November 25, 2006
Governor Critiques Gun Christmas Tree Ornaments
From philly.com: Nothing says Christmas quite like a glittery black handgun hanging from the tree.
Urban Outfitters Inc. - no stranger to controversial products - is offering the 5-inch-long, Chinese-made gun ornament for $6 in its stores and catalogs this year.
"Bust a cap in your tree with this superglittery ornament in the shape of a handgun, complete with a satin ribbon for hanging," the online description of the revolver says. It is meant, the retailer says, as an "ironic twist" on the holidays.
"Twisted" is more like it, said Kate Philips, Gov. Rendell's spokeswoman. "The governor doesn't find it humorous or clever to display weapons that are responsible for taking hundreds of lives each year as if they are decorations," she said. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
November 22, 2006
Flaunting Booty Shots on MySpace Leads to Mug Shots
Seven dimwitted teenage thieves have been arrested and charged after they posted pictures of themselves on MySpace, posing with thousands of dollars worth of stolen jewelry, laptops, firearms, and televisions. Now the only pics they're posing for are mug shots. Story. . . [Michele Berry]
November 21, 2006
Charges Dropped Against Naked City Prosecutor
From enquirer.com: Charges against a former Hamilton, OH city prosecutor accused of naked after-hours strolls in public buildings will be dropped because of a technicality, a special prosecutor said today.
Special Prosecutor Steve Tolbert said there was an error in the charges that will require dismissal of the case. It was not immediately clear if the charges will be refiled.
Former prosecutor Scott Blauvelt, 35, of Hamilton has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to two counts of public indecency.The charges stem from incidents in the city's Government Services Center on Oct. 4 and Oct. 5 that were caught on a security camera. Blauvelt worked in that building.
Blauvelt's lawyer, Mike Gmoser, has suggested that his client's behavior may be related to a mental illness, medication and/or a brain injury that resulted from a 2005 car wreck in which Blauvelt also had been naked.
More recently, Blauvelt told investigators he had been "doing similar things for about the past five years," but didn't know why -- and officials learned that he also had walked naked in the city building Sept. 25. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
November 20, 2006
O.J.'s "If I Did It" T.V. Special and Book Cancelled
The clouds have parted and the sun shines through--News Corp. has cancelled the O.J. Simpson T.V. special and book, "If I Did It," in which O.J. was to speak in hypothetical terms about how he would have committed the 1994 slayings of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. I guess News Corp. realized that the chances of O.J.'s account being a real confession were about as likely as Steve Forbes being identified as the "anonymous author" of the attacks on Grenator Dob Bole and At Buchanan in "Election Colors," the "fictional" account of the 1996 Republican primary dedicated to lovely wife Telen Torbes, and beautiful daughters Tatherine, Tabina, Taberta, Taura and Telizabeth Torbes. [Michele Berry] Find out what average Americans are saying about the cancellation of Simpson's confession book here.
November 16, 2006
Connecticut Plans to Protect Children of Incarcerated Parents' Rights
From courant.com: Representatives from an array of Connecticut state agencies met at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford Wednesday for a summit to hash out a plan to create a bill of rights for children of incarcerated parents.
"Children of prisoners are often invisible and overlooked," said Susan Quinlan, executive director of Families in Crisis, a Hartford agency that works with families of incarcerated parents. "We as a community need to respond to that."
In Hartford alone, an estimated 4,500 to 6,000 children - about one in every six children in the city - have at least one parent in a state prison. The very fact that no hard numbers exist and that the state is left to extrapolate estimates from national trends illustrates the need for local attention, Quinlan said.
The group, which includes state agencies as well as representatives from the United Way and the University of Connecticut School of Social Work, agreed to form committees that would work on developing legislative proposals and a bill of rights for children. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
November 08, 2006
PA Appoints First Dog Law Prosecutor in Effort to Stop Puppy Mills
Much of his work on the new job will involve the administrative appeals of kennels that have had their state operating licenses revoked. He also expects to be involved in the state's proposed crackdown on unlicensed kennels. Mr. Paladina will also be prosecuting animal cruelty cases according to Jessie Smith, named to the newly created post of special deputy secretary for dog law enforcement.
Pennsylvania is one of a handful of states that have the dubious distinction of being targeted by a number of animal rights groups for operating puppy mills. Puppy mills are breeding facilities that raise hundreds of puppies -- or more -- per year. Such puppies are raised in kennels, not in the homes of the breeder. Critics charge that the puppies are not properly socialized or handled, which can result in personality and temperament problems, and do not receive good veterinary care.
The appointment of Mr. Paladina and Ms. Smith are part of what the governor earlier in October called "proposed sweeping changes to the state's dog law and related state regulations to improve the conditions under which dogs are bred and sold in Pennsylvania."
Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
October 31, 2006
New Criminal Law Blog: "Sex Crimes"
Aspiring CrimProf Corey Yung has recently developed a new Criminal Blog called "Sex Crimes." The blog is devoted to the criminal laws regulating and punishing sex offenders.
The goals of the blog are to:
(1) compile news and legal developments about the criminalization and punishment of sex offenses in the United States.
(2) offer legal opinions about developments in the laws regulating and punishing sex crimes.
(3) provide a resource for people doing research and/or writing about sex crimes.
One of the most significant developments related to the subject matter of this blog is the growing use of residency and work restrictions to prevent sex offender recidivism. This is also the scholarly area in which Yung is currently writing. As a result, this will be one of the primary subjects focused on in posts.
Check it Out . . . [Mark Godsey]
October 26, 2006
DNA Frees Man After 15 years of Marriage
From onion.com: Henry "Hank" Doswell, 42, was released from his marriage Wednesday, after DNA tests conclusively proved his innocence in the July 1991 fathering of Spencer Doswell, the solitary charge that has kept him committed for 15 years.
"Fifteen years, seven months, and two days," said Doswell, speaking to a group at the Red Room bar's Singles Night shortly after his release. "I always said they'd made a terrible mistake, that I did not deserve to be put away in the prime of my life, but no one believed me. If it hadn't been for this DNA test, I might have died in that monogamous relationship."
Though he feared he might never be able to break free of "the old ball and chain," Doswell always professed that being sentenced to a life of enforced fidelity was a "horrible injustice." But as each new anniversary seemed only to confirm his guilt, Doswell began to doubt he would ever be a free man again. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
October 08, 2006
The New School Hosts "Punishment: The U.S. Record" Conference
The "Punishment: The U.S. Record" conference will take place at The New School for Social Research on November 30 and December 1, 2006. It is the 16th conference in the Social Research conference series, dedicated to enhancing public understanding of pressing social issues. Here is the premise of the Conference:
"We are convening this conference at a time when our nation's prison population has soared by more than 600% since the 1970s, despite a drop in crime rates. As of 2005, over two million people were imprisoned in this country: almost one in every 136 U.S. residents. Black men, who make up 6% of the U.S. population, comprise over 40% of our prison population. A black male born today has a 32% chance of spending time in prison. Eleven states do not allow ex-cons to vote. Nearly 2,800,000
American children have at least one parent in prison or jail.
We ask, what does this mean for our democracy? Where do our concepts of punishment come from? What is the effect on our families, communities and the economy of our staggeringly high incarceration rate?" More Info. . . [Mark Godsey]
September 24, 2006
Landlord: Crack Dealer Most Reliable Tenant
September 17, 2006
Delancey Street Restaurant: Serving Meals and a 2nd Chance
From latimes.com: Delancey Street in San Francisco might look like every other successful restaurant in this restaurant-obsessed city, but the menu here comes second to the mission: providing felons with a solid first step on the straight-and-narrow.
Mimi Silbert, who started Delancey Street 35 years ago, explained that the Cons are fed, clothed and paid a small stipend, all from a general fund that also provides Silbert's pocket money: She takes no salary. Delancey Street prides itself on receiving no government aid, so everything comes from revenue or donations. (Brooks Brothers and Zegna have been particularly generous of late.)
In exchange for their basic needs being met, cons promise to work—hard. They put in long hours at the restaurant, and often at one of the other, smaller Delancey Street "business training schools," such as Christmas tree lots and moving companies. They also hit the books. Besides obtaining high school diplomas and college degrees, cons complete a liberal arts survey course designed by Silbert, which includes field trips to museums, recitals and ballets.
Delancey Street is the only program of its kind in the nation, Silbert says, and she's besieged each day by people wanting to copy it. There isn't time to answer all the requests, she complains. Besides, she designed Delancey Street on the fly, over 35 years, with help from experts, scholars, gourmets, friends. Occasionally, even a con's mother will donate a secret family recipe. It would take too long—a lifetime—to tell anyone all she's learned. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
September 13, 2006
OSU Journal of Criminal Law Sponsors Miranda v Arizona Anniversary Symposium
Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law is sponsoring a symposium on Friday, October 6, 2006, in honor of the 40th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Miranda v. Arizona at OSU Moritz College of Law.
The symposium will feature a panel of experts on the decision, and on constitutional criminal procedure more generally, who will discuss the past controversy surrounding this landmark decision and its future.
Speakers include some of the country's foremost experts on Miranda:
- Professor Yale Kamisar (University of Michigan Law School and University of San Diego School of Law)
- Professor Ronald Allen (Northwestern University School of Law)
- The Hon. Gerard E. Lynch (U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and Columbia Law School)
- Professor George Thomas (Rutgers School of Law)
Boston Globe Supreme Court Reporter Charles Savage will moderate the event. Papers by the speakers, along with an introduction by Symposium Guest Editor, Professor Marc Spindelman (Moritz College of Law), will be published in the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law. For More Info. . .
Help Wanted: Carolina Academic Press in Need of Law Prof Authors
Carolina Academic Press (CAP) is beginning a series of comparative law texts called the “Contextual Approach Series” (CAS) and is looking for U.S. law professors in a variety of subject areas to serve as lead authors for entries in the series.
The goal of the CAS is to create a series of interesting, student-friendly, self-contained, accessible comparative law books that—using co-authors from the U.S. and two other countries—clearly and concisely explain how law works in practice around the world in different subject areas. The books will be paperbound and roughly 200 pages.
The first book, Practical Global Tort Litigation: U.S., Germany and Argentina (McClurg, Koyuncu and Sprovieri), is in publication production and available for use as a model. Detailed guidelines for authors in the series also are available.
As the title of the series suggests, each book will be based on a set of case or problem facts raising prototypical, universal legal issues in the particular subject area. This contextual approach is intended to bring comparative law to life and make it digestible and understandable to law students by giving them a foundation to attach the law to.
If you have an interest in becoming an author in this series, please send a preliminary inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org [Mark Godsey]
Poor Planning in Pot Disposal
Here's a picture from an Arizona newspaper showing a group of cops after they found a pot farm and decided to burn all 1,000 plants on the spot. Note the cops standing downwind from the massive cloud of pot smoke billowing past them. [Mark Godsey]
September 12, 2006
The PrawfsBlawg Wants CrimProfs' Input
The PrawfsBlawg's, edited by University of Miami Prof Dan Markel, next subject matter for the Research Canons Project is Criminal Law. The purpose of the Research Canons Project is to get input from professors about the most important works of scholarship in the various areas of legal inquiry.
CrimProfs are encouraged to comment on the books and articles that are essential to a new academic in the field of Criminal Law. Comment Now. . . [Mark Godsey]
August 31, 2006
Defense Attorney Caught Drunk in Court
Via TaxProf Blog, here is an incredible video of a criminal defense attorney who raised the judge's suspicions because he was slurring his speech. The judge forces him to take a blow test, and he blows a .075. The defendant in the case was facing life. Mistrial, of course.
August 28, 2006
Diary of a Grand Juror
Says all defendants could have been charged with "aggravated stupidity. Diary...
August 17, 2006
New School Holds Punishment Conference
The New School for Social Research in New York is holding a conference titled "Punishment: the U.S. Record" from November 30 to December 1.
The conference plans to examine the foundations of our ideas of punishment, explore the social effects of current practices and search for viable alternatives to our carceral state. It is supported by the Russell Sage Foundation, the Soros Foundation’s Open Society Justice Initiative, the Ford Foundation and The J.M. Kaplan Fund and is also Cosponsored by the ACLU. More Information. . .
July 18, 2006
Summer Brings Rise to Portable Toilet Fires
From twincities.com: Of all the dark mysteries of the criminal mind, one bothers president of On Site Sanitation of Little Canada Dave Holm the most: Why do people burn portable toilets?
According to Holm, the number of burned Porta-Potties usually increase in the summer. He expects to lose 35 units this year to fire, in addition to about 500 others tipped over by vandals or by windstorms.
Company officials willingly offer toilets as tools to fight diseases spread in big crowds and when vandals set fire to a toilet, the impact on public health and the environment is obvious. "We are sanitation workers. We protect the health and welfare of the public," Holm said
Ruined biffies sit in Holm's back lot like corpses in a morgue. He knelt beside a half-melted $2,000 toilet and examined the sparklers that set off the fire. "I just don't get the humor here," he muttered. "It's kind of pathetic." Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
June 13, 2006
NSA Wiretap Reveals Subject Paying Too Much for Long Distance
The Onion.com has the story here. [Mark Godsey]