CrimProf Blog

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

Saturday, January 28, 2006

California Prison Problems

Overcrowding leading to killings, and delay in reforming the parole system, which the Gov hoped would reduce the population. [Jack Chin]

January 28, 2006 in Sentencing Corrections | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, January 27, 2006

9th Cir: Sentencing Speeches Upheld

From The Recorder: "Crime victims must be given a chance to literally have their say in court before sentencing, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week. By granting a rare writ of mandamus, the court cleared up confusion surrounding the Crime Victims' Rights Act, a 2004 federal law that establishes "the right to be reasonably heard" during sentencing." More. . . [Mark Godsey]

January 27, 2006 in Sentencing Corrections | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

NY Gov. Pataki Proposes Stricter Sex Crime Laws

New York Governor George Pataki proposed stricter sex crime laws, which would increase sentences for sex crimes to as much as 25 years to life for some sex crimes, and to life in prison without the chance of parole for other sex crimes. According to the propositions, the minimum sentence for conviction of a sex crime against a child would be 25 years.  Adults convicted of a serious sex crime against a child under 13 years old could spend life in prison. [Mark Godsey]

January 24, 2006 in Sentencing Corrections | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 19, 2006

2nd Cir: Judge Criticizes Federal Mandatory Minimums

Forced to impose a sentence he deemed unjust, Northern District of New York Judge David Hurd harshly criticized the federal statute, 21 U.S.C. §846, that required him to impose a life-without-parole term on a 32-year-old "relatively small-time drug dealer" with an IQ of 72.  Judge Hurd said child rapists and murderers will go free on parole while Justin D. Powell languishes in prison for life.  Powell was convicted of drug crimes twice during his teenage years, more than a decade before the instant offense. Because of those prior convictions, the sole sentencing option was life, Hurd said. According to 21 U.S.C. §846, the only way to escape the mandatory minimums is to provide "substantial assistance" to the prosecution. Story. . . [Mark Godsey]

January 19, 2006 in Sentencing Corrections | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Study: Prison Rape Rare

A new report of ideosyncratic methodology concludes that prison rape is rare.  “Prison rape worldview doesn’t interpret sexual pressure as coercion,” the author explained. “Rather, sexual pressure ushers, guides or shepherds the process of sexual awakening.”  Story here.

January 17, 2006 in Sentencing Corrections | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Sentencing Project Crack Study

What's happened since Booker? They've gone down, a bit.  Story here, report here. [Jack Chin]

January 12, 2006 in Sentencing Corrections | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, January 1, 2006

Dispute over NJ Prison Riot

COs say it was an unprovoked attack; inmates say even those not involved were beaten by guards afterwards. [Jack Chin]

January 1, 2006 in Sentencing Corrections | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Juvie Jail Stay Backfires: Jailhouse Rocks, Mom Gets Bill

A harried Michigan mom thought that life behind bars would be just the thing for her unruly 15 year old, but it didn't work out that way.  "He was in bed all day in his pajamas. He loved it. He bragged about all these new movies he saw. I thought it would be more like a jail atmosphere. I thought he'd get a taste of it and wouldn't want to go back."  Meanwhile, the county bills parents $155 per day--more than mom earns--and Junior was in the resort for a month.  Story here. [Jack Chin]  

December 13, 2005 in Sentencing Corrections | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Markel on Tookie Williams Clemency

Findlaw column here. [Jack Chin]

December 10, 2005 in Sentencing Corrections | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Online Discussion about Prisoner Reentry

Here's an announcement of interest:

Dear Colleagues,

On behalf of the Government Innovators Network, KnowledgePlex, and the National Institute of Justice, I would like thank you for your interest in our web conference "Prisoner Reentry: Addressing the Challenges of Returning Home." We were delighted at the level of response we received on this important subject. Many of you attempted to join the conference, but found the meeting full, and we very much regret that we were not able to accommodate such a high turnout.

We would like to remind everyone, that the event was recorded; you can access this archived recording of the session on the KnowledgePlex website, as well as the Government Innovators Network website

To access archived events, you must register with the KnowledgePlex or the Government Innovators Network -- registration is free and easy. Just click the word "register" on the top-right corner of the screen on either website, and follow the instructions. On this page, you will also be able to access a list of related resources including links to recent news articles and other resources on the topic of prisoner reentry and homelessness.

Many of you have expressed great interest in continuing the dialogue. Thus, we encourage you all to participate in our discussion forum, which will is titled "Prisoner Reentry," and can be found at the Government Innovators Network at Some starter topics have been added to get the ball rolling, including: "Barriers to Employment," "Securing and Networking Resources," and "Returning Sex Offenders."

The initial posts include many questions submitted by those of you who attended the 11/9 event. We encourage you to offer your professional insights and advice in response, or to pose some related questions of your own. In addition, we also invite you to post a new topic (e.g. one attendee has already initiated a great topic on the "Use of Technology and Workload"). There are many issues that were raised during the Q&A session, which the presenters only had time to touch on lightly, if at all, such as resources for children of incarcerated parents, reintegration of those released from juvenile detention facilities, reentry in rural communities, and coordinating mental health resources.

If you have any further questions about the accessing the recording of the event or the using the discussion forum, please let me know. We are happy to be working with this diverse group of leaders in prisoner reentry, and are excited to offer you further opportunities to exchange ideas.


Jim Cooney
James R. Cooney, Communities of Practice Coordinator, Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

November 19, 2005 in Sentencing Corrections | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Missouri: Felons Cannot Be Bail Bondsmen

Story here. [Jack Chin]

November 16, 2005 in Sentencing Corrections | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Second Chance Act

Here's a page with the test of the Second Chance Act, and hearings about the act, which was designed to facilitate prisoner reentry.  According to Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich: “This Legislation authorizes much needed assistance to state and local governments for projects that enhance a person’s ability to find a job and receive housing or substance abuse and mental health treatment.  . . . Just as important, the bill creates a federal task force from various agencies to identify ways to collaborate and remove barriers to successful re-entry.” [Jack Chin; thanks to Myrna Raeder]

November 16, 2005 in Sentencing Corrections | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, November 13, 2005

National District Attorney's Association, National Governor's Association, Issue Policy Statement on Prisoner Reentry

I missed the NDAA policy when it came out in July, but it is very interesting.  Press release and policy here. NGA statement here. [Jack Chin]

November 13, 2005 in Sentencing Corrections | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, November 11, 2005

Editorial on Prison Rape

They're against it. [Jack Chin]

November 11, 2005 in Sentencing Corrections | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, November 10, 2005

New Reentry Website

This looks like a good comprehensive resource for materials on prisoner reentry.  But . . . I hate requiring registration.   [Jack Chin]

November 10, 2005 in Sentencing Corrections | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

3rd Circuit: Batson Violation Upheld

From (The Legal Intelligencer): "The now-infamous videotape of a training session led by former Philadelphia homicide prosecutor Jack McMahon -- in which he discussed techniques to keep African-Americans off juries -- has resulted in yet anther court ruling that tosses out a murder conviction. This time, the author of the opinion is 3rd Circuit Judge Edward R. Becker, who faulted McMahon for engaging in improper jury selection tactics that violated the U.S. Supreme Court's Batson v. Kentucky ruling.

Becker found that the training video was 'compelling evidence' that McMahon "regularly acted with discriminatory animus toward African-American jurors."  In the case of Zachary Wilson -- who was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in a 1984 case prosecuted by McMahon -- Becker found there was ample evidence that McMahon improperly struck numerous African-Americans from the jury...

Becker's 29-page opinion in Wilson v. Beard is loaded with quotes from McMahon's training video, including one in which McMahon said: 'Let's face it ... the blacks from the low-income areas are less likely to convict...There is a resentment for law enforcement, there's a resentment for authority and, as a result, you don't want those people on your jury. And it may appear as if you're being racist or whatnot, but, again, you are just being realistic. You're just trying to win the case.'

[Assistant District Attorney Thomas] Dolgenos argued that Wilson had access to television in prison and therefore could have discovered the existence of the videotape as early as April 1, 1997... [To the contrary, Becker found that]...'no person in Wilson's position would reasonably expect that the local news would be a source of information relevant to his case, given that his conviction had occurred 13 years ago and his final appeal had been rejected by the Supreme Court the previous year.'...

The ruling upholds an April 2004 decision by U.S. District Judge John R. Padova that granted Wilson a new trial.  [The decision]...could add new issues to the death penalty case because the jury found that Wilson's prior murder conviction was an "aggravating factor" that supported his death sentence. Story... [Mark Godsey]

October 25, 2005 in Sentencing Corrections | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

9th Circuit: Death Penalty Reversed for Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

From "Forget the stoner judge and the fact that Warren Summerlin's first defense lawyer hooked up with the prosecutor. It was Summerlin's incredibly bad lawyer that gave the 9th Circuit reason to jettison Summerlin's death sentence Monday in an en banc ruling.

By not inquiring into Summerlin's history of mental illness -- and by failing to point out that his client was illiterate, functionally retarded and a diagnosed schizophrenic -- Arizona defense lawyer George Klink "utterly failed in his duty to investigate and develop potential mitigating evidence for presentation at the penalty phase," Judge Sidney Thomas wrote for a 10-1 panel.

Klink failed to tell the court about "Summerlin's tortured family history, including the fact that Summerlin's alcoholic mother beat him frequently and punished him by locking him in a room with ammonia fumes," wrote Thomas. Also, Klink never pointed out that his client received repeated electroshock treatments, had a severe learning disability, was illiterate and was prescribed anti-psychotic drugs.

As a result, the decision -- from which Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain was the lone dissenter -- ordered the case back to an Arizona trial court, where a jury may be convened to resentence Summerlin." Story...  The case is Summerlin v. Schriro C.D.O.S. 9041 [Mark Godsey]

October 25, 2005 in Sentencing Corrections | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Women 25% of Arrestees; 7% of prisoners

Story here. [Jack Chin]

October 23, 2005 in Sentencing Corrections | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Article on Female Prisoners

Here. [Jack Chin]

October 12, 2005 in Sentencing Corrections | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, October 9, 2005

Online Seminar

AFDA's Online Seminars:
Live Audio Webcast on Bureau of Prisons
October 12, 2005

PROGRAM: Federal Bureau of Prisons: Counseling The White Collar Offender To Do Federal Time

DATE / TIME: Wednesday, October 12, 2005, 3:00 - 4:30 pm (eastern)

A live, 90-minute audio webcast with slide presentation featuring David Novak, a nationally renowned sentencing / BOP consultant.

Fee is $10 for AFDA members, $35 for non-members



October 9, 2005 in Sentencing Corrections | Permalink | TrackBack (0)