CrimProf Blog

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

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Saturday, September 4, 2010

Solove on Fourth Amendment Pragmatism

Solove daniel Daniel J. Solove  (George Washington University Law School) has posted Fourth Amendment Pragmatism (Boston College Law Review, Vol. 51, p. 1, 2010) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

In this essay, Professor Solove argues that the Fourth Amendment reasonable expectation of privacy test should be abandoned. Instead of engaging in a fruitless game of determining whether privacy is invaded, the United States Supreme Court should adopt a more pragmatic approach to the Fourth Amendment and directly face the issue of how to regulate government information gathering. There are two central questions in Fourth Amendment analysis: (1) The Coverage Question - Does the Fourth Amendment provide protection against a particular form of government information gathering? and (2) The Procedure Question - How should the Fourth Amendment regulate this form of government information gathering? The Coverage Question should be easy to answer: The Fourth Amendment should regulate whenever government information gathering creates problems of reasonable significance. Such a scope of coverage would be broad, and the attention wasted on the Coverage Question would be shifted to the Procedure Question. This pragmatic approach to the Fourth Amendment is consistent with its text and will make Fourth Amendment law coherent and comprehensive.

September 4, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Kinports on the Court and Miranda

Kinports kit Kit Kinports (The Pennsylvania State University) has posted The Supreme Court's Love-Hate Relationship with Miranda on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

In recent years, the Supreme Court has enjoyed a love-hate relationship with its landmark decision in Miranda v. Arizona. While the Court has not hesitated to narrow Miranda’s reach, it has also been wary of deliberate efforts to circumvent it. This pragmatic approach to Miranda can be doctrinally unsatisfying and even incoherent at times, but it basically maintains the core structure of Miranda as the police have come to know and adapt to it.

Last Term provided the first glimpse of the Roberts Court’s views on Miranda, as the Court considered three Miranda cases: Maryland v. Shatzer, Florida v. Powell, and Berghuis v. Thompkins. This Article examines each opinion through a pragmatic lens, with an eye towards ascertaining whether the Roberts Court remains committed to the pragmatic approach taken by its predecessors. While the government prevailed on every issue raised by the three cases, the opinions vary in their fidelity to pragmatic norms.

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September 4, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Baer on Cooperation's Cost

Baer_miriam Miriam H. Baer  (Brooklyn Law School) has posted Cooperation's Cost  (Washington University Law Review, Forthcoming) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

This Article explores the costs and benefits of criminal cooperation, the widespread practice by which prosecutors offer criminal defendants reduced sentences in exchange for their assistance in apprehending other criminals. On one hand, cooperation increases the likelihood that criminals will be detected and prosecuted successfully. This is the “Detection Effect” of cooperation, and it has long been cited as the policy’s primary justification.

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September 3, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Dervan on Plea Bargaining's Innocence Problem

Dervan lucian Lucian E. Dervan  (Southern Illinois University School of Law) has posted Bargained Justice: Plea Bargaining's Innocence Problem and the Brady Safety-Valve on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

If any number of attorneys were asked in 2004 whether Lea Fastow’s plea bargain in the Enron case was constitutional, the majority would respond with a simple word – Brady. Yet while the 1970 Supreme Court decision Brady v. United States authorized plea bargaining as a form of American justice, the case also contained a vital caveat that has been largely overlooked by scholars, practitioners, and courts for almost forty years. Brady contains a safety-valve that caps the amount of pressure that may be asserted against defendants by prohibiting prosecutors from offering incentives in return for guilty pleas that are so coercive as to overbear defendants’ abilities to act freely. Further, as a means to discern whether the safety-valve fails in the future and prosecutors are offering unconstitutional incentives, the Brady Court created a litmus test regarding innocent defendants. The Court stated that should the plea bargaining system begin to operate in a manner resulting in a significant number of innocent defendants pleading guilty the Court would be forced to reexamine the constitutionality of bargained justice. That plea bargaining today has a significant innocence problem indicates that the Brady safety-valve has failed and, as a result, the constitutionality of modern day plea bargaining is in great doubt.

September 2, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Harcourt and Meares on Randomization and the Fourth Amendment

HarcourtBernard_01 Meares_tracey(1) Bernard E. Harcourt (left) and Tracey L. Meares  (University of Chicago - Law School and Yale University) have posted Randomization and the Fourth Amendment on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Randomized checkpoint searches are generally taken to be the exact antitheses of reasonableness under the Fourth Amendment. In the eyes of most jurists, checkpoint searches violate the central requirement of valid Fourth Amendment searches – namely, individualized suspicion. We disagree. In this article, we contend that randomized searches should form the very lodestar of a reasonable search. The fact is that the notion of “individualized” suspicion is misleading; most suspicion in the modern policing context is group-based and not individual specific. Randomized searches by definition are accompanied by a certain level of suspicion. The constitutional issue, we maintain, should not turn on the question of suspicion-based versus suspicionless police searches, but on the level of suspicion that attaches to any search program and on the evenhandedness of the program. In essence, we argue for a new paradigm of randomized encounters that satisfy a base level of suspicion and that will provide the benefits of both privacy-protection (by ensuring a minimum level of suspicion) and evenhandedness (by cabining police discretion), the very values we wish to protect through the Fourth Amendment.

September 2, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Covey on Pervasive Surveillance and the Fourth Amendment

Covey russell Russell D. Covey  (Georgia State University College of Law) has posted Pervasive Surveillance and the Future of the Fourth Amendment (Mississippi Law Journal, Vol. 80, No. 4, 2010) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

We are in a period of intense technological change. The continued explosive growth in technology has two major effects on the scope and application of the Fourth Amendment. First, the diffusion of powerful new technologies like DNA synthesis and high-powered computing makes it far easier than ever before for ill-meaning groups or individuals to obtain powerful and destructive weapons. Regardless of who is perceived to desire such weapons, the very existence and potential use of such weapons poses a permanent and growing threat to national security. Second, with the development of new technologies, governments are finding it increasingly cheap and easy to conduct intrusive surveillance on their populations and to obtain data and information about individuals in quantities and in detail never before imagined. For both of these reasons, states are increasingly likely to adopt strategies of pervasive surveillance.

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September 1, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Jet Blue Flight Attendant and the Criminal Law

Murphy erin Erin Murphy (NYU) has published "Is Steven Slater a Criminal?" in USA Today. In part:

Cannibalistic criminalization is also bad for the rest of us. Because harm prevention seems an unconvincing justification for this prosecution, perhaps the district attorney is motivated by another philosophy, such as the desire to deter others from engaging in the same kind of behavior. We are, after all, in the midst of an economic crisis, and the very fact that Slater appears to have tapped such a deep vein of resentment might suggest that failure to punish him would invite others to follow suit.

September 1, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Schulhofer, Tyler & Hug on Policing at a Crossroads

Schulhofer stephen Stephen Schulhofer (pictured), Tom Tyler and Aziz Z. Huq  (New York University - School of Law , New York University - Department of Psychology and University of Chicago Law School) have posted American Policing at a Crossroads on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

As victimization rates have fallen, public preoccupation with policing and its crime control impact has receded. Terrorism has become the new focal point of concern. But satisfaction with ordinary police practices hides deep problems. The time is therefore ripe for rethinking the assumptions that have guided American police for most of the past two decades. This essay proposes an empirically grounded shift to what we call a procedural justice model of policing. When law enforcement moves toward this approach, it can be more effective, at lower cost and without the negative side effects that currently hamper responses to terrorism and conventional crime. This essay describes the procedural justice model, explains its theoretical and empirical foundations, and discusses its policy implications, both for ordinary policing and for efforts to combat international terrorism.

September 1, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mitchell on Obstacles to Longer Halfway House Placements

Mitchell david S. David Mitchell  (University of Missouri) has posted Impeding Reentry: Agency and Judicial Obstacles to Longer Halfway House Placements on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Over 700,000 prisoners were released into their communities in 2008, at least 50,000 of those from federal custody. Once an obscure cause, nearly everyone agrees that prisoner reentry – the process by which former prisoners return to their community as free citizens – is of national importance. Absent adequate attention to transitional services, ex-offenders are often homeless, unemployed, and suffer from untreated substance abuse addictions. Accordingly, President Obama and his two predecessors have devoted considerable attention to the issue. Congress passed the Second Chance in 2007, amending two federal statutes, sections 3624(c) and 3621(b) and giving inmates a longer time in halfway houses to transition from incarceration to law-abiding citizens and requiring individualized inmate assessments prior to placement. Nevertheless, the Bureau of Prisons is ignoring both mandates, by categorically limiting the inmates’ time in halfway houses, trends that some courts have found violates the agency’s statutory authority.

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August 31, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Stinneford on Proportionality under the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause

Stinneford_john John F. Stinneford  (University of Florida Levin College of Law) has posted Rethinking Proportionality under the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Although a century has passed since the Supreme Court started reviewing criminal punishments for excessiveness under the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause, this area of doctrine remains highly problematic. The Court has never answered doubts about the legitimacy of proportionality review, leading a controlling plurality of the Court to insist that such review be limited to a narrow class of cases. The Court has also adopted an ever-shifting definition of excessiveness, making the very concept of proportionality incoherent. Finally, the Court’s method of measuring proportionality is unreliable and self-contradictory. As a result, very few offenders have benefited from the Court’s decision to engage in proportionality review. This area of doctrine needs rethinking.

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August 31, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Gender, Justice, and Victim Rights Symposium Feb. 25 at Wisconsin

Legal Scholarship Blog notes this symposium focusing on "A Gendered Perspective of Victims in the Criminal Justice System." Those interested in submitting papers should send an abstract by by October 31.

August 30, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Reamey on Universality in Criminal Procedure

Reamey_gerald Gerald S. Reamey  (St. Mary's University School of Law) has posted Innovation or Renovation in Criminal Procedure: Is the World Moving Toward a New Model of Adjudication? (Arizona Journal International & Comparative Law, Vol. 27, p. 324, 2010) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

A universal system of criminal procedure offers the allure of efficiency, predictability, and enhanced crime control. For the first time in modern history, universality seems achievable. The criminal procedures employed by the world’s major legal systems are converging. What was once distinctively “civil” or “common law” is now a blend of the two. The adversarial adjudicative approach of most common law countries now can be found in the most unlikely places, and civil law characteristics adorn the processes of some of the world’s most aggressively adversarial systems.

While this movement has not gone unnoticed, the pace of change has accelerated, and the ways in which it has manifested itself have increased. This article begins by revealing how little systems actually differ in practice. It then analyzes how the gap that remains between these systems is closing by examining three illustrations of convergence: the growing use of lay judges and juries in civil law countries, the Italian reform movement incorporating adversarial techniques in a traditionally nonadversarial system, and the modernization of Chinese criminal procedure.

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August 30, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Haque on Criminal Law and Armed Conflict

Haque adil Adil Ahmad Haque  (Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - School of Law-Newark) has posted Criminal Law and Morality at War (PHILOSOPHICAL FOUNDATIONS OF CRIMINAL LAW, R.A. Duff, Stuart P. Green, eds., 2010) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

The purpose of this chapter is to identify the moral norms applicable to killing in armed conflict and determine whether and to what extent the law of armed conflict (LOAC) and international criminal law (ICL) track these moral norms, justifiably depart from them, or unjustifiably depart from them. Part I explores the moral and legal norms governing the killing of civilians not directly participating in hostilities, both as an intended means and as a foreseen side-effect, and defends one account of these norms against important philosophical challenges by Thomas Scanlon, Victor Tadros, Frances Kamm, and Jeff McMahan. I argue that these moral norms are best understood and defended using the distinctions drawn in criminal law theory between wrongdoing, justifiability, and justification. The LOAC tracks these moral norms quite closely. By contrast, ICL departs from these moral norms in ways that are difficult to defend, in part because ICL seems to mistakenly assign intention a wrong-making rather than a wrong-justifying function.

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August 30, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

"Somalia piracy suspect pleads guilty in US court"

Jurist has this interesting story, recounting the charges that have been filed against "pirates" in light of a federal judge's ruling that the federal piracy statute does not apply to "violence or aggression committed on the high seas" and discussing the controversy about whether these prosecutions should occur in federal court.

August 29, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Top-Ten Recent SSRN Downloads

Ssrn logo are here. The usual disclaimers apply.

Rank Downloads Paper Title
1 2739 A Legal Labyrinth: Issues Raised by Arizona Senate Bill 1070 Gabriel J. Chin, Carissa Byrne Hessick, Toni M. Massaro, Marc L. Miller,
University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, Arizona State, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, University of Arizona College of Law, University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law,
Date posted to database: May 29, 2010
2 200 Broken Lives from Broken Windows: The Hidden Costs of Aggressive Ordermaintenance Policing
Babe Howell,
CUNY School of Law,
Date posted to database: May 18, 2010
3 183 Palestine and the International Criminal Court: Asking the Right Question
Michael G. Kearney,
Unaffiliated Authors - affiliation not provided to SSRN,
Date posted to database: July 3, 2010
4 168 Status as Punishment: A Critical Guide to Padilla v. Kentucky
Gabriel J. Chin, Margaret Colgate Love,
University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, Law Office of Margaret Love,
Date posted to database: July 10, 2010 [6th last week]
5 159 Those Who Can't, Teach: What the Legal Career of John Yoo Tells Us About Who Should be Teaching Law
Lawrence Rosenthal,
Chapman University - School of Law,
Date posted to database: June 27, 2010
6 145 More Different than Life, Less Different than Death
William W. Berry,
University of Mississippi School of Law,
Date posted to database: May 25, 2010 [4th last week]
7 134 Selected Salient Evidentiary Issues in Employment Discrimination Cases
Lynn McLain,
University of Baltimore School of Law,
Date posted to database: July 12, 2010
8 120 Cracked Mirror: SB1070 and Other State Regulation of Immigration through Criminal Law
Gabriel J. Chin, Marc L. Miller,
University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law,
Date posted to database: July 26, 2010 [new to top ten]
9 113 One-hundred Years of Getting It Wrong? Wrongful Convictions After a Century of Research
Jon B. Gould, Richard A. Leo,
George Mason University - School of Public Policy, University of San Francisco - School of Law,
Date posted to database: May 27, 2010 [8th last week]
10 100 Therapeutic Jurisprudence and its Application to Criminal Justice Research and Development
David B. Wexler,
University of Puerto Rico - School of Law,
Date posted to database: June 23, 2010

August 29, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)