Saturday, March 6, 2010
Friday, March 5, 2010
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
is here. The syllabus:
Petitioner Johnson pleaded guilty to possession of ammunition by a convicted felon. 18 U. S. C. §922(g)(1). The Government sought sentencing under the Armed Career Criminal Act, which authorizes an enhanced penalty for a person who violates §922(g) and who “has three previous convictions” for “a violent felony,” §924(e)(1), defined as, inter alia, an offense that “has as an element the use . . . of physical force against the person of another,” §924(e)(2)(B)(i). Among the three prior felony convictions the Government proffered was Johnson’s 2003 Florida conviction for simple battery, which ordinarily is a first-degree misdemeanor, Fla. Stat. §784.03(1)(b), but was a felony conviction for Johnson because he had previously been convicted of another battery, Fla. Stat. §784.03(2). Under Florida law, a battery occurs when a person either “[a]ctually and intentionally touches or strikes another person against [his] will,” or “[i]ntentionally causes bodily harm to another person.” §784.03(1)(a). Nothing in the record permitted the District Court to conclude that Johnson’s 2003 conviction rested upon the “strik[ing]” or “[i]ntentionally caus[ing] bodily harm” elements of the offense. Accordingly, his conviction was a predicate conviction for a “violent felony” under the Armed Career Criminal Act only if “[a]ctually and intentionally touch[ing]” another constitutes the use of “physical force” under §924(e)(2)(B)(i). Concluding it does, the District Court enhanced Johnson’s sentence under §924(e)(1), sentencing him to a term of 15 years and 5 months.The Eleventh Circuit affirmed.
James Gwin has posted Juror Sentiment on Just Punishment: Do the Federal Sentencing Guidelines Reflect Community Values? (Harvard Law & Policy Review, Vol. 4, pp. 173-200, 2010) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Do the Federal Sentencing Guidelines reflect community sentiment regarding appropriate punishment? This paper describes a study where juries were surveyed after they had given guilty verdicts. The author then compared the jurors' recommendations with the Federal Sentencing Guidelines recommended sentence. Combining 22 cases of various types, the median juror recommended sentence was only 19% of the median Guidelines ranges and only 36% of the bottom of the Guidelines ranges.
The author argues that the Federal Sentencing Guidelines correctly emphasized retribution as the most important sentencing purpose. If retributive considerations should dominate, the author says the ranges chosen should align with community sentiment. Although the study is limited, it suggests the current Guidelines values do not. The author recommends juror questionnaires as an easy facility to better guage community sentiment without diminishing the Guidelines desire to reduce sentencing disparities.
Monday, March 1, 2010
The Court granted cert in Michigan v. Bryant. Here's the issue as described on ScotusBlog, which also links to cert papers and the opinion below:
Whether preliminary inquiries of a wounded citizen concerning the perpetrator and circumstances of the shooting are nontestimonial because they were “made under circumstances objectively indicating that the primary purpose of the interrogation is to enable police assistance to meet an ongoing emergency,” including not only aid to a wounded victim, but also the prompt identification and apprehension of an apparently violent and dangerous individual?
The story is in the New York Times:
Last May in a small town in eastern Utah, a 17-year-old girl, seven months pregnant, paid a man she had just met $150 to beat her up in hopes of inducing a miscarriage that would resolve her crisis. He obliged, taking her to a basement and kicking her repeatedly in the stomach.
. . .
The bill’s sponsor, Representative Carl D. Wimmer, a Republican and former police officer from the suburbs of Salt Lake City, said the beating case, and the decision by a judge last fall that the girl had committed no crime because seeking an abortion is not illegal, revealed “a loophole” in the law.
. . .
But critics say legislation inspired by an unusual, perhaps even freakish criminal case, could open up a vast frontier around the question of intent and responsibility and give local prosecutors huge new powers to inquire about a woman’s intentions toward her unborn child.
This interesting story in yesterday's San Diego Union Tribune:
Since 2003, prosecutors have targeted at least three other Superior Court judges for whole or partial boycotts.
Sources in the courthouse, the local defense bar and the District Attorney’s Office said all three were targeted shortly after they made rulings that the District Attorney’s Office apparently disagreed with. Two of those judges, Judith Hayes and William McAdam, no longer work in the criminal courts.
Boycotting a judge is seen by some as ham-handed attempt to intimidate or even bully judges. It is done by using a peremptory challenge — a legal move available to prosecutors and defense lawyers — to block a new case from going to a particular judge. A specific reason does not have to be given. The challenge can also be used in a limited form, such as only on serious felony cases.
Sunday, February 28, 2010
|1||352||The Emerging Law of Detention: The Guantanamo Cases as Lawmaking |
Benjamin Wittes, Robert Chesney, Rabea Benhalim,
Unaffiliated Authors - affiliation not provided to SSRN, University of Texas School of Law, Brookings Institution,
Date posted to database: January 27, 2010
|2||273||Self-Defense Targetings of Non-State Actors and Permissibility of U.S. Use of Drones in Pakistan |
Jordan J. Paust,
University of Houston - Law Center,
Date posted to database: December 11, 2009
|3||234||Fifty State Survey of Adult Sex Offender Registration Laws |
Brenda V. Smith,
American University - Washington College of Law,
Date posted to database: December 3, 2009
|4||230||The Greatest Legal Movie of All Time: Proclaiming the Real Winner |
Grant H. Morris,
University of San Diego School of Law,
Date posted to database: January 12, 2010
|5||217||The Case Against the Goldstone Report: A Study in Evidentiary Bias |
Harvard Law School,
Date posted to database: January 27, 2010 [new to top ten}
|6||215||How Does International Law Work: What Empirical Research Shows |
Tom Ginsburg, Gregory Shaffer,
University of Chicago Law School, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - School of Law,
Date posted to database: December 19, 2009 [5th last week]
|7||173||Vagueness Challenges to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act |
Orin S. Kerr,
George Washington University - Law School,
Date posted to database: December 23, 2009 [6th last week]
|8||129||Unintended Collateral Consequences: Defining Felony in the Early American Republic |
University of Baltimore - School of Law,
Date posted to database: December 4, 2009 [7th last week]
|9||123||Judging Police Lies: An Empirical Perspective |
Melanie D. Wilson,
University of Kansas - School of Law,
Date posted to database: January 11, 2010 [10th last week]
|10||120||Why the Prior Conviction Sentencing Enhancements in Illegal Re-Entry Cases are Unjust and Unjustified (and Unreasonable Too) |
Unaffiliated Authors - affiliation not provided to SSRN,
Date posted to database: December 1, 2009 [8th last week]