measure would eliminate the power of local law enforcement officials to go after prostitutes.

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October 23, 2008 in Criminal Justice Policy, Criminal Law, Law Enforcement, Sex | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Reporter kept the focus on police torture

At this point, most people in Chicago probably accept as true the torture allegations against retired Chicago police commander Jon Burge and mostly wonder what took so long to indict him.

It's easy to forget that was not always the case.

From the time the accusations were raised in 1983 by attorneys for cop killer Andrew Wilson until fairly recently, the collective attitude in this city was of disbelief, of not wanting to believe such a thing possible and perhaps worse -- not caring enough to demand the truth.

Many people were responsible for changing those attitudes, but I'm going to focus on just one.

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October 22, 2008 in Law Enforcement | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Rodney Ellis: Lowering odds that innocents end up in prison

The Dallas Morning News did the state a great service by investigating the causes of Dallas County's 19 DNA exonerations. While the cases involved men of different races and backgrounds, one thing remained the same in 95 percent of the cases – a mistaken eyewitness identification was the primary cause of the wrongful conviction.

Dallas isn't so different from the rest of the country. Of the 220 DNA exonerations nationally in the past two decades, 75 percent were due in part to a misidentification.

Who is responsible? Victims aren't. In the Dallas County cases, sexually assaulted women had the difficult task of identifying their attackers. These assaults may have occurred in the dark, by masked men or someone with a weapon. Under such terrifying conditions, "all of the mind's energy is channeled into the survival instinct," as psychologist Gary Wells noted in the series.

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October 22, 2008 in Eyewitness Identification | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Feds punch hole in 'perjury trap,' statute of limitations excuses

That was the $7 million answer that a special prosecutor delivered two years ago in the case of former Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge, accused with his men of torturing false confessions from as many as 148 defendants, most of them minorities, in the 1980s.

Attorneys for those who said they were tortured had argued that, even if the statute of limitations had expired for the torture, Burge and other officers and prosecutors who took part or cooperated in any such coerced confessions could be charged with lying under oath in civil suits.

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October 22, 2008 in False Confessions | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Reporter kept the focus on police torture

At this point, most people in Chicago probably accept as true the torture allegations against retired Chicago police commander Jon Burge and mostly wonder what took so long to indict him.

It's easy to forget that was not always the case.

From the time the accusations were raised in 1983 by attorneys for cop killer Andrew Wilson until fairly recently, the collective attitude in this city was of disbelief, of not wanting to believe such a thing possible and perhaps worse -- not caring enough to demand the truth.

Many people were responsible for changing those attitudes, but I'm going to focus on just one.

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October 22, 2008 in Law Enforcement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Rodney Ellis: Lowering odds that innocents end up in prison

The Dallas Morning News did the state a great service by investigating the causes of Dallas County's 19 DNA exonerations. While the cases involved men of different races and backgrounds, one thing remained the same in 95 percent of the cases – a mistaken eyewitness identification was the primary cause of the wrongful conviction.

Dallas isn't so different from the rest of the country. Of the 220 DNA exonerations nationally in the past two decades, 75 percent were due in part to a misidentification.

Who is responsible? Victims aren't. In the Dallas County cases, sexually assaulted women had the difficult task of identifying their attackers. These assaults may have occurred in the dark, by masked men or someone with a weapon. Under such terrifying conditions, "all of the mind's energy is channeled into the survival instinct," as psychologist Gary Wells noted in the series.

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October 22, 2008 in Eyewitness Identification | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The European Legislature is Protesting the Scheduled Execution of Troy Davis

From AP.com: The European parliament is strongly protesting plans to execute a man in the United States who has been sentenced to death for killing a police officer.

Troy Davis is scheduled to be executed in Georgia on Oct. 27, despite calls from his supporters to reconsider because seven of nine key witnesses against him have recanted their testimony.

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October 22, 2008 in Capital Punishment | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Supreme Court's Second Amendment Decision in D.C. v. Heller May Help Fight Against Gun Violence, Brady Center Report Finds

The U.S. Supreme Court's Second Amendment decision in D.C. v. Heller may have the "unintended consequence" of helping to enact stronger gun laws, according to a report issued today by the Legal Action Project of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
While the decision gives criminal defendants a legal tool to use to potentially avoid criminal convictions or mitigate their punishments and will inspire gun lobby challenges of gun laws, it may also clear some of the wedge politics that have blocked the nation from passing sensible gun laws in the future, the report says.

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October 22, 2008 in Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Adult Crimes, Young Offenders: 'Where Do We Draw the Line?

Victoria Price was startled from sleep by an intruder who tried to rape her. Chandler Goule was followed, forced to the concrete at gunpoint and robbed. Matthew Caspari was chased down an alley at knifepoint as his wife screamed in horror.

The three victims told their stories yesterday during a public hearing about D.C. Council legislation that would allow judges to send certain cases back to juvenile court and to end the pretrial placement of youths charged as adults at the D.C. jail. Youth advocates long have maintained that the jail is unfit for juveniles.

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October 22, 2008 in Juveniles | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

LAPD officers more likely to stop, search and arrest minorities than whites, report says

Los Angeles police officers are far more likely to stop, search and arrest minorities than they are whites -- even after statistics were adjusted for high- and low-crime areas -- according to a nongovernmental report released Monday.

The report by Yale Law School professor Ian Ayres for the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California found that once stopped, African Americans were 29% more likely to be arrested than whites. Latinos were 32% more likely to be arrested in an identical category.
The percentages were far higher when minorities were stopped on the street or ordered out of their vehicles (blacks 166% and Latinos 132% more often than whites), frisked (blacks 127% and Latinos 43% more often than whites) or subject to nonconsensual searches (blacks 81% and Latinos 77% more often than whites).

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October 22, 2008 in Race | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Federal Judges Publicly Criticize Supreme Court's Second Amendment Decision

Four months after the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess guns, its decision is under assault — from the right.

Two prominent federal appeals court judges say that Justice Antonin Scalia’s majority opinion in the case, District of Columbia v. Heller, is illegitimate, activist, poorly reasoned and fueled by politics rather than principle. The 5-to-4 decision in Heller struck down parts of a District of Columbia gun control law.

The judges used what in conservative legal circles are the ultimate fighting words: They said the gun ruling was a right-wing version of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that identified a constitutional right to abortion. Justice Scalia has said that Roe had no basis in the Constitution and amounted to a judicial imposition of a value judgment that should have been left to state legislatures.

Comparisons of the two decisions, then, seemed calculated to sting.

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October 21, 2008 in Criminal Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

U.S. Drops War Crimes Charges against Guantanamo Detainees

The Pentagon official in charge of prosecutions at Guantanamo on Tuesday dismissed war-charges against five detainees, the latest setback to the government’s military commission system.

The official, Susan J. Crawford, has broad power over the military commission tribunals, including the power to dismiss charges, but she does not have to provide public explanations for her decisions and did not on Tuesday.

But a statement from her office said the charges against the five were dismissed without prejudice, which means “the government can raise the charges again at a later time.”

After the decision was announced, Col. Lawrence J. Morris, the chief military prosecutor, said that supervising lawyers in his office had asked Ms. Crawford to withdraw the charges. He said all five would be resubmitted after a review of their files, which had been handled by a prosecutor who left the office after questioning the judicial fairness at Guantanamo.

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October 21, 2008 in Criminal Law, Homeland Security, International, Political News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Ninth Circuit Rules Statutory Rape in CA not Categorically a Deportable Offense

The full 9th Circuit ruled that statutory rape does not necessarily constitute a deportable felony, offering hope for relief to a Mexican immigrant facing deportation for having consensual sex with his 16-year-old girlfriend when he was 20.

The court agreed to review the case of Juan Elias Estrada-Espinoza, who was convicted of statutory rape for having sex with his minor girlfriend. The couple met when Estrada-Espinoza was 20 years old and the girl was 15 or 16, but she allegedly told him she was 18. They began living together in one of their parents' homes, and eventually got their own apartment and had a child together.

Estrada-Espinoza has been jailed under a deportation order since 2005.

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October 21, 2008 in Criminal Law, Sex | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

DAs fight bid to ease penalty for marijuana

As a student at Stonehill College, Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley found himself in a room with guys passing around a bong. "When it came to me, I inhaled so hard that it burned my lungs," he says. "I don't want to sound Clintonesque; I inhaled, but I couldn't handle it."

Gerry Leone, Middlesex district attorney, also admits to smoking pot. "It was years ago, when I was a young man," he said. "I tried it once, and it wasn't something I was ever into."

Michael O'Keefe, district attorney for the Cape and Islands, would only hint at his past: "Like a lot of people in my generation, we did a lot of things that were unwise, unhealthy, and illegal," he says.

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October 21, 2008 in Drugs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Police chief wants to ease rules on vehicle chases in Charlotte

Tired of what he calls “brazen disrespect” for police, Chief Rodney Monroe wants to loosen rules on Charlotte-Mecklenburg police chases.

Too many suspects get away, he says, because current policy allows officers to chase suspects only when a life-threatening felony is involved.

“At some point we have to send a message back to the criminal element that we are going to come after you,” he said.

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October 21, 2008 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)