CrimProf Blog

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

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Zimring and Johnson on Capital Punishment's Influence on American Criminal Justice

Zimring- Cal

Franklin E. Zimring and David T. Johnson (University of California, Berkeley, pictured and University of Hawaii at Manoa) have posted The Dark at the Top of the Stairs: Four Destructive Influences of Capital Punishment on American Criminal Justice on SSRN.  Here is the abstract: 

State execution is not a major part of America's system of criminal punishment, but it casts a long shadow over the principles and practices of the rest of criminal justice. This essay discusses four negative impacts of the death penalty on the larger system: (1) The hyper-extension of the substantive criminal law; (2) The symbolic transformation of harsh punishment to a private reward; (3) The creation and overuse of Life Without Possibility of Parole (LWOP) sentences; and (4) The diversion of legal and judicial resources from other pressing problems in the criminal system.

November 19, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Weinstein and McCleary on the Correlation Between Adult Entertainment Businesses and Secondary Criminal Effects

Weinstein, Alan C. - Cleveland State University Cleveland-Marshall CoLAlan Weinstein (Cleveland State University, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, pictured) and Richard D. McCleary have posted The Association of Adult Businesses with Secondary Effects: Legal Doctrine, Social Theory, and Empirical Evidence (Cleveland-Marshall Legal Studies Paper No. 11-233) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

In the decade since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Alameda Books v. City of Los Angeles, 535 U.S. 425 (2002), the adult entertainment industry has attacked the legal rationale local governments rely upon as the justification for their regulation of adult businesses: that such businesses are associated with so-called negative secondary effects. These attacks have taken a variety of forms, including: trying to subject the studies of secondary effects relied upon by local governments to the Daubert standard for admission of scientific evidence in federal litigation; producing studies that purport to show no association between adult businesses and negative secondary effects in a given jurisdiction; and claims that distinct business models and/or specific local conditions are not associated with the secondary effects demonstrated in the studies relied on by many local governments. In this Article, we demonstrate that, contrary to the industry’s claims, methodologically appropriate studies confirm criminological theory’s prediction that adult businesses are associated with heightened incidences of crime regardless of jurisdiction, business model or location and thus, such studies should have legal and policy effects supporting regulation of adult businesses.

November 18, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Giannini on The Enforceability of Indiana's Victims' Rights Laws

Margaret Giannini

Mary Margaret Giannini (Associate Professor of Law, Florida Coastal School of Law) has posted The Swinging Pendulum of Victims’ Rights: The Enforceability of Indiana’s Victims’ Rights Laws (Indiana Law Review, Vol. 34, No. 3, 2001) on SSRN. Here is the abstract: 

This note provides an overview of Indiana's victims' rights amendment and associated legislation. The note highlights how, as is common in many states, it is difficult for victims to enforce their rights due to lack of standing in the criminal process. The note advocates that the state of Indiana provide victims with mandaums relief, as well as with the creation of victims' rights ombudsman.

November 18, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Bellin on the Confrontation Clause and "Nontestimonial" Hearsay

Bellin, Jeffrey - Southern Methodist University Dedman SoLJeffrey Bellin (Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law) has posted The Incredible Shrinking Confrontation Clause (SMU Dedman School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 84) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Sharp turns in the Supreme Court’s recent Confrontation Clause jurisprudence have left scholars reeling from conflicting emotions: exhilaration, despair, denial, and soon, perhaps, cynical acceptance. While most commentators celebrated the demise of the incoherent Ohio v. Roberts framework, their excitement largely faded with the decisions in Davis v. Washington and Bryant v. Michigan – decisions that revealed nascent flaws in the evolving doctrine and sharply curtailed the newly revitalized confrontation right.

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November 18, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Marceau on the Need for Federal Habeas Review over State Criminal Process

Marceau, Justin - University of Denver Sturm CoLJustin F. Marceau (University of Denver Sturm College of Law) has posted Challenging the Habeas Process Rather than the Result (Washington and Lee Law Review, Vol. 69, 2012) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Habeas scholarship has repeatedly assessed whether the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act’s (AEDPA’s) limitations on federal habeas relief were as severe in practice as they appeared to be on paper. By analyzing recent doctrinal shifts — particularly focusing on two decisions from this Term — and substantial new empirical data, this Article acknowledges that AEDPA’s bite has reached substantial proportions, in many ways exceeding the initial concerns and hype surrounding the legislation. More importantly, after acknowledging that federal habeas relief from state court convictions has become “microscopically” rare, this Article considers what the rarity of relief ought to mean as a prescriptive matter for federal oversight of state convictions.

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November 17, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hansen on the Economic Modeling of Criminal Behavior and Recidivism

Benjamin Hansen has posted Punishment and Recidivism in Drunk Driving on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Traditional economic models of criminal behavior have straightforward predictions: raising the cost of expected cost of crime via apprehension probabilities or punishments decreases crime. Estimating the extent to which increased punishments deter crime is often complicated by omitted variable bias, as the severity of a crime is often a key determinant of the punishment. I overcome this obstacle by taking advantage of discrete thresholds for blood alcohol content (BAC) which determine punishments for driving under the influence (DUI). Regression discontinuity derived estimates suggest that having a BAC above the DUI threshold reduces recidivism by up to 2 percentage points (17 percent). As previous DUI violations increase future penalties for drunk driving, this is consistent with Beckerian models of criminal activity. However, enhanced penalties for aggravated DUI also reduce recidivism by an additional percentage point (9 percent), despite the fact that the enhanced punishments only affect the current penalties. This suggests a form adaptive expectations play a role in criminal behavior, whereby expectations of future punishments are based upon previous punishments experienced. 

November 17, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Starger on Mapping the Doctrinal Lineage of the Exclusionary Rule Under Herring v. United States

Starger, Colin - University of Baltimore SoLColin P. Starger (University of Baltimore School of Law) has posted Response: Metaphor and Meaning in Trawling for Herring (Columbia Law Review, Vol. 111, pp. 109-120, 2011) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

In this essay responding to Professor Jennifer Laurin’s essay, Trawling for Herring: Lessons in Doctrinal Borrowing and Convergence, I advance Laurin’s project of recovering the exclusionary rule’s lost lineage through a critical reflection upon her doctrinal metaphors. Specifically, I parse the jurisprudential significance of Laurin’s idea of “trawling” in order to understand Herring v. United States and show how this metaphor successfully builds upon a second water-based metaphor animating Laurin’s analysis — the “hydraulics” of borrowing and convergence. By attending to both Laurin’s specific exclusionary rule arguments and to how Laurin’s conceptualization of “hydraulics” extends Professors Tebbe and Tsai’s constitutional borrowing framework, I maintain that Laurin persuasively demonstrates how constitutional tort doctrine has influenced exclusionary-rule jurisprudence.

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November 17, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Nash on the Necessity of Specific Advice on Immigration Consequences in Criminal Proceedings under Padilla v. Kentucky

Lindsay C. Nash has posted Considering the Scope of Advisal Duties Under Padilla (33 Cardozo Law Review 101, 2011) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

In Padilla v. Kentucky, the Supreme Court recognized the complexity and severity of immigration penalties triggered by criminal convictions and held that defense attorneys are obligated to advise clients of such consequences. In so doing, the Court explained that specific advice is required when a consequence is clear; at the same time, it acknowledged it is not always possible to ascertain the consequences of a criminal disposition and, when that is the case, counsel’s duty is more limited. The Court did not, however, elaborate on the circumstances in which the duty might be limited or explain what advice defense counsel owes a non-citizen defendant even under that limited duty. As post-Padilla practice has demonstrated, a more developed understanding of the extent of the duty to advise non-citizen defendants is now essential.

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November 16, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Logan on Ex Post Facto Clause-based Challenges to Registration and Community Notification Laws

Logan, Wayne A. - Florida State University CoLWayne A. Logan (Florida State University - College of Law) has posted Populism and Punishment (Criminal Justice, Vol. 26, No. 37, 2011) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

This paper surveys Ex Post Facto Clause-based challenges brought against registration and community notification laws and considers whether recent toughening of the laws affords litigants an enhanced basis for success. 

November 16, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Cell Phones at Red Lights

Martin shaunMy colleague, Shaun Martin, discusses the recent California Court of Appeals case over at California Appellate Report. An interesting exercise in interpreting the word "driving" and teasing out the implications--e.g., how about pulling off on the shoulder to make the call?

November 16, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Morrison on Changes in Conspiracy Law

SMorrison- university of north dakota

Steven R. Morrison (University of North Dakota School of Law) has posted The New Conspiracy to Support an Idea on SSRN.  Here is the abstract: 

This article sets forth the argument that conspiracy law in the United States may be entering a new stage, thanks to the efforts of government prosecutors in the terrorism context. The new stage is characterized by the criminalization of conspiracies to support an (unpopular) idea.

This new conspiracy paradigm confronts the intertwined relationship between conspiracy law and speech rights. Its foundational argument is that speech rights are limited in the context of a conspiracy trial because speech is used as evidence against a defendant. This is not a bad thing per se. The conflict between conspiracy law’s interests and speech rights is questioned, however, when defendants’ anti-American and pro-“jihad” speech is used when it could indicate support for terrorism, a fundamentalist (but nonviolent) religiosity, or mere protest against the U.S. military’s involvement in the Middle East.

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November 16, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Herbert on Location Tracking, Technological Change, and the Fourth Amendment

Ian Herbert (New York University) has posted Where Are We Now?: Location Tracking, Technological Change, and the Fourth Amendment (Berkeley Journal of Criminal Law, Vol. 16, Issue 2, 2011) on SSRN. Here is the abstract: 

Thirty years ago, the United State Supreme Court decided that law enforcement’s use of a location-tracking device (a “beeper”) in a criminal investigation did not violate the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unlawful searches. Since then, the technology has changed drastically. But even more importantly, the field of location tracking has evolved from one that included only one kind of tracking device into one that includes hundreds of different devices. Some of today’s devices are satellite-based, while others use information received by cell phone towers; some are battery powered and others connect to a car’s battery; some transmit their location information directly to the investigators, while others store the data and must be retrieved by the investigator. Through interviews with law enforcement officials and manufacturers and examinations of government contracts, this article seeks to provide a history of the advancements in tracking technology and a close look at the devices currently in use. This article encourages all courts that face this constitutional question—starting with the Supreme Court in United States v. Jones, but continuing even after that case—to look closely at the capabilities of the device at issue.


November 15, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Levin on The Castle Doctrine Statutes

Benjamin Levin has posted A Defensible Defense?: Reexamining Castle Doctrine Statutes (Harvard Journal on Legislation, Vol. 47, No. 2, p. 523, 2010) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract: 

Recent years have seen a proliferation of so-called “castle doctrine” statutes – laws that provide home dwellers with more expansive self-defense protections if they resort to lethal force in confrontations with intruders. The passage of such laws and subsequent uses of the defense have captured the public imagination, prompting significant media attention, as well as skeptical and critical scholarship from the legal academic community. 

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November 15, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Garrison on The Disproportionate Incarceration of African Americans

Arthur H. Garrison - Kutztown

Arthur H. Garrison (Kutztown University) has posted Disproportionate Incarceration of African Americans: What History and the First Decade of Twenty-First Century Have Brought (Institute of Justice & International Studies, Vol. 11, p. 87, 2011) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract: 

The incarceration of African Americans is not a phenomenon that occurred post civil rights era but has been a practical fact of criminal justice administration since data on incarceration have been kept. Before crack cocaine and three strikes; before the rise of the federal sentencing guidelines and get tough on crime movement; before the 100:1 crack to powder cocaine ratio in federal sentencing; before the war on drugs; before the war on poverty and the welfare state; before the increase in African American children born out of wedlock and the rise of single female head of households; before the world wars; and even before the revolutionary war -- African Americans have been disproportionately incarcerated in the United States. The achievement of an African American President and an African American Chairman of the National Republican Party does not overshadow the fact that before and after these two historical events African Americans have been and still are disproportionally represented in America’s prisons. This paper will review the intransigent fact of the disproportionate incarceration of African Americans in prisons, the historical nature of the disproportionate incarceration, and will provide a summary of research / policy solutions to the problem.

November 14, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Brenner on Remote Computer Searches

Susan W. Brenner (University of Dayton - School of Law)

Susan W. Brenner (University of Dayton - School of Law) has posted Fourth Amendment Future: Remote Computer Searches and the Use of Virtual Force (Mississippi Law Journal, Vol. 81, No. 1, 2011) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract: 

This article examines the Fourth Amendment implications of two tactics that may become part of law enforcement’s efforts to investigate and otherwise control criminal activity. The first is the use of certain types of software, most notably Trojan horse programs, to conduct surreptitious, remote searches of computers and computer media. The other tactic is the use of “virtual force,” e.g., using Distributed Denial of Service and other attacks to shut down or otherwise disable websites that host offending content and/or activities.

November 14, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Hessick on Post-Booker Leniency in Child Pornography Sentencing

Carissa Byrne Hessick  (Arizona State, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law)

Carissa Byrne Hessick  (Arizona State, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law) has posted Post-Booker Leniency in Child Pornography Sentencing (Federal Sentencing Reporter, Vol. 24, No. 2, December 2011) on SSRN. Here is the abstract: 

As a number of commentators and courts have noted, the Guideline sentences for possession of child pornography are quite harsh. A number of district courts have used their post-Booker discretion to impose below-Guideline sentences on those who possess child pornography. 

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November 14, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Glick on Virtual Checkpoints and Cyber-Terry Stops

Scott J. Glick (U.S. Department of Justice) has posted Virtual Checkpoints and Cyber-Terry Stops: Digital Scans to Protect the Nation’s Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources (Journal of National Security Law and Policy, Vol. 6, No. 1, 2012) on SSRN. Here is the abstract: 

The cybersecurity risks to the nation’s critical infrastructure and key resources are significant and increasing every day. While a sound legal basis exists for the government to use computer intrusion detection technology to protect its own networks, critical infrastructure and key resources which are primarily owned by the private sector are governed by a different set of constitutional principles and laws. This Article explores the potential for a new cybersecurity exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant and individualized suspicion requirements. By viewing cybersecurity through a protective Fourth Amendment lens, as opposed to a criminal, intelligence, or military lens, fairly well established legal frameworks from the physical world can be applied to cyberspace to enable the government to use technology to identify malicious digital codes that may be attacking the nation’s critical infrastructure and key resources without running afoul of the Fourth Amendment. The Article argues that reasonable and limited digital scans at virtual checkpoints in cyberspace, which are binary and do not initially expose the contents of the communications to human review, are a constitutional and effective way to minimize the cybersecurity risks to the nation. The Article proposes that the Congress consider and enact sensible new legislation that will specifically enable the government to take remedial and other protective actions in cyberspace within the constitutional framework that has enabled this nation to prosper.

November 13, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

McCord on Texas Death Sentences


David McCord  (Drake University Law School) has posted What's Messing with Texas Death Sentences? (Texas Tech Law Review, Vol. 43, 2011) on SSRN. Here is the abstract: 

This article empirically examines the causes of the substantial decline in the number of death sentences imposed in Texas from the peak period of 42 per year in the period 1992-1996 to 14 per year for the period 2005-2009. The author identifies five factors that have produced this decline, and quantifies their effects as either large or modest.

November 13, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)