CrimProf Blog

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

Monday, July 15, 2013

Tyler, Fagan & Geller on Street Stops and Police Legitimacy

Tom Tyler Jeffrey Fagan and Amanda Geller (Yale University - Law School , Columbia Law School and Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health) have posted Street Stops and Police Legitimacy: Teachable Moments in Young Urban Men’s Legal Socialization on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

An examination of the influence of street stops on the legal socialization of young men showed an association between the number of police stops and a diminished sense of police legitimacy. This association however is not only a consequence of the number of street or car stops they experience or of the degree of police intrusion that occurs during those stops. Rather, the estimated impact of involuntary contact with the police is mediated by evaluations of the fairness of police actions and judgments about whether the police are acting lawfully. Whether the police are viewed as exercising their authority fairly and lawfully directly shapes respondent’s decision acceptance and the impact of stops on respondent’s general judgments about police legitimacy. Fairness and lawfulness judgments, in turn, are influenced by the number of stops or the degree of police intrusion during those stops. Similarly, judgments of justice and lawfulness mediate the estimated influence of judgments of the general character of police behavior in the community on general perceptions of police legitimacy. These results suggest that the widespread use of street stops undermines legitimacy. Lowered legitimacy has an influence on both law abidingness and the willingness to cooperate with legal authorities. However, the findings also show that it is not only police streets or police conduct during such stops that matters per se, but more importantly public perceptions of police injustice/illegality during those stops. The results suggest that police legitimacy is shaped by how fairly/legally the police are viewed as exercising their authority.

July 15, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Justice on Mass Incarceration and the Making of Citizens

Benjamin Justice (Rutgers University) has posted Mass Incarceration and the Making of Citizens on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

In The Spirit of Laws, Montesquieu famously observed that the legal system of a given state ought to exist in harmony with its overall organization of power. In a republic, he argued, the people are sovereign. Thus there must be laws regulating mass education to enhance civic virtue, teaching the people to love the laws of their country above their individual self interest. The laws of crime and punishment, too, must comport with the spirit of the government they support. In a healthy republic, wrote Montesquieu, a virtuous people require little punishment. If Montesquieu is correct, the rise of the American carceral state signals a profound challenge to the democratic nature of our government. This essay reviews three recent books on the rise of the carceral state as part of a broader discussion of the role of criminal justice in making citizens.

July 15, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Unidentified defendants

From the New York Times:

Court records had listed the man as “Fnu Lnu,” shorthand for “First name unknown, Last name unknown.” The acronym is often used in the early stages of a criminal case, when investigators cannot identify a voice on a wiretap, or the identity of someone picked up in an immigration sweep.

. . . 

But the designation, at once mysterious and common, has taken on a life of its own in courts around the country, with Fnu Lnus being mistaken for an actual name, confusing judges and lawyers, and in one case spawning a memorable newspaper correction and even an Off Broadway play.

At any given time there can be hundreds of Fnu Lnus in the court system. Such defendants’ identities are usually sorted out quickly, through fingerprints or by other means. But in rare cases where defendants have remained anonymous throughout their entire prosecution, defense lawyers end up making arguments that can border on the surreal.


July 15, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Jury size and the Zimmerman verdict

From Eugene Volokh at The Volokh Conspiracy:

As I noted in this post, while many states allow six-person juries in misdemeanor cases (or in relatively less serious felony cases), very few allow them for very serious felonies, such as murder, for which Zimmerman is being tried. Only Connecticut and Florida provide for a six-person jury for very serious but noncapital felonies, and only Florida provides for a six-person jury when the offenses is punishable by life imprisonment (with or without parole); Utah apparently provides for an eight-person jury.

Naturally, having a six-person jury rather than a twelve-person jury makes it more likely that the jury will have an unusual demographic mix, such as the Zimmerman jury, which is all female and apparently has no blacks (it apparently consists of five white women and one Hispanic woman). And while such unusual demographic mixes are always possible, and verdicts handed down by such juries are obviously legally effective, it is probably better for the credibility of the legal system — and possibly for its accuracy — for such unusual mixes to be rarer. Using the traditional 12-person jury will likely better accomplish this than using a 6-person jury.


July 15, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Henderson & Sorensen on Search, Seizure, and Immunity

Stephen E. Henderson and Kelly Sorensen (University of Oklahoma College of Law and Independent) have posted Search, Seizure, and Immunity: Second-Order Normative Authority and Rights (Criminal Justice Ethics 32.2 (2013)) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

A paradigmatic aspect of a paradigmatic kind of right is that the rights holder is the only one who can alienate it. When individuals waive rights, the normative source of that waiving is normally taken to be the individual herself. This moral feature — immunity — is usually in the background of discussions about rights. We bring it into the foreground here, with specific attention to a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, Kentucky v. King (2011), concerning search and seizure rights. An entailment of the Court’s decision is that, at least in some cases, a right can be removed by the intentional actions of the very party against whom the right supposedly protects the rights holder. We argue that the Court’s decision is mistaken. The police officers in the case were not morally permitted, and should not be legally permitted, to intentionally create the very circumstances that result in the removal of an individual’s right against forced, warrantless search and seizure.

July 15, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Top-Ten Recent SSRN Downloads

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

RankDownloadsPaper Title
1 454 Safeguarding the Commander's Authority to Review the Findings of a Court-Martial 
Andrew S. Williams
Brigham Young University, 
Date posted to database: June 9, 2013 
2 246 Discovery and Darkness: The Information Deficit in Criminal Disputes 
Ion Meyn
University of Wisconsin Law School, 
Date posted to database: May 9, 2013
3 216 Experiments in International Criminal Justice: Lessons from the Khmer Rouge Tribunal 
John D. CiorciariAnne Heindel
University of Michigan - Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, Documentation Center of Cambodia, 
Date posted to database: May 26, 2013 
4 190 Crime in Cyberspace: Offenders and the Role of Organized Crime Groups 
Peter GraboskyRoderic Broadhurst,Brigitte BouhoursMamoun Alazab,Steve ChonChen Da
Australian National University (ANU), Australian National University (ANU) - Research School of Social Sciences (RSSS), Australian National University, Australian National University (ANU), Australian National University Cybercrime Observatory (ANU) - Regulatory Institutions Network (RegNet) , Australian National University (ANU) - School of Regulation, Justice and Diplomacy, 
Date posted to database: February 4, 2013 [5th last week]
5 147 Judicial Gatekeeping of Suspect Evidence: Due Process and Evidentiary Rules in the Age of Innocence 
Keith A. Findley
University of Wisconsin Law School, 
Date posted to database: June 4, 2013 [6th last week]
6 137 Seven Ways Neuroscience Aids Law 
Owen D. Jones
Vanderbilt University - Law School & Dept. of Biological Sciences, 
Date posted to database: June 19, 2013 [new to top ten]
7 121 The Impact of Neuroimages in the Sentencing Phase of Capital Trials
Michael J. SaksN. J. SchweitzerEyal AharoniKent Kiehl
Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Arizona State University, University of California, Santa Barbara - Department of Psychology, University of New Mexico, 
Date posted to database: June 6, 2013 [8th last week]
8 119 Libertarian Paternalism, Path Dependence, and Temporary Law 
Richard H. McAdamsTom Ginsburg,Jonathan S. Masur
University of Chicago Law School, University of Chicago - Law School, University of Chicago Law School, 
Date posted to database: June 19, 2013 [new to top ten]
9 108 Plea Bargains that Waive Claims of Ineffective Assistance - Waiving Padilla and Frye 
Nancy J. King
Vanderbilt University - Law School, 
Date posted to database: May 3, 2013 
10 107 Assessing the Control-Theory 
Jens David OhlinElies van Sliedregt,Thomas Weigend
Cornell University - School of Law, VU University Amsterdam - Faculty of Law, University of Cologne, 
Date posted to database: June 10, 2013 [new to top ten]


July 14, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

"Zimmerman Is Acquitted in Killing of Trayvon Martin"

From The New York Times:

In a news conference following the verdict, Angela B. Corey, the state attorney who brought the charges, rebuffed the suggestion that her office overcharged Mr. Zimmerman.

. . .

[B]ecause of Florida’s laws, prosecutors had to persuade jurors beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Zimmerman did not act in self-defense. A shortage of evidence in the case made that a high hurdle, legal experts said.

. . .

The defense also had one piece of irrefutable evidence, photographs of Mr. Zimmerman’s injuries — a bloody nose along with lumps and two cuts on his head. It indicated that there had been a fight and that Mr. Zimmerman had been harmed, and the defense showed them to the jury at every opportunity.

. . .

Typically, police testimony boosts the state’s case. Here, the chief police investigator, Chris Serino, told jurors that he believed Mr. Zimmerman, despite contradictions in his statements.

July 14, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)