CrimProf Blog

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

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Kim on Prosecuting Chinese "Spies"

Kim andrew chongsehAndrew Chongseh Kim (Concordia University School of Law) has posted Prosecuting Chinese 'Spies' on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

The primary question this study seeks to answer is: “Are people of Chinese descent disproportionately falsely prosecuted as spies?” The answer, this study finds, is yes.

It uses PACER court filings from a random sampling of Economic Espionage Act cases to identify disparities in prosecutions. It finds that around a third of EEA prosecutions include Chinese defendants and that the average sentence for convicted Chinese defendants is over twice as long as that for Western defendants. Whether these findings reflect improper bias against Chinese defendants or simply reflect the magnitude of the problem of Chinese espionage is a question for further study.

This study next finds that the DOJ likely is filing charges under the EEA against innocent Chinese in gross disproportion to other groups.

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July 20, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Oliveira-Castro & Holanda on Predictors of Serious Juvenile Offenses

Jorge M Oliveira-Castro and Ariela Oliveira Holanda (University of Brasilia and University of Brasilia) have posted Predictors of Serious Crimes Committed by Juvenile Offenders in Brazil on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Knowing the variables that predict criminal acts committed by youth offenders may be crucial to the design and implementation of efficient public policies. Information from admittance interviews available in institutional data files of 187 adolescents, confined in a socio-educational institution, was analyzed with the use of logistic regressions, with the purpose of identifying predictors of serious offenses (violent crimes and drug trafficking). Results indicated that involvement with serious offense was significantly predicted by involvement with rival groups, which in turn was predicted by disrupting occurrences in family history, types of drugs used and prior experience with alternative measures. Despite the correlational nature of the analyses, these results, in general, corroborated those found in the academic literature and point to the importance of drug use and quality of parent-adolescent relationship as predictors of serious offenses.

July 20, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Kleck et al. on Gun Control and Violent Crime

Gary Kleck, Tomislav Victor Kovandzic and Jon Bellows (Florida State University College of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Alabama at Birmingham - Department of Justice Sciences and 18th Judicial District of North Carolina) have posted Does Gun Control Reduce Violent Crime? on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Do gun control laws reduce violence? To answer this question, a city-level cross-sectional analysis was performed on data pertaining to every U.S. city with a population of at least 25,000 in 1990 (n=1,078), assessing the impact of 19 major types of gun control laws, and controlling for gun ownership levels and numerous other possible confounders. Models were estimated using instrumental variables regression to address endogeneity of gun levels due to reverse causality. Results indicate that gun control laws generally show no evidence of effects on crime rates, possibly because gun levels do not have a net positive effect on violence rates. Although a minority of laws seem to show effects, they are as likely to imply violence-increasing effects as violence-decreasing effects. There were, however, a few noteworthy exceptions: requiring a license to possess a gun, and bans on purchases of guns by alcoholics appear to reduce rates of both homicide and robbery. Weaker evidence suggests that bans on gun purchases by criminals and on possession by mentally ill persons may reduce assault rates, and that bans on gun purchase by criminals may also reduce robbery rates.

July 19, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Gross on Native American Jury Pool Representation

Gross jordanJordan Gross (University of Montana School of Law) has posted Let the Jury Fit the Crime: Increasing Native American Jury Pool Representation in Federal Judicial Districts with Indian Country Criminal Jurisdiction (Montana Law Review, Forthcoming) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Federal law allocates jurisdiction to prosecute and punish crimes committed in Indian country based on the race of the perpetrator, the race of the victim, and the federal political status of the Indian tribe on whose land the crime was committed. At the founding, Indian tribes had plenary authority to address and punish all crimes committed in Indian country. Congress systematically stripped away most of this authority and allocated it either to the federal government or to individual states, leaving Indian tribes with severely restricted jurisdiction over individuals who commit crimes on their reservations. The primary federal statute for prosecuting crimes committed in Indian country is the Major Crimes Act. This statute gives the federal government authority to prosecute and punish enumerated crimes committed by Indians on reservations that are subject to federal criminal jurisdiction. These crimes typically also violate the criminal code of the tribe on whose reservation the crime is committed. This gives rise to concurrent federal and tribal criminal jurisdiction over the same defendant for the same conduct.

Under federal constitutional law, jury pools must reflect a fair cross section of the community in which a crime is prosecuted and from which no distinct group in the community has been excluded.

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July 19, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

"Refusing a search is a right, not a provocation"

Radley Balko has this post at The Washington Post, featured on the NACDL website, criticizing this advice given by police to a mostly African-American crowd:

If an officer stops your car, if they ask to search your person or vehicle, if they demand entry into your home, comply and then complain later to the department’s internal affairs office and police chief’s office if you feel your rights have been violated, Riddick said.

July 19, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

"Texas Governor announces Police Protection Act"

From Jurist:

Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced[press release] on Monday that he plans to propose a law providing for additional punishment for crimes against law enforcement officers. The proposed Police Protection Act (PPA) would extend hate crime protections to law enforcement officers, organize a "campaign to educate young Texans on the value law enforcement officers bring to their communities" and "increase criminal penalties for any crime in which the victim is a law enforcement officer" even if the crime would not otherwise qualify as a hate crime. Abbott used assault with bodily injury as an example of a crime subject to the proposed enhancements, from the current third degree felony to a second degree felony under the proposal.

July 19, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Rappaport on Insurance and Police Misconduct

Rappaport johnJohn Rappaport (University of Chicago Law School) has posted An Insurance-Based Typology of Police Misconduct (University of Chicago Legal Forum, Vol. 2016) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Not all police misconduct is the same, and different institutional regimes might manage different sorts of misconduct most effectively. This Article surveys the universe of police malfeasance from the perspective of an important but underappreciated regulatory regime: liability insurance. Nearly all but the very largest municipalities buy insurance that covers claims alleging police misconduct. In assuming the financial risk of bad police behavior, the insurers become motivated to prevent it. Criminal procedure scholarship almost entirely overlooks the salutary regulatory influence these insurers may have on police activity. Yet insurance is no panacea. Indeed, a principal aim of this Article is to probe the limits of the insurance mechanism — the places where the effects of insurance on policing are likely weak or even perverse. This exercise points us toward a typology of misconduct, along with a corresponding set of plausible approaches for reducing the occurrence of each of the types identified. In particular, the Article distinguishes varieties of police misconduct based on (1) the dollar-value of the legal claims to which they give rise and (2) the length of the delay between when the misconduct occurs and when a legal claim is typically filed. The typology suggests, among other things, that the insurance regime is a plausible surrogate for some governmental regulation of police violence but not, at present, of the sorts of misconduct that lead to wrongful convictions.

July 19, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Lollar on Criminalizing Pregnancy

Lollar courtneyCortney Lollar (University of Kentucky) has posted Criminalizing Pregnancy (Indiana Law Journal, Vol. 92, No. 3, Forthcoming) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

The state of Tennessee arrested a woman two days after she gave birth and charged her with assault of her newborn child based on her use of narcotics during her pregnancy. Tennessee’s 2014 assault statute was the first to explicitly criminalize the use of drugs by a pregnant woman. But this law, along with others like it being considered by legislatures across the country, is only the most recent manifestation of a long history of using criminal law to punish poor mothers and mothers of color for their behavior while pregnant. The purported motivation for such laws is the harm to the child from prenatal exposure to illegal drugs. But recent scientific studies undermine the harm narrative.

This Article is the first to take a close look at the science behind these laws.

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July 19, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 18, 2016

"Calling 911 from a phone to obtain its number does not ‘search’ it, court rules"

Orin Kerr has this post at The Volokh Conspiracy. In part:

I don’t think that reasoning works, as it’s mixing up two different questions: (1) whether calling from the phone is a search of the phone, and (2) whether, once the call is placed, receiving the number dialed at 911 is a search of the number. I think calling 911 is a search because of (1), not because of (2). Calling 911 pushes out the number from the phone, and I think that forced revealing of the number should count as a search of the phone.


July 18, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

"Heather Mac Donald (Manhattan Institute) guest-blogging about ‘The War on Cops’"

The notice, at The Volokh Conspiracy, previews posts about about her new book, “The War on Cops: How the New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe.”


July 18, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

"Five arrested in connection with Nice attack"

From Jurist:

JURIST - Five arrested in connection with Nice attack

According to a judicial source, four men believed to be linked to Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, a 31-year-old Tunisian who killed 84 people as he drove a truck into a Bastille Day crowd in Nice, have been arrested [BBC report]. One of the men was arrested on Thursday, while the three others were arrested overnight on Friday. Lahouaiej-Bouhlel's estranged wife has also been detained by police. These new arrests have come as the development of a meeting between President François Hollande [official website, in French] and his top security advisors in Paris. Cautioning against a temptation to create deep divisions in the country, Hollande termed the attack a terrorist act and extended the state of emergency by three months [JURIST report]. France began three days of national mourning for Nice victims on Saturday.


July 18, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

"Another Baltimore Police Officer Acquitted in Freddie Gray Case"

From The New York Times:

It was the third straight acquittal, by the same judge, on the same set of facts: On Monday, Lt. Brian Rice, the highest-ranking Baltimore police officer charged in the death of Freddie Gray, was found not guilty of three charges, including involuntary manslaughter.

And a question that has been simmering among some legal observers ever since acquittals began piling up in the multi-defendant prosecution immediately turned to a full boil: With no convictions to show in four trials related to the death of Mr. Gray, a 25-year-old black man who sustained a fatal spinal cord injury during an arrest in which he rode unsecured in a police van, should prosecutors drop a retrial and the two others that remain?

July 18, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Plesnicar on Why People Stop Offending

Mojca Mihelj Plesničar (Institute of Criminology at Ljubljana Faculty of Law) has posted Why Do People Stop Offending? Recent Theories on Desistance and Their Value in Practical Approaches to Offenders (Zbornik znanstvenih razprav, 75 (2015), pp. 191-212) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Desistance theories, researching the ways how and reasons why people stop offending have developed only recently. The article briefly describe their development in general and then examines four of the more recent influential ones in more detail: Laub and Sampson’s Age-graded theory of social control, the Cognitive transformation theory developed by Giordano et al., Maruna’s Theory of narrative self-change and Wikström’s Situational action theory. These theories are analysed with regard to their applicability to general or specific offending populations. Finally, the sociotherapeutic approach common to the Slovenian system in the past is analysed through the lenses of these theories and conclusions as to the value of general and specific theories and approaches are made.

July 18, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Carter on Whren's Flawed Assumptions

Carter williamWilliam M. Carter Jr. (University of Pittsburgh - School of Law) has posted Whren's Flawed Assumptions Regarding Race, History, and Unconscious Bias (Case Western Reserve Law Review, Vol. 66, p. 947, 2016) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

This article is adapted from remarks presented at CWRU Law School's symposium marking the 20th anniversary of Whren v. United States. The article critiques Whren’s constitutional methodology and evident willful blindness to issues of social psychology, unconscious bias, and the lengthy American history of racialized conceptions of crime and criminalized conceptions of race. The article concludes by suggesting a possible path forward: reconceptualizing racially motivated pretextual police encounters as a badge or incident of slavery under the Thirteenth Amendment issue rather than as abstract Fourth or Fourteenth Amendment issues.

July 18, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Top-Ten Recent SSRN Downloads in Criminal Law eJournal

Ssrn logoare here.  The usual disclaimers apply.

Rank Downloads Paper Title
1 169 Shut Out: How Barriers Often Prevent Meaningful Access to Emergency Shelter
Suzanne Skinner and Sara Rankin
Seattle University School of Law and Seattle University School of Law
Date posted to database: 10 May 2016 [2nd last week]
2 78 Neuroethics and Criminal Responsibility – A Criminal Law Comment on Neil Levy's Consciousness and Moral Responsibility
Helena Morão
University of Lisbon - School of Law
Date posted to database: 14 Jun 2016 [3rd last week]
3 69 Vilifying the Vigilante: A Narrowed Scope of Citizen's Arrest
Ira P. Robbins
American University - Washington College of Law
Date posted to database: 19 Jun 2016 [5th last week]
4 60 A Neuro-Legal Lingua Franca: Bridging Law and Neuroscience on the Issue of Self-Control
Joshua W. Buckholtz, Valerie F. Reyna and Christopher Slobogin
Harvard University, Cornell University and Vanderbilt University - Law School
Date posted to database: 2 Jun 2016 
5 60 The Case Against Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide
Rex Ahdar
University of Otago - Faculty of Law
Date posted to database: 8 Jun 2016 [6th last week]
6 58 The Offence of Knowingly Presenting False or Forged Evidence in the Rome Statute
Ekaterina Kopylova
Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO)
Date posted to database: 20 Jun 2016 [new to top ten]
7 53 'Your Corrupt Ways Had Finally Made You Blind': Prosecutorial Misconduct and the Use of 'Ethnic Adjustments' in Death Penalty Cases of Defendants with Intellectual Disabilities
Michael L. Perlin
New York Law School
Date posted to database: 23 May 2016 [10th last week]
8 48 Chapter Three. The Case Against Retribution
Michael Louis Corrado
University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - School of Law
Date posted to database: 9 May 2016 
9 46 A Sure Bet? The Legal Status of Daily Fantasy Sports
Marc Edelman
City University of New York - Baruch College, Zicklin School of Business
Date posted to database: 22 Jun 2016 
10 38 Texas’ Stand Your Ground Law: An Historical Perspective
Clayton E. Cramer
College of Western Idaho
Date posted to database: 18 May 2016 [new to top ten]

July 17, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 16, 2016

"Federal appeals court rules Microsoft may protect customers' e-mails"

From Jurist:

JURIST - Federal appeals court rules Microsoft may protect customers' e-mails

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Thursday that Microsoft [corporate website] is not required to hand over customers' e-mails held overseas to the Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website]. The case was initiated when Microsoft sued the DOJ over their request for customer data held in Ireland. Microsoft claimed [complaint, PDF] that a particular section of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act [materials] was unconstitutional as it goes against their First Amendment and their customers' Fourth Amendment rights. Microsoft alleged that the federal government was violating these rights by preventing Microsoft from notifying its customers about government requests for their emails.


July 16, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

"Minnesota Police Officer’s ‘Bulletproof Warrior’ Training Is Questioned"

From The New York Times:

The Minnesota police officer who fatally shot an African-American man during a traffic stop last week had recently undergone specialized training that critics say can lead officers to believe they are under constant threat of being harmed and can intensify encounters with civilians.

. . .

The Minneapolis Star Tribune first reported that Officer Yanez took the course. It was conducted by a company called Calibre Press in Glen Ellyn, Ill., owned by Jim Glennon, a former police lieutenant in Lombard, Ill., according to its website.


July 16, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

"North Carolina governor signs law requiring a court order to obtain police body camera footage"

From Jurist:

JURIST - North Carolina governor signs law requiring a court order to obtain police body camera footage

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory [official profile] on Monday signed into law House Bill 972 [text], which states that police camera footage, including body camera footage, is not a matter of public record and proscribes the procedure for release of footage. While members of the public are allowed to request the footage if they meet certain criteria, such as being filmed in the footage or the "personal representative" of someone in the footage, their requests can still be denied and the footage will only be released following a court order. Organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] have spoken out against the law [press release], stating that "[b]ody cameras should be a tool to make law enforcement more transparent and accountable to the communities they serve but this shameful law will make it nearly impossible to achieve those goals."


July 16, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Top-Ten Recent SSRN Downloads in Criminal Procedure eJournal

Ssrn logoare here. The usual disclaimers apply.

Rank Downloads Paper Title
1 240 It's Too Complicated: The Technological Implications of IP-Based Communications on Content/Non-Content Distinctions and the Third Party Doctrine
Steven M. Bellovin, Matt Blaze, Susan Landau andStephanie K. Pell
Columbia University - Department of Computer Science, University of Pennsylvania - School of Engineering & Applied Science, Worcester Polytechnic Institute and West Point--Army Cyber Institute
Date posted to database: 8 Jun 2016 
2 152 The Suspicious Distinction between Reasonable Suspicion and Reasonable Grounds to Believe
Terry Skolnik
University of Toronto, Faculty of Law, Students
Date posted to database: 24 May 2016 [4th last week]
3 134 The International Framework for Court Excellence and Therapeutic Jurisprudence: Creating Excellent Courts and Enhancing Wellbeing
Elizabeth Richardson, Pauline Spencer and David B. Wexler
Monash University - Faculty of Law, Magistrates' Court of Victoria and University of Puerto Rico - School of Law
Date posted to database: 19 May 2016 [6th last week]
4 115 Some Clerical Contributions to Ex Parte Quirin
Ross E. Davies
Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University
Date posted to database: 13 Jun 2016 [7th last week]
5 91 Reining in the Big Promise of Big Data: Transparency, Inequality, and New Regulatory Frontiers
Philipp Hacker and Bilyana Petkova
Humboldt University of Berlin and European University Institute
Date posted to database: 22 May 2016 [8th last week]
6 91 Combatting Police Discrimination in the Age of Big Data
Sharad Goel, Maya Perelman,Ravi Shroff and David Alan Sklansky
Stanford University, Central District of California, New York University (NYU) and Stanford University
Date posted to database: 1 Jun 2016 [9th last week]
7 86 Arresting Batson: How Striking Jurors Based on Arrests Violates Batson
Vida B. Johnson
Georgetown University Law Center
Date posted to database: 2 Jul 2016 [new to top ten]
8 81 Tempest in a Teapot – The Role of the Decision Tree in Enhancing Juror Comprehension and Whether It Interferes with the Jury's Right to Deliberate Freely?
Marie Comiskey
University of Toronto
Date posted to database: 24 May 2016 [10th last week]
9 79 The Missing Branch of the Jury
Suja A. Thomas
University of Illinois College of Law
Date posted to database: 2 Jun 2016 [new to top ten]
10 76 Actions Speak Louder Than Images: The Use of Neuroscientific Evidence in Criminal Cases
Stephen Morse
University of Pennsylvania Law School
Date posted to database: 20 Jun 2016 [new to top ten]

July 16, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 15, 2016

Aldape et al. on Rethinking "Death Row"

Celina Aldape, Ryan Cooper, Katherine Haas, Xionan April Hu, Jessica Hunter, Shelle Shimizu, Johanna Kalb and Judith Resnik (Yale University, Law School, Students, Yale University, Law School, Students, Yale University, Law School, Students, Yale University, Law School, Students, Yale University, Law School, Students, Yale University, Law School, Students, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law and Yale University - Law School) have posted Rethinking 'Death Row': Variations in the Housing of Individuals Sentenced to Death on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

In 2015, individuals sentenced to death in the United States were housed in varying degrees of isolation. Many people were kept apart from others in profoundly isolating conditions, while others were housed with each other or with the general prison population. Given the growing awareness of the debilitating effects of long-term isolation, the placement of death-sentenced prisoners on what is colloquially known as “death row” has become the subject of discussion, controversy, and litigation.

This Report, written under the auspices of the Arthur Liman Public Interest Program at Yale Law School, examines the legal parameters of death row housing to learn whether correctional administrators have discretion in deciding how to house death-sentenced individuals and to document the choices made in three jurisdictions where death-sentenced prisoners are not kept in isolation.

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July 15, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)