CrimProf Blog

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

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Law Student Evaluations Apparently Hinge on Professor's Sex Appeal

Story from TaxProf blog here.  [Mark Godsey]

For information about Professor Godsey's teaching awards, see here and here. [Jack Chin]

May 24, 2005 in Teaching | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 20, 2005

Law School Rankings By LSAT

Brian Leiter has a new ranking of law schools by LSAT scores here.  [Mark Godsey]

May 20, 2005 in Teaching | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Florida State Prison Clinic Wins National Award

A clinic at Florida State, the Childen in Prison Project, won the Award for Excellence in a Public Interest Project from the Clinical Legal Education Center.  Law students in the clinic litigate and advocate for better conditions for children in prison.  Details. . .  [Mark Godsey]

May 19, 2005 in Teaching | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 4, 2005

A 3Ls Thoughts on the Last Day of Law School

Here.  [Mark Godsey]

May 4, 2005 in Teaching | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The Rankings Racket

Here's an article about the U.S. News rankings and how schools are playing the numbers game.  Here's some details about a recent symposium on law school rankings.  [Mark Godsey]

April 19, 2005 in Teaching | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Law School Teaching Loads

Here's a survey of teaching loads of law professors at various schools.  (thanks to for the tip).  [Mark Godsey]

April 13, 2005 in Teaching | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, March 13, 2005

2005 Law School Hires

Here is a link that has updates on which law schools hired new professors, and who they hired, during the 2004-05 hiring season.  If your newest recruit isn't on the list, send them an e-mail and they'll update it.

Also, if you recently hired a new crimprof at your school to start in Fall 2005, drop me an e-mail ( and let me know.  I'll do a post introducing all the soon-to-be crimprofs with short bios.  [Mark Godsey]

March 13, 2005 in Teaching | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Criminal Procedure Professors Asked to Join Appellate Support Network

The National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLADA) is initiating the  Appellate Support Network, a project that connects criminal procedure academics with public defenders working on important federal appellate matters.  The network is composed of criminal procedure professors that are available to provide assistance to public defenders on significant issues in front of the Supreme Court and U.S. Courts of Appeals. The professors provide a limited number of hours of assistance on a case, and they are considered of counsel and have the option of co-signing the brief.  More information on the Appellate Support Network is available at

If you are interested in participating in the Appellate Support Network, please send your contact information along with your areas of expertise to Adam Neufeld at  [Mark Godsey] 

March 10, 2005 in Teaching | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, March 7, 2005

Northwestern Law Professor Slams Law School Exams

Steven Lubet's article in The American Lawyer argues:  "There is almost nothing about the typical law school examination that is really designed to test the skills involved in law practice. And many aspects of exams are positively perverse. Take time pressure, for example. By their nature, exams are time-limited, usually to about three or four hours, during which it is necessary to assess the problems, decide on the answers, marshal the material (whether strictly from memory or from an "open book"), and then write, hopefully, coherent answers. There is no opportunity for reflection, research, reconsideration or redrafting. You simply dash off your answer and hope you got it right. No competent lawyer would approach a serious problem under comparable conditions (except in an extreme and extraordinary emergency); in fact, that would probably be malpractice."  More . . .   [Mark Godsey]

March 7, 2005 in Teaching | Permalink | TrackBack (1)

Friday, February 25, 2005

BTK Serial Killer Case Studied in the Classroom-UPDATED

UPDATE: There has been a break in the case and a suspect arrested. Here's some video. [Jack Chin] reports:  "The BTK serial killer investigation in Kansas is being used as a teaching tool in college criminal justice courses around the country.  The killer known as BTK -- which stands for 'Bind, Torture, Kill' -- has been linked to eight unsolved killings in Wichita from 1974 through 1986. BTK resurfaced last March with letters to Wichita media and police. Police have collected more than 4,000 DNA swabs in an effort to find the killer.  'It's a very compelling case,' said Volkan Topalli, an assistant professor in the criminal justice department at Georgia State University in Atlanta. 'There's a lot of material to work with.'  Topalli said he will touch on the case next semester during the serial-murder portion of his course on aggression and violence.  At Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, students in a master's-level forensics class are tackling the case much in the way that Wichita authorities have been investigating it since it first surfaced.  Graduate student Jackie Hoehner is trying to recreate the crime scene and layout of the home where the serial killer struck first in 1974, strangling four members of the Otero family.  'It is extra exciting because of the way he has resurfaced,' she said.  Hoehner said one of the key mysteries is what happened to BTK during all the years he was not communicating publicly. Her theory: He moved away, then returned.  Jeri Myers, a forensic science coordinator at Nebraska Wesleyan, said her students treat the BTK case as if they were professionals solving the mystery. She said her students learn what they can about the initial investigation, then analyze communications and look for similarities to create a suspect profile."  Story . . .  [Mark Godsey]

February 25, 2005 in Teaching | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Gambino Crime Family 101

A law school in Italy has added a new course to its criminal law curriculum:  the Mafia.  According to Law.Com, the class will "look at the roots of organized crime in Italy and follow its development under Fascist rule, in postwar years and up until the present day. It explains the differences between various syndicates in the country -- including the Sicilian Mafia and the Calabrian 'ndrangheta, which investigators say is becoming the most powerful crime organization in Italy -- and examines how they raise money."   

Will the class have any problems with enrollment?  Fuggetaboutit...more than 500 students have already signed up.

For more, click here.

Mark Godsey

February 16, 2005 in Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

A 1L's Risk Factor Quiz for Getting Called on in Class

Here's how 1Ls apparently hedge their bets as to whether they'll be called on in a given class.  Risk Factor Quiz here.  [Mark Godsey]

February 15, 2005 in Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 31, 2005

Gonzaga Program on Teaching Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure

The Institute for Law Teaching at Gonzaga is running a one day conference on "Teaching the Law School Curriculum" at Villanova on Friday, March 11.  The conference includes workshops on teaching 15 standard law school courses (including Crim subjects) as well as workshops on exams and assessments, on using technology in and out of the classroom, on collaborative learning, and on reflective learning.  Details here. [Mark Godsey]

January 31, 2005 in Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Dayton Becomes First U.S. Law School to Offer 2-Year JD

Press release here.   [Mark Godsey]

January 13, 2005 in Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 6, 2004

William & Mary Law Students Teach Literature and Law Classes to Virginia Inmates

ClassinjailPaul Marcus, a CrimProf at William & Mary Marshall-Wythe School of Law, has helped some of his law students become teachers to a non-traditional group of students--a group of 17 inmates at the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail.  The law students lead discussion among the inmates about literature involving legal issues.  This past week, the class discussed Sister Helen Prejean's Dead Man Walking, a book that looks at the human consequences of the death penalty. 

Third-year law student Janelle Lyons asked her discussion group, "What do you think about the statement that race, poverty and geography determine who gets the death penalty?"  "Do you think there's a way to make the system fair?" she asked.  Inmate Josi Smiley doesn't think so.  "Money or power could tip the scales in someone's favor," said Smiley, who is in jail for forgery and passing bad checks.  Lyons has found the inmates are "much more intelligent than most people probably believe...Just because they're in jail doesn't mean they don't have a love of learning."

"It's one thing to read opinions that look at the same set of facts and come up with conclusions," said David Lacy, a third-year law student. "But it's another thing to hear someone who knows what it's like to be incarcerated or knows what it's like to deal with the system...It's good to hear someone with real life experience," he said. "We are - I don't want to say - sheltered," but leading the discussions has offered the law-students valuable real-world experience.  More... [Mark Godsey]

December 6, 2004 in Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 2, 2004

Students in Tulane Law Clinic Win Big Case in LA Supreme Court

Tulane_logoIn an opinion issued yesterday, the Louisiana Supreme Court handed a victory to the Tulane Law Clinic and to mentally ill criminal defendants throughout Louisiana.   Relying on positions briefed and argued by student lawyers, under the direction of CrimProf Pamela R. Metzger, the Louisiana Supreme Court struck down La.C.Cr.P. 648(B)(2), a statute that applies to criminal defendants who (a) are permanently incompetent to stand trial; and, (b) do not pose a danger to themselves or others.  The challenged law placed those defendants on probation for a period of a time that could extend up to the maximum punishment that could have been imposed on a competent defendant who was found guilty of the underlying crime.

The Tulane Criminal Clinic has represented the defendant, Ms. Denson, since her initial arrest. She was quickly adjudged permanently incompent to stand trial, and not dangerous either to herself or others.  Nevertheless, Ms. Denson spent three years on probation and approximately two years in the general population of a women's prison, because there was no room for her in  an appropriate psychiatric facility.  The opinion can be found here.

The next step for Ms. Denson and her student lawyers illustrates the intradisciplinary nature of the work performed in Tulane's legal clinics, work that builds off of the theoretical work of many fine CrimProf scholars.  Students in Tulane's Legislation Clinic are drafting a proposal for legislation that would meet the needs of people like Ms. Denson.  And, the Tulane Civil Clinic is evaluating the viability of a lawsuit challenging the State's practice of using jails to house mentally ill people when the State Forensic Hospital is full.  [Mark Godsey]

December 2, 2004 in Teaching | Permalink | Comments (3)