CrimProf Blog

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

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Buell on Liability and Admissions of Wrongdoing

Buell samuelSamuel W. Buell (Duke University School of Law) has posted Liability and Admissions of Wrongdoing in Public Enforcement of Law (University of Cincinnati Law Review, Vol. 81, 2013) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Some judges and scholars have questioned the social value of the standard form in which the Securities and Exchange Commission settles its corporate enforcement actions, including the agency’s use of essentially unreviewed consent decrees that include no admission of liability or wrongdoing. This essay for a symposium on SEC enforcement provides an analysis of the deterrent effects of the three main components of settlements in public enforcement of law: liability, admission, and remedy. The conclusions are the following. All three components have beneficial deterrent effects. Cost considerations nonetheless justify some settlements that dispense with liability or admission, or even both. But a practice like the SEC’s of uniformly institutionalizing settlements without admissions, such that the deterrent effects of admissions are never realized, even for bargaining leverage, is not justified. Further, there is reason to believe that some form of judicial review of enforcement settlements would contribute to deterrence. To put the argument another way, the SEC and other agencies engaged in public civil enforcement could learn something from contemplating why the federal criminal justice system strongly disfavors nolo contendere pleas and why a plea bargaining system dominated by nolo pleas would be so undesirable as to be unthinkable.

March 23, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Klingele on Community Supervision

Klingele ceceliaCecelia M. Klingele (University of Wisconsin Law School) has posted Rethinking the Use of Community Supervision on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Community supervision, whether in the form of probation or post-release supervision, is ordinarily framed as an alternative to incarceration. For this reason, legal reformers intent on reducing America's disproportionately high incarceration rates often urge lawmakers to expand the use of community supervision, confident that diverting offenders to the community will significantly reduce over-reliance on incarceration. Yet, on any given day, a significant percentage of new prisoners arrive at the prison gates not as a result of sentencing for a new crime, but because they have been revoked from probation or parole. It is therefore fair to say that in many cases community supervision is not an alternative to imprisonment, but only a delayed form of it. This Article examines the reasons why community supervision so often fails, and challenges popular assumptions about the role community supervision should play in efforts to reduce over-reliance on imprisonment.

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March 23, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Oliver on Plea Bargaining

Oliver, Wes - Picture 079Wesley Oliver (Duquesne Law School) has posted Toward a Common Law of Plea Bargaining on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

This article contends that Missouri v. Frye and Lafler v. Cooper, holding that defendants have a right to an effective criminal negotiator, are landmark decisions, but not because they will cause the reversal of any substantial number of convictions. These opinions could have a far greater impact than that. These opinions may cause criminal defense lawyers to embrace their role as negotiators. The recognition that negotiation is as central to their duty under the Sixth Amendment as litigation should cause them to study the negotiation tactics and experiences of their colleagues just as they now very effectively learn from their trial and appellate skills. The opinions also encourage trial courts, in crafting remedies for ineffective assistance of counsel during plea bargaining, to inquire into a reasonable prosecutor’s motives for offering a plea lost by counsel’s ineffectiveness.

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March 22, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Dwyer on Jailing Black Babies

Dwyer jamesJames G. Dwyer (William & Mary Law School) has posted Jailing Black Babies (Utah Law Review, 2014, Forthcoming) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

In many situations of family dysfunction stemming from poverty, the interests of parents are in conflict with the interests of their offspring. This presents a dilemma for liberals. We want to mitigate the harsh consequences and suffering that conditions we deem unjust have caused some adults, especially adults of minority race. But we are also concerned about the welfare of children born into impoverished and troubled communities. The predominant liberal response to this dilemma has been to sidestep it by ignoring or denying the conflict and to then take positions aimed at protecting parents’ interests, without giving serious attention to the impact on children.

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March 22, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

"Manufactured Evidence, the Defense Bar's Reaction"

The post is at Crime & Consequences. In part:

I noted here the case of prominent Washington, DC defense attorney Charles Daum, who recently received a 63-month prison sentence for faking evidence and suborning perjury.  I have looked a bit more into the case. The reaction of members of the defense bar is revealing.

. . .

His defense colleagues see nothing he should regret.  The only thing the public should be worried about are the prosecutors  --  the ones who decline to be bullied into giving a free pass to this sort of behavior.

March 19, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Gould et al. on Predicting Erroneous Convictions

Jon Gould Julia Carrano Richard A. Leo and Katie Hail-Jares (American University - School of Public Affairs , American University , University of San Francisco - School of Law and American University) have posted Predicting Erroneous Convictions (Iowa Law Review, Forthcoming) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

The last thirty years have seen an enormous increase not only in the exonerations of innocent defendants but also academic scholarship on erroneous convictions. This literature has identified a number of common factors that appear frequently in erroneous conviction cases, including forensic error, prosecutorial misconduct, false confessions, and eyewitness misidentification. However, without a comparison or control group of cases, researchers risk labeling these factors as “causes” of erroneous convictions when they may be merely correlates. This article reports results from the first large scale empirical research project to compare wrongful convictions with other innocence cases in which the defendant escaped conviction (so-called “near misses”). Employing statistical methods and an expert panel, the research helps us to understand how the criminal justice system identifies innocent defendants in order to prevent erroneous convictions. In another first, the research secured the cooperation of practitioners from multiple sides of the criminal justice system, including the national Innocence Project, the Police Foundation, the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, and the National District Attorneys Association. The results highlight ten factors that distinguish wrongful convictions from near misses, but the larger story is one of system failure in which the protections of the criminal justice system operate in a counterintuitive manner. The article closes with a series of policy reforms to address these failings.

March 19, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Morris on Congress and US v Jones

Ebony Morris has posted Always Eyes Watching You: United States v. Jones and Congress's Attempts to Stop Warrantless Government Surveillance (40 S.U.L. Rev. ___ (2013) (forthcoming)) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

In recent years, technology has advanced to new levels. Technology that was exclusively used by government officials is now available to the general public. Unfortunately, law enforcement officials have taken advantage of technology's availability to prey on unsuspecting citizens and invade privacy protected by the Fourth Amendment. Governmental use of Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking devices has invaded the privacy of unsuspecting citizens, and in the absence of precedent, officials have continued to invade privacy. In United States v. Jones, the United States Supreme Court got its opportunity to halt governmental abuse of technology; however, the Court only addressed the physical element of Fourth Amendment searches instead of its presence through the use of GPS tracking devices without a physical trespass. As Associate Justice Samuel Alito suggests, Congress is an appropriate body to address the issue. 

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March 19, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Shen on Rape Law Reform

Shen francisFrancis X. Shen (University of Minnesota Law School) has posted How We Still Fail Rape Victims: Reflecting on Responsibility and Legal Reform (Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, Vol. 22, No. 1, 2011) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Despite over thirty years of rape law reform, rape remains too prevalent, and successful convictions of rapists remain too rare. I argue in this Article that we continue to fail rape victims because we are too quick to give in to our instinct to blame and less willing to engage in the careful reflection that would lead us to see more profoundly our collective responsibility for this failure.

The Article proceeds in five sections. In Section I, I review a number of studies and argue that rape reforms to date, while significant, have nonetheless been inadequate. I then discuss the pervasiveness of rape myths about blame, both over time and in the present day. In Section II, I extend my analysis to rape in the tort system. Drawing on a recent empirical analysis of jury verdicts and settlements, as well as interviews with practicing plaintiffs’ attorneys, I argue that unless harm is concrete and visible, we tend to devalue it.

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March 19, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Baradaran et al. on Funding Terrorism

Shima Baradaran Michael Findley Daniel Nielson and J. C. Sharman (Brigham Young University - J. Reuben Clark Law School , University of Texas at Austin , Brigham Young University and Griffith University) have posted Funding Terror (University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Forthcoming) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

The events of September 11 forever changed the political and legal response to terrorism. After more than ten years, two wars, several targeted military strikes, and significantly increased surveillance, we still have not succeeded in stopping the growth of Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. The war on terror has not just been a military one. To stop terrorism, it is imperative to cut off the flow of terrorism financing. To this end, a number of nations have created financial laws that prohibit the formation of anonymous companies and monitor suspicious bank transfers. These laws have been touted as evidence that we are winning the war on terrorism. This Article questions their efficacy. In particular, this Article proves how easy it is to form a terrorist finance network and exploits the impotence of both international and domestic financial regulations that have been passed in this area. The Article presents findings from the largest global randomized controlled trial to date. In our experiment, we acted as customers seeking to form anonymous shell companies in a variety of scenarios resulting in either greater risk or greater reward. On the whole, forming an anonymous shell company is as easy as ever, despite increased regulations following 9/11. The results are disconcerting and demonstrate that we are much too far from a world that is safe from terror.

March 19, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Rich on the Preventive State

Rich michaelMichael Rich (Elon University School of Law) has posted Limits on the Perfect Preventive State on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Traditional methods of crime prevention — the punishment of the culpable and the preventive restraint of the dangerous — are slowly being supplemented and supplanted by technologies that seek to perfectly prevent crime by making criminal conduct practically impossible. For instance, the federal government is developing in-car technology that would prevent vehicle operation when a driver has a blood alcohol level in excess of the legal limit. Less directly, the anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 try to prevent copyright infringement by eliminating technologies that enable such infringement. Such structural regulation of private conduct is not new, but few scholars have focused on its use to prevent crime, and fewer still have examined how structural methods to fight crime fit within legal theory.

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March 19, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 18, 2013

"My View of How the Fourth Amendment Should Apply to Searching A Cell Phone Incident to Arrest"

From Orin Kerr at The Volokh Conspiracy, addressing an issue that has divided the Circuits. He excerpts an essay on the topic in part as follows:

It argues that the storage capacity and type of evidence stored on a cell phone justifies a departure from existing Fourth Amendment doctrine. Under United States v. Robinson, 414 U.S. 218 (1973), the Fourth Amendment always permits a full search of a person and property on his person at the time of arrest. This essay argues that the Supreme Court should reject that standard for searches of digital storage devices. Instead, the Court should adopt the standard introduced in Arizona v. Gant, 556 U.S. 332 (2009), for searching an automobile incident to arrest.


March 18, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

"Hacker Case Leads to Calls for Better Law"

From the New York Times:

Matthew Keys, the 26-year-old deputy social media editor at Reuters charged with assisting computer hackers, has emerged as the latest lightning rod in the continuing battle between proponents of Internet freedom and the Justice Department.

. . .

In Mr. Keys’s case, the scale of the potential punishment relative to the actual harm caused — the vandalism to the Web site was quickly fixed — raised comparisons to the potential sentence in the indictment of Aaron Swartz, a 26-year-old computer programmer and Internet freedom advocate. Accused of breaking into a university system to download an archive of scholarly papers, Mr. Swartzcommitted suicide in January.

“Anyone horrified by the amount of jail time” Mr. Keys faced should join in calling for Congressional reform of the computer fraud act, Trevor Timm, an advocate and blogger at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit that supports an open Internet, wrote in a Twitter post on Thursday.


March 18, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Carpenter on Juvenile Sex Offenders and Mandatory Registration

Catherine L. Carpenter (Southwestern Law School) has posted On Emotion, Juvenile Sex Offenders, and Mandatory Registration (3 Journal of Race, Gender, & Policy 1 (2013, Forthcoming)) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

It is both unremarkable and true that juveniles are different from adults. United States Supreme Court decisions over the past decade have highlighted the extent of the differences. Yet, played out against the backdrop of sex offender registration laws, the conversation takes an abrupt turn. Rather than differentiating between adult and juvenile offenders, federal sex offender registration laws require juveniles convicted of certain sex offenses to face the same onerous registration and notification burdens as their adult counterparts. 

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March 18, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Ferguson on Sense-Enhancing Technologies in Public

Ferguson andrew guthrieAndrew Guthrie Ferguson (University of the District of Columbia - David A. Clarke School of Law) has posted Personal Curtilage: Fourth Amendment Security in Public on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Do citizens have any Fourth Amendment protection from sense-enhancing surveillance technologies in public? This article engages a timely question as new surveillance technologies have redefined expectations of privacy in public spaces. 

This article proposes a new theory of Fourth Amendment security based on the ancient theory of curtilage protection for private property. Curtilage has long been understood as a legal fiction that expands the protection of the home beyond the formal structures of the house. Curtilage recognizes a buffer zone beyond the four corners of the home that deserves protection, even in public, even if accessible to public view. Based on custom and law protecting against both nosy neighbors and the government, curtilage was defined by the actions the property owner took to signal a protected space. In simple terms, by building a wall around one’s house, the property owner marked out an area of private control. So, too, the theory of personal curtilage turns on persons being able to control the protected areas of their lives in public by similarly signifying that an area is meant to be secure from others. 

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March 18, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Today's criminal law/procedure cert grant

Issue summary is from ScotusBlog, which also links to papers:

  • Kaley v. U.S.: Whether, when a post-indictment, ex parte restraining order freezes assets needed by a criminal defendant to retain counsel of choice, the Fifth and Sixth Amendments require a pre-trial, adversarial hearing at which the defendant may challenge the evidentiary support and legal theory of the underlying charges.

March 18, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Top-Ten Recent SSRN Downloads

Ssrn logoin criminal law and procedure ejournals are here. The usual disclaimers apply.

RankDownloadsPaper Title
1 14700 Ham Sandwich Nation: Due Process When Everything is a Crime 
Glenn Harlan Reynolds
University of Tennessee College of Law, 
Date posted to database: January 20, 2013 
2 435 The Leaky Leviathan: Why the Government Condemns and Condones Unlawful Disclosures of Information 
David Pozen
Columbia Law School, 
Date posted to database: February 25, 2013 [4th last week]
3 326 Federal Tax Crimes, 2013 
John A. TownsendJohn A. Townsend
University of Houston School of Law, Townsend and Jones, LLP, 
Date posted to database: February 7, 2013 [2nd last week]
4 268 Eyewitness Memory for People and Events (Chapter 25) 
Gary L. WellsElizabeth F. Loftus
Iowa State University, Department of Psychology , University of California, Irvine - Department of Psychology and Social Behavior,
Date posted to database: January 17, 2013 [3rd last week]
5 236 The Failure of Prosecutorial Discretion and the Deportation of Oscar Martinez 
Bill Ong Hing
University of San Francisco - School of Law, 
Date posted to database: February 13, 2013 
6 167 Targeting and the Concept of Intent 
Jens David Ohlin
Cornell University - School of Law, 
Date posted to database: February 12, 2013 
7 153 David Baldus and the Legacy of McCleskey v. Kemp 
Samuel R. Gross
University of Michigan Law School, 
Date posted to database: January 15, 2013 
8 149 Effective Trial Counsel after Martinez v. Ryan: Focusing on the Adequacy of State Procedures 
Eve Brensike Primus
University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Law School - Faculty, 
Date posted to database: January 20, 2013 [9th last week]
9 120 Does International Law Matter? 
Shima BaradaranMichael FindleyDaniel NielsonJ. C. Sharman
Brigham Young University - J. Reuben Clark Law School , University of Texas at Austin, Brigham Young University, Griffith University, 
Date posted to database: February 8, 2013 [new to top ten]
10 119 Colorado Capital Punishment: An Empirical Study 
Justin F. MarceauSam KaminWanda Foglia
University of Denver - Sturm College of Law, University of Denver Sturm College of Law, Rowan University, 
Date posted to database: January 31, 2013 [new to top ten]


March 17, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)