CrimProf Blog

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

Friday, December 19, 2008

Kidnapping and Murder Mystery Solved 27 Years Later

Adamwalsh There is a serious cold case many people here in Florida have been following for years, and now it's finally solved, the kidnapping and murder of six-year-old Adam Walsh.

Twenty-seven years have passed and they're all together again, the family, detectives, a photo of Adam.

And the emotion is just as strong.

Adam's Father, John Walsh says, as he clears his throat, "For 27 years, we've been asking. Who could take a six-year-old boy and murder him and decapitate him? Who? We needed to know. We needed to know. And, today we know! The not knowing has been torture. But that journey's over."

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December 19, 2008 in Criminal Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Marijuana Law Comes With Challenges

Last month, voters approved a statewide measure decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Now, wary authorities say, comes the hard part. They are scrambling to set up a new system of civil penalties before Jan. 2, when the change becomes law. From then on, anyone caught with an ounce or less of marijuana will owe a $100 civil fine instead of ending up with an arrest record and possibly facing jail time.

It sounds simple, but David Capeless, president of the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association, said the new policy presented a thicket of questions and complications.

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December 19, 2008 in Drugs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Call for Presentations and Workshops

Crime_mapping Conference Date: August 19-22, 2009
Location: New Orleans, LA

Submissions Due: January 30, 2009 before 7:00 pm, Eastern Time
Theme: Solving Problems with Geography and Technology
View the call for papers

Please note: The Tenth Crime Mapping Research Conference was originally scheduled for March 2008. If you submitted a paper at that time, it will be counted. If you want to update your original submission, make a note that you are updating a previous submission.

NIJ Conference 2009  *  June 15–17, 2009  *  Marriott Crystal Gateway  *  Arlington, Virginia

Stay Connected with NCJRS! Register Now! Free registration with NCJRS keeps you informed about new publications, grant and funding opportunities, and other news and announcements. To register, visit: [Mark Godsey]

December 19, 2008 in Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

To Catch a Thief

Bernard Madoff's alleged $50 billion fraud is giving politicians and investors who failed to diversify another excuse to blame too little enforcement in U.S. financial markets. Talk about compounding a case of misplaced trust. The real lesson is that financial enforcement nearly always fails to protect investors, and this Ponzi scheme is merely typical.

Since 2000 and especially after the fall of Enron, the SEC's annual budget has ballooned to more than $900 million from $377 million. (See the nearby chart.) Its full-time examination and enforcement staff has increased by more than a third, or nearly 500 people. The percentage of full-time staff devoted to enforcement -- 33.5% -- appears to be a modern record, and it is certainly the SEC's highest tooth-to-tail ratio since the 1980s. The press corps and Congress both were making stars of enforcers like Eliot Spitzer, so the SEC's watchdogs had every incentive to ferret out fraud.

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December 18, 2008 in Criminal Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Showdown over DNA lab reflects national debate

In June, Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas made a bold grab for a crown jewel of local law enforcement: the DNA unit of the sheriff's crime lab.

With the lab's director out of town and the sheriff recently deposed by corruption charges, Rackauckas submitted a brief agenda item to county supervisors two business days before their regular meeting.
"Our aim is to make significant changes in the way forensic DNA analysis is conducted," Rackauckas wrote. The D.A.'s office is "the only organization capable of harnessing the vast potential of forensic DNA technology."

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December 18, 2008 in DNA | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Lethal Injection and the Problem of Constitutional Remedies

Many states' lethal injection procedures contain serious flaws that create a significant risk of excruciating pain, but, more often that not, courts uphold those procedures against Eighth Amendment challenges. This Article argues that remedial concerns significantly shape - and misdirect - courts' approaches to lethal injection. Many courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court in Baze v. Rees, fear that any lethal injection remedy would unduly burden the state and interfere with executions. Accordingly, they sharply limit the underlying Eighth Amendment right.

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December 18, 2008 in Capital Punishment | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Washington Council Enacts Tough Gun-Control Measure

Nearly six months after the Supreme Court put an end to the District of Columbia’s decades-old ban on handgun possession, the City Council here passed a sweeping new ordinance on Tuesday to regulate gun ownership.

The legislation would require all gun owners to receive five hours of safety training and to register their firearms every three years. In addition, they would have to undergo a criminal background check every six years.

Councilman Phil Mendelson, who helped draft the bill and shepherd it through the Council, called it a “very significant piece of legislation that borrows best practices from other states.”

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December 17, 2008 in Guns | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

1,500 criminals with sealed records rearrested

About 1,500 convicted criminals who were given a fresh start by getting their court records shielded were arrested again over the past two years, according to a newspaper analysis of state records.

That's around 11 percent of the number of first-time nonviolent convicts granted deferred ajudication under a 2003 sealed records law, The Dallas Morning News reported in Monday's editions. Under the law, the records are sealed from most employers, apartment managers and those not in law enforcement as long as they stayed out of trouble.

"It's sound public policy to give people a second chance," said Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, the law's author.

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December 17, 2008 in Criminal Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

What the Alleged Misdeeds of Rod Blagojevich Teach Us About Lawful Politics

The allegations in the criminal complaint filed last week against Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich portray a level of corruption that is shocking even by the standards of a state in which four prior governors have served time in prison. If proven, the charges will almost certainly result in Blagojevich becoming the fifth.

Among the most tawdry of the allegations in the complaint are these three: (1) Blagojevich pressured the Chicago Tribune to fire editors and writers responsible for editorials critical of Blagojevich, in exchange for gubernatorial assistance with the sale by the Tribune of the Chicago Cubs; (2) Blagojevich attempted to extort campaign contributions from people and entities, including a children's hospital, in exchange for government contracts, grants, and regulatory approvals; and (3) Blagojevich conspired to extract lucrative positions for himself and his wife in government or the private or non-profit sectors in exchange for appointing a U.S. Senator to fill the seat vacated by President-elect Obama.

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December 17, 2008 in Criminal Law | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)