CrimProf Blog

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

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Friday, September 19, 2008

The Challenges of Sentencing Young Drug Offenders

19chance190Justice Thomas Farber’s dilemma in a Manhattan courtroom on Thursday played itself out like a dramatic monologue.

How much misery was appropriate to inflict on a promising 19-year-old, who himself had inflicted misery on society by dealing drugs, the judge asked himself out loud.

“It’s almost an impossible calculus,” said Justice Farber, who sits in State Supreme Court in Manhattan.

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September 19, 2008 in Criminal Justice Policy, Criminal Law, Drugs, Sentencing Corrections | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

15 LAPD officers face discipline in May Day melee

Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton announced Tuesday his plans to discipline 11 officers and called for the termination of four others for their roles in a May Day melee last year in which police were accused of using excessive force to clear immigration rights demonstrators and journalists from MacArthur Park.

The penalties mark a significant step in the Los Angeles Police Department's effort to recover from an incident that Bratton called "a phenomenal black eye." LAPD officers were videotaped wielding batons and shooting rubber bullets in an attempt to disperse a largely peaceful crowd. A scathing internal investigation into the incident blamed poor leadership and overly aggressive tactics by officers in the field.

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September 18, 2008 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Fewer police shootings in '07 called a good trend

There were two police shootings in Portland in 2007, the fewest in a decade.

At the same time, police discipline is up, indicating that Portland officers are being held more accountable, according to an annual report by the city's Independent Police Review Division.

Division director Mary-Beth Baptista, who will release the 61-page report today, called the numbers a positive trend.

"This is a good indication we're on the right track," she said.

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September 18, 2008 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Senate backs early release for nonviolent Pa. criminals

HARRISBURG - Legislation designed to move thousands of nonviolent criminals out of Pennsylvania prisons more quickly and rein in booming correctional costs is nearing final approval.

After making minor changes to the bill, regarded as the biggest change to the state's criminal-justice system in many years, the Senate approved it yesterday, 48-2.

Under its key provisions, nonviolent drug offenders in prison could be resentenced to an addiction-treatment program, and nonviolent offenders who behaved well and completed certain programs could be paroled more quickly.

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September 17, 2008 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Missouri leads the nation in juvenile justice reform

Juve625sept13 ST. LOUIS — Hope for the once-fallen teen sparkles in an emerald green class ring under the fluorescent lights of the Hogan Street Regional Youth Center.

"It's a blessing," says Terrell, 17, fingering the ring he earned for passing his GED exam with 1,000 points to spare.

He was awarded the ring at a cap-and-gown ceremony last month in the facility's gym, where he was cheered on by 29 other teens also serving sentences for serious and sometimes violent crimes.

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September 17, 2008 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Prison push offers skills to prevent repeat visits

Anew, privately owned medium-security prison in Shelby County that is scheduled to be dedicated today by Gov. Bob Riley will try to do something public prisons can't: Keep inmates from coming back.

The prison, built in an old factory in Columbiana at a cost of at least $8 million, will provide life coaching and job-skills training to inmates near the ends of their sentences.

"It's a very intensive program," said Alabama prisons Commissioner Richard Allen. "From the time they get up in the morning until the time they go to bed at night, they're busy."

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September 17, 2008 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Violent Crime Reported Down in 2007

Data released Monday by the FBI show violent crime dipped slightly nationwide in 2007. That ended two years of increases in murders, robberies and other kinds of the worst crime in U.S. cities.

An estimated 1.4 million violent crimes were reported across the country last year - about 10,000 fewer, or a 0.7 percent drop, than 2006.

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September 16, 2008 in Criminal Justice Policy, Criminal Law, DOJ News, Law Enforcement, News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

New rules would give FBI more freedom in U.S. operations

WASHINGTON -- The Justice Department is finalizing rules that would allow FBI agents to solicit informants and use other new techniques to bolster the agency's intelligence-gathering operation in the United States, officials said Friday.

The changes would expand rules the department enacted after the Sept. 11 attacks that permitted the FBI to conduct "assessments" of threats of terrorism and espionage even in instances where little or no proof existed of criminal activity.

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September 14, 2008 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Banks to Blame for Surge in Bank Robberies?

Bank robberies are up 50% this year, and the NYPD says it's the banks' fault, the Daily News has learned.

The number of bank jobs hit 265 by Sept. 2, compared with 177 by the same time last year.

Police say the problem isn't that crooks are working harder - it's that banks aren't doing enough to protect their money.

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September 11, 2008 in Criminal Justice Policy, Criminal Law, News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, September 8, 2008

ACLU suit targets Sheriff's Department

A lawsuit filed Friday in federal court accuses the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department of unlawful detentions and racial profiling of Latinos suspected of being undocumented immigrants.

Attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union and the Committee for Immigrant Rights of Sonoma County say the Sheriff's Department collaborates with federal immigration officials to stop and search people who appear to be Latino, interrogate them about their immigration status and jail them without legal basis.

"I would say that's all untrue," Sheriff Bill Cogbill responded Friday, though he had not yet seen a copy of the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court.

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September 8, 2008 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Towns demand N.J. pay State Police bill

TRENTON — More than 125 local elected officials from mostly rural New Jersey towns signed up to attend a meeting Thursday night to demand that the state continue to pay for State Police services in rural communities without police departments.

The meeting came a month after 89 towns received a prospective bill in the mail from the state Department of the Treasury, detailing what they would owe the state in order to keep receiving State Police response to calls for police service. The towns have until Dec. 15 to make a decision about staying with the State Police or making other arrangements.

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September 7, 2008 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Impeachable Offenses?: Why Civil Parties in Quasi-Criminal Cases Should Be Treated Like Criminal Defendants Under the Felony Impeachment Rule

Colin Miller
John Marshall Law School

With one exception, every Federal Rule of Evidence dealing with propensity character evidence or evidence which can be misused as propensity character evidence makes it either: (a) as difficult to admit such evidence in civil trials as it is in criminal trials, or (b) more difficult to admit such evidence in civil trials than it is in criminal trials. The "mercy rule" falls into this latter category as it allows criminal defendants to inject the issue of character into their trials while a similar luxury is not afforded to civil parties. Before 2006, however, a substantial minority of courts extended the "mercy rule" to civil parties in quasi-criminal cases because they were in most respects similar to criminal cases. Congress finally shut the door to this practice based upon the serious risks of prejudice, confusion, and delay that propensity character evidence engenders.

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September 5, 2008 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Program gives inmates chance to stay clean

TRENTON - New Jersey is in the midst of an ambitious pilot program to find out what combination of services works best at keeping ex-inmates from returning to state prisons.

The $2 million program, called Another Chance, is part of the state's stepped-up effort to lessen the percentage of ex-cons who re-enter state prison. It's also a key component of Gov. Corzine's strategy to combat gang and gun violence.

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September 2, 2008 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Were Estefano jurors under the `CSI Effect'?

Estefano Jurors in the trial of the man accused of shooting songwriter Estefano say prosecutors did not show enough evidence to prove their case.

When Latin songwriter Estefano testified against the handyman accused of shooting him, it wasn't that his story was so unbelievable.

Jurors just wanted more.

That's according to two jurors who acquitted Francisco Oliveira Jr. of shooting Fabio ''Estefano'' Salgado.

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August 31, 2008 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sex assaults that leave victims pregnant can warrant tougher penalties, court rules

A sexual assault that leaves a victim pregnant may be punished more severely than one that does not result in pregnancy, the California Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday.

The state high court said a pregnancy may be considered "great bodily injury."

"We conclude that here, based solely on the evidence of the pregnancy, the jury could reasonably have found that 13-year-old K. suffered a significant or substantial physical injury," Justice Joyce L. Kennard wrote for the court.

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August 31, 2008 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Cincinnati ron right track

U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott praised the Cincinnati Police Department for improved relations with the community on Tuesday while presiding over the last hearing of the Collaborative Agreement.

Dlott said outside monitoring of the department will end with one final report in October. The monitoring started in 2001 to improve relations between police and the community, spurred by the fatal shooting of an unarmed black suspect fleeing police that sparked rioting .

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August 27, 2008 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Unique investigative agency tackles NYC corruption

Battling_corruptionx NEW YORK — A little-known law enforcement agency -- the only one of its kind in the country -- has been behind some of the most sensational headlines to hit New York City over the last several years.

The city's Department of Investigation successfully investigated Bernard Kerik, former police commissioner and Homeland Security chief nominee. It exposed the largest tax fraud in municipal history, investigated corruption in the crane industry, and helped indict lawmakers, union bosses and numerous high-ranking city officials.

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August 25, 2008 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Our View: A question of judgment

Normally we don't give much credence to allegations hurled by candidates at their opponents during a political campaign. That said, the accusations from Peoria County State's Attorney Kevin Lyons that challenger Darin LaHood acted improperly and perhaps unethically by injecting himself into an ongoing rape investigation and pending trial do give us pause.

Let us first lay out the dueling versions of what transpired.

Lyons charges that LaHood showed up "unannounced and uninvited" last week at the South Side home of a teen sexual assault victim. There he talked with the girl's mother, indicated he had "read all the police reports in this case," made some disparaging remarks about how it had been handled, and left his business card, Lyons says. He claims LaHood initially misrepresented himself to the family as "the new prosecutor of the case."

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August 24, 2008 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran's in the jailhouse now

Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran walked into the county jail in Waukegan on Wednesday wearing a gray suit and necktie, but before long he changed into the outfit he'll wear for the next week: a navy blue inmate uniform and a pair of ill-fitting, plastic jail slippers.

"It's somewhat surreal," said Curran, who was elected to his post in 2006 after stints as a county, state and federal prosecutor.

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August 21, 2008 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Study finds adult court promotes recidivism

Wisconsin’s tough-on-crime policy of placing 17-year-old criminal offenders in adult court is a failed experiment that only increases the likelihood the teens will commit more crimes, according to a study released Tuesday.

The study by the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families also finds racial bias in the policy's implementation, citing statistics showing that African-American youth are far more likely to be incarcerated than white youths.

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August 20, 2008 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)