CrimProf Blog

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

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Wexler on the "Last Best Offer" Approach in Criminal Settlement Conferences

Wexler davidDavid B. Wexler (pictured) and Michael D. Jones (University of Puerto Rico - School of Law and Phoenix School of Law) have posted Employing the 'Last Best Offer' Approach in Criminal Settlement Conferences: The Therapeutic Application of an Arbitration Technique in Judicial Mediation (Phoenix Law Review, Vol. 6, 2013) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

This brief essay, co-authored by a legal academic and by an experienced trial judge-turned-academic, looks at a state criminal procedure rule allowing for "criminal settlement conferences." Such conferences, not universally recognized, are basically a form of judicial mediation. This essay shows how the criminal settlement conference procedure can be improved in its implementation by infusing it with judicial practices and techniques of therapeutic jurisprudence (TJ), techniques one of the authors has already used in conferences at which he has presided. Here, the essay goes a step beyond and proposes, with the full consent of the participants, the therapeutic use of an arbitration technique -- the "last best offer" (LBO) approach -- to motivate the parties (defendant, victim, and state) better to see and appreciate all the positions involved -- and to increase the chances of an agreed-upon settlement. The essay closes with a recommendation that other jurisdictions consider the adoption of the legal structure permitting such conferences and that such conferences be implemented with a robust use of therapeutic techniques, including the LBO approach.

February 9, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Cammett on Felony Disenfranchisement and the Criminalization of Debt

Cammett annAnn Cammett (University of Nevada, Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law) has posted Shadow Citizens: Felony Disenfranchisement and the Criminalization of Debt (Penn State Law Review, Vol. 117, No. 2, p. 349, 2012) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

The disenfranchisement of felons has long been challenged as anti-democratic and disproportionately harmful to communities of color. Critiques of this practice have led to the gradual liberalization of state laws that expand voting rights for those who have served their sentences. Despite these legal developments, ex-felons face an increasingly difficult path to regaining the franchise. This article argues that, for ex-felons in particular, criminal justice debt can serve as an insurmountable obstacle to the resumption of voting rights and broader participation in society. This article uses the term “carceral debt” to identify criminal justice penalties levied on prisoners, “user fees” assessed to recoup the operating costs of the justice system, and debt incurred during incarceration, including mounting child support obligations.

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February 8, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

"Case overturned against crack-carrying man who told cop off"

The story is at How Appealing. In part:

The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle contains an article that begins, "The F-word isn't always a fighting word, and carrying copious amounts of crack cocaine isn't always a crime. So says the state's highest court, which ruled Thursday that a Rochester man should never have been charged with disorderly conduct for uttering the four-letter profanity at police."

February 8, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Alfieri on Race Trials Revisited

Alfieri anthonyAnthony Victor Alfieri (University of Miami School of Law) has posted 'He is the Darkey with the Glasses On': Race Trials Revisited (North Carolina Law Review, Vol. 91, 2013) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Despite the advent of a new “post-racial” century, civil rights and criminal defense lawyers continue to construct racialized cultural and social narratives of minority inferiority and stigma. They do so in part because of a lack of shared professional guidelines regulating the use of race talk in courtrooms and in advocacy more generally. The absence of descriptive and prescriptive guidance in the regulation of race talk raises critical questions: When should trial lawyers normatively object to race talk? When should trial lawyers strategically exploit race talk? When should trial lawyers procedurally and substantively reintegrate race talk into the spoken and written texts of the courtroom? Built on the assembled work of a distinguished group of academics in the fields of criminal law, legal history, race and ethnic studies, trial advocacy, and outsider jurisprudence, this Essay extends work started elsewhere addressing the normative concerns, strategic and tactical considerations, and procedural and substantive rules relevant to race talk. That body of work alters previous efforts to map the contours of race trials and charts new research directions for the study of race trials. Both pedagogically and practically, the collective task is to rediscover the pain and the promise in the words we use for race.

February 8, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Gershowitz on Texting While Driving and Warrantless Cell Phone Searches

Gershowitz_adamAdam M. Gershowitz (William & Mary Law School) has posted Texting While Driving Meets the Fourth Amendment: Deterring Both Texting and Warrantless Cell Phone Searches (Arizona Law Review, Vol. 54, No. 3, 2012) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Recent laws criminalizing texting while driving are under-inclusive, ambiguous, and impose light punishments that are unlikely to deter. At the same time, the laws empower police to conduct warrantless searches of drivers’ cell phones. Texting while driving is dangerous and should be punished with stiff fines, possible jail time, license suspensions, and interlock devices that prevent use of phones while driving. However, more severe punishment will not eliminate police authority to conduct warrantless cell phone searches. This Article therefore proposes that legislatures allow drivers to immediately confess to texting while driving in exchange for avoiding a search of their phones. Trading a confession for a search will encourage guilty pleas while reducing invasive, warrantless cell phone searches that are currently authorized under the Fourth Amendment.

February 8, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

"Statutory Rape of 13-Year-Old Yields No Jail Time, Because of Defendant’s Cultural Insularity"

Eugene Volokh has this post at The Volokh Conspiracy. His assessment, in part:

[W]hen the claim is “I didn’t know because I was raised in an insular community,” there is reason for punishment precisely to send a message to members of insular communities (and leaders of those communities) that they need to work harder to learn the important commands of the legal system. Conversely, cutting slack to people who don’t know the law because they grew up in an insular community — or to people who claim not to know the law for this reason — reinforces the tendency of many in insular communities to focus more on following the norms of their community than trying to learn and abide by the norms of society.


February 7, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

An Antiterrorism Sting

The article is in the New York Times:

Bangladeshi Admits Trying to Bomb Federal Reserve Bank

A Bangladeshi man who tried to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank of New York remotely only to find that the bomb was fake and his plot had been under the constant surveillance of federal agents pleaded guilty on Thursday to terrorism charges.

. . .

In response to criticism of the law enforcement approach — and the claim that men like Mr. Nafis could not pull off an attack without the government’s help — Loretta E. Lynch, the United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York, emphasized that Mr. Nafis had entered the United States with plans to carry out the attack and that the sting was the best way to stop him.


February 7, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Marceau, Kamin & Foglia on Colorado Capital Punishment

Justin F. Marceau Sam Kamin and Wanda Foglia (University of Denver Sturm College of Law , University of Denver Sturm College of Law and Rowan University) has posted Colorado Capital Punishment: An Empirical Study on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

This article reports the conclusions of an empirical study of every murder conviction in Colorado between January 1, 1999 and December 31, 2010. Our goal was to determine: 1) What percentage of first degree murderers in Colorado were eligible for the death penalty; and 2) How often the death penalty was sought against these killers. More importantly, our broader purpose was to determine whether Colorado’s statutory aggravating factors meaningfully narrow the class of death eligible offenders as required by the Constitution. 

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February 7, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Binford on Criminal Capacity and the Teenage Brain

Binford_warrenWarren Binford (Willamette University College of Law) has posted Criminal Capacity and the Teenage Brain: Insights from Neurological Research (The Dynamics of Youth Justice & the Convention on the Rights of the Child in South Africa, Vol. 14, No. 3, December 2012) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Recent advances have been made in magnetic resonance imaging (‘MRI’) that allow researchers to create and study three dimensional images of the brain without using radiation. This technological development allows scientists to safely monitor children’s neurological development over the years. The information culled from this groundbreaking research tells not just how, but why, adolescents act the way they do from the perspective of neuroscience. 

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February 7, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

"Top Judge Says Bail in New York Isn’t Safe or Fair"

From The New York Times:

Castigating the bail process in New York as unfair to the poor and susceptible to allowing dangerous suspects to be set free, the state’s top judge called on Tuesday for an overhaul of the bail system that would bring the state closer in line with the rest of the country.

. . . Jonathan Lippman, said New York was one of only four states that did not allow judges to consider public safety when making a bail determination. The main criterion used by judges is the risk of the defendant’s not returning to court for trial.

. . .

Conversely, Judge Lippman said the bail system was stacked against those accused of minor crimes, keeping them in jail at great personal hardship and weakening their resolve in plea negotiations.

February 6, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Drinan on Lafler and Frye

Drinan caraCara H. Drinan (Catholic University of America (CUA)) has posted Lafler and Frye: Good News for Public Defense Litigation (Federal Sentencing Reporter, Vol. 25, No. 2, 2012) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

In Missouri v. Frye and Lafler v. Cooper, the Supreme Court confirmed that the Sixth Amendment right to counsel applies to the plea negotiation process and held that prejudicial error can flow from ineffective plea advice. The defense community has applauded these decisions for recognizing the pivotal role that guilty pleas play in our criminal justice system and for requiring a minimum level of efficacy in plea lawyering. In this brief essay, I suggest that Frye and Lafler are victories for the defense community in yet another way. The decisions reflect judicial realism, and in this respect, they are especially important cases for systemic public defense litigation. Courts confronted with these suits in the past have stymied reform efforts by approaching these suits in a formalistic way, sending plaintiffs either to seek a post-conviction remedy or legislative redress, neither of which are practical options. Frye and Lafler, because they are grounded in the reality of today's criminal justice system, may provide critical leverage to lawyers asking courts for systemic relief.

February 6, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Koenig on Cruel Conditions of Confinement

Alexa Koenig (University of California, Berkeley - School of Law) has posted The 'Worst': A Closer Look at Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Both international and domestic laws have long forbidden the abuse and torture of prisoners. Specifically, international law forbids 'cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment,' a form of illegal abuse that has no codified definition in international law. In this dissertation chapter, I argue that many courts and scholars have failed to adequately conceptualize this prohibition, mistakenly lumping inhuman and degrading treatment under the category of cruelty. I conclude that because of this blurring of the distinction between cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, the scope of the treatment that is understood to be legally prohibited has been unnecessarily narrowed, permitting many forms of institutional abuse to remain unrecognized by courts. I also conclude that this narrow approach overlooks many forms of institutional treatment that should be prohibited, in part for legal consistency, and in part to safeguard the wellbeing of prisoners. Drawing on 78 interviews with former Guantánamo detainees, I demonstrate that “the worst” prison treatment, for many prisoners, is not physical cruelty as often assumed, but treatment that can be categorized as inhuman and/or degrading, and thus that these phenomena are necessarily distinct. Based on this finding, I make the normative argument that society’s understanding of the prohibition against cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment must be refined and reconsidered, if some of the worst prison-based atrocities are to be avoided.

February 6, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Bambauer on Privacy Versus Security

Derek E. Bambauer (University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law) has posted Privacy Versus Security (Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Forthcoming) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Legal scholarship tends to conflate privacy and security. However, security and privacy can, and should, be treated as distinct concerns. Privacy discourse involves difficult normative decisions about competing claims to legitimate access to, use of, and alteration of information. It is about selecting among different philosophies, and choosing how various rights and entitlements ought to be ordered. Security implements those choices – it intermediates between information and privacy selections. This Article argues separating privacy from security has important practical consequences. Security failings should be penalized more readily, and more heavily, than privacy ones, because there are no competing moral claims to resolve, and because security flaws make all parties worse off. Currently, security flaws are penalized too rarely, and privacy ones too readily. The Article closes with a set of policy questions highlighted by the privacy versus security distinction that deserve further research.

February 5, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Ling on Private Defence in India

Cheah Wui Ling (National University of Singapore - Faculty of Law) has posted Private Defence (Wing-Cheong Chan, Barry Wright & Stanley Yeo (eds), Codification, Macaulay and the Indian Penal Code: The Legacies and Modern Challenges of Criminal Law Recform (Ashgate 2011)) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

This chapter examines the right to private defence in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) using a historical lens and argues for its legislative reconsideration in light of post-colonial developments. By situating this defence against British India’s colonial landscape, it is argued that private defence was primarily viewed by Macaulay as a ‘law and order’ tool of governance. For Macaulay, private defence was to contribute to colonial law enforcement efforts and build a ‘manly’ character in the natives. Today, while the text of these provisions has remained remarkably stable, its content has been significantly reshaped by judicial interpretation. Unfortunately, these judicial developments do not advance a coherent, alternative approach to Macaulay’s ‘law and order’ conceptualization of private defence. However, in some instances, they do reflect inconsistencies with that conceptualization. The chapter concludes by suggesting how private defence can be reformulated in the IPC to reflect a more modern rights-based approach to private defence.

February 5, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 4, 2013

MacMahon on Self-Service Search Warrants and International Terrorism

Paul MacMahon (Harvard Law School) has posted Self-Service Search Warrants and International Terrorism: Lessons from Damache v. DPP (Irish Law Journal, Vol. 1, p. 2, 2012) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

In February 2012, the Supreme Court of Ireland invalidated a long-standing statutory provision that allowed the police to "help themselves" to search warrants in terrorism cases. Though the case has far-reaching practical consequences and theoretical implications, the Supreme Court’s written decision was relatively spare. The aim of this comment is to deepen the discussion. To that end, I examine the purposes of search warrant requirements as part of a legal regime for protecting privacy against government intrusion. I also discuss the judicial power to reject counterterrorism measures approved by the elected branches of government. Finally, I connect the Supreme Court’s decision to fundamental and recurring questions about the Irish judiciary’s level of trust in law enforcement authorities.

February 4, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Graham on "Other Crimes" Evidence

Graham michaelMichael H. Graham (University of Miami - School of Law) has posted two articles on "other crimes" evidence under Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b) on SSRN. The first is Other Crimes, Wrongs, or Culpable Acts, Fed.R.Evid. 404(B): 'Defining' a New Paradigm (Criminal Law Bulletin, Vol. 47, p. 998, 2011). Here is the abstract:

Commentators addressing the incredible theoretical and functional difficulties surrounding the long accepted general principal that while other crimes, wrongs, or culpable acts are not admissible to prove the character of a person in order to show action in conformity therewith, such evidence may “be admissible for other purposes, such as proof of motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity, or absence of mistake or accident,” Fed.R.Evid. 404(b), have more or less thrown in the towel reverting to the bromide that fundamentally it all is a question of proper application of discretionary balancing, basically some version or another of Fed.R.Evid. 403. Such an approach is recommended by those adopting a totally theoretical approach to the enterprise as well not surprisingly also by the two commentators, Imwinkelried and Leonard, who have authored treatises devoted solely to the subject.

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February 4, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Vartkessian on Future Dangerousness in Capital Cases

Elizabeth Vartkessian (University at Albany - School of Criminal Justice) has posted What One Hand Giveth, the Other Taketh Away: How Future Dangerousness Corrupts Guilt Verdicts and Produces Premature Punishment Decisions in Capital Cases (Pace Law Review, Vol. 32, No. 2, 2012) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

This article aims to further the discussion of the constitutionality of the Texas capital sentencing scheme by focusing on how the statutory focus on the defendant’s future dangerousness dismantles bifurcation and encourages early sentencing decisions. Using data from the Capital Jury Project (CJP), the article demonstrates the biasing effect of early exposure to the concept of dangerousness during voir dire. It traces how jurors use the concept of the defendant’s dangerousness in their guilt decisions and it parses out the ways in which the topic facilitates early sentencing decisions.

February 4, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Spearit on Islam in Prison

SpearitSpearIt (Saint Louis University - School of Law) has posted Facts and Fictions About Islam in Prison: Assessing Prisoner Radicalization in Post-9/11 America (Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, January 2013) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

This report assesses the radicalization of Muslim prisoners in post-9/11 America. In the last decade, Muslim prisoners have been scrutinized for ties to terrorist and other extremist organizations, not to mention characterized as both a “threat” and a “danger” to national security, due to the influence of foreign jihadist movements. However, closer scrutiny shows that these fears have failed to materialize — indeed, despite the existence of an estimated 350,000 Muslim prisoners, there is little evidence of widespread radicalization or successful foreign recruitment, and only one documented case of prison-based terrorist activity. Nonetheless, some prison systems have implemented an aggressive posture toward these inmates and have made suppressive tactics their bedrock policy. This approach unfortunately overlooks Islam’s long history of positive influence on prisoners, including supporting inmate rehabilitation for decades. Moreover, Muslim inmates have a long history of using the court system to establish and expand their rights to worship and improve their conditions of confinement. Hence, a closer look at “life on the ground” turns the prevailing discourse on its head by demonstrating that Islam generally brings peace to inmates and that the greatest “threat” posed by Muslim inmates is not violence, but lawsuits.

February 3, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Reamey on Anticipatory Warrants

Reamey_geraldGerald S. Reamey (St. Mary's University School of Law) has posted The Promise of Things to Come: Anticipatory Warrants in Texas on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

While the U.S. Supreme Court has settled the question of the constitutionality of anticipatory search warrants, Texas has no statutory provision regulating the issuance of such warrants. Similarly, state appellate courts have contributed almost nothing to the question of whether such warrants are acceptable under Texas procedural law or, if they are, under what circumstances. As the use of such warrants grows in the state, these issues require attention. This article begins that discussion, reviewing existing law and proposing interpretations of current statutes as well as proposing others.

February 3, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Top-Ten Recent SSRN Downloads

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

RankDownloadsPaper Title
1 10757 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 [new to top ten]
2 407 Grading the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Guidance 
Mike Koehler
Southern Illinois University School of Law, 
Date posted to database: December 14, 2012 
3 220 Oasis or Mirage: The Supreme Court's Thirst for Dictionaries in the Rehnquist and Roberts Eras 
James J. BrudneyLawrence Baum
Fordham University - School of Law, Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Political Science, 
Date posted to database: January 2, 2013 
4 217 Peeking Behind the Plea Bargaining Process 
Laurie L. Levenson
Loyola Law School Los Angeles, 
Date posted to database: December 11, 2012 
5 206 Unregulated Corporate Internal Investigations: Achieving Fairness for Corporate Constituents 
Bruce A. GreenEllen S. Podgor
Fordham University School of Law, Stetson University College of Law, 
Date posted to database: December 6, 2012 
6 189 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 [new to top ten]
7 164 What is Philosophy of Criminal Law? 
Youngjae Lee
Fordham University School of Law, 
Date posted to database: December 16, 2012 [[6th last week]
8 140 Negotiating Jurisdiction: Retroceding State Authority over Indian Country Granted by Public Law 280 
Robert T. Anderson
University of Washington School of Law, 
Date posted to database: December 6, 2012 [7th last week]
9 129 Review of Patricia S. Churchland, 'Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us About Morality' 
John Mikhail
Georgetown University - Law Center, 
Date posted to database: December 29, 2012 
10 126 Narrative, Truth & Trial 
Lisa Kern Griffin
Duke University - School of Law, 
Date posted to database: December 16, 2012 


February 3, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)