CrimProf Blog

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

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Nonviolent inmates are lending a hand

For 97 cents a day -- yes, a day -- John Kemp picks up garbage in Austin.

He calls it great.

The work keeps him busy, occupies his mind, helps him change, he said.

Kemp wouldn't mind if the pay was within sight of minimum wage, of course. But after having been caught with a meth lab, Kemp cannot dictate options. Besides, he's not exactly doing his prison time like they did in Alcatraz.

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December 13, 2008 in Criminal Law | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Canadian police pull old Tasers off streets

Police departments across Canada, including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, are pulling older Taser stun guns off the streets following a new study that found the weapons can deliver more power than the manufacturer says is possible.

Police departments in the United States, however, appear to have taken no similar action.

Taser International responded to the study, commissioned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., with e-mails to police departments claiming the research is flawed.

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December 12, 2008 in Taser Use | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Holder fight heats up

GOP leaders took to the Senate floor this evening to call on Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to slow down Attorney General-nominee Eric Holder’s confirmation process.

Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a former U.S. Attorney and Rhode Island attorney general, commands respect in the Senate on legal matters. He took to the floor to argue that the amount of time between the Holder nomination and the proposed hearings was within historical precedent. Leahy has proposed hearings as early as Jan. 8 with the goal of confirming Holder on Inauguration day or very shortly thereafter. Holder's nomination was announced Dec. 1.

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December 12, 2008 in Criminal Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Minnesota judge extends injunction against NFL suspensions

A federal judge extended his preliminary injunction against the NFL's suspension of five players for violating the league's anti-doping policy, a move their lawyer said will let them play the rest of the season.

In his ruling Thursday, U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson asked both parties to propose a schedule by Dec. 22 for further proceedings that would lead to an eventual hearing on the merits of the case, a process that could take months. The regular season ends Dec. 28.

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December 12, 2008 in Criminal Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Domestic violence deaths more than double over 2007

The number of homicides related to domestic violence in Maine more than doubled over the past year, prompting Gov. John Baldacci on Tuesday to urge health care professionals to look even more carefully for signs of violence and sexual assault.

Domestic violence-related homicides in Maine rose from eight in all of 2007 to 17 so far this year, Baldacci said at a news conference, where he was joined by the state's attorney general and top health official, as well as several medical organizations and violence-prevention groups.

"The impact of domestic violence and sexual assault in Maine is staggering," Baldacci said. "This is a serious public health problem."

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December 11, 2008 in Criminal Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Correa seeks transparency

Honolulu police Chief Boisse Correa said he wants to release video footage of a Taser incident that caused two officers to temporarily lose their law enforcement authority.

Correa came under heated criticism last week from the police officers union for his decisions to relieve officers of their authority when under investigation. Officers used the Taser incident in Makakilo as an example of what they consider Correa's unfair enforcement of HPD's Relief of Police Authority policy.

"We are meeting with city attorneys to see if the Taser video recording can be released," Correa said in a written statement yesterday. "Release of the recording would promote transparency and underscore the importance of the policy. We believe that the policy was used appropriately. My staff and I stand by our decision."

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December 11, 2008 in Taser Use | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Eight and on Trial: Young Defendants Throw Criminal Justice Into Confusion

Map In his videotaped confession to the police, the eight-year-old boy sits in an overstuffed office chair and calmly describes how he shot his father and his father's roommate to death with a rifle. At one point, he buries his head in his jacket and says, "I'm going to go to juvie."

Prosecutors in Arizona, who could have sought to charge the boy as an adult, have charged him in juvenile court with the murder of his father, Vincent Romero, 29, and Timothy Romans, 39. He could face a trial or plea hearing and end up in a locked facility, designed mainly for teenagers, conceivably until he is 18.

The case highlights an old but persistent quandary of the criminal justice system. Despite society's natural impulse to secure justice for the victims of heinous crimes, most experts agree the adult system is no place for very young children. But some question whether they should face charges in the juvenile system itself, meant for older children.

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December 11, 2008 in Criminal Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Prosecutors Seek to Rescind Cooperation Letter for Millennium Bomber

Federal prosecutors are seeking yet another sentencing for would-be millennium bomber Ahmed Ressam — this time without credit for helping to convict a fellow terrorist.

Ressam was sentenced for the second time last week to 22 years in prison for plotting to bomb Los Angeles International Airport on the eve of the millennium. Prosecutors said at the time that the sentence wasn't long enough, and the guideline range is 65 years to life.

In a motion made public today, the U.S. Attorney's Office asked to withdraw a document prosecutors filed several years ago acknowledging that Ressam cooperated. They say that motion, which provided part of the basis for the lenient sentence, is no longer valid because Ressam told the judge last week he wanted to take back every statement he made to the government, including his testimony against a coconspirator.

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December 9, 2008 in Criminal Law, DOJ News, Homeland Security, Sentencing Corrections | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Appeals Court Upholds Senator Craig's Guilty Plea

ArtcraigThe Minnesota Court of Appeals on Tuesday rejected U.S. Sen. Larry Craig's effort to withdraw his guilty plea to a misdemeanor offense of disorderly conduct in connection with a sex-sting operation.

"Because we see no abuse of discretion in the denial and conclude that the statute is not overbroad, we affirm" a lower court's decision, the three-judge panel wrote in a 10-page ruling.

In a written statement, Craig said he was "extremely disappointed" by the action and was considering an appeal.

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December 9, 2008 in Criminal Law, Political News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Illinois Governor Arrested on Corruption Charges

Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested this morning on federal corruption charges. Wiretaps recorded Blagojevich discussing how to "sell or trade" the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama "for financial and personal benefits for himself and his wife," prosecutors allege. Also charged in the 2-count indictment, with a lurid 76-page FBI affidavit, was Blagojevich's chief of staff, John Harris.

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December 9, 2008 in Criminal Law, DOJ News, Fraud, Political News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Interrogation Upheld in Country Where Right to Counsel Unavailable

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit Nov. 24 upheld the admission of statements elicited overseas by U.S. agents from suspects in the custody of a country that does not provide a right to counsel during interrogations. “[I]nsofar as Miranda might apply to interrogations conducted overseas, that decision is satisfied when a U.S. agent informs a foreign detainee of his rights under the U.S. Constitution when questioned overseas,” the court said (In re Terrorist Bombings of U.S. Embassies (Fifth Amendment Challenges), 2d Cir., No. 01-1535-cr(L), 11/24/08).

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December 9, 2008 in Criminal Law, False Confessions, Homeland Security, International | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)