CrimProf Blog

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

Sunday, October 4, 2009

"The 10 biggest cases to watch for sentencing fans in the new SCOTUS term"

Doug Berman has his list over at Sentencing Law and Policy--a big year for the Court on setnencing issues.
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October 4, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Suspect Still Seized While Fleeing After Being Pepper Sprayed summarizes this case from New Mexico. The court emphasizes that the suspect had only taken a few steps after being sprayed when he dropped the drugs in question. The court also admits not being entirely certain about what the U.S. Supreme Court meant in Hodari D.  when it referred to a suspect who had "broken away" from a seizure.
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"Does the Mere Existence of an Invalid Arrest Warrant Injure Its Target?"

ColbSherry F. Colb (Cornell Law School) has a detailed analysis at Findlaw of the recent appellate case addressing this situation, which we had previously described here. Professor Colb's conclusion:

When police carry out illegal searches and seizures, they may do so without ever alerting their target – especially if the target turns out to be innocent of any wrongdoing (and therefore unlikely to confront the results of the searches in a later criminal prosecution). But what the Fourth Amendment guarantees is "[t]he right of the people to be secure," and it seems inaccurate to say that a person is truly secure from unreasonable seizures when the police are presently in possession of an invalid warrant for his arrest. One might even describe that state of affairs as the very opposite of security.

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The Number One Reason the Letterman Blackmail Case Will Annoy Criminal Law Professors

Last week, in discussing a new article on blackmail, I recalled Don Dripps' observation: "In the last twenty years, there may very well be fewer reported blackmail prosecutions than articles on the subject." Well now we get a blackmail prosecution, and under New York law, it is called  "extortion," according to this article at Findlaw entitled Letterman Extortion: Producer Busted; What Is Extortion? It seems that the Letterman case falls into the classic blackmail category: a threat to do something that would be legal if it were just done (i.e., exposing Letterman's dalliances). The classic extortion case involves a threat to do something that would be illegal (e.g., punch Letterman, steal his jokes) unless Letterman surrendered something of value. Pretty soon, I'm going to stop correcting my students when they talk about someone robbing a house.
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Symposium and Call for Papers on Confronting Scientific Evidence

The release:

The New England Journal on Criminal and Civil Confinement and the New England School of Law seek submissions concerning the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts. The Court’s June 25 decision may dramatically change procedures for admitting forensic evidence in criminal trials, and it already presents challenges for prosecutors, defense attorneys and courts around the country.

On November 13, the Journal is presenting a symposium, “Confronting Forensic Evidence: Implications of Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts & Briscoe v. Virginia,” that will examine the impact of the contentious decision. Submissions selected for publication will appear in Volume 36, Issue 2, along with papers written by symposium participants.

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October 4, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Top-Ten Recent SSRN Downloads

Ssrn logofor manuscripts announced in the last 60 days in the criminal law and procedure journals are here. The usual disclaimers apply:

Rank Downloads Paper Title
1 441 Culture, Cognition, and Consent: Who Perceives What, and Why, in 'Acquaintance Rape' Cases
Dan M. Kahan,
Yale University - Law School,
Date posted to database: July 22, 2009
Last Revised: September 12, 2009
2 195 Coming to Terms with Ruthlessness: Sovereign Equality, Global Pluralism, and the Limits of International Criminal Justice
Brad R. Roth,
Wayne State University Law School,
Date posted to database: July 31, 2009
Last Revised: August 12, 2009 [4th last week]
3 149 Empirical Work in International Law: A Bibliographical Essay
Tom Ginsburg, Gregory Shaffer,
University of Chicago Law School, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - School of Law,
Date posted to database: August 5, 2009
Last Revised: September 8, 2009 [5th last week]
4 127 Debacle: How the Supreme Court Has Mangled American Sentencing Law And How It Might Yet Be Mended
Frank O. Bowman III,
University of Missouri School of Law,
Date posted to database: September 10, 2009
Last Revised: September 16, 2009 [new to top-ten list]
5 124 Stranger Than Dictum: Why Arizona v. Gant Compels the Conclusion that Suspicionless Buie Searches Incident to Lawful Arrests are Unconstitutional
Colin Miller,
John Marshall Law School,
Date posted to database: August 18, 2009
Last Revised: September 21, 2009 [6th last week]

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October 4, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0)