CrimProf Blog

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

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

PA Attorney General's Panel, Chaired by CrimProf, Restructures Camden Police Strategy

From "As part of a major reorganization to be rolled out this year, Camden police will divide the city into four districts and assign a captain to be personally accountable for each area.  The changes are designed to transform a department battered by criticism and best known for shuttling between 911 calls into a model for policing a medium-size city, officials said yesterday in interviews. 

They follow the recommendations of a panel created during a disastrous year for Camden that included a sharp spike in homicides, a serial rapist in the downtown business district, and a research firm designating the city as the "most dangerous" in America...The changes to the department come through the work of a blue-ribbon panel appointed in 2004 by the state Attorney General's Office. The panel, chaired by Charles Rogovin, a criminal-law professor at Temple University, includes several national police experts." Story here... [Mark Godsey]

August 31, 2005 in Criminal Justice Policy, CrimProfs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Illinois Prof Bruce Smith to Present at W&L

Bsmith On September 9th, Illinois Associate Professor Bruce P. Smith will present "Miranda's Paradoxical Prehistory" at Washington and Lee.  The workshop is sponsored by W&L's Center for Law & History. 

[Mark Godsey]

August 31, 2005 in Conferences | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wisconsin Awards Chairs to 2 CrimProfs

Wisconsin Law recently awarded chairs to two crimprofs.  Victoria F. Nourse is now the Burrus-Bascom Professor, and Michael E. Smith is the Haight-Bascom Professor.  Congratulations!  [Mark Godsey]

August 31, 2005 in CrimProfs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Hurricane Katrina: Legal System Effects

CrimProf Michelle Ghetti of Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge, posted these sobering thoughts on a listserv and gave us permission to reprint them:


I know your hearts, in particular, are for lawyers. Think of this... 5,000 - 6,000 lawyers (1/3 of the lawyers in Louisiana) have lost their offices, their libraries, their computers with all information thereon, their client files - possibly their clients, as one attorney who e-mailed me noted. As I mentioned before, they are scattered from Florida to Arizona and have nothing to return to. Their children's schools are gone and, optimistically, the school systems in 8 parishes/counties won't be re-opened until after December. They must re-locate their lives.

Our state supreme court is under some water - with all appellate files and evidence folders/boxes along with it. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals building is under some water - with the same effect. Right now there may only be 3-4 feet of standing water but, if you think about it, most files are kept in the basements or lower floors of courthouses. What effect will that have on the lives of citizens and lawyers throughout this state and this area of the country? And on the law? The city and district courts in as many as 8 parishes/counties are under water, as well as 3 of our circuit courts - with evidence/files at each of them ruined. The law enforcement offices in those areas are under water - again, with evidence ruined. 6,000 prisoners in 2 prisons and one juvenile facility are having to be securely relocated. We already have over-crowding at most Louisiana prisons and juvenile facilities. What effect will this have? And what happens when the evidence in their cases has been destroyed? Will the guilty be released upon the communities? Will the innocent not be able to prove their innocence?

Our state bar offices are under water. Our state disciplinary offices are under water - again with evidence ruined. Our state disciplinary offices are located on Veteran's Blvd. in Metairie. Those of you who have been watching the news, they continue to show Veteran's Blvd. It's the shot with the destroyed Target store and shopping center under water and that looks like a long canal. Our Committee on Bar Admissions is located there and would have been housing the bar exams which have been turned in from the recent July bar exam (this is one time I'll pray the examiners were late in turning them in - we were set to meet in 2 weeks to go over the results). Will all of those new graduates have to retake the bar exam? Two of the 4 law schools in Louisiana are located in New Orleans (Loyola and Tulane - the 2 private ones that students have already paid about $8,000+ for this semester to attend). Another 1,000+ lawyers-to-be whose lives have been detoured. I've contacted professors at both schools but they can't reach anyone at those schools and don't know the amount of damage they've taken. Certainly, at least, this semester is over. I'm trying to reach the Chancellor's at Southern and LSU here in Baton Rouge to see if there's anything we can do to take in the students and/or the professors. I think I mentioned before, students from out of state have beens stranded at at least 2 of the other universities in New Orleans - they're moving up floor after floor as the water rises. Our local news station received a call from some medical students at Tulane Medical Center who were now on the 5th floor of the dormitories as the water had risen. One of them had had a heart attack and they had no medical supplies and couldn't reach anyone - 911 was busy, local law enforcement couldn't be reached, they were going through the phone book and reached a news station 90 miles away!! It took the station almost 45 minutes to finally find someone with FEMA to try to get in to them!!

And, then, there are the clients whose files are lost, whose cases are stymied. Their lives, too, are derailed. Of course, the vast majority live in the area and that's the least of their worries. But, the New Orleans firms also have a large national and international client base. For example, I received an e-mail from one attorney friend who I work with on some crucial domestic violence (spousal and child) cases around the nation - those clients could be seriously impacted by the loss, even temporarily, of their attorney - and he can't get to them and is having difficulty contacting the many courts around the nation where his cases are pending. Large corporate clients may have their files blowing in the wind where the high rise buildings had windows blown out.

I woke up this morning to the picture of Veteran's Blvd which made me think of my students who just took the bar. My thoughts wandered from there to the effect on the Disciplinary Offices. Then my thoughts continued on. I'm sure I'm still missing a big part of the future picture. It's just devastating. Can you imagine something of this dimension in your state?

August 31, 2005 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Times-Picayune: New Orleans Police Participate in Looting

Story here. [Jack Chin]

August 31, 2005 in News | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

New Mexico CrimProf Bergman to Head NACDL

Bergman From a press release:  "Oklahoma City bomber Terry Nichols and the Jimmy Carter White House are among former clients of Barbara Bergman.  Now the University of New Mexico Law School professor is planning an offense for the defense.  She replaced Innocence Project co-founder Barry Scheck as president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers this month. That role, and a visiting professorship at Catholic University teaching evidence and criminal procedure, are taking her back to Washington, D.C., for the next year.  She is fully aware that the road ahead is not exactly gleaming.  For openers, there's proposed legislation in Congress called the Streamlined Procedures Act. The bill would curtail access to the courts for virtually all state prisoners seeking to set aside their convictions through habeas corpus petitions.

"It would bury the truly innocent under a welter of state and federal procedural bars (and) undermine efforts to raise the low standard of representation tolerated by state courts," she told the association membership recently. "Inevitably, by keeping the innocent in prison and out of court, it will leave the real perpetrators to commit more crimes."

Bergman views that as particularly alarming in an age when DNA testing and other forms of proof have demonstrated that more innocent people are wrongly convicted than anyone suspected.  Exonerations have proliferated in the last 16 years, largely because of DNA testing, but Bergman warns that isn't a panacea. DNA is a tool available only in about 20 percent of cases.  More, not less, must be done to correct the weaknesses in our fact-finding system, she said.

Bergman, a deputy counsel in the Carter administration, hopes to build on projects launched by Scheck. Those include seeking state legislation to fix flawed photo array procedures and encouraging law enforcement techniques that reduce false confessions, like requiring taped suspect interrogations.  The association will continue to tackle problems with false convictions resulting from forensic labs that do faulty work like that exposed in Texas, Oklahoma, Montana and West Virginia, where one forensic examiner testified about tests he'd never performed.

"You've had the whole problem with the Albuquerque evidence room," she said. "We've got to make sure these labs are independent and neutral and have quality control, and hopefully are accredited. That's another area where you get wrongful convictions, because you have bad evidence."

Bergman also wants to bring new attention to mental health and juvenile issues.  "When we closed down a lot of the institutions, we didn't provide a lot of alternatives for people with mental illness, and in effect what's happened is that our prisons and jails have become our asylums. We house people with mental illness that we don't know what else to do with. Some don't need to be in those facilities and others who perhaps need to be restrained or incarcerated may need more help," she said.  Bergman wants more attention on kids who are being sent through the adult criminal justice system.

Bergman is the organization's 47th president and the third woman to head it. Albuquerque attorney Nancy Hollander was the first woman president.  Over the years, it has evolved from a networking body to one more involved in seeking policy changes. Its membership has grown to almost 13,000 direct members and 28,000 in state affiliates."  [Mark Godsey]

August 31, 2005 in CrimProfs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Case Western Launches Global Security Website

The Case Western Reserve University School of Law has launched an interactive Web site for its Institute for Global Security, Law and Policy, designed to stimulate public debate and provide a comprehensive hub for addressing security and counterterrorism issues.  The site,, features a blog providing analysis of critical global security issues and links to legal and policy commentary, other blogs and news summaries across the Internet. By using the collaborative nature of blogging, the site encourages individuals within and outside the Institute to comment on legal and policy issues. Students enrolled in the Counterterrorism Law course, co-taught by Professor Amos Guiora and Adjunct Professor Jonathan Leiken, will submit weekly blog entries to the site.  “The site reflects the Case School of Law’s commitment that the Institute becomes the leading national and international resource and research center for issues of global security,” said Amos Guiora, professor of law and director of the Institute. Guiora is a retired lieutenant colonel in the Israel Defense Forces with extensive experience in counterterrorism.  “This Web site will increase the Institute’s visibility and add to its reputation as the world’s leading center for the study of global security issues,” said Gerald Korngold, dean and McCurdy Professor of Law.   [Mark Godsey, taken from a Case Western press release]

August 30, 2005 in Homeland Security | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Japan: Officer Dumps Complaints

I thought this was usually letter carriers who dumped mail, but here's a story of an officer who took police reports and did nothing with them, holding some so long that the statute ran.  Story here. [Jack Chin]

August 30, 2005 in International | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Emmett Till Update

Here's a profile of the prosecutor handling the revived investigation. Here's our previous bloggage. [Jack Chin]

August 30, 2005 in News | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

BREAKING NEWS: Martial Law Declared in New Orleans Because of Hurricane Katrina

Story here. Wikipedia entry on martial law here. Here's a live feed from a New Orleans TV station, broadcasting from Mississippi.  [Jack Chin]  Here's a report saying that martial law wasn't really declared.

August 30, 2005 in News | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 29, 2005

Quoted CrimProfs: John Strait and Peter Henning Comment on KPMG's Resistance to Investigation by the Senate

Wayne State's Peter J. Henning and Seattle University's John Strait are quoted in this story about the accouting firm KPMG's resistance to a Senate subcommittee's investigation into "four questionable tax shelters created and sold by KPMG that earned the firm $124 million in fees, but cost the Treasury, according to Senate investigators, at least $1.4 billion in unpaid taxes." 

According to emails and documents KPMG tax executives pushed the tax shelters off to clients.  But when questioned about this allegation by the Senate subcommittee, KPMG execs "were evasive."  Since the hearings, KPMG has settled with "the Justice Department over the creation and sale of the arcane tax shelters, which the Internal Revenue Service contends helped wealthy investors illegally hide billions of dollars in taxable income. The agreement, which is expected to be announced tomorrow, calls for the firm to pay $456 million and accept an outside monitor of its operations. Former partners separately may face criminal charges."

CrimProf Peter J. Henning commented, "KPMG viewed its conduct as above reproach, in a sense viewing itself as smarter than the I.R.S. and Department of Justice by developing these creative tax shelters."...

"It's a very high-risk strategy to start out stonewalling," said CrimProf John A. Strait..."when KPMG came under scrutiny, it chose to fight. And it did so after the collapses of Enron and WorldCom, at a time when the tide of corporate history was turning decisively in favor of corporate accountability and government regulators." Story here... [Mark Godsey]

August 29, 2005 in CrimProfs, White Collar | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Presentation: Combatting Bias During the War on Terror

Erlinder1smallwebCrimProf C. Peter Erlinder, William Mitchell College of Law, will headline a presentation on the historic decision by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals overturning the conviction of the Cuban Five. “In the Eye of the Beholder: Combating Bias/Upholding Due Process During the ‘War on Terror’,” will be held Monday, Aug. 29, 2005, at 7 p.m. at William Mitchell College of Law in the Auditorium, 875 Summit Avenue, St. Paul. Also speaking at the event is Professor Gary Prevost, St. John’s University.

The “Cuban Five” are admitted agents of the Cuban government who were convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage and murder by a federal court in Miami in 2001. The “Five” were in Miami gathering information on private, anti-Cuban groups in Florida that had carried out acts of violence in Cuba that were planned and launched from U.S. soil. High ranking U.S. military officers testified that they had not engaged in espionage directed at the U.S. military or other U.S. agencies. [Their convictions became a rallying point throughout the world and have been condemned by U.N. agencies and Human Rights Watch, as well as other human rights organizations.]  [Mark Godsey]

August 29, 2005 in Conferences | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Victim Saves Evidence for Use in Prosecution

This story about a jail inmate allegedly assaulted by a guard is interesting because the inmate deliberately saved evidence so that could be used in a DNA test.  Someone from the Southern Arizona Coalition Against Sexual Assault spoke at the U of Arizona College of Law recently and said that many of the survivors she counsels these days make a point of getting an assailant's skin under their fingernails or otherwise make sure they obtain some evidence which can be used in a prosecution.  It is the other side of the CSI Effect. [Jack Chin]

August 29, 2005 in News | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

PA: 1983 Win for Person Arrested for Videotaping Police

Pennsylvania State Police don't like to be videotaped while they do truck inspections, evidently, but wheth they repeatedly arrested a gentleman for doing so, he sued and won.  Thanks to BoingBoing. [Jack Chin]

August 29, 2005 in Civil Rights | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

This Week's Top 5 Crim Papers

Ssrnlogo100_4 This week's top 5 crim papers, with number of recent downloads on SSRN, are as follows:

(1) 418 Search and Seizure: Past, Present, and Future
Orin S. Kerr,
The George Washington University Law School,
Date posted to database: July 14, 2005
Last Revised: July 14, 2005
(2) 388 Cultural Cognition and Public Policy
Dan M. Kahan, Donald Braman,
Yale Law School, Yale University - Law School,
Date posted to database: August 2, 2005
Last Revised: August 2, 2005
(3) 325 The Political Constitution of Criminal Justice
William J. Stuntz,
Harvard Law School,
Date posted to database: August 14, 2005
Last Revised: August 25, 2005
(4) 237 Exonerations in the United States, 1989 through 2003
Samuel R. Gross, Kristen Jacoby, Daniel J. Matheson, Nicholas Montgomery, Sujata Patil,
University of Michigan Law School, University of Michigan Law School, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Law School, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia,
Date posted to database: July 6, 2005
Last Revised: July 26, 2005
(5) 127 Aspects of the Theory of Moral Cognition: Investigating Intuitive Knowledge of the Prohibition of Intentional Battery and the Principle of Double Effect
John Mikhail,
Georgetown University - Law Center,
Date posted to database: July 27, 2005
Last Revised: August 17, 2005 

August 29, 2005 in Weekly Top 5 SSRN Crim Downloads | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Vanderbilt CrimProf King Honored

King_2Vanderbilt CrimProf Nancy King, the Lee S. and Charles A. Speir Professor of Law, was one of six Vanderbilt professors honored with Chancellor's Awards for Research during the 2005 Faculty assembly on August 25.  In presenting King's award, Chancellor Gee specifically noted a Vanderbilt Law Review article King authored on a study showing that in states that use juries for criminal sentencing, sentences imposed by juries are more severe than those imposed by judges (Jury Sentencing in Practice--a Three-State Study, 57 Vand. L. Rev. 885 (2004)).  [Mark Godsey]

August 28, 2005 in CrimProfs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Problem with Military DNA Lab

An examiner at the U.S. military's only forensic DNA facility has evidently been been found to have falsified results.  All of the cases he has worked on since 1995 are being reexamined. [Jack Chin]

August 28, 2005 in Exoneration Innocence Accuracy | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

NZ Crime

Crime levels in New Zealand are at their lowests points in 25 years, and politicians are pointing to jobs programs, early intervention programs and progressive treatment for drug addicts and alcohlics.  Story . . .  [Mark Godsey]

August 28, 2005 in International | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Findlaw Column: Kolb on Knowing HIV Exposure

Column here. [Jack Chin]

August 27, 2005 in Criminal Law | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, August 26, 2005

How to Fight a Traffic Ticket

From BoingBoing. [Jack Chin]

August 26, 2005 in Criminal Law | Permalink | TrackBack (0)